Epiphone 175 Premium.
Going through a "Jazz Period" again and looking for a half-decent archtop, came across this Epi 175 Premium. I have archtops with floating pickups but they don't nail the classic flat "laminate sound" -say Joe Pass etc. I've owned genuine 175's in the past but a new one here is like the cost of a car and nothing I've tried that I could afford quite did it - well this one does - in spades! It's a fifth the cost of a Gibson original but far, far better than one fifth as good!
What a great guitar for the money! A bit of a plain Jane in the too transparent untinted finish you get these days in sensible cost-effective satin. Fitted with genuine USA '57 and '57 plus humbuckers and decent pots, it really does sound the business. It's very well made - in Korea - and can be set up to play perfectly - the fretting and playing surface are first rate. It's the correct dimensions and construction (no post under the bridge - proper tone bars) and, surprisingly for a laminate, has a fair acoustic voice.
There are minor things one might criticise (I've never seen a neck that colour before) but, for the price, it's perfect!