Friday, April 12, 2013

Epiphone Hummingbird Acoustic Guitar Review

Aloha!

The law of diminishing returns turns out to be true in almost every case where it is applied, and the cost of musical instruments is no exception. There are some very nice budget guitars out there, and as you add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the price the improvements in tone and playability are not commensurate with the amount spent. Don’t get me wrong, there is no substitute for a Santa Cruz acoustic or a Sadowsky bass, but there are some great values out there for short money.

One example of this would be the Epiphone Hummingbird acoustic guitar. Surely you know of Epiphone, they produce the entry-level Gibson brand instruments that get re-sold for almost nothing as soon as a guitarist can scrape up enough dosh for a real Gibson. Though much maligned, these imported guitars can be quite good.

The Hummingbird was Gibson’s first square-shoulder dreadnought which was introduced in 1960. This flat-top has been adopted by plenty of high-profile players over the years, including Keith Richards, John Mellencamp, Sheryl Crow and Tom Petty. It is pretty much Gibson’s answer to Martin’s D-series guitars.

The Epiphone version here was made in Indonesia and it is chock full of good materials and parts so the labor costs must be almost non-existent. Human rights advocates be warned…

The woods are surprisingly good, with a solid spruce top and a bound mahogany body and neck. The fretboard and bridge are made of real rosewood, which is amazing when you consider that Gibson is using all kind of bizarre stuff for Les Paul fretboards instead of rosewood. The body is sprayed in a bright Heritage Cherry Sunburst, which is probably my least favorite part of this guitar. It is very bright and unnatural looking.

Oh yes, and it has the signature hummingbird-decorated pickguard, which I am quite fond of. For the life of me I cannot figure out Gibson puts a plain guard on the Hummingbird Pro models.

The slim-taper profile neck is quite good. It has a 1.68-inch wide nut and 20 frets with a 15 ½-inch scale. The rosewood fretboard has pearloid parallelogram inlays and there is an adjustable trussrod. On one end there are chrome Grove tuners (though the factory calls them nickel), and on the other end there is a compensated synthetic bones bridge saddle. One welcome piece of hardware is two strap pins. Why do so many manufacturers only give you one?

And the Epiphone Hummingbird is really well put together. The finish quality is good, and the frets are as good as the ones that you will find on a new Gibson Les Paul (which is not saying much, I guess). The tuners hold well, and in general the intonation is good. The neck can be adjusted for a low and fast action, though a little nut filing may be needed. And best of all, this guitar has a gloriously loud tone and a relatively balanced sound from string to string. Keep in mind that this is not an expensive guitar, and everything is relative…

I have saved the best for last, and that is the price. The Epiphone Hummingbird has a list price of $499, and a street price of $299. If you look around you can find even better deals online, and used ones are embarrassingly cheap. But if you buy a new one you get the Epiphone Limited Lifetime Warranty and Gibson 24/7/365 customer service. This is really the best acoustic deal on the market right now. Trust me…

Mahalo!

5 comments:

  1. hi, great review, thanks - how does the hummingbird compare to the dove?

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  2. Hi. The Hummingbird has a more mellow sound and the Dove has a brighter tone (mahogany versus maple back and sides). I prefer the Hummingbird tone, myself.

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  3. Thanks dude - I am going to buy one next week in the UK - the bird is better looking than the Dove as well - especially if you're a bloke! I have a 70s Eko Ranger and reckon the mellow woody tone will be somewhat simliar to the hummingbird. Tommy

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  4. ok I have a 74 Gibson SJ Deluxe-Breedlove Jumbo-Takamine EG350-alvarez pd- this bird is by far a better product as I cringe to admit (*At a fraction of the investment).....now thinking on listing the SJ........no need for a high end when I get all I need from the Epi. I strongly urge everyone to try it *(Hummingbird PRO) the nanoflex replicates the woody tone plugged in as well......this is a great rounded guitar!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. ive got a hummingbird and just pulled the pickgard off,looks amazing now and there's no finish difference because its new.mine also doesn't have so much red in the finish,it looks amazing.anyway,thought i would mention you dont get rid of the sg because its a solid body electric and this is an acoustic-electric.one doesnt take the place of the other.sell one of your other acoustics

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