The image shown is that of the Joe Bonamassa Epiphone Flying V (1958). Everyone who’s read my blog knows of my distaste for Epiphone guitars. Back in the 90’s and 2000’s the quality was so bad that you had to set them up one you bought one and tighten everything down of all the jacks and knobs would eventually just get so loose they would about fall off. Sometimes you even had frets so sharp they could cut your fingers.

The quality has not only gotten better, but (because of the high prices of American made Gibsons) there is now a higher mid-priced tier of Epiphones to bridge the gap. Now let’s talk about what might come to mind when you think of the Flying V. If I’m thinking old school I’m thinking Albert King, who was the master of the blues on the Flying V. He was also ultra cool because he had the guitar strap slung only over his right shoulder instead of over his head. But then if I really think about it, I’m thinking that the flying V is (from my era) the Judas Priest sound from the 80’s. Like this:

So what is this guitar? Is it a blues machine or a rocker? It depends.

First of all, Korina is a lighter wood, so this will make for a slighty lighter Flying V. It has a warm tone and it’s very resonant. The neck is a very fast 60’s slim taper neck. Back in the 60’s Keith Richards actually owned one of these. The pickups are classic Alnico Epiphone humbuckers.

Now back to the sound. It depends on what it’s plugged into and who’s playing it. Here’s a great example, this is the exact same guitar plugged into only Garage band and an amp simulator with this guy just wailing on the blues:

Clearly the 1958 Korina Epiphone Flying V is capable of being both a rock monster and a blues machine.

So now let’s talk about upgrades. The basic Epi Korina Flying V is reasonably priced and not a bad guitar at all. But recently Joe Bonamassa did a deal with Epiphone to produce his own signature Epiphone Korina Flying V called “Amos”. The Amos version is a slightly heavier guitar. It has a deeper stain, and is a darker color visually, and the body is comprised of 2 pieces of wood instead of 5 pieces in the standard Epiphone version. If you watch this video you can see not only the difference in sounds between the two but the tone variations as well:

The Joe Bonamassa version is clearly a more vintage appointed machine which would work equally as well for Blues or rock, but when used for rock is clearly going to have a more raw sound. It you’re worried about weight or will want a more modern sound the bulk of the time the standard version is probably more for you. Also the standard version is generally $600 new, while the Joe Bonamassa signature version will set you back $900 – so there is also the cost to consider.

If you’re considering the Joe Bonamassa version you may also want to watch this video “The Story of the Amos Joe Bonamassa Flying V”:

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