I hadn’t played much guitar when I was in sixth form at Portora until 1991 when I laid my eyes on this second hand Korean-made Epiphone 435i at J.G. Windows in Newcastle upon Tyne which I then bought for £149 using my newly acquired NatWest ACCESS card[1]. Not bad for a guitar with a licensed Floyd Rose floating tremolo/locking nut system[2].

My guitar playing was still crap (still is now). Basically I was playing stuff like Metallica (the black album was all the rage then) with this Epi. As you can see, the Epi was slightly modified (with a home made piece of red paper) to make it look like Kirk Hammett’s KH-2. Well, I did try.

Being at medical school didn’t exactly give me much time to improve my playing. By the time I was in 4th year, I decided to leave it back home in KL. My brother found some use for it, as its neck was actually quite fast.

The Epi had some problems with fret buzz and it wasn’t until 1998 that it came back to England when I had it set up properly. Not only that, the Epi was also hotrodded with Seymour Duncans (Duncan Custom SH-5 humbucker, with Custom Staggered SSL-5 and Quarter Pound SSL-7 single coils) at Wavelength[3] in Sheffield.

The socket for the whammy bar began to crack if I remembered correctly, and as you can see in the photo above, I had to keep the nut in place with duct tape. This Epi was gigged twice, at the Loughborough (1998) and Sheffield (1999) gigs.

Currently, the trem block is shattered, and she is in its hard case. A total upgrade is required, whenever that’ll be. So watch this space!

Body: Laminated alder body
Neck: Bolt-on maple neck
Fingerboard: Rosewood with offset dot inlays
Frets: 22 frets
Scale length: 25.5″
Nut width: 1.68″
Pickups: Seymour Duncan Custom SH-5 (B), Custom Staggered SSL-5 (M), Quarter Pound (N)
Controls: 1 Volume, 1 Tone, 5-way selector switch
Hardware: Black Gotoh-style high-ratio tuners, black barrel knobs
Bridge: Epiphone Bennder fine-tune tremolo
Colour: Black
Includes Allen keys & holder on headstock.

[Post updated August 2020]
[1]Basically a Mastercard from NatWest in them days of yore.
[2]The Epiphone Bennder tremolo system, to be accurate.
[3]Sadly closed in January 2020 after 40 years of trading.