Firefly FFLG Gibson SG style guitar review (Should YOU buy this “Epiphone killer”?)

Last updated November 4, 2021

This is the definitive Firefly FFLG guitar review for 2021 and you’re damn straight I will answer the all-important question: Is the Firefly FFLG a good guitar worth your money?

Unlike a lot of the reviews you’ll find, I actually bought the Firefly FFLG SG-style guitar (in red-black finish) with my own money. I was not paid for this review and I don’t get paid if you buy a Firefly guitar from links on this page.

This was the price at the time of purchase. Your price may vary.

This will kind of give away what I think about this particular guitar, but I’ve played the FFLG for well over 40 hours now. I did need to do a setup (just like for the Firefly FFLPS), but I’ll cover all of that soon. Keep in mind the sound demos in the video and SoundCloud below were recorded after the setup so your out-of-box experience will be different.

About The Author

Hey, I’m Karol (like Karl not Carol). I’ve been playing guitar for 20+ years, but I’m still an amateur and learning every day. In my younger years I played in a band, but nowadays it’s for fun.

Why should you listen to this review? Because I don’t care about selling you anything and I don’t get paid for this. I started Art Of Shred because I was unimpressed with the obviously biased guitar and musical equipment reviews online. Keep in mind, of course, that these are just my views. I don’t know everything and my opinions are my opinions.

Firefly FFLG SG-style guitar

7.6 out of 10
$216.91

Firefly FFLG SG-copy in Red & Black finish

Country: China

Looks
8 out of 10
Setup (Out of box)
5 out of 10
Feel
8 out of 10
Sound
7 out of 10
Value
10 out of 10

Pros

Looks great

Good for beginners and intermediate players

Low cost

Sounds good

Cons

Pickups aren't great

Needed a truss rod adjustment

Frets needed intense polishing

Needs a few upgrades for most intermediate+ players

Video Review

If you’re in a hurry, here’s the accompanying video version of the Firefly FFLG review. This written review is a companion to the video so reading and watching is best.

The Basics

The Firefly FFLG is a Gibson SG copy, with two humbucking pickups, a 3 position pickup switch, 2 volume controls, and 2 tone controls.

According to the GuitarsGarden website it has a mahogany body and neck, rosewood fretboard, and a bone nut. I’m not able to verify any of this and the fretboard is likely the more commonly used (nowadays anyway) ovangkol, which is a relative to rosewood.

This Firefly comes in a variety of finishes, including “classic” SG finishes, and many modern finishes. I chose the red finish because it’s a more classic finish (although is there really anything better than a real Gibson SG’s heritage cherry finish? me thinks no), but they have some wilder colors to choose from.

Closeup look at the Firefly FFLG red black finish
A closer look at the Firefly FFLG’s red black finish

First Impressions

I had high hopes for the FFLG since I liked the FFLPS. At the very least I didn’t expect there to be some kind of huge drop off in quality.

The FFLG looked … well, just okay straight out of the box. The frets were filthy with oxidization (or something like that), the neck was slightly bowed, and the action was high. The finish, however, looked good right out of the box, with no visible blemishes.

All that to say, my first impressions on this guitar were less-than-stellar. But, have no fear! No major issues that a simple setup couldn’t handle so we’ll have to take this guitar at its let’s call it second impression. Before we get into that …

Cons

  • The pickups aren’t great. I believe they’re the same pickups as the FFLPS. (That said, they’ve grown on me!)
  • Filthy frets that needed an intense polishing.
  • Dry fretboard. Easy to fix with lemon oil.
  • Cheap tuners. Standard, not terrible.
  • Neck arrived slightly bowed.
  • Action was over 2mm.
  • The volume/tone knobs look bad, just like with the FFLPS.

Pros

  • The redblack finish looks great.
  • Fretboard inlays look good.
  • No fret sprout or sharp frets.
  • No dead frets.
  • Bridge and tailpiece are solid and easy to adjust to my needs.
  • Pickups are not terrible, and the guitar sounds nice. (Yes, the pickups are both a pro and a con. They’re okay.)

What Kind Of Setup Did I Do?

This guitar needed some work, but it was much simpler than the work on the FFLPS. No fret buzz on this FFLG so no leveling/crowning fret work required!

Filthy frets!

As mentioned earlier, the frets were filthy and needed a thorough polishing. This was the most time consuming part of the setup and probably took 20 minutes. I’d never seen frets like this dirty and oxidized before, not even on a guitar I had sitting in a basement for a decade. But after polishing oh baby these frets look beautiful now.

Dry fretboard

Another simple fix. I use D’addario lemon oil but you can use whatever brand you have access to. This is a really quick process and takes maybe 5 minutes.

Neck bowing / truss rod adjustment

This is pretty common, particularly with temperature changes. Wood, man. It’s alive! Anyway, the truss rod needed about a quarter turn, maybe almost a half turn, and all was good. Firefly includes the allen wrench you need to make this adjustment. Don’t let it intimidate you! It’s difficult to mess it up. Just take your time and go about a 1/4 turn at a time. (Which way you need to turn depends on which way the neck is bowed, but you’ll see fairly quickly what is correct after your first 1/4 turn.)

High action

Like many guitar players I like my action sitting at around 1.5mm at the 12th fret. This guitar came with the action sitting at over 2mm, even after I adjusted the truss rod! Hey man, this isn’t a slide guitar. But no worries. This is an easy adjustment on the bridge using a flat head screwdriver. It took less than 5 minutes to get it my liking. (I explain a little bit about how to do this in the video review.)

And, besides lubricating the nut with graphite and putting on new strings, that covers the setup. It seems like a lot, but after 45 minutes of work this guitar was ready for glory!

How Does It Sound?

Similar to the FFLPS the biggest complaint I have about the FFLG guitars are the pickups. The factory humbuckers are somewhat muddy, meaning they don’t have the kind of clarity you’ll find with better pickups. But this is what you’ll find in all cheaper guitars. There has to be cost cutting somewhere on these low priced guitars and you could easily pay more for replacement pickups than you paid for the FFLG. That’s the game we guitar players play, whether we want to or not.

But here’s the thing! I actually like the sound! As I stated with the FFLPS the bridge pickup on the FFLG provides a respectable crunch and I can easily jam on some metal tunes. If I can play Sabbath and not recoil into a pit of disgust at the sound then I’m a happy guy. This guitar passes that test with flying colors. The clean tones are also decent, but I mostly play dirty (that’s what she said) so take that as you will.

Would I change the pickups if I was using the FFLG live? Definitely. More on what I would upgrade shortly.

Besides the sound samples in the video review I also recorded this Pladask Elektrisk Feber guitar pedal demo with the Firefly FFLG.

So yeah, it sounds good!

What I Would Upgrade

While I do think this guitar sounds good as is, there are definitely a few things I would upgrade if I were to keep it for long term recording or live use. As always, these are personal preferences and if you’re a beginner looking to get a cheap electric guitar they are absolutely not necessary. (A proper setup is, though!)

  • Bridge pickup. The EMG H1A is a nice one I have installed on my main guitar and it’s only $99: https://www.emgpickups.com/guitar/humbucking/h1a.html You can definitely find cheaper pickups that will sound great, though. And, of course, you can find more expensive pickups that will sound great. Personal preferences are something, aren’t they?
  • Locking tuners. Sperzel makes EZ Mount tuners and you don’t even need a drill to install them! Locking tuners make changing strings quick and they also help with tuning stability. If you’re looking for the absolute cheapest then you can find good-enough locking tuners on eBay.
  • Optional: Graphtech Tusq nut. I lubricated this bone nut with graphite so I’m not getting any PING sounds when tuning, which happens when the string gets sorta stuck in the nut. So this upgrade is not a priority.
  • Optional: Neck pickup. Some people will call me blasphemous for only requiring a bridge pickup upgrade, but they’re wrong and I’m right. Ha! A neck pickup upgrade is optional.
  • Optional: Volume/tone knobs. They don’t look great, but I personally don’t care. You do what you want with yours.

Final Thoughts

As you’ve already ascertained, I like this thing! As mentioned in the review video I might even compare it to the Epiphone SG Standard, which is twice the price. (Kill me in the comments!)

If you’re willing to do some work to get the FFLG playable then I just can’t imagine you’ll be unhappy if you buy it. If you’re not willing to do the setup work (or pay someone to do it) then it’s a hard pass. It wasn’t playable out of the box for me, but my 45 minute setup made it worth far more than the $216.91 I paid.

The Firefly FFLG is definitely worth in the $250-$300 range, but I probably wouldn’t pay the $300+ it goes for on Reverb unless the seller did a setup or made some upgrades. I wouldn’t be unhappy if this guitar cost me $350, assuming it was setup to my liking. For comparison, the Epiphone SG Standard is nearly $500 (and will probably require you to do some kind of setup work as well.)

Overall? A near 8/10. Had it arrived playable out of the box I’d probably give it a near 9, though! I have been playing this guitar more than my main and I’m not sad about it.

Do you own an FFLG? What were your experiences? Email me or leave a comment below.

7 thoughts on “Firefly FFLG Gibson SG style guitar review (Should YOU buy this “Epiphone killer”?)”

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  3. At the beginning of this month, (April, 2022) the main distributor of Firefly Guitars (NOT Amazon, but the company you provided the link for) got in a whole new stock of FFLG models, two of which I’ve been dying to get my hands on. One was green that looked liked it had black soap bar P-90 pick ups, and a yellow one that was a “Custom” model with three humbucker style pick ups. As advised, I got out my credit card and placed my order. I was lucky to grab both models. They both arrived in what I would say are excellent condition. I should consider putting some oil on the fret boards, but they looked good inside the box, no blemishes to speak of, no issues with the neck or fret board, other than possibly oiling it. (Didn’t give me any problems when playing them, though, but a little moisture on the wood might be a good thing) Machine heads haven’t slipped so far. No “Bowing” issues with either necks. If I had any major disappointments it would be the color of the model with the erzatz P-90 pick ups, but I don’t choose my guitars for eye pleasing asthetics. Another slight disappointment with the green model is that, in my opinion, the P-90s don’t sound quite right. Compared to the Gibsons, and Epiphones that I own with P-90 pick ups, they just sounded a little too “Clean”. There’s no monsterous growl. There’s most certainly a “Crunch”, though. Perhaps if I monkey around with the knobs on my amp, I might get the sound I’m looking for. The three pick up custom sounded slightly better, but it sounded like a basic SG standard. I mean, I’m not complaining too much, since it’s a pretty nice guitar for the money, and one will definitely look cool when walking on stage with one, but I own a turn of the century Epiphone G-400 custom, and there is a definite difference in sound. They look good, they sound nice, and they will be loved, and played constantly, but remember that you get what you pay for, and you might be disappointed with the sound you get if you’re looking for a cheaper version of a Gibson or Epiphone, especially, if you’re like me, you want the vintage sound of a custom, or the growl of P-90s. I will say that the sound does seem to have a personality of its own, which I can learn to work with, and will probably grow to like.

    1. Hi Adam, thanks so much for that thorough comment!

      Someone mentioned the P90 Firefly SGs on my YouTube channel and I was intrigued. It’s the case with all of these guitars that the pickups are not great. You can definitely get good tones out of them, but if I was using one as a main it’s the first thing I would swap. So it makes sense that the P90 version is no different. That Epiphone G-400 model was a good one! Too bad they stopped making it.

      1. I understand that the Harley Benton DC-600 VI model is as close to the Epiphone G-400 as one can get, including three volumes and one tone, but I’ve only seen videos and haven’t played one myself yet, but that’s a different guitar by a different company for a different discussion for another day. I’ll let you know when I pick one of those up, and fill you in on my thoughts and opinions. Thanks for responding.

        1. Yeah, I’ve still yet to buy a Harley Benton to review. I’ve actually never known anyone who has one so I haven’t even played an HB guitar. But it’s on my list of guitars to eventually review. I’ll get to it at some point! 🙂

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