The Epiphone Nighthawk was dismissed as too much of a break from tradition but the reissued version seems to have finally caught our imagination.
In a fickle world there are guitars which, when launched, are instantly dismissed by us all too discerning guitarists. Perhaps as a group we are too conservative, if it has an odd shape or is too different then sometimes we just don’t like it. This was certainly true when Epiphone launched the Nighthawk in 1993. It was cited that the guitar playing audience at the time deemed the Nighthawk too much of a break from tradition! However, jump forward a couple of decades and perhaps now we are ready for this “revolutionary” design. Lets hope so as I think the Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue is a great looking guitar which offers a lot of versatility.
I have to say I am not sure that I accept the story put about that the Nighthawk was too much of a break from tradition. Let’s face it the guitar is more or less a Les Paul with different pick-ups. Perhaps in the early 90s it was not enough of a break from tradition that held it back. Who knows but it is good to see Epiphone giving it another go as the Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue is a nice looking guitar.
Perhaps I was being a bit harsh when I described the Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue as a basic Les Paul re-hash. The body certainly has a heavy Les Paul influence but it is in fact a combination of the SG and the Les Paul. The lower bout is all SG and the upper bout Les Paul. The body is also thinner similar in many ways to the SG. The body itself is made from mahogany and topped with a great looking piece of flamed maple. The slim taper mahogany neck has a rosewood fretboard and 22 frets. With the deep Les Paul style cutaway access to the upper frets is unimpeded giving a comfortable playing experience. The Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue comes in a number of finishes from translucent red to vintage sunburst but all look great and really set-off the flamed maple top. The craftsmanship in the construction of the body and neck is first class as you would expect from Epiphone.
The pickups on the Nighthawk give the guitar real versatility and tonal range.
For many it was the electrics that represented too much of a break from tradition back in the 90s. But for me, out of the Epiphone range, the Nighthawk is perhaps the most versatile with its combination of coil tappable humbucker and single coil pickups. In the Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue you get a Slant NHT Humbucker in the bridge position, a NSX single coil in the middle position and a NHR mini humbucker in the neck position. This combination of pickups gives you huge potential to experiment with the sound that this guitar can produce. From clear treble tones to deep growl the Nighthawk has it in spades. It is a truly versatile instrument so no matter what genre you play the Nighthawk can do it. The pickups can be accessed through a 5 way selector switch and there is a volume control and push/pull coil splitting tone control.
To see the Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue being put through its paces check out the Jimmy Jackson video below.
The question is was it worth Epiphone re-launching the Nighthawk. Well it has been around for a few years and is still selling so perhaps it has finally reached acceptance. I would like to think so because the Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue is a fantastically versatile guitar which looks great and plays even better. If you are looking for a guitar that you can use to play Jazz, Rock or Metal then the Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue at a fraction under £300 is well worth a look.
To find out more about the Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue go to the Gear 4 Music website.