Having already purchased the Flying V in the same series and knew roughly what to expect, I pulled the trigger and bought this for my other half. She has always loved the Explorer shape due to a certain Mr Hetfield so owning one at some point was inevitable!.
When it arrived I have to say the setup was shockingly bad. The strings were SO LOW it was not playable. After spending 5 minutes adjusting the bridge height I was ready to give her the once over and start jamming.
Instantly I knew this guitar was FAR superior to the Goth Flying V. Everything about it is better. Better neck (for me personally although that will be preference to the player), Its nice and weighty! and feels more expensive and solid than the flying V, It also looks way cooler.
My biggest gripe with the goth series is just how hard it is to play these guitars on dim lit stages. Its virtually impossible to see side dots and not having any inlays to look for to help me play just made it a terrible gig for me and I was facing the only light source all night... the drummer so my back was to the crowd. NOT good (this was using the V but its the same exact problem).
Be advised this is neck heavy and it WILL take the plunge to the floor unless you buy one of those planet waves (or similar) 3inch wide straps!. The stock pickups are really woeful. Some new EMG;s have already been purchased and sit waiting to go in this axe ASAP.
These guitars have always struck me as getting alot of solid guitar for the money and that are perfect for some further investment. Like new pickups, better hardware etc and this is exactly what is going to happen to this Explorer.
Is it a mind blowing'ly built guitar that rivals the ESP or even the Gibson Explorers?.... NO of course not. But is it solid, reliable and can be used as a VERY cool looking workhorse or main axe that will scream with new pickups etc....absolutely.
So what to say about this guitar, apart from the fact it is an amazing thing and an affordable price!
Was a little peeved when I opened the box and found it had been damaged by staples used to hold the box together and the paint was a bit thin in places, but seen as I want to custom it with a new "old-style" pickguard and stuff it wouldn't matter too much but someone else might have been very very annoyed.
Out of the box it sounded great, needed a small adjustment on intonation because of slight buzzing but nothing major. The stock pickups have more than enough bit for any willing metal player. I play lots of Metallica, Slayer, Trivium, System of a Down, etc. and it sounds amazing and handles drop tuning amazingly. I actually kept the stock strings on for a while because they weren't as bad as you expect!
In conclusion, amazing axe and cannot recommend it enough. Just Epiphone's apparent lack of quality control seeps through sometimes, which is a damn shame.