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Epiphone quality.

#1 User is offline   Legs 

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 05:31 PM

Folks,

I am a classic example of a horse's ass who stopped playing cheap guitars after my Telestar (when I was11).

I avoided Epiphone like the plague (and all Asian copies), but my new Epi's are dumbfounding me.

Is this new Epiphone quality due to new Chinese plant, or have they been making great guitars all along (and I was too Hardheaded to notice?).

I've come across some crappy Epi's and Gibsons in the past!

Did have a cool Epi Cornet one but I did'nt consider it frontliner[confused] !

Legs

Tim "Legs" Pond
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line-up subject to change

#2 User is offline   brianh 

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 05:37 PM

View PostLegs, on 03 August 2010 - 05:31 PM, said:

Is this new Epiphone quality due to new Chinese plant, or have they been making great guitars all along (and I was too Hardheaded to notice?).

Yes.




(but the Korean stuff is better IMHO.)
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
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#3 User is offline   brad1 

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 05:51 PM

I remember in the early 80's that guys with epiphones were often made fun of.
But they have always made fairly good quality guitars.

However with the new Epi/Gibby plants in China I believe the quality has gotten better.
I have a luthier here in town who has been in business since 1978. He builds, restores, and repairs guitars, mandolins, banjos and amps. He is also an excellent musician.

He has told me a number of times that the quality of workmanship that comes out of China is, and has always been better than any other Asian country. Including Korea.

Now I know a lot of folks say that the Korean models are the best. But he has worked on thousands of Korean Guitars for over 30 years, and thousands of Chinese Guitars for over 30 years, and he says it's not even close.
The overall quality of the Korean stuff is poorly made in his opinion.

And I again have to say I agree. I have owned Korean and Chinese guitars myself. China wins for me most of the time. That's not to say there are not great guitars from Korea. My 97 LP (blue one in avatar) is Korean. It's well made. But my 06 G400 seems to have been built a little better. Less flaws. Better quality parts.
Each model is different however, and I think you need to look at each guitar on an individual basis rather than praising or condemning a whole country.

I know many of you are going to be telling me I'm wrong. So go ahead.
But it won't change my mind.
Life's Distractions/Pleasures:
2006 Epiphone Ebony G400, 1997 Epiphone Cherry SG Junior, 2007 Epiphone Cherry Dot, 1996 Fender Black MIM Traditional Stratocaster, 2008 VM Squier Olympic White SSH Telecaster,
2011 Jackson Gun Metal Gray JS32R Dinky (FR), 2014 Gibson Fireburst Satin SGJ14
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#4 User is offline   Barcham 

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:01 PM

Well I have a MIC 2008 LP Standard Ebony and I've looked it over almost with a microscope and damned if I can find anything low quality or any sign of poor craftsmanship. It sounds great, stays in tune and a couple of pro musician friends have had nice things to say about it after playing it. I'm pretty new to all this but I'm very satisfied with my guitar and wouldn't hesitate to buy another if something happened to this one.
2004 Epi Elitist '61 SG Faded Cherry MiJ
2004 Epi Elitist Les Paul '57 Gold Top with Seth Lover pickups and RS Guitarworks wiring kit.

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#5 User is offline   RTH 

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:08 PM

I guess it depends on how you look at it and possibly which guitars you look at. For instance, the low-end stuff like the Specials and say, the G-310 are using better pickups and woods than when they were made in Korea. So the quality there has improved greatly.

Then, I have 1986 Korean Epiphone S-500 strat. The neck is to die for. Seriously. It compares to the old-school Kramer/ESP & Charvel/Jackson necks. You'd be hard pressed to find a neck like this on any modern Epiphone or Chinese guitar at all. But the body (ply) and routing (messy) are just terrible. I know its probably not really a fair comparison because they dont make the model anymore. But its an example of both the best and worst of the Korean guitars all rolled into one.

If I was a pro musician, I would probably stay away from most Epiphones just from a durability standpoint. As a gigging musician, I dont gig my Epi basses anymore because they just cant hang. As much as I love them, I've had too many problems with them to consider them reliable in the electronics department. One of them is even a $1000 bass, and I still have had too many problems with the electronics to ever consider taking it without a backup. But this is just my opinion. I'm sure others will have their own opinions and experiences much different than mine.
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#6 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:20 PM

I have been playing a 1958 Tele since that guitar was about 10 years old so I am pretty set in my ways. But I have also never stopped loving the el cheapo U.S. - made Silvertones, Kays and Harmonys as well as anyting MIJ with Gold Foil pickups.

My take on Epis - the hollow and semi-hollow body guitars give alot of bang for the bucks and with a few mods can be great guitars. The solid body guitars, however, while still a good value, do not fare as well when compared to something like an Agile or an Edwards.
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#7 User is offline   Gordy01 

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 10:52 PM

Quote

Having had the chance to compare two "identical" guitars myself the last few weeks, I couldn't find a difference
in Quality with my first MiC Ultra II to my new MiK Ultra II

I changed them just for the better look

Peter



Peter, I didn't know you had switched guitars. Did you switch from the black to another color?
Or just another black one that looks better?

My own Ultra 2 is a fine guitar. I can't find a flaw anywhere on the guitar.
II Chronicles 7:14


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Epi LP Ultra 2 - 2008

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#8 User is offline   midiman56 

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 12:25 AM

I think I've got a pretty representative selection from both factories:

The Ultra, Firebird VII, Korina Flying V and Lucille are all MIK. Both Prophecy's and the Riviera P93 are MIC. I really don't see any outstanding differences in any of them that could be used as an indicator of which location produced a superior instrument. Whether I consider one of them to be just a flat-out better guitar has nothing to do with which factory produced it.

I think it's like anything having to do with guitars ... there are gonna be some rotten apples in any bunch. Each guitar has to be played and judged on its own merits regardless of where it comes from.

Jim
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#9 User is offline   eggs 

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 03:32 AM

Quote

yes.

(but the Korean stuff is better IMHO.)


ROFLMAO Brian

...& welcome to the perplexing world of the Epi-heads Legs![biggrin]
Stuart

1998 Epiphone (Unsung) Ripper Bass - 'Crazy Chester'
1999 Epiphone (Samick) 'fenderish' Nighthawk - 'The Vulture'
1999 Epiphone (Samick) Sheraton- 'Honey'
2000 Epiphone (Samick Indonesia) AJ-100- 'Big Red'
2000(?) Lobo Mini G- 'The Mystery Midget'
1998 Epiphone Electar Tube 30 Combo
1999 Epiphone Regent Bass 50 Combo
Vox AC4TV Head & V112TV Cabinet
Yamaha P70 Electric Piano
Tascam DP-03 Portastudio


Recently Separated:
1995 Epiphone (Samick) Non Reverse Thunderbird Bass - 'The Weirdbird'
1997 Epiphone (Samick) Les Paul Junior - 'Junior' - Signed by The Man Himself
2007 Epiphone (QingDao) G400 Flame Top-'QingDao Lass' - Too young, but oh so pretty!
1981 Ibanez AR100BS Artist- 'Baby'
1981 Ibanez Ragtime Special w/ Barcus Berry Underbridge PUP
1994 Fender (MIJ) Telecaster - 'The Black Sheep'
Marshall G80RCD 80 watt Combo - I just needed some valves!


Lust List:
A mid 1990s 'Blondie' Rivoli Bass with a Big Fat Mudbucker

#10 User is offline   Legs 

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 04:10 AM

Thanks Epiphone Boners,

I'm glad that I've bought these 2. Maybe UPS will fall off the truck and bring me my SG.

If nothing else they're making me play again and the prettiest woman I know told me I was awesome yesterday (fooled her!).
I've needed something to care about. Thanks Epiphone!

Legs [biggrin]

Tim "Legs" Pond
Worn Cherry G400 (SG)
Worn Cherry DOT Studio
Greg Bennett/Samick Acoustic w/ Dean Markley pickup
Roland Cube 30X
line-up subject to change

#11 User is offline   Bender 4 Life 

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 06:38 AM

My only experience with a Chinese Epi. wasn't so good..........(my '56 Gold Top)
The guitar its self is solid, the neck is good, and the p'ups are passable.
BUT
The fretboard is made of such poor quality rosewood that is looks like zebrawood.......big yellow stripes throughout.
The input socket had to be replaced almost immediately.
The neck p'up wasn't even screwed into the body.
The 3-way switch broke internally after less than 50 hrs. play-time.(probably 20 p'up changes)
The neck had to be adjusted on each of the 1st 2 days I had the guitar, it was so bad that I was afraid to adjust it all out in 1 attempt.

I'd have sent it back immediately on opening the box EXCEPT it was ficticiously hailed as "discontinued" and sold as an "extremely limited run" when I ordered it.

I realize that it was one of the very early Chinese Epis, and that quality has probably improved greatly, but the "Cheppis" i've tried out at my local GC just haven't impressed me.
I'd like to see some of the "thinner finish" that's been quoted, the ones i've seen look like they're encased in acrylic.(to a rediculous point on the Natural finish models)
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#12 User is offline   Notes_Norton 

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 08:18 AM

I can't compare my Korean Epiphone with a Chinese model, but I can compare it with a similar Kalamazoo Gibson model.

The fit and finish of my 2001 MIK Casino is every bit as good as the 1970 MIK (Kalamazoo) GIbson ES-330.

The Gibson does have a nitro finish, real MOP inlays, nylon saddles and slightly higher neck access.

I can't compare the electronics because the previous owner changed the switch and pots to USA sized ones, the tuners to Grovers and the pickups to Duncans.

But the body and neck of the Epi and Gibson are both first-rate.

I think many of the budget Asian guitars built today are as good as the first quality guitars were in the 60s. The technology of automated guitar making has improved greatly.

Even my lowly bottom-feeder LTD was made well.

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#13 User is offline   KDKowalski 

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 08:32 AM

I really believe it is on a guitar by guitar basis. I have owned all kinds of Gibsons, Epi's etc and all companies produce both gems and junk.

A couple of recent major improvements, the new finish process on my Les Paul tribute is really nice. The finish is so thin, that in 2 spots it looks like there is a flaw, it is actually the slight raised grain (yep thin enough to see this), and since it is poly, it is still very strong. Also the change to switch craft jacks and alpha full sized pots, Gibson voiced pick-ups, tone pros locking bridges and tail pieces etc hardware is getting better all of the time.

Not so good on some models, is the hiding of inferior woods with veneers, terrible neck construction of many pieces of wood. This is not present on all models. Much of this is due to the reduced availability of quality tone woods, along with cost reductions and margin grabbing.

You really have to see and play what you are buying....however this goes for many more expensive brands as well.

Overall technology has improved mass built guitar building, at the cost of some craftsmanship, reducing the prices.

And thats my 2 cents

#14 User is offline   Stig 

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 09:19 AM

Quote


I think many of the budget Asian guitars built today are as good as the first quality guitars were in the 60s. The technology of automated guitar making has improved greatly.




Totally true. There were a lot of crappy guitars made in the 60's that we remember fondly only because they're old.
Every played an old Gretsch? They're really not that great.
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#15 User is offline   Legs 

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 09:30 AM

Stig,

This Epi experience is making me rethink a lot of things. I had a Beautiful Les Paul Standard that I used to trigger an ARP
Synthesyser with.

Beautiful but typical 70's piece of crap playability wise..... ah! the good old days!
Legs

Tim "Legs" Pond
Worn Cherry G400 (SG)
Worn Cherry DOT Studio
Greg Bennett/Samick Acoustic w/ Dean Markley pickup
Roland Cube 30X
line-up subject to change

#16 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 09:42 AM

Quote

Stig,

This Epi experience is making me rethink a lot of things. I had a Beautiful Les Paul Standard that I used to trigger an ARP
Synthesyser with.

Beautiful but typical 70's piece of crap playability wise..... ah! the good old days!
Legs


With a few exceptions like the L5S, the 1970s were Gibson's dark days. What is scary is the electric stuff was leaps and bounds ahead of the acoustic guitars which had degenerated into overbuilt square shoulder dreads that had become so standardized you could not tell one from the other if blindfolded.
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#17 User is offline   Stig 

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 11:07 AM

Quote

With a few exceptions like the L5S, the 1970s were Gibson's dark days. What is scary is the electric stuff was leaps and bounds ahead of the acoustic guitars which had degenerated into overbuilt square shoulder dreads that had become so standardized you could not tell one from the other if blindfolded.


I have a '71 Deluxe goltop. It's great. But they did make a lot of crap in that era.
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#18 User is offline   Legs 

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 11:14 AM

You could get great or get poor!

It used to kill me that several of my friends and I would canabalize several Fenders to get a good one. But sometimes you'd get "the holy Grail".

Legs

Tim "Legs" Pond
Worn Cherry G400 (SG)
Worn Cherry DOT Studio
Greg Bennett/Samick Acoustic w/ Dean Markley pickup
Roland Cube 30X
line-up subject to change

#19 User is offline   charlie brown 

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 03:17 PM

The only "Chinese" guitar I own (at present), is my Riviera P-93LE! If that one is any indication,
of overall quality coming out of China, then there is NO reason, to worry. It's an outstanding guitar,
regardless of "price point"...IMHO. May never make the top collector's guitar list...but, who cares?
I play my guitars, they're never "investments," to make money. IF they do happen to become
"iconic"...great! But, I seriously doubt it.

I recently "test drove" some other "Chinese" Epi's!
(Inspired by "Texan," Lennon Casino, "Natural" Sheraton, "Worn" Wilshire, with mini-humbuckers, and a Dot)
They were ALL wonderfully made, and sounded great! Amazing, on the IBJL Casino. While the Sheraton no
longer has the 5-piece neck, the Korean one's did...it's still looked and felt great! I like the more accurate body
contours, of the Chinese Sheraton, too. But, that's just me.

"Bang, for the buck," Epi's are pretty hard to beat!

CB

#20 User is offline   jamesfiddler 

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 10:51 PM

Epiphone has always made quality instruments. Les Paul worked for Epiphone, and his favorite guitar was an Epiphone Log. In fact, he had his arm permanently set after his accident to play his Log. Epiphone may not be the highest priced, but many times you are paying for the name. I play a '77 Epiphone Scroll SC-450, and I dare say it plays better than a Les Paul or SG.

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