Ok, so this guitar has nothing to do with the band Muse. The name comes from the word meaning a person, or an imaginary being or force that gives someone ideas and helps them to write, paint, or make music. Thanks to the Cambridge Dictionary for the definition. In this Epiphone SG Muse review we’ll see just how good this guitar is a tickling your musical bones. Let’s get started.
Overview of Epiphone SG Muse
The Muse is inspired by the classic Gibson SG, but takes a modern approach. Consequently the Muse comes with some nice additional features. The Muse embraces the classic horned SG design and uses the same materials with a mahogany body and glued in mahogany neck.
It’ll feel reassuringly weighty, as an SG should. If you’ve not played an SG before, I’d thoroughly recommend giving one a try before buying. You may find that you prefer a lighter guitar, in which case the SG isn’t for you!
The Muse comes in 9, yes 9 different colors. Well they are variants of the same color giving you the option of either a metallic or blemished finish. I really like the jet black (pictured). It has the dark attitude that you associate with an SG.
The Muse is a full scale guitar at 24.75″. The mahogany neck is topped with an Indian Laurel fingerboard. Indian Laurel is pretty similar to Rosewood in tone, albeit a little lighter in color. 22 medium jumbo frets give plenty of room to fretting and enough real estate to play at the higher register. Classic Trapezoid inlays mark out the key frets.
The neck has a “Custom C” profile. Harking back to the 50’s the custom C is a little thinner than the fat C shapes of the classic guitars. It should suit most people, not causing issues for those with larger or smaller hands.
Moving towards the headstock we find a Graphtech nut. For the uninitiated this basically means it’s plastic. Those of you that have read my other posts will know that I’m fairly black and white about the nut material. I usually prefer bone and anything else is inferior.
I maintain that line, but I’ve mellowed a bit over time. There’s an economic argument to be had here. Bone can be expensive for manufacturers, so they have to reserve it for their higher priced models. I’ll forgive the Muse for having a plastic nut, given it’s price point.
The headstock houses the 18:1 Grover tuning machines. They’re what you’d expect for a guitar in this price range. Kind of middle of the road. They do an adequate job. The headstock has the classic bell shaped truss rod cover, which is stamped with “SG Muse”. The headstock has the classic Epiphone SG shape, but there’s not much going on here. No real design flare that you sometimes see in Epiphone headstocks.
Getting back to the body of the guitar, we find the LockTone bridge that’s common on many Epiphone guitars. The bridge can be easily adjusted using a flat head screwdriver. They’re fairly ubiquitous but reliable bridges.
The output jack rests in the classic position on the side of the guitar. There’s a 3-way pickup selector switch which resides just below the stop-bar of the bridge. Now for the important bit, the pickups. There are two Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers, which have coil splitting included. Again, Alnico is pretty middle of the road for pickups, which is to be expected due to the Muse’s price point.
Coil splitting is controlled via the neck tone control knob, which has push / pull operation. When coil splitting is active the guitar mimics single coil pickups, giving it much more dynamism. The neck and bridge volume controls also have treble bleed pots, so you don’t lose any of the treble when playing at lower volumes. That’s lovely to have for when you have to dial the volume back during practice.
Before we continue with tone, I have to point out a few design choices. Firstly there’s no pick guard. That seems like an odd choice to me. You provide 9 options for the color / finish and then let it get wrecked over time by omitting a pick guard! Not a huge problem, but I always feel a bit happier with a pick guard.
The second design choice is the clear control knobs. For me they look cheap. Certainly with the Jet black finish the gold top hat controls would look far more fetching. That’s more of a personal preference and you may love the clear control knobs. Anyway, vent over!
The guitar is produced in China, which helps to keep the price down. The quality assurance seems to be pretty good, but you will probably want to change the strings to your preferred gauge and brand. It might also be worth having your local guitar store give it a once over to make sure it’s set up properly. If you’re comfortable with doing that yourself, you might just need to give the frets a polish and make sure the tuning machines are good and tight.
Let’s talk a little about the tone. The inclusion of coil splitting gives this guitar a lot of tonal range. As does the ability to play out of phase at the middle position. You operate coil splitting by pushing / pulling the tone control knobs.
When using coil splitting, you’re mimicking a single coil pickup. You can also use coil splitting when split between the bridge and neck positions, giving you even more possibilities. Starting at the neck position you can expect tones that work really well for Jazz and Blues styles. Use coil splitting at you get a punchy, plunky sound that’s great for funk.
The middle position provides quite a thick tone, which is good for rockier styles without the grit of the bridge. Here you can play out of phase, which adds some depth to the tone and makes it a little “quacky”. Split the middle neck to get a punchier tone. It’s still quite a thick tone, but gives more reach for playing riffs.
The middle and bridge split adds in a little dirt for a thicker and heavier tone. At the bridge position you get the classic 60s dirty clean style that’s synonymous with SGs. Throw in some distortion and you get that AC/DC type tone at the bridge. The coil splitting allows for some really rasping distorted tones, meaning you can play higher gain styles. Use the neck with a bit of overdrive for warm bluesy tones. There really are a lot of tonal possibilities with the Muse.
I’m really glad that the Muse SG includes coil splitting. Otherwise I’d be struggling to see the appeal over other mid-priced models. I really do enjoy the tonal possibilities that the coil splitting enables. I’m not such a fan of the available finishes, but that’s just personal preference. I don’t like the sparkly, powdery colors and I don’t like the finish on the hardware. But if you are into that type of thing then the advantage is that there are 9 different finishes available.
Other than that it’s a pretty solid mid-range guitar. As always, Epiphone do a solid job of recreating an iconic guitar at an affordable price. One point I do need to make is that if you have an extra $120, I’d go for the SG Modern. You get pro humbuckers, more classic finishes and a flame maple top that looks really good.
I hope you’ve found this post useful. Looking for something else? Check out my Electric Guitar Page for more guitars. Feel free to leave any comments or questions below. Alternatively you can get in touch using my contact page. Want to know more about the Muse SG? Click the link below.
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