I’ve been looking for an excuse to write about a V shaped guitar for a while now. The release of the new prophecy range has provided the opportunity. In this Epiphone Flying V Prophecy review we’ll look at the features of this modern take on a classic.
If you’ve ever played a Flying V type guitar you’ll know that they’re extremely novel. Usually very comfortable to play with plenty of room of the fingerboard, but terrible to play if you’re accustomed to sitting down to play! Let’s take a closer look at the Prophecy’s features.
Overview of Epiphone Flying V Prophecy
The Flying V is part of the Prophecy series, which includes Les Paul, SG and the distinctive Extura shapes. These guitars are aimed at the intermediate player, costing around $899.
The body shape mimics the Gibson 1958 Flying V, but that’s where the similarities end. Epiphone has put a modern twist on the Prophecy, but has tried to remain sympathetic to the plight of the classic guitar. That means it hasn’t slapped on a ton of features that take years to get your head around.
The Prophecy is full scale (24.72″). The body is made from mahogany and there’s a lot of body to this guitar. Mahogany is a good solid tonewood, however as you might expect that does add some weight to the guitar.
The top of the guitar is AAA Flame Maple Veneer, which gives a lovely punch to the tone. It also makes for a great finish, showing the grain of the wood.
The body has a multi-ply binding that gives a nice border to the body of the guitar. The neck is set into the body, which makes reaching the higher frets much easier and helps with the sustain. The neck is also made from mahogany in an asymmetrical slim taper profile. That means it’s rounder near the headstock for chord work and flatter at the higher frets for lead work.
The fingerboard material is Ebony, accentuating bright tones and good for those into their heavier styles. It has a similar tone to maple, however feels much smoother under the fingers.
Atop the fingerboard are 24 jumbo frets. That’s two full octaves of easy to traverse frets, making it very comfortable to play, especially for lead guitarists.
There’s a really nice touch with the fretboard inlays too. They’re block with a custom triangle inset, which matches the color of the guitar’s body. The block is mother of pearl and the colored triangle is made from abalone. It’s a nice design feature.
Moving up toward the headstock we find a Graphtech Nu Bone nut. For a guitar of this price we might just be creeping into the range where we’d expect a proper bone nut. But hey, at least it isn’t plastic. Moving onto the headstock we find grover locking tuners, which are great for tuning stability and make restringing easy.
The headstock has a really cool design with the elongated diamond and Epiphone logo over the bell shaped truss rod cover.
Let’s talk a little about the hardware. We find a Locktone Tune-O-Matic bride and stop bar anchoring everything into place. It’s common to find Locktone bridges on Epiphone guitars.
We have two Fishman Fluence Epiphone humbucking pickups, one at the neck and one at the bridge. They’re not quite active pickups, but in their natural configuration they’re powerful enough to play high gain styles.
There’s a three way switch enabling you to select just the bridge, just the neck, or both at the middle position. Here’s the cool bit, the volume and tone control knobs have push/pull pots. You can change the characteristics of the pickups by pushing in or pulling out either the tone or volume knob.
Pull out the tone knob to switch the humbuckers to a more vintage style. But it doesn’t stop there. If you pull out the volume knob, the configuration changes again to hum cancelling single coils. So effectively we can get three different pickup characteristics from one set of pickups!
Let’s talk a little about the tone. The pickups provide plenty of power for high gain styles and combined with the 24 frets, smooth playability and pointed V Shape make this a metal head’s dream. However pull out the tone knob and you’ll immediately hear the output drop to something more mellow.
The variety of pickup configurations makes the Prophecy super dynamic. This guitar will cope with not only high-gain styles, but also classic rock, blues, funk and punchy clean styles. Pull out the volume knob and use the bridge pickup and you’ll find the punchy clean tones similar to those used by Keith Richards. In fact the bridge pickup in this configuration reminds me a lot of the classic Telecaster tone.
All of the hardware has a brushed nickel finish, which looks really good, especially on the black guitar. The guitar comes with a set of .010’s, which aren’t bad quality. You’ll probably want to swap them out to your favored brand and gauge.
Of course we should talk about the practicality of the Flying V shape. If you’re someone who spends a lot of time sitting to play the guitar then this isn’t the shape for you. It’s very uncomfortable to play sitting down. Likewise if you suffer from a bad back it might be wise to swerve the Flying V.
The mahogany makes it heavier than other guitars. Paired with the fact that it’s difficult to play sitting down, it won’t be make for a good combination! The Prophecy Flying V comes in two colors. I really like the black, but the tiger brings out the maple really well.
I suppose the V shaped guitar is a specialist taste. They’re sleek, great for high-gain styles but somehow impractical for the casual guitarist who wants to noodle around sitting down. Here are some of the best bits:
- Wide Range of Tones
- Great Natural Sustain
- Fast & Comfortable Neck
As mentioned above there are a few issues with practicality with the Flying V. The cons mainly revolve around comfort. The guitar itself plays and sounds great. Here are the main problems:
- Can’t Sit Down to Play
- Probably Not Your Primary Guitar
- Quite Heavy Due to Mahogany Materials
The Epiphone Flying V Prophecy is that guitar you see in the shop and think “that’s so cool”. Then when you think about it you see that it’s kind of impractical unless you’re someone with boundless energy who loves standing to play for hours on end.
I really like the variety of tones this guitar can produce because of the push/pull pot controls. In it’s natural state it’s a high-gain legend, but the pull of a control turns it into something vintage or into silent single coil sweetness.
I feel like this is an additional guitar, one you could use on stage. For me I’m still always going to use my Stratocaster for general practice for the practicality that it offers. One thing I do hate is having to change tunings when I want to play something a little heavier. That’s where I’d turn to the Flying V. Just tune it down to B and pick it up when the need for metal takes my fancy.
Of course the Flying V might not be for you so make sure to check out my Electric Guitar page for more.
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. Want to find out more about the Prophecy? Click the link below.
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