by Rick Moore
Epiphone FT-350SCE Acoustic/Electric Guitar (pictured left)
Christmas times a’comin’, and if you’ve got a beginning guitar player to buy for you can’t go wrong with the self-tuning Epiphone FT-350SCE Acoustic/Electric Guitar. Using the Min-ETune™ Automatic Tuner System that tunes the guitar with the push of a button, this guitar is perfect for someone who wants to play right away but whose ear isn’t yet developed enough to easily tune a guitar manually.
At the same time, this guitar is also great for the more advanced player. It not only tunes itself to standard A=440 tuning, but to a dozen factory open tuning presets, like drop D or open E or G for slide playing. This guitar has a surprisingly well set-up neck, with good intonation and excellent non-buzzy action all the way to the highest fret, something that many more-expensive guitars can’t claim. And it sounds good both unplugged and through a properly-adjusted PA or amp. A nice buy for the money, and as 21st century as it gets.
Paul Reed Smith S2 Mira Semi-Hollow Electric (pictured right)
PRS isn’t the first company to build a semi-hollow electric, but when combined with some other cool features the S2 Mira Semi-Hollow certainly deserves checking out. With a chambered single f-hole mahogany body, and a mahogany neck based on the company’s pre-factory neck design of the 1980s, the guitar has a fast 22-fret rosewood fingerboard, stoptail bridge, and locking tuners to help make changing strings easier.
Sound-wise, the humbuckers here are great for just about any application, and the guitar becomes even more versatile with the use of the three-way switch and the push-pull tone knob that splits the coils of the pickups, that is, changes them from double-coil to single coil, in essence providing the tones of a completely different guitar. This lightweight double-cutaway axe is a nice all-around electric guitar, and great for both the stage and writing.