Epiphone’s new Johnny A Custom guitar is a budget version of the lavishly expensive Gibson USA edition and looks like it will offer a lot of guitar for the money, with warm, polished looks and some quality hardware.
The Johnny A Custom features a mahogany body with a flame maple top, a Sunset Glow finish and an ebony fingerboard. It’s a warm yet polished look that suits the styling of the guitar well. The gold hardware includes a Bigsby B-70 tremolo and a set of Gibson ’57 Classic wax-potted humbuckers. The latter are a pair of Alnico II pickups and I imagine they should sound pretty sweet, as they have a proven track record. Plus, it’s good to see a decent set of US pickups on an Epiphone guitar. They have to cut costs somewhere, but at least they are using quality parts where it really counts.
Style-wise it follows the same double cutaway, thinline semi-hollow design as its US Gibson Custom Shop counterpart. The distinct f-hole design fits in well with the overall design aesthetic. At first glance you would be hard pressed to tell it is a ‘budget’ model, especially with the distinct fretboard markers and gold hardware, both of which make it look a lot more expensive than it really is.
Quality at a price
It goes without saying that in this range you shouldn’t expect a hand-built guitar with a nitrocellulouse finish, like a USA-made Gibson. However, I think you will get a well-made instrument and I think Epiphone have made some really great guitars over the last 5 years or so. The combination of nice hardware and alluring finish exudes a quality you don’t always associate with Epiphone guitars. On paper, at least, it looks like a solid instrument.
There is no confirmation on price as yet, but I paid around GBP 600 for my Brent Hinds Epiphone Flying V last year and so this should be in a similar price range. However, this one looks like it will be coming with a hard case and a certificate of authenticity, so it may cost a little more. Compare that to the eye-watering USD 6,299 for the Gibson version…
Epiphone Johnny A Custom product page