Epiphone are back with their version of the Gibson Double Cut guitar. In this Epiphone DC Pro review we’ll take a look the styling, the hardware, the tone and the practicality of this rather stylish looking guitar. We’ll also see how it performs against other Epiphone’s in a similar price bracket. Let’s get started.
Overview of Epiphone DC Pro
The DC (double cutaway) Pro is a full scale (24.75″) mahogany bodied guitar with a flametop maple veneer. Mahogany is a decent wood to use to for resonance. The veneer finish is nice, but it’s very thin so won’t affect the resonance in any way.
The neck is also made of mahogany and is glued into the body, another feature that improves resonance. The DC Pro has a custom C neck profile, which effectively means it’s a little thicker closer to the body. It’s pretty thin at the nut end. Overall it’s quite comfortable to play. No complaints there.
The fingerboard is made from Pau Ferro wood. It’s the standard replacement for Rosewood, which is now protected. Pau Ferro shares similar tonal characteristics with Rosewood, but it’s a little lighter in color. There are 24 medium jumbo frets, so plenty of room for creativity.
Having said that there is a problem with the design of the guitar. The bottom cutaway isn’t quite deep enough, making it a little troublesome to reach the 23rd and 24th frets. The key frets are marked out with block and triangle inlays which are made from abalone and pearloid. They look pretty stylish.
The nut is made from Nubone, which is a synthetic nut. It’s not as good as bone, but better than plastic. Some compromises need to be made to keep the price down. The Nubone nut is one such compromise.
The headstock is the classic dove wing Epiphone shape with a vintage branch design inlaid. The tuning gear is good quality featuring Grover tuning machines. One thing I noticed, and it’s minor, is that there’s no pick guard. That might not be an issue, but for some guitarists it will result in scratches to the veneer finish. Although a pick guard would detract from the stylish finish of the DC Pro.
Back to the body of the guitar. There’s a bar stop tail below a Locktone Tune-O-Matic bridge. Effectively a fixed bridge, it’s of average quality. Another compromise to keep the price down. Onto the good stuff, the pickups, controls and switches.
The DC Pro carries two humbucker pickups, one at the neck and one at the bridge. They’re both Epiphone Probuckers, which are modeled on the classic pickups of the 50’s. There’s a lot of push to the humbucker at the bridge. The genius of the DC Pro comes in the controls.
There are the standard controls. A volume knob for each of the pickups, a neck tone and master volume control knob. But there are some hidden features. Each of the volume control knobs for the pickups is also push-pull. That enables you to split the humbuckers so you’re only using one of the coils. Effectively meaning your using single coil pickups.
It’s a nice feature that adds versatility to the tone you can produce. Unfortunately there’s a bit of a hum when the coils are split at higher volumes. That aside, it means the DC Pro can produce a tones to suit a variety of styles.
The neck tone control knob is also push-pull allowing you to select phase reverse. This effectively reverses the polarity of one of the coils in the humbucker, giving you a unique tone. Apparently it became popular after Gibson serviced a guitar and made a mistake with the pickups.
The volume controls are hooked up with treble bleed too, which means that the treble isn’t lost when the volume is dialed back. Another positive is that the guitar seems to have a good amount of natural sustain.
Additionally there’s a three-way pickup selector switch in the Les Paul position (at the top shoulder) that’ll allow you to select from the Bridge, Middle or Neck pickup positions. On to tone. The neck pickup is great for jazz and funk styles.
Introduce some overdrive for bluesy styles. The middle position combined with some overdrive is great for classic rock. There’s a much thicker sound when the pickups aren’t split, which is what you’d expect from humbuckers.
The DC Pro will accommodate high gain styles. With the double cutaways and 24 frets this might appeal to guitarists who like to shred, but the DC Pro won’t trouble an Ibanez. If you’re into your heavier styles, you’d be better off with something else. Especially with the difficulties with the 23rd and 24th frets mentioned earlier.
The pickups are ok. They’re not great. One of the big draw backs of the DC Pro is that changing the humbuckers is difficult because of the wiring needed for the push-pull and treble bleed features. I know they have to be conscious of price, but I just wish they’d gone with humbuckers that don’t hum and buzz when split.
The guitar comes with a set of .010’s, which aren’t bad. As normal you’ll probably want to swap these out for your favored brand and gauge. The guitar comes in 5 colors. One thing to bear in mind is that you lose the pattern of the grain of the wood on the back with the Wild Ivy and Midnight Ebony colors.
One rather random thing to note with the DC Pro. When your first play the guitar, your fingers might turn a little black. I think this is because of residue on the fingerboard. It’s a real pain as you’ll need to take the strings off, clean it and the re-string. Disappointing Epiphone, disappointing indeed!
Perhaps the best thing about the DC Pro is how stylish the guitar is. But aside from aesthetics we should look at some of the other pros:
- Lots of Features
- Comfortable to Play
Unfortunately it seems like the DC Pro suffers from more than the average number of cons. Here are the worst offenders:
- Expensive Versus Competitors
- Fretboard May Need Cleaning
- Difficult To Reach Frets 23 & 24
I really like Epiphone guitars. But the DC Pro is a bit of a disappointment to be honest. When you first look at it, and indeed when you first pick it up, it’s so promising. Whilst it’s capable of producing a wide range of tones, there are some problems that set it apart from it’s competition.
The humbuckers are a little disappointing, emitting an annoying hum at higher volumes when split. The design of the bottom cutaway negates having the extra 2 frets because the 23rd and 24th frets are difficult to reach. It’s also more expensive that comparative guitars. Even an Epiphone SG Special is a better buy.
If you’re looking for versatility, spend $100 more and get yourself a Fender Player Tele or Strat. Or for $100 less get yourself the Gretsch G5220. I could put up with some of the issues if this were a $400 guitar, but it’s almost a $600 guitar!
So who is this guitar suitable for? Well, if you’re ok with average pickups and aren’t going to use the guitar to play live then I guess it might work. Personally I’d buy something else! I hope you’ve found this post useful. Feel free to leave any comments or questions below. Alternatively you can get in touch using my contact page.
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