Jump to content
Hamer Fan Club Message Center
  • 0
hamerhead

Samick or Peerless Part II: A Review

Question

I asked about Samick and Peerless because I know squat and had been hankerin' for a semi-hollow of some sort. Since it was going to be a side piece and not my main guitar, an import would suffice as long as it was Korean (mostly because the Chinese semi-hollows I've tried were really bad).

Anyways, to make a short story long, I found a 2001 Epiphone Sheraton (not Sheraton II) on Ebay that was built in the Samick factory and took a chance. Having sent the last 3 guitars back for defects (two D'Angelicos from MF Stupid Deal) or undisclosed damage (Epiphone ES-135 off Reverb), I was a little leery - but I lucked out. This one arrived in one piece and didn't have a mark on it anywhere. But that wasn't even the best part - the build quality is incredible! I can't find a manufacturing flaw anywhere, and I'm really looking. Perfect binding, perfect joints, F-holes bound and clean - one of the nicest builds I've seen regardless of where it came from. And really solid. Without being heavy, it's got a rock-solid feel to it.

Unplugged the thing just resonates, again unlike a lot of guitars I've played. Just rings and rings. To say it's kicking my ass would be an understatement. The only weak link might be the tuners, but I haven't so much as turned a screw on it  so it might cure itself with a string change. The neck is right at medium-size (maybe a tick under) and the frets/fret ends are nicely done.

Plugged in it sounds good. Not great, but good enough to gig. Unless Josh can wind me up a nice set of humbucker-size P90s (he can), I'm leaving it alone.

I give it a 9/10 for the amazing workmanship but possibly weak tuners and fair-but-usable pickups.

 

But that's not all:

 

I had been eyeballing a Peerless Bird of Prey (similar to a Les Paul Signature) on Reverb but kinda forgot about it when it sat for a couple months priced on the high side. Then out of the blue I get a notification of a price cut. It was in the ballpark so I shot him an offer a little lower than what I would go up to - and he took it! Cool! But I just got the Epi, so my semi-hollow itch had been scratched pretty well already. Well, at least now I get to see how they compare.

The Peerless Bird of Prey isn't as 'upscale' as the Sheraton - single-ply binding on the body and neck (none on the headstock) where the Epi has 7-ply on the body and 5-ply everywhere else. Also, the F-holes on the Peerless are unbound (painted) and rough. Otherwise, there are a few finish niggles here or there that don't really amount to much. It's just down the food chain a bit.

But.... that doesn't take away from the overall build quality. Again this thing is rock-solid. It's not quite as resonant as the Epi but still pretty good nonetheless. And it plays incredibly - more in-tune anywhere on the neck than a lot of waaaaay more expensive guitars. The neck has a little beef to it and the frets are well done. It's really a hard guitar to put down. I'm playing the crap out of this thing.

And the pickups sound great. I made just a slight height adjustment and it sounds fantastic. These will stay (sorry, Josh).  Even the tuners are good on this one. I won't need to touch those, either.

Again, the Peerless gets a 9/10. It plays so damn good that any finish issues don't even matter.

So, I'm not sure if I'm comparing apples-to-cabbages here, but these 2 guitars are incredibly well-made with the only real difference being bling. If you dressed the Peerless up a little it would be right there with the Samick/Epiphone. My previous 'best semi-hollow import ever' was a 2001 Hamer Echotone that I loved, and both of these feel better than that. It surprised the shit out of me.

So in conclusion, with the vast expert knowledge gained by playing just one model from each brand, I call it a draw. The Sheraton rings like a bell and looks amazing, the Bird of Prey plays and sounds like a m***erf***er. And it's not even a 'for-the-money' kinda thing, either. They both are just great guitars.

DSCN7839.JPG

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 0

Great score!

I had to sell my Les Paul Signature a while back and it's high up on my list of "must replace" guitars. This looks like it just might scratch that itch perfectly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

A lot of the Epi stuff from '96-'02 is incredibly good for the money!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

OK, after living with these a bit longer and doing the whole restring/spitshine/tweak thing, I have to revise my scoring a little.

The Sheraton is still easily a 9 or 9.5 out of 10. This one is incredibly well made and feels even better after some adjustments. It is a pleasant surprise. I'm no ES-335 expert, but if any of you are looking for a 335-type, start here. You might not need to look further. It's really good.

The Peerless, on the other hand, loses some ground here to maybe an 8/10. Even though I prefer the beefier neck, it's just not as well done as the Epiphone. Not bad by any means, just a little rougher around the edges/not as refined. May be the price-point? Still a fun guitar that plays and sounds fantastic and will be in regular rotation for the foreseeable future. I love this guitar!

I'll shut up about these crappy imports now.

Edited by hamerhead

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I found myself in the same situation and thanks for the half-sentence about the D'Angelicos.  I was tempted.  I was looking for an inexpensive thinline as a side ride myself.  What wound up scratching the itch for me was an Epiphone 335 Pro Ltd.(I forget the full designation, but that's close).  It popped up on a Musician's Friend SOTD for cheaper than I've seen if before or since.  When it arrived the packaging was surprisingly good.  So I took it out and... I was shocked.  Shocked I tell you.  Not a finish blip or wonky binding.  Nary a bit of fret sprout and the setup and intonation were reasonably straight from the factory, although I did treat it to a spa day just to get those adjustments just so.  In all, I was very pleasantly surprised.

I'm old.  I've had 335's, 345's Casinos, 330's, pretty much the gamut.  In terms of tone, this thing gave up nothing to those.  Don't know what the pickups are and pretty much don't care.  They're fine and through the Marshall, get pretty darn close to the Clapton 335 though a plexi kind of bark. Same goes for the neck size and taper.  In all, there's a helluva lot to like here.

Downside?  Only one.  This thing has coil taps that are pretty much tits on a boar as far as I'm concerned.  No big. But the volume controls (full-size pots!!) need treble bypass caps.  I'm having a hard time finding somebody I can trust that can yank the electronics through the f-hole and put them in.  The coil tap switches on the back of the pots don't make it any easier.

The only other niggle is the strap button on the back at the base of the neck.  That makes the guitar want to flop forward, but it's pretty much baked into the thinline design.  I wind up playing it kind of sidesaddle (shifted around to my right side), like I did on these things when I was a kid.

The classic looks, tone and playability are all there.  This thing came up aces when I was expecting a lot less.

 

Edited by tomteriffic
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
On 12/7/2018 at 6:38 AM, tomteriffic said:

I found myself in the same situation and thanks for the half-sentence about the D'Angelicos.  I was tempted.....

Stupid Deal had them at $399 (reg $749?) so I took a chance. The first one was very nice, except for a spot near the 12th fret where about an inch of the binding had separated from (or was never successfully attached to) the neck. I didn't figure it would cure itself so I sent it back. The second one was beautiful - gorgeous deep maroon finish - couldn't find a flaw in it. But the nut looked like a 4-year-old chiseled it with a dull rock. Unless they have zero QC, I don't know how that one got out the door. Not wanting to deal with replacing it, it went back as well.

If you can get one with no issues they are very nice, but a step below the Peerless.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Eastman also has 335-ish guitars.
One of those is the T186MX, on my short list - I like the longer scale (25" if I remember correctly) and 1-3/4" wide at the nut.
The T386 seems to be popular as well.

I have one of their jazz boxes and they are very well made.

Worth a look.

...and these still get me excited-

eqszkisrucv1wyp2cyvj.jpg     ue3wwpzrsffonshstww0.jpg

Edited by killerteddybear
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×