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Differences between China-made and Korea-made Epiphone (Sheraton)

#1 User is offline   KEVINBE 

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 05:24 AM

So I am thinking of buying an Epiphone Hollowbody, the Sheraton for instance, but now I don't know what I should do: buy a brand new china-made Sheraton 2, or I also have the occasion of buying 1988 Sheraton or a 2001 Korea-made Sheraton. They're in good shape and have no modifications and also the price ain't a problem. What should I do? What are the differences between new and older ones, especially in terms of quality between the koreamades and chinamades..

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#2 User is offline   charlie brown 

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 11:47 AM

Korean has a 5-piece laminated (length wise) neck. Chinese has a solid neck, with scarf joints for the headstock, and heal. Korean has a "generic" body style, whereas the newer Chinese has a very "Gibson" like body style. Very early Chinese versions, were not as nicely made, as the Korean versions..IMHO. Also, the headstocks, on the Korean versions, are slightly smaller.

HOWEVER, the later, and current Chinese versions (I've seen), are as nicely made, now. The biggest differences are
the one's I've outlined. So, either way, you can't really go wrong. My advice, as always, is to play
both, and see which one you prefer. [biggrin]

CB

#3 User is offline   bobouz 

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 12:57 PM

To muddy up the waters even more, Sheratons are currently still being made in Korea by Unsung, while past Korean versions have been made by Samick, Saein, and Unsung. Interestingly, it seemed like production had completely switched to China, but now within the past few months I've seen new Korean Unsungs in stock at both Sweetwater & MF, along with the Chinese version. At Sweetwater, you can clearly tell the origin by looking at the Guitar Gallery photos (look for the 5-piece neck). At MF, the only way to know for sure is if the guitar's been returned & is being sold as used, with pics of that specific instrument.
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#4 User is offline   KEVINBE 

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:20 PM

 Pete.R, on 15 January 2012 - 01:35 PM, said:

Hi

and welcome here [thumbup]

could you tell the difference if it was not written on the guitar :-k

if your answer is no ..... [-(

go for the one that feels/sounds/looks best to your hands/ears/eyes


Of course! It's not the fact that they're made in China, I don't care about that, but it's just that I read some stuff on this issue on the Epiphone website, so yah..

Anyway, I'll probably just try a new Sheraton in the store.. If I wouldn't like it, I'll maybe go trying an older one.. But I think a new one will do..

#5 User is offline   Warren_Z_ 

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:41 PM

The imported Epiphone guitars are a great value but you have to find a store that has a big selection to choose from. QC is always an issue at this price point, so the trick is to really play as many as you can and "cherry pick" the really good one in the bunch.

I went guitar shopping with a friend who wanted to spend no more than $300 on an acoustic for his girlfriend. I played a few around that price then worked my way down. The best guitar out of the 6 or 8 that I played by far was going for $99. They brought me out one from the back and it wasn't nearly as good so I bought the one on display.
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#6 User is offline   BillyGibson 

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 06:15 AM

The picture of the '88 is beautiful. Don't see that
color too often. That would be my first choice.

#7 User is offline   KEVINBE 

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 08:30 AM

 BillyGibson, on 16 January 2012 - 06:15 AM, said:

The picture of the '88 is beautiful. Don't see that
color too often. That would be my first choice.


yeah, with a slightly darker brown in the vintage burst, it is very pretty. Not that I care that much about looks but it's nice..

#8 User is offline   Clanky44 

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:13 AM

I'd go for the MIK. The 'Tobacco Burst' Sheraton is stunning!, and not currently an available option. I too am actively searching or one.... With all due respect to the MIC Epiphone owners (I too happen to be one - SG G400), if you have the option of MIK over MIC, I'd buy Korean, just based on ethical/political grounds. I'm trying to limit my 'made in China' purchases,... but it's next to impossible to find alternatives, have some fun next time you're at Walmart, pick ten items randomly,... see what you find!

#9 User is offline   Blueman335 

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 12:02 PM

 Clanky44, on 16 January 2012 - 10:13 AM, said:

I'm trying to limit my 'made in China' purchases,... but it's next to impossible to find alternatives, have some fun next time you're at Walmart, pick ten items randomly,... see what you find!


Right, most things are made in China, so it's kind of pointless to try to avoid them. Besides, if it wasn't for China, our country would be bankrupt. We ought to be nicer to them.

#10 User is offline   Blueman335 

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 12:05 PM

I have a bunch of Epi's (more tha just about everyone here), and prefer the current models, especially the Chinese ones. The older Koreans are much more inconsistent and quality can be hit or miss. With a Chinese Epi, I know what I'm getting. When I have a choice, I'll take a Chinese over a Korean any time.

#11 User is offline   Vinlander 

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 05:23 PM

.
I am an Epiphan !!!
Epiphone Emperor Regent Natural 2003 routed neck Vintage Vibe HCC, nickel hardware,Gibson electronics, Rosewood TOM and trapeze TP
Epiphone Sheraton II Natural 2004 upgraded: with Gibson classic 57/57+, TP-6 tailpiece, BCS vintage 335 Wiring harness and cream cosmetics
Epiphone Emperor II Joe Pass 1995 upgraded: Gibson 490R neck pickup, new pickup switch and ES 175 Trapeze style tailpiece
Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony 1992, TP-6 tailpiece
Seagull Maritime Mini Jumbo CW GT QII
Peavey Grind Bass 5 BXP NTB 5-Strings

#12 User is offline   brianh 

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 05:59 PM

 Blueman335, on 16 January 2012 - 12:05 PM, said:

I have a bunch of Epi's (more tha just about everyone here), and prefer the current models, especially the Chinese ones. The older Koreans are much more inconsistent and quality can be hit or miss. With a Chinese Epi, I know what I'm getting. When I have a choice, I'll take a Chinese over a Korean any time.

Wow, I've found just the opposite. I'd go for an older MIK Epi any day. I've had to return two new MIC Epis for serious defects, although my MIC IBJL Casino and Ultra 339 are keepers.

I guess the key is to try before you buy:

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#13 User is offline   RaSTuS 

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 06:25 PM

^^^^^^^^
I love that room Brian, and it's contents too of course, just awesome.
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#14 User is offline   Vinlander 

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 07:02 PM

 charlie brown, on 15 January 2012 - 11:47 AM, said:

... Korean has a "generic" body style, whereas the newer Chinese has a very "Gibson" like body style...

CB

I was not aware of the difference in shape; I had to go check again some pictures and indeed the chinese Sheratons are even more 335ish in shape.
It seems mostly the cutaways being more curvy and frankly it looks nicer.
I am an Epiphan !!!
Epiphone Emperor Regent Natural 2003 routed neck Vintage Vibe HCC, nickel hardware,Gibson electronics, Rosewood TOM and trapeze TP
Epiphone Sheraton II Natural 2004 upgraded: with Gibson classic 57/57+, TP-6 tailpiece, BCS vintage 335 Wiring harness and cream cosmetics
Epiphone Emperor II Joe Pass 1995 upgraded: Gibson 490R neck pickup, new pickup switch and ES 175 Trapeze style tailpiece
Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony 1992, TP-6 tailpiece
Seagull Maritime Mini Jumbo CW GT QII
Peavey Grind Bass 5 BXP NTB 5-Strings

#15 User is offline   charlie brown 

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 07:16 PM

 Vinlander, on 17 January 2012 - 07:02 PM, said:

I was not aware of the difference in shape; I had to go check again some pictures and indeed the Chinese Sheraton's are even more 335ish in shape.
It seems mostly the cutaways being more curvy and frankly it looks nicer.


Right...the horns are a bit different, in shape, and the waist is different, too!
Yeah, that was always "my" biggest "issue," with the Korean ones. The newer
Chinese version, is being made more to Gibson's spec's, that way, than Samick's...or,
other Korean generic spec's. I know it's "only cosmetic" or appearance, and
has nothing to do with it's overall quality...but, like you, I think it looks
much better, and more like USA Epi's, used to be. [thumbup]

CB

#16 User is offline   Gunner 

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 08:11 PM

 Blueman335, on 16 January 2012 - 12:02 PM, said:

Right, most things are made in China, so it's kind of pointless to try to avoid them. Besides, if it wasn't for China, our country would be bankrupt. We ought to be nicer to them.


I lived in China for 2 years. Mostly very, very, nice people.

#17 User is offline   Gunner 

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 08:18 PM

 charlie brown, on 17 January 2012 - 07:16 PM, said:

Right...the horns are a bit different, in shape, and the waist is different, too!


I like the shape of the Chinese version too, although I think the body is slightly smaller than a Gibson. I also like the shape of the Chinese version better than the Elitists.

#18 User is offline   KEVINBE 

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 07:24 AM

Thanks for all the replies so far. Quite different opinions, so I guess it will depend on the testing..

I've just tried a Chinese Epi Dot in the local shop (I will go out for a Sheraton next week, when my exams at college are over and more time will be available), and I didn't like it that much!

I didn't like the shape of the neck (what they call a "D-shape" I think?), which is ofcourse a matter of personal preferences, but I also didn't like the fretboard, which just felt pretty cheap.. My first guitar ever, a cheap Chinese Richwood Les Paul, had a better rosewoodfretboard, I think..

About the pick-ups, bridge pick-up was quite ok for a 300-dollar guitar, but the treble pick-up sounded as if the tonebutton was set on 5 or something.. Anyway, I just went to the local store since I haven't got that much time this week, just to try out an Epiphone semi-hollowbody, just to get the feel of it (it was my first time that I played a semi hollowbody)..

Next week, I'll try a new Sheraton in an other shop, and hopefully I'll be able to try the '88 Sheraton, so I can compare, and then I'll see which one I'll buy.

If the Sheraton I'll buy doesn't have great sounding pick-ups, I might change them for P-94's..

#19 User is offline   KEVINBE 

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 07:27 AM

Oh, by the way, in the local store, I asked what the differences are between the Dot and the Sheraton II. He told me the Sheraton has different pick-ups than the dot.. Is this true?

(In this comparison, I'm talking of a new Dot, and a new Sheraton, both china made)

#20 User is offline   Lord Summerisle 

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 07:57 AM

 Blueman335, on 16 January 2012 - 12:02 PM, said:

Right, most things are made in China, so it's kind of pointless to try to avoid them. Besides, if it wasn't for China, our country would be bankrupt. We ought to be nicer to them.


Oh, cool, I didn't realize that the Chinese government just stepped in one day and starting paying down US federal debt. That was nice of them. When did that happen?

Selling US Treasury Securities to the tune of $1150,000,000,000 to Beijing doesn't offset bankruptcy. It simply increases indebtedness, unless that money can be used as some sort of pump-primer for the domestic economy. There's slight evidence of that.

Criticizing the Chinese government doesn't equate to being unkind to the Chinese people. By the way, the Chinese government needs no help from outside in that department. Maybe you should read Amnesty International's human rights report on China for 2011: http://www.amnesty.o...ina/report-2011

"Most things are made in China" because companies selling their goods in the west see an opportunity to increase profits by manufacturing products in a country where labour costs are cheap. Additionally, a huge sector of the retail market in the west is focused upon cheap consumer goods. Things have to be priced very cheap to sell, and therefore have to be made very, very cheaply for companies' profit expectations to be realized. Such is the nature of capitalism today.

A short, amusing, but illustrative video:



Back to the original question?

As regards Sheratons, I have no idea (having owned neither a Korean nor a Chinese example). I have owned a Korean Epiphone (a Firebird V), which was total and utter crap. I have also owned a Chinese Epiphone (a G-400 from Unsung, China) that was a nice guitar. I'm not sure that is a particularly scientific test, however.

None of this is intended to be "holier than thou" or some sort of pious homily. I, too, have a house full of Chinese products bought from big box stores, because: ( a ) As a consumer I like to have things, and ( b ) I have a modest income. ( a ) + ( b ) therefore means that if I desire a flat-screen TV or a guitar, then chances are that in today's retail environment those items will originate with low-cost labour in China.

Would I like a handmade guitar, crafted by a luthier/artisan in the US or Europe? Absolutely! Can I afford that? No. So I head down to Guitar Center or similar and what do I find in my price range? Chinese-made guitars. So I buy one. Many of them seem very good for the price. C'est la vie.

Just don't assume that there is anything inherently noble about doing business with China, or that you are doing workers in China (or, indeed, anywhere else in the world) some sort of magnanimous favour by purchasing Chinese made goods.

It all comes at a cost, you know...both social and economic...

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