Iconic Hummingbird on a Budget

Iconic Hummingbird on a Budget

Epiphone Hummingbird $299 street

Epiphone Hummingbird acoustic guitarOver the years I’ve had a number of acoustics. Some good and some not so good (I’m sure most of you have too). But at some point I get that G.A.S. syndrome and usually sell what I have and shop for another one. This last time (due to pay cuts at work) I sold my
acoustic because I needed rent money. I had an older Epiphone Hummingbird that was really nice and I got it for cheap from craigslist. But due to the aforementioned pay cuts I couldn’t afford a replacement. Time passed and things have started to look up again somewhat and I decided it’s time to pull the trigger on another acoustic.

My intention was to look for another Hummingbird, but I also wanted to see what else was available in the off-chance I may find something I like better. In a months time I tried lots of low priced designs and they all seem to feel kinda cheap. Not that they were bad players, in fact some were quite good. But there’s something missing from the overall feel of most of the models I tried. Plus none had the tone to compete with the Hummngbird and of course fit and finish is also iffy on a budget acoustic. Having exhausted every good lead on craigslist I finally said ‘screw it” and went to some local music stores to try out the new stuff.

I went through everything and was largely unimpressed with 2 exceptions: as expected the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro and the Dove Pro. I don’t know how long these “pro” models have been out so they’re new to me. Having played the Epi Hummingbird for quite awhile I noticed the difference in quality right off.

First, it’s electric and that’s a welcome addition. It uses an onboard E Performer system which sounds better than average to my ears. But the real clincher is that these seem to have been built to tighter tolerances, although I may have just gotten lucky. But I’ve seen 2 others since I got mine 3 weeks ago and they too had the noticeably better fit and finish.

Which brings us to the bottom line: what does it sound like. That’s an easy answer, it sounds like a Hummingbird. After my previous Bird I have to agree that the design, construction, and combination of materials  is like no other guitar,Gibson Dove acoustic guitar hence the unique sound. And that’s what I missed after selling my previous one. I had to have that sound again. The most beautiful acoustic ever! And it doesn’t matter if you have a Epi or the Gibson model because they sound so similar. Not identical by any stretch of the imagination, but still there is something familiar about them that’s buried in the tone. I’ve heard people say that they can’t tell the difference in playability but I don’t buy it. I can tell the difference for sure, but that doesn’t mean the Epi is bad, it’s just different, that’s all. For me the cost differential is enough to make the Epiphone worth taking for a test drive.  It has the ringing tonal quality that lies within a range that makes it  easy to vocalize with but can stand on it’s own without it.

Everyone that hears it comments on the beautiful tone as well as the finish. They have taken a lighter approach to the cherry sunburst by not making it quite so red. It looks awesome. All the other factors are there: a relatively fast, easy playing  neck with smooth well fitted frets, the classic Hummingbird pick guard, the split parallelogram position markers, and full binding on the body and neck. They’ve also added genuine Grover tuning machines as standard equipment. The suggested retail is almost 500, but at street  you can snag one like I did for $299. It’s a great deal on a great guitar. If you have the extra 2000 to 3000 for the Gibson you could go that route. Hell, to be honest, if I had the bucks to drop on a Gibby I probably would have. And I may still someday. But until that big winning lottery ticket drops in my lap I’ll just enjoy this one because it is, after all, a Hummingbird.

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Dean Leslie West Peace Sign Signature Soltero, Dean Leslie West Flame Maple Tobacco Burst Signature Soltero, Gibson Les Paul Studio, Hamer Studio,, Epiphone Les Paul (Korean), Ovation Celebrity, Laney Cub 12R, Blackstar, HT-1R, Jet City JCA20H, Jet City JCA22H, Orange OR15, and a lot of dirt pedals, some store bought some DIY.

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