When it comes to an Epiphone guitar quality is usually expected, even one with a budget price tag. The Hummingbird Pro is not excluded from this principal. It’s one of three acoustic-electric guitars that have been introduced in the Proline series, and it’s just as versatile as the classic models Gibson released in the mid-1960’s. From rock to jazz and from Keith Richards to John McLaughlin, the Hummingbird models continue to deliver above average sound and expression.
The Specs And Comparisons
Keeping in mind that the Pro line is not being made at the same place as the high-quality models, there are some differences fans will spot immediately. For example, the Gibson range comes with real pearl inlays, while plastic is used for the Pro line. The Pro line also has a slimmer neck at 1.68 inches, whereas the Gibson measures 1.72 inches. Then, of course, there’s the wood quality and the fact that the Gibson models are being handmade, which results in a higher quality sound. The most attractive element for the Pro line is, however, the $300 – $400 price range, compared to the Gibson, which reaches well over $2500.
In terms of specs, it’s got a Rosewood bridge and fingerboard. It’s also got a square-shoulder dreadnought body, which is lined with 14 frets and a solid spruce top. The back and sides are made from select mahogany and the finish is a sunburst cherry, which is a little more faded than the original.
The Hummingbird Pro has a slim-taper neck, also made from select mahogany, and the strings are kept in tune with Nick Grover tuners.
But the big question that lingers in the air is whether the pickup system is capable of complimenting the well-rounded design? The answer is most definitely yes. A NanoFlex pickup system was chosen for the job, and it’s very well hidden where it picks up the vibrations underneath the saddle.
The Shadow ePerformer preamp gives you easy control over basic equalization – bass, treble, and volume – but it also offers a dynamic option. Thanks to the practicality of the whole setup, you don’t have to reach inside the guitar if the batteries need a change. This can be done from the outside.
If there is one thing that stands out in regards to presentation, it’s the “lack of technology” so to speak. The electronics are placed in such a way that they are mostly hidden from the public eye. To them, it just looks like a classic Hummingbird acoustic. As an interesting side-note, one of the jazz-fusion greats, and a name mentioned earlier, John McLaughlin took the initiative of adding a pickup for certain sections of his songs, including one he recorded with Miles Davis.
Sound And Play
The moment you start strumming you’ll notice the great balance in the sound. As good as it sounds without being plugged in, it sounds even better when it runs through the right amp. The lower end is distinct and lays a strong foundation for the high and brighter end. Anything from rock riffs to more barre chord focused styles can probably be handled on this guitar without trying too hard. In fact, within 5 minutes it’s easy to see why such a versatile group of musicians has such great respect for the Hummingbird, classic and modern.
The only real fault you might find is the spot where the neck and body come together. It seems to lack the same luster, and this takes away from the lead playing experience. But if you can get past the limitations and see the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro for what it is, then you’ll realize you’ve got a winning instrument in your hand.
As mentioned in the introduction, it’s hard to find an Epiphone guitar that wasn’t made with relatively high standards, even when it’s meant to cater to a smaller budget. And what makes it great is the opportunity it presents to a novice player in terms of learning what a good guitar should sound like. At the same time, it provides more professional players enough quality to use in a professional setting.
Overall you get a crisp sound with just the right amount of twang to channel that classic Gibson model. Granted, it doesn't have that unique velvety tone, but it can still make you sound good. The difficulty with acoustic-electric guitars is finding the balance between the two. For the most part, there is always something that makes one better than the other, especially at this price point, but it's not the case with the Hummingbird Pro. Where so many guitars are either have a weak pickup system or the natural sound quality isn't very exciting, the Hummingbird nails both of these elements.
Ratings in depth
Price / Quality100%