Sunday, January 18, 2015

Epiphone Dove Acoustic Electric Guitar Review


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 Dove 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 Dove was introduced in 1962, and was one Gibson’s first acoustics that was embraced by the rock-and-roll culture. This flattop has been adopted by plenty of high-profile, one of the first of whom was the legendary Scotty Moore. It is (along with the Hummingbird) 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 maple 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 subdued Violinburst, which comes off quite nicely. Oh yes, and it has the signature dove-decorated pickguard and bridge, which I am quite fond of.

The slim-taper D-profile neck is quite good. It has a 1.68-inch wide nut and 20 frets with a 25 ½-inch scale. The rosewood fretboard has pearloid parallelogram inlays and there is an adjustable trussrod. On one end there are chrome Grover 14:1 tuners (though the factory calls them nickel), and on the other end there is a compensated synthetic bone 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…

The electronics package is also pretty good, with a Fishman Sonitone soundhole preamp and Fishman Sonicore underbridge pickup system. This is a very natural sounding pickup that fortunately uses a conventional 9-volt battery, not one of those weird flat CR-type batteries that you will not be abe to find at the last minute when your preamp poops out. Controls include master volume and master tone – no tuner is included on this one, folks.

What will all of this cost you? The Epiphone Dove has a list price of $499, and a street price of $299 (no case included). 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 one of the best acoustic deals on the market right now. Trust me…


No comments:

Post a Comment