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Everything posted by Blueman335

  1. Common problem, easily fixed. On most tune-o-matics, the saddles on the 3 high srings point one way, the other way on the low 3 strings. The first time I change strings on a new guitar, I turn around the saddles on the G and D strings to get the most movement. That just almost always allows me to get the intonation dialed in. Every guitarist should own Dan Erlewine's book "How to make your electric guitar play great.' Teaches you all about set ups, lots of pics and text. You can get it from StewMac.
  2. +1. Yes it was. They were some great times though. The excitement of all the heavy British blues groups in their prime. Besides Fleetwood Mac, early Zeppelin, Cream, Savoy Brown, Jeff Beck Group (Rod Stewart era), Ten Years After, Bloodwyn Pig, etc. Wow, great music coming out constantly for a while. Those were the days.
  3. +1. Very responsive, and maestros have the best handle of any vibrato.
  4. +1. There are a lot of very good Dots out there. I picked up a used Dot, natural finish, with a thick 1950's (dark) mahogany neck; put in a pair of Seth's, and wow, what great tone. I've got $400 into the thing, guitar and PU's, and I wouldn't hesitate to go up against Gibson 335's with it.
  5. Peter Green in his Fleetwood Mac days is one of my favorite guitarists. Such emotion in his playing, and those string bends...whew.
  6. +1. Just takes a few minutes to do both. because of seasonal differences in temp and humidity, necks will bow or backbow a little from time to time, no big deal. If you don't have it already, you should get Dan Erlewine's 'How to make your electric guitar play great' from StewMac. Teaches you how to do set ups yourself, lots of pics and text. Excellent book that every guitarist should own.
  7. +1. '59's were the first high quality PU's I bought, and what a difference between them and the stock Asian-made PU's that come on imports. That's what made me a believer. Duncan makes 5 models of PAF's: '59, PG, Seth, Antiquity, and A2P. I eventually got all of them.
  8. I used to be that way, but I was at the mercy of what the guitar happened to be, and I got tired of that. I did two things that forever changed that: got Dan Erlewine's book 'How to make your electric guitar play great', which has pictures and text to show you how to set up Gibsons and Fenders just the way you want them. The other thing I did was just the Duncan forum and there I learned the words they live by: "Take control of your tone." I've learned a lot about PU's, magnets, and pots and significantly improved the tones on all of my guitars. Like night and day. I don't expect any guitar I buy to sound or play it's best. There's too many players with different tastes for that to happen very often. I dial in the set ups and tones to get just what I what, I enjoy doing that. Epi PU's vary, some are better than others, but none can compare to the quality and artistry of high quality PU's made by Duncan, DiMarzio, Gibson, Lollar, Fralin, Rio Grande, Bare Knuckles, Gunsher, Smits, etc. These are the upper eschelon, and they have much better tones. Epi makes no attempt to compete with these. It's like Porsches and Pintos. Yes, both are forms of transportation, but there the similarities end.
  9. +1. Loose wire, easy fix. Should be able to see it.
  10. I don't spend a fortune on PU's, I buy almost all of them used, for around half price or less. I just bought a nickel-cover Gibson 60ST/50SR set (from an Epi Elitist) for $50 delivered. That's less than a pair of new GFS or Duncan-Designed would cost, and they're much better than either of those. Actually, the Epi alnico classics are nothing like Gibson '57 Classics; the Epi's have A5 magnets, which have a lot of treble and bass, scooped mids, a sharp high end, tight low end, buried in wax, and are fairly high output. Gibson '57's are PAF's with A2 magnets, which have a lot of mids, not much treble, a loose low end, very little wax, and are low output. Gibson '57's are an accurate remake of an original 1950's PAF; Epi '57 Alnico Classics are not. Very different PU's.
  11. Yes, to get the best out of an Epi, you have to change the PU's, regardless of whether you like the stock PU's or not. You can get decent, acceptable tones from a stock Epi (whatever model), but to get tones that qualify as 'great' you have to take that next step. I upgrade PU's, do my own set ups, swap magnets in PU's when needed, and I get compliments on my tones everytime I play on stage. It's the PU's that make the difference.
  12. Blueman335


    Nice score. Those Rivieras are hard to find. I don't think they were ever made in any kind of quantity. Too bad.
  13. Yes, you're either incredibly lucky, or play with a lot of distortion and effects, or don't have a good tube amp, as upgrading PU's on Epi's invariably gives much better tones. No comparison. Example: I bought a used Epi Korina '58 V last year. Plugged it in to test the electronics. It sounded incredible, like no other Epi I've ever owned, and I've owned dozens. I was blown away by the clarity and articulation. Never heard an Epi anywhere close to that quality of tone. Took off the strings and flipped the PU's over. They were Dimarzios, the seller forgot to mention that. I've probably played and owned more Epi's than just about anyone here, and let me assure you that Asian-made Epi PU's do not, and cannot compare to high quality ones. They don't try to. PU winding and manufacture is an art, full of many closely-guarded secrets. I understand if you don't want to spend the money, but in the USA there is a thriving online market in used PU's, and you can get many Duncan's, Dimarzio's, Gibsons, etc used for around half price, like $35 to $50 in many cases. Being content with stock PU's and actually comparing them side-by-side to quality ones are two different things. If you don't mind settling for 'okay' tones, keep it stock. If you want great tones that close the gap with $2,000 and $3,000 guitars, you ain't going to get anywhere near that unless you upgrade your Epi's PU's. For a modest investment, you can make your $400 Epi LP sound pretty close to a Gibson LP. I've done it many times with Epi's. No one is going to confuse the tones of a stock Epi vs a stock Gibson. Maybe it's coincidence that of all the Epi's I've owned, every one of them sounded much better with upgraded PU's.
  14. 490's have A2's, which means lots of mids, rounded high end, loose low end, and lower output. What makes A2's so popular is that they have a lot of dynamics which gives them an organic sound. 498T's have A5's, which have a lot of treble and bass, sharp highs, scooped mids, a firm low end, and relatively high output. Paired together the bridge is pretty bright and the neck pr...

  15. I've found the same thing, Asian-made P-90's sound much better than most Asian-made HB's. Simpler design, less to mess up. On the Duncan forum, P-94's aren't held in particularly high esteem, and Phat Cats have A2 magnets which make the neck very dark and bridge weak. Better sounding HB-sized P-90's are made by Lollar, and if you're on a budget, GFS Mean 90's.
  16. Depends on the model. Binding looks great on LP's and 335's, but I don't like it on most SG's. But whether you like it or not, it's probably not a deal breaker either way.
  17. +1. I have a lot of Epi's and mid-priced imports, and have upgraded the PU's in all of them. Big improvement in clarity, definition, and depth. Does more to improve the tone than everything else put together. The weakest link on an import is the stock Asian PU's. At that price-point, they're just not made to compete with high quality PU's. Before you buy any PU's, take a look at Seymour Duncan's PAF's, especially their Seth's (which is the most authentic PAF reissue you can buy).
  18. Agreed. The annual rate of increase to go from $400 to $600 over 40 years is nothing to brag about, and that's if you don't play it much and put wear on it. I don't think the Vintage models are necesarily made of 'better' materials, just different construction. However many pieces the neck has, it's probably all the same wood. Nice veneer flame tops add to a guitar's value (like on LP Stds), so veneer in itself isn't necessarily a downside. Tonewise, a one piece neck may be a little better, but you can get far more improvement there by upgrading PU's. To me, neck binding looks out-of-place on SG's except for white finish ones. From my perspective, the binding on 'Vintage' SG's makes them unappealing; to most players there's not enough there to justify paying more for one. But I've seen a lot of players get excited about maestros. But, (and watch how I get back on topic) the OP got a nice guitar for a good price, and should enjoy playing it for years.
  19. The difference between this G-400 and the hundreds of thousands of other G-400's out there, is insignficant. Cheap Asian PU's are cheap Asian PU's; they're all 'designed' in the USA, that's where humbuckers were invented. They're also the first thing that goes when you want to improve the tone. Try selling a used set of them on eBay and see what you get for them; lunch money at best. Like you said: "Vintage models should always sell for more than a typical G-400...even though they rarely do." That pretty well sums up the collector value part of this thread. If you want an Epi SG that will increase in value get one of the '65 maestro vibrato models (red Std, black Std, and alpine white Custom). They're already going for more than original retail (after only about 5 years). What makes them so desirable is that if you retro fit a maestro to a regular G-400, you have two big holes where the stop bar was. Plus the aftermarket maestros aren't engraved and look very plain. Factory maestro is the only way to go. Other good candidates would be the two Deluxe flame top SG's in red and amber. All 5 of these models were made in very small quantities, and are truly distinct from other G-400's. These are the ones to look for, but don't expect to get rich off them. Epi's are made to be played and enjoyed, they're not guitars for glass cases.
  20. Back to reality: That's rare with an Asian Epi. Only a very few models will do that, like the SG's with maestro vibrolas. Yours isn't much different from the other G-400's, not enough to get anyone excited. With Gibsons it's another story, there's hard core collectors and big money thrown around for oddball models, but they cost MUCH more to begin with. Don't expect Epi's to go up in value, or even retain the original price. Look at what you paid for yours. Good price, but not at all uncommon. I've bought a number of Epi's, most are limited editions, and paid some pretty low prices for them. The market is flooded with cheap imports. One reason is Epi frets don't hold up as well, and who wants to pay a premium for a used import guitar with worn frets, and then spend a couple hundred dollars on refretting, when you can buy a new one for less? I don't buy old Epi's, or any other import, for that reason alone. As it is, they need upgraded PU's to sound like they should, another investment. So who's going to pay extra for an old import, refret it, upgrade PU's and maybe hardware...by then you could have had a nice used Gibson, which will hold it's value.
  21. Depends. Honest answer is if it's a bolt-on neck, it's an entry-level model and so-so quality. If it's a set neck SG (G-400) that's a very good price, and a well-made guitar. I have a few G-400's and like them a lot.
  22. +1. I have a P-93, and have no tuning issues with the Bigsby. Like you, I put on a roller bridge, as the strings aren't going to move as freely with regular saddles. Works great. I also have a 1990's Casino in ebony, that is a great guitar (no Bigsby).
  23. Not really, if you read my post (above). String is not the best way to get the pots back in place, you need something stiffer, like wire or aquarium tubing. No wonder why some guys struggle with this. My first rewiring ever was putting a couple push-pulls in a 335, and it only took several minutes to get them all back in. Then I talked to a friend who said he spent an hour trying to get the pots back in his 335 using string. Why make it harder than it has to be?
  24. This is the typical Gibson/Epi wiring it's called 'dependent volume controls.' I don't care for it, as you can't blend the PU's. What I do on all my guitars is rewire them for 'independent volume controls' which is very easy to do, all you have to do is switch the lugs a couple hot wires are on (grounds stay the same). Looking at the bottoms of the volume pots: Dependent volumes - left ground, middle toggle wire, right PU and tone pot wires. Independent volumes - left ground, middle PU and tone pot wires, right toggle wire. That's all there is to it. You're only moving the hot wires, not the grounds, so you don't totally disconenct the PU's, toggle, or tone pots. Soldering 101. Pulling out the volume pots is easy. Use an old washcloth to pull up/off the plastic knobs (prying them off with a screwdriver can crack them and scratch the guitar's finish). Unscrew nuts, and push the pot stems down and out of their holes. Lift them gently thru the F hole, still connected, and set them on an old washcloth or towel, on top of the guitar. If the wiring is taped or shrick-wrapped together, carefully cut the tape (not the wires). Resolder one pot at a time. Test thru an amp before putting back in the guitar. Never pull or yank on the wires, as that can cause shorts. I push the volume pots back up into place with a 6" forcept with a curved end. That also works for the bridge tone pot. For the neck tone pot, I use a stiff plastic-coated wire to pull the pot up thru the hole. Some guys use aquarium tubing. I hold the pot stems with the forcept and tighten the nut. If you're doing more than a rewire or two, T-nut drivers are worth getting (from StewMac) as they don't mess up the finish like pliers do when you're tightening nuts. Test thru an amp again, before you put the knobs back on. This whole process usually takes a half hour or less. Once you independent volume controls, you can get all kinds of in-between tones that aren't possible otherwise, by mixing in any amount of bridge and neck PU.
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