Though never particularly loved as a Gibson model, the Nighthawk has found a rather more receptive home at Epiphone where it’s design quirks have been more welcomed.
Though from a distance it looked like a slightly squashed Les Paul, it combines Gibson-style construction with Fendery touches to create something very unusual.
You get a mahogany body with a maple cap – this ranges from a subtle honey flame maple to a truly outrageous florescent purple maple top. It’s a pretty thin top – this is after all a £350 guitar and not a £3,000 one, but it is well constructed and is very well finished. The glued neck is mahogany with a rather neat rosewood board. The scale is also 25.5″, I love this as I find the normal Gibson scale a bit flappy for me – of course this is purely a matter of taste, but I love the tighter, tauter feel of the longer scale. The 12″ radius is an excellent compromise between shred-tastic flatness and a more traditional feel. The body is also chamfered at the neck joint to allow better access to those 22 well-seated and polished frets. It’s a slim body, much more SG than Les Paul and is pleasantly light and comfortable to hold. Neck and body are also really neatly bound – the whole effect is stylish and really rather elegant and offsets the jumble of pickups that are at the heart of this guitar.
At the bridge you get a trapezoid humbucker with a strat-type single coil in the middle and a mini-humbucker at the bridge. 3 pickups, with a host of coil-split options, controlled by a single volume and tone knob and a 5 way selector. It will be interesting to see how these sound……
Rather nice kidney shaped Grover type machine heads handle tuning competently and a through body bridge takes care of intonation. The bridge is a little flimsy for my taste and there are a couple of sharp edges to keep an eye on. (Though the general set-up and action of this guitar chosen at random was superb.)
So it all looks pretty intriguing, tomorrow we’ll see what it sounds like…..