Hands-On Review:Epiphone Prophecy Collection
Updating cool classic solidbodies with tasty hot pickups
By Dan Day
Musician’s Friend Staff Writer
I once had a boss who told me "Everyone has an attitude, but it's important to have the right attitude." And when it comes to guitars, you need the right guitar to match your attitude. As a modern rock guitarist, when you step onto a stage, the guitar you have strapped on signals to the audience who you are and what your intentions are as clearly as your haircut and stage clothes.
Epiphone's Prophecy Collection meets the demands of high-energy rockin' guitarists via six new models laden with attitude: two Les Pauls, two SGs, and two Futura guitars—each beefed-up with a choice of two of the most popular humbuckers on the market. The Prophecy guitars have the looks, feel, and sound that are perfect for all high-adrenaline rock styles such as heavy metal, thrash, garage, and punk, as well as the progenitor of most of these styles—blues-rock.
Making Prophecy come true
I asked Jim "Epi" Rosenberg, Epiphone's president, where the name Prophecy came from. "Selecting a new name for any product can be a challenge," Jim responded. "Often, it can be a long process that involves research, brainstorming, and customer surveys. In this case, the name Prophecy was suggested by an Epiphone employee and tested with customers. With this new line, we started with traditional designs and transformed them to better meet the needs of today's metal and hard rock players. So ultimately, I think the name Prophecy was chosen because it's a great fit for these new guitars with its reference to the foretold future and the inevitable evolution of these classic instruments."
One of the key updates is a choice of EMG 81/85 active pickups (EG models) or Gibson Dirty Fingers humbuckers (GX models). Now you can select your favorite classic solidbody guitar style (as well as the could-have-been-a-classic Futura) and match it with your favorite high-output humbucker. The most popular upgrades have already been done for you. And for shredders who like to dive-bomb their brains out, the Futura FX comes with a Floyd Rose tremolo.
Dark, dangerous, and heavy-rock ready
In the looks department, Prophecy guitars inhabit a "no sunburst, no natural wood finish" zone. Each has a mahogany body with a gorgeous quilted maple top that sports a deep, rich, hand-stained finish. The EMG-equipped EX guitars have a midnight ebony finish with a greenish-gray tint. The Dirty Fingers-equipped GX instruments have a black cherry finish that is strikingly offset with gold hardware and body binding.
The unique blade inlays on the fingerboard and headstock signify that no-holds-barred attitude heavy rock players love to revel in. The pearl-topped master tone/volume controls provide a sublime touch of hidden otherworlds, and the whole package is smartly framed with neck binding. (The LPs are fully bound.) Prophecy guitars have appointments that help ensure quality performance, including a graphite nut for smoother string action (the Floyd-equipped Futura FX has a locking nut), Grover tuners for rock-solid tuning and intonation, and patent-applied-for Epiphone straplocks to keep your axe securely around your shoulders and off the floor.
The SpeedTaper neck is designed specifically for lead playing. With its 14" radius and D-shaped profile, it's thinner and flatter than other Epiphone profiles, providing fast performance and smooth feel. SpeedTaper is different from the SlimTaper neck which has more of a C-profile with a 12" radius and medium-jumbo frets. The 24 jumbo frets on the SpeedTaper let you get under the strings for extreme bending.
Hot, blue, and righteous
And now it's time for a snack. Let's have a little fun describing the tasty sound of the Prophecy guitars by comparing them to your favorite hot, spicy taco. A taco delivers most of the major food groups in a fairly well-balanced format: whole grain, meat, dairy, and vegetables. The Prophecy guitars deliver a well-balanced feast of lean, muscular lows; succulent mids; and tasty, biting highs to your sonic palate.
Just as the tortilla and beef (shredded, of course) with their warm, browned goodness serve as the foundation for all of the other taco ingredients, the mahogany body and neck serve as the Prophecy's sonic foundation by providing warm, "brown-sound" lows and rich mids. To contrast with the beef, sprinkle on sharp cheddar cheese for a little extra bite (maple top). Ripe and juicy tomatoes provide color and flavorful texture, in the same way that the ebony fingerboard provides a fast attack and snappy highs.
A handful of lettuce holds everything together for better transfer of flavor to your mouth for increased nutritional sustenance. Likewise, the LockTone Tune-O-Matic/stopbar system holds the strings tightly to better transfer string vibration to the body for a healthy increase of sustain.
To top it all off, add a dollop of hot salsa, selected according to taste. Some of you may prefer hot as in EMG 81/85 humbuckers known for their massive drive and aggressive punch, while others may want fire engine flaming XXXX picante salsa that burns your mouth so much you'll be downing pitchers of cerveza (or root beer, if you're underage). The salsa's sonic equivalent—Dirty Fingers pups—scorch the fingers, the fretboard, strings, and amp grille cloth with their muscular yet musical sizzle.
Features & Specs
All Prophecy guitars
- Mahogany body (back/front binding on Les Paul EX/GX)
- Highly-figured quilted maple top
- Deep, rich hand-stained finish
- SpeedTaper™ profile satin neck
- Bound fingerboard and headstock
- 24 jumbo frets
- Unique blade mother-of-pearl inlays
- Graphite nut (locking nut on Futura FX)
- Made-in-USA pickups
- LockTone locking Tune-O-Matic/stopbar (except Futura FX)
- Original Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo (FX models only)
- Grover machine heads
- Pearl knobs
- Epiphone straplocks
- Lifetime limited warranty
Les Paul Prophecy EX, SG Prophecy EX, Futura Prophecy EX
- EMG 81/85 humbuckers
SG Prophecy GX & Les Paul Prophecy GX
- Dirty Fingers humbuckers
Futura Prophecy FX
- EMG 81/85 humbuckers and Floyd Rose tremolo