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In Praise of the Lowly Epiphone SG Special

#1 User is offline   Aoresteen 

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 04:39 PM

You can buy an Epiphone SG Special new for $180, $100 or less for a used one if you hunt. Color choices are simple: red (cherry) or black. With a few mods they are very fine players. My first Epi SG Special was a 1999 black that I converted to an OPEN-G 5 string back in 2013.

Over the last year I've acquired 4 more which I have set them up for alternative tunings. They don't cost a lot and I like to have them optimized for the tunings that I use.

Here's my Epiphone SG Special Family:

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L to R: OPEN-G, OPEN-E, Eb, Celtic, and DROP-D

I prefer a single vol & tone which the Specials have. I replace the tuners with sealed tuners, use Artec Alnico 5 covered pickups mostly, and have bone nuts installed with a pro set up. Bam! They are now great players. I also install contrasting color pick guards. I also had new truss rod covers made for them by Terrapin Guitars.


OPEN-G

http://forum.gibson....999-sg-special/


OPEN-E

This cherry SG Special is set up for OPEN-E tuning (E B E G# B E)

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String gauges are .010, .013, .017, .022, .032, .046


Eb

This SG Special is tuned to Eb and I thought using the SG Special GOTH model would be appropriate. It's color is a flat black.

Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Bb, Eb

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Strings are .011 to .049


CELTIC (DADGAD)

Celtic tuning (DADGAD) is fun! Kashmir!

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CELTIC looks just like OPEN-E.

Strings are .011, .015, .017, .026, .036, .052


DROP-D

I like DROP-D and I have a number of guitars set up for this tuning: D A D G B E.

My go-to pickup for DROP-D is a DiMarzio D-Sonic in the bridge. I like the double creme on the black body.

http://www.dimarzio.com/node/2176

The neck pickup is a neck Artec Alnico 8k.

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These Epiphone SG Specials are nice guitars! Even though they are at the bottom of the Epiphone line up, it doesn't take much to turn them around.

Over the years Epiphone has released the SG Special in a few custom colors like the flat black Goth model and there is a green color SG Special that pops up on eBay every now and then. There might be others; I'm not really sure.

If you see an SG Special in a pawn shop, I say grab it!
Tony
Epiphone Les Paul Deluxe - Gold, Blue, & Red copies
Epiphone Dot 1995 MIK
Epiphone S-300
Epiphone FT-135 FT-165 (Tan labels circa 1975/76) MIJ

Looking for a RED Epi Rock Bass
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#2 User is offline   Sleeko 

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 06:33 PM

View PostAoresteen, on 09 May 2017 - 04:39 PM, said:

You can buy an Epiphone SG Special new for $180, $100 or less for a used one if you hunt. Color choices are simple: red (cherry) or black. With a few mods they are very fine players. My first Epi SG Special was a 1999 black that I converted to an OPEN-G 5 string back in 2013.

Over the last year I've acquired 4 more which I have set them up for alternative tunings. They don't cost a lot and I like to have them optimized for the tunings that I use.




:rolleyes: I went through this very same thing with the Emperor Regent model about ten years ago. There IS help out there. You just have to be stoic. [sneaky] LoL
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#3 User is offline   ROCK1 

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 07:00 PM

I went to GC looking for a Gibson SG, but just didn't like how any of the models played. Next to them was an Epiphone SG Special for $179, and I just loved the neck. True the tuners are plastic and may not last forever, but it gets more playing time than some of my more expensive guitars.
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#4 User is offline   johntrem 

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 02:01 PM

Last month I won an Epi Les Paul Special II at a guitar show raffle. Was really surprised to find what a fun guitar it is. Did a bunch of mods. Needed new tuners but the rest was cosmetic. Great little axe.
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#5 User is online   Dennis G 

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 03:46 PM

I bought one of these in Cherry Red a few years ago at the local GC for $100, as a project guitar.
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I've yet to do anything with it, but this thread is an inspiration. Thx.
Dennis
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Love my Dot and my Wildkat, too, but I'm really diggin' my Casino!!!
"Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery. Live for today." Carroll Shelby
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun." Katherine Hepburn
"My right leg is Christmas, my left leg is New Years. Come see be between the holidays" Mae West
Racecar, spelled backwards, is, yeah, racecar
RIP AnimalFarm (Greg).
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#6 User is offline   deeman 

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:33 AM

Cool idea putting the tuning on the truss rod cover.

Nicely done.
Authority Drive
2006 Gibson Les Paul Studio
2001 Epiphone G400
2001 Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier
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#7 User is offline   Pinch 

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 11:40 PM

Love the TR covers!!
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#8 User is offline   Aoresteen 

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 08:26 AM

Thanks all! My SG Specials have worked out great and have proved to be a great modding platform. Dennis, get to work on your SG Special & show us the results!

A blue SG Special has just been listed on eBay but the price is too high.

http://www.ebay.com/...skAAOSwDiBZJWxl

$350? I'd peg the values at $160-$185. Am I off?
Tony
Epiphone Les Paul Deluxe - Gold, Blue, & Red copies
Epiphone Dot 1995 MIK
Epiphone S-300
Epiphone FT-135 FT-165 (Tan labels circa 1975/76) MIJ

Looking for a RED Epi Rock Bass
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#9 User is offline   Megafrog 

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 03:59 AM

View PostAoresteen, on 25 May 2017 - 08:26 AM, said:

Thanks all! My SG Specials have worked out great and have proved to be a great modding platform. Dennis, get to work on your SG Special & show us the results!

A blue SG Special has just been listed on eBay but the price is too high.

http://www.ebay.com/...skAAOSwDiBZJWxl

$350? I'd peg the values at $160-$185. Am I off?

That SG Special on FleaBay is going for more than a used Epi SG 400 would go for. I would go for the 400. The seller shouldn't be surprised at the lack of bids, they wasted their money on the listing.
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#10 User is online   Dennis G 

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 07:12 PM

View PostAoresteen, on 25 May 2017 - 08:26 AM, said:

...Dennis, get to work on your SG Special & show us the results!

Still not sure what I want to do yet LOL.
Dennis
--------------------
Love my Dot and my Wildkat, too, but I'm really diggin' my Casino!!!
"Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery. Live for today." Carroll Shelby
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun." Katherine Hepburn
"My right leg is Christmas, my left leg is New Years. Come see be between the holidays" Mae West
Racecar, spelled backwards, is, yeah, racecar
RIP AnimalFarm (Greg).
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#11 User is offline   Megafrog 

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 09:44 AM

View PostAoresteen, on 25 May 2017 - 08:26 AM, said:

Thanks all! My SG Specials have worked out great and have proved to be a great modding platform. Dennis, get to work on your SG Special & show us the results!

A blue SG Special has just been listed on eBay but the price is too high.

http://www.ebay.com/...skAAOSwDiBZJWxl

$350? I'd peg the values at $160-$185. Am I off?

He got 0 bids!

Musicians Friend has that model in Pelham Blue on sale today for $129. Why buy used at that price.
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#12 User is offline   Aoresteen 

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 10:30 AM

View PostMegafrog, on 01 June 2017 - 09:44 AM, said:

He got 0 bids!

Musicians Friend has that model in Pelham Blue on sale today for $129. Why buy used at that price.


Exactly. And they wonder what went wrong.
Tony
Epiphone Les Paul Deluxe - Gold, Blue, & Red copies
Epiphone Dot 1995 MIK
Epiphone S-300
Epiphone FT-135 FT-165 (Tan labels circa 1975/76) MIJ

Looking for a RED Epi Rock Bass
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#13 User is offline   luke21 

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 10:27 PM

Cool collection you've got going, I especially love to custom trussrod covers [thumbup]
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#14 User is offline   epistrat 

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 12:24 PM

I love my Epi LP Special II. It's also a great platform for upgrades: I put an unbleached bone nut and Gotoh tuners from Stew-Mac on it, a pickguard from eBay made especially for Epi LP Special IIs, a DiMarzio Super Distortion in the bridge position (also from eBay), and a Wilkinson roller bridge and X-Trem from GFS. Also, stickers :)
And as someone said before, the necks on the Specials are great.


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