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You can always trust Epiphone to release an iconic guitar at an affordable price, and the Hummingbird PRO is a fine demonstration of what the Gibson subsidiary can do in the acoustic market for under $500. This is an upgraded, electro-acoustic version of the classic steel-string Gibson Hummingbird made famous by players including Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz, U2, Kid Rock, and Sheryl Crow. If it’s good enough for them, it’s worth your time to read on!
The Hummingbird’s body shape should need little introduction, and this affordable Epiphone version retains the classic 1960s design points – big dreadnought body with square shoulders, and a big, elaborately-decorated imitation tortoiseshell pickguard that oozes vintage appeal. This model is made with a solid spruce top, with laminated select mahogany on the back and sides. It comes in a delightful Faded Cherry Burst finish, although you can also find an equally stylish all-black model on some marketplaces. With a scale length of 24.75”, the Hummingbird PRO features a select mahogany neck with Epiphone’s popular SlimTaper D-shaped profile, with a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets, marked with pearloid parallelogram inlays – another classic Hummingbird trademark. As with the majority of Epiphone products – especially in this higher end of the affordable market – the guitar feels well built, shows good craftsmanship, and is a pleasure to play.
In addition to iconic looks, Epiphone’s Hummingbird PRO features some impressive electronics, allowing you to plug in and gig – the Shadow ePerformer preamp and NanoFlex under-saddle pickup. This battery-powered system offers versatile controls, including master volume, bass and treble controls, as well as a handy mute button and a dynamics control slider. There’s no built-in tuner, which is a shame, otherwise this is an excellent system. Aside from electronics, the Hummingbird PRO features a rosewood bridge, compensated imitation bone saddle, adjustable truss rod and D’Addario light strings. Finally, fixed to the classic sloped dovewing headstock, you’ll find a set of good quality Grover tuners with a 14:1 gear ratio.
There’s plenty of tone on offer from this guitar, thanks to both the tonewoods and preamp system. The quality solid spruce top allows the guitar to resonate very well and, as a result, sounds big and bold. It has a warm and rich tone, although remains well-balanced through the registers. The Shadow-designed preamp amplifies the acoustic tone very naturally, although is versatile enough thanks to the controls. Just like the rest of the guitar, it’s hard to fault the sound of the Hummingbird!
Reading this review should give you the impression that we really like the Hummingbird. Great for beginners, great for practice, but also great for gigging. Aside from those legendary looks, the rich tone and the slim, playable neck make this a real performer – perfect acoustic for rock and blues rhythm and lead. If you can’t afford a $3,500 Gibson Hummingbird, this awesome Epiphone version is probably the next best thing.