A dreadnought-style acoustic guitar, Epiphone PRO-1 is one of the four models under the new Epiphone PRO-1 Collection. This is one of the cheapest models and the most beginner-friendly among the guitars in that said collection.
It’s made of “select” Spruce top with custom “PRO-Prietary™” (no pun intended) bracing that allows the topwood to vibrate evenly. As a result, you’ll get a superior sound — full and vibrant sound that Epiphone is known for.
Though its sound quality is not at par with Epiphone’s high-end models, it has desirable qualities that I like. So, I’m going to discuss everything about the PRO-1 right below.
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- Great playability with the fretboard and neck designed to give utmost comfort to players
- Shorter scale and fat frets add to the comfort of the guitar
- Sweet-sounding guitar featuring Epiphone’s full and rich tone
- Action is perfectly low and buzz-free
- Tuners are mounted unevenly, but still secure in place
- Replace stock strings immediately for better performance
- Not all players are satisfied with the stock scratchless pickguard
Design & Construction
As a budget-friendly guitar, you cannot expect the Epiphone PRO-1 to have a solidwood body. Yet, Epiphone sees to it that the laminate “select” Spruce top is efficient enough to have even vibrations.
So, it uses a custom “PRO-Prietary™” bracing, more like the traditional X bracing, but slightly opened up and has taller braces near the soundhole. PRO-1 has gloss-finished Natural top. But, it has other options like Ebony and Wine Red if you don’t like the natural shade.
The back and sides are also made of laminated wood, not Spruce, but Mahogany with a gloss finish. So, the combination of the Spruce top and the Mahogany back and sides could beef up the midrange, mellow out the sounds and reduce overtones.
It has reduced body depth, around 3 3/4 – 4 inches, depending on where you measure it, so, it’s shallower than most acoustic guitar. This makes it easier to play and wrap your arms around. It has a black scratchless pickguard that’s okay for me, but others replaced it with something better.
In the sound chamber, you’ll see a thin layer of sanding sealer that’s used to minimize any effect on top vibrations. Additionally, it keeps the moisture content of the wood stable even with the changing natural conditions. So, there are no noticeable changes when it’s exposed briefly to overly-dry or humid places, unless for an extended time.
The neck is also made of Mahogany being glued-in, featuring a dual-action truss rod. It boasts the EZ-Profile™ C-shaped profile that’s designed for your hands to form chords easily. It’s a non-cutaway guitar, which could be an advantage or a disadvantage to players. It’s a disadvantage if your playing style involves higher frets and an advantage if you like fuller and more bassy sounds.
PRO-1 has a smaller scale length of only 24.75-inch for better playability and a wider nut width of 1.68-inch to give more room to the fingers. It has a rosewood fretboard divided into 20 JumboPRO frets with traditional dot inlays. The fretboard and strings are treated with PRO-Ease™ lubricant that reduces squeaks and friction for reduced noise and smoother action.
The headstock has an interesting look with the traditional Epiphone sloped Dovewing shape and an old-style metal headstock badge. It features “tulip” button tuners with a finer ratio of 18:1, making it easier to tune and more efficient in holding the tune well. It has compensated GraphTech® NuBone™ saddle and nut for better intonation.
Playability & Performance
Epiphone PRO-1 isn’t only for beginners, but for everyone who is looking for a playable guitar. It’s a great instrument designed to give comfort and ease from setup to play. It’s a guitar that will keep you playing without feeling any unease or soreness of the untrained fingers.
Now, I’m going to discuss every single quality that makes this guitar the most playable and beginner-friendly. I’ve already mentioned some in the previous section, but, I’ll expound them in here. From the tonewood to the finish, as well as the strings — everything aids in the better performance of this affordable instrument.
The glossy finish of the top, back and sides is nice on the wood and offers better grip. The neck with C-shaped profile and fretboard treated with PRO-Ease™ lubricant reduce squeaks and friction for fast play and additional comfort. The smaller scale and the wider nut width also aid in its ease of playability.
It comes with lighter stock strings with perfect action to get proper fretting faster than heavier strings. The strings are treated with the PRO-Ease™ lubricant, too, so, moving up and down the fretboard is very effortless. Aside from that, your fingertips won’t be painful even if you’re playing for long.
I would like to highlight the tuners. They seem cheap and installed unevenly, but they are very efficient in tuning the guitar and keeping it in tune for longer. With the ratio of 18:1, you can fine-tune the guitar with great accuracy. So, neophytes can focus on playing the guitar and spend less time tuning or setting up the instrument.
From the construction to the playability, it’s very clear that PRO-1 offers something that even expensive models lack. So, will it sound like a pro? The short answer to this is a big “YES!”
Just to tell you frankly, this isn’t the best-sounding guitar that is capable of challenging premium models. But, it sounds well and delivers the sound quality that it promises. And, I might say, for its price tag, it’s sound quality is better than its competitors.
Firstly, it offers the sound Epiphone is known for — full and rich sound. On top of that, for a player who properly setup the guitar, in my case, I change the stock strings to newer ones (the same light string gauges), the sound is gorgeous. It’s beautiful, crisp and vibrant with elaborate natural resonance.
More importantly, it has the sound that will inspire newbies to keep on playing. It lives what it’s designed for and even excels it. Many experienced players are also enjoying the company of Epiphone PRO-1 guitar, primarily because it’s user-friendly and its capacity to deliver interesting sounds perfect for jamming on the beach or beside a campfire.
Value for Money
You don’t need an upscale guitar to keep you playing and practicing. Epiphone PRO-1 is among the more affordable acoustic guitars that are both playable and has interesting sound quality under the hood. It’s well-built with a glossy natural finish that gives an impressive look.
The action is superb with the fretboard and strings treated with PRO-Ease™ lubricant for better playability. Tuners are very good at keeping the guitar in tune and supports long hours of playing.
I can go on and on, reiterating the good qualities of the guitar. But, with just the abovementioned features, you, too, can say without a doubt that this guitar has a great value.
The pros outweigh the cons and I attest the quality and playability of the Epiphone PRO-1. As one of the thousands of acoustic guitars out there, it’s amazing how Epiphone managed to add a few interesting things on PRO-1. From the bracing pattern to the treatment of PRO-Ease™ lubricant to the fretboard and strings, playing this guitar is amazing.
I say that Epiphone did a great job in giving beginners a “playable” guitar that inspires them to play more without problems. Though the stock strings require changing for better playability, it’s not a deal-breaker. It’s definitely worth your hard-earned money.
Read our full list of best beginner acoustic guitars here.
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