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Chinese Epiphones bad quality?


DrGonzo
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Are the chinese guitars really bad like some people say?

 

I played a new chinese Sheraton last week but it was a real nice guitar.

The quality was good, almos the pickups too.

 

Actually i can't see no difference to my 2005 Korean Sheraton.

 

What do you think?

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I think it's like everything else. There are good ones, great ones, bad ones and horrible ones. Over all quality percentage wise? I don't know. But my 2006 Chinese Epi plays really nice and sounds good to my ears. Is it professional quality? Not really, but I'm not ashamed to own it or play it. Or admit I like it.

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Some of the early Chinese Epi's had inconsistent quality control, but they've gotten a LOT better in recent years.

 

More disappointing is that the specs on many models have been changed, so while they're being made well, with good materials, the designs themselves have declined since the 90's/early oughts. For example, the Joe Pass now has a MUCH less pronounced arch to the top and back and the shape has been squared off a bit in places, the ES-175 has an asymmetrical cutaway bout, and the SG's (which used to be made of two or three pieces of spliced solid wood) now have a veneer top over lower quality wood, usually more pieces.

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My understanding is that the Pass model was Indonesian, not from the Chinese factory. Ditto the now apparently extinct 175.

 

If anything I'm guessing that one would find the Chinese "Gib-Epi" factories following closer to Gibbie specs on like guitars than what in many cases came from contract factories that did other brands as well. That's not a "quality" thing, though.

 

I have five Chinese Epis, three AE (including a Masterbilt), two "Dots." Oh - and an Epi bass for my wife.

 

If these are poor quality guitars, then so are most Fenders, Gibsons and Martins, IMHO.

 

Epi1 has noted, as others have here and elsewhere, upgrades have been made in the electronics on Epi electrics. The "sound" is up to you, but the switch and pot longevity should be increased.

 

I have a dual-pup system Masterbilt and although some complaints about that system have aired around here, mine works just fine, although I don't use it as a canoe oar or a bar fight battleaxe.

 

Again, I dunno what "quality" might be. What fits my criteria is: nice looking guitar, decently finished, that with a proper setup should be reliable for what it is in a gigging setting week after week, year after year.

 

My observation is that the Epis I've handled all meet the criteria of good quality.

 

Frankly I think this question wouldn't even arise were it not for some considerations that "Epi is Gibson's Chinese import" instead of a U.S. designed manufactured in a company-owned, not contracted, factory "overseas."

 

I'd almost question instead the reasoning among the "some people" who say they're "bad."

 

m

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Personally, I've noticed, over the years, the steady increase in quality

among the Chinese made Epiphones, especially those in the Gibson owned

factories, dedicated to "Epiphone Exclusive", as opposed to the "generic"

(Samick, for one example) versions, produced in other factories, that make

a variety of different brand models. The Epiphone dedicated factories do

more "accurate" spec's, to the original vesions. If they would only go back

to Gibson Truss Rods, and 2-hole covers, identical to the originals, they'd

be near "perfect."

 

Electonics, and pickups, have improved greatly...IMHO, over the last 2-3 years,

especially.

 

Are they Gibson's? NO...but then, they never have been, even when made side

by side, with "Gibson's." They've always been Epiphones, with their own identity.

Gibson DID manage to marginalize Epiphone, pretty successfully, after sending

the brand overseas. That was unfortunate! But, quality nowadays, is awesome,

once again...IMHO! And, Especially, for the price point!

 

 

CB

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I have two 2012 MIC Epiphones that I believe are top notch instruments. Fit, finish, playability. The quality of the pots and such leave quite a bit to be desired, but you wouldn't notice really unless you went in to do a pup change or something. Speaking of pups, IMO the ProBuckers and Alnico Classic Pros are VERY good.

 

I did change the pups in my Epi LP but that was because it sounded too close to my '99 B7. So I put some P90s in it ;)

 

The Ultra-339 is great as is.

 

Now for the bad news. I've been to 3 different GCs since the beginning of the year. I always grab either an Epi LP or an Epi 339 or similar to check out amps with since they are what I have at home. I can't believe the number of these that either don't work or that have loose hardware as they're hanging. When I mentioned this one time, the GC dude told me that 8 out of 10 Epis come in like that. He was either telling the truth, or these guitars can't stand up to being tried out.

 

At any rate, I'm very happy with mine. I don't think there is a better *value* guitar out there. Just check 'em out carefully and make sure you get a good one.

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I think the GC with guitars like that is like the "ma and pa" that had an Epi Hummingbird on the wall that needed a major setup since the strings were on the frets.

 

I've had guitars sent "here" from elsewhere with the same problem, so it's no shock, but... in a store?

 

I've always wondered why a store would let that happen and then...

 

I began to wonder whether it was halfway by intent.

 

I dunno. One ongoing "complaint" about Epis had to do with such as the cord "outzit" being loose, etc. So it'd take how much of a quarter of a millimeter for wood to shrink/expand? I dunno.

 

m

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Or he was lying and just trying to sell you a more expensive Gibson.... O:)

 

He makes minimum wage (plus commission)...which will tell you a lot. [biggrin]

 

Also, it's been my ufortunate experience, in too many GC's, that their

"display" models, are often quite "used/abused", even though they claim

they are "brand new," and "just recently put on display!" Right!! :rolleyes:

 

CB

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My understanding is that the Pass model was Indonesian, not from the Chinese factory. Ditto the now apparently extinct 175.

 

If anything I'm guessing that one would find the Chinese "Gib-Epi" factories following closer to Gibbie specs on like guitars than what in many cases came from contract factories that did other brands as well. That's not a "quality" thing, though.

 

I have five Chinese Epis, three AE (including a Masterbilt), two "Dots." Oh - and an Epi bass for my wife.

 

If these are poor quality guitars, then so are most Fenders, Gibsons and Martins, IMHO.

 

Epi1 has noted, as others have here and elsewhere, upgrades have been made in the electronics on Epi electrics. The "sound" is up to you, but the switch and pot longevity should be increased.

 

I have a dual-pup system Masterbilt and although some complaints about that system have aired around here, mine works just fine, although I don't use it as a canoe oar or a bar fight battleaxe.

 

Again, I dunno what "quality" might be. What fits my criteria is: nice looking guitar, decently finished, that with a proper setup should be reliable for what it is in a gigging setting week after week, year after year.

 

My observation is that the Epis I've handled all meet the criteria of good quality.

 

Frankly I think this question wouldn't even arise were it not for some considerations that "Epi is Gibson's Chinese import" instead of a U.S. designed manufactured in a company-owned, not contracted, factory "overseas."

 

I'd almost question instead the reasoning among the "some people" who say they're "bad."

 

m

 

I LOVE my bird's eye maple Epi LP. I've compared it to my friend's original LP and yes the original has a tonal edge especially in the higher registers...it screamed good!! But for the money, I'll stick to my beloved Epi. :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Or he was lying and just trying to sell you a more expensive Gibson.... O:)

 

He knew better B-)

 

The count he quoted pretty much matched my experience in the store.

 

C'mon folks, I own 'em and love 'em. I'm just saying check these things out good or make sure you have the ability to return/exchange if need be.

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He makes minimum wage (plus commission)...which will tell you a lot. [biggrin]

 

Also, it's been my ufortunate experience, in too many GC's, that their

"display" models, are often quite "used/abused", even though they claim

they are "brand new," and "just recently put on display!" Right!! :rolleyes:

 

CB

 

True story. I made sure when i got my G-400 that it came out of the box in front of me.

 

Not that it matters now since i've done a good job dinging it up, but at least i know I was the one to do it. [laugh]

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I'll return to my earlier comment that were we to have some well-known Ex Luthier with Y Brand guitars putting his name on "fine instruments crafted by professional guitarmakers to his exacting specifications," there's be less noise.

 

Hmmmm... I wonder if any companies come to mind.

 

Ditto the particleboard Martins with plywood necks. Are they worth more, or less, than the laminated Epis with a single mahogany neck, often a solid top, of far less price tag?

 

I dunno, but I've a hunch that a lot of inexpensive Martins are purchased because of the name on the headstock. The Epi tends to be purchased because it's what it is - and still has a stable corporation backing the warranty in most cases that are clearly corporate responsibility.

 

Frankly, compared to about any other guitar line with anything near the production numbers, and as focused a corporate market position, I can't imagine a better overall line of guitars in a relatively broad price range under a given marque.

 

m

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I have two 2012 MIC Epiphones that I believe are top notch instruments. Fit, finish, playability. The quality of the pots and such leave quite a bit to be desired, but you wouldn't notice really unless you went in to do a pup change or something. Speaking of pups, IMO the ProBuckers and Alnico Classic Pros are VERY good.

 

I did change the pups in my Epi LP but that was because it sounded too close to my '99 B7. So I put some P90s in it ;)

 

The Ultra-339 is great as is.

 

Now for the bad news. I've been to 3 different GCs since the beginning of the year. I always grab either an Epi LP or an Epi 339 or similar to check out amps with since they are what I have at home. I can't believe the number of these that either don't work or that have loose hardware as they're hanging. When I mentioned this one time, the GC dude told me that 8 out of 10 Epis come in like that. He was either telling the truth, or these guitars can't stand up to being tried out.

 

At any rate, I'm very happy with mine. I don't think there is a better *value* guitar out there. Just check 'em out carefully and make sure you get a good one.

 

 

Or he was lying and just trying to sell you a more expensive Gibson.... O:)

 

I've ran into that quite a lot as well. I think some stuff comes loose during shipping and other stuff comes loose from customer handling. It is probably a little of both, considering the fact that we've all had the problem of certain things loosening up after a month or so of playing. The real kicker is that I had asked an employee to tighten up a pot before I bought a guitar. He said that he wasnt allowed to do it because it is considered a repair job and that they werent authorized and would have to put in a repair ticket. This, I believe. However, they seem to be more than qualified to adjust necks, rather violently, I might add. Strange, considering it is more dangerous from a repair standpoint to crank on a truss rod than to tighten a nut on a pot.

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For what it's worth, I've seen on here some complaints about Gibbies, especially in Europe, with "faults" that even a horrid hangover and temporary blindness wouldn't have allowed them to get through QC.

 

Why? I'm utterly convinced it's the transportation, significant changes in "climate," shaking, etc.

 

I purchased an Epi AE from Sweetwater. I'll take their word that they check each guitar at some point. But when I got it, the neck was super outa adjustment and you could cut your fingers on the fingerboard.

 

At this point we've gotta ask, "did both Epi QC AND Sweetwater not care?"

 

I don't believe it.

 

Oddly to me, if one gets a guitar that has been properly given a basic setup, it seems to last forever under the care of an owner. So... I'm under the impression that transport and/or storage is 80 percent the problem regardless of brand.

 

m

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For what it's worth, I've seen on here some complaints about Gibbies, especially in Europe, with "faults" that even a horrid hangover and temporary blindness wouldn't have allowed them to get through QC.

 

Why? I'm utterly convinced it's the transportation, significant changes in "climate," shaking, etc.

 

I purchased an Epi AE from Sweetwater. I'll take their word that they check each guitar at some point. But when I got it, the neck was super outa adjustment and you could cut your fingers on the fingerboard.

 

At this point we've gotta ask, "did both Epi QC AND Sweetwater not care?"

 

I don't believe it.

 

Oddly to me, if one gets a guitar that has been properly given a basic setup, it seems to last forever under the care of an owner. So... I'm under the impression that transport and/or storage is 80 percent the problem regardless of brand.

 

m

 

I wonder the same thing. Also, about time of year...when things are more humid, or drier, as well.

Not so much, relating to the stores, as to the warehouses, at the airports, or shipping companies.

 

As to dealer's checking them? I know MINE does..big time! I've been there, when they recieved a

shipment, and their luthier goes through all of them, prior to putting them out for sale. He checks

electronics, fit/finish, and does an overall "set-up" as well (if needed). After a sale, they do

a set-up to customer preferences, and put on customer preferred strings, as well. The store is

at a constant temperature, and humidity level. That, of course, should be expected. But, it's not

always the case, in other places. Of course, it's a small, family owned dealership, so they don't

have the inventory that the Big Box stores do! Consequently, they can and do, take the time, to do

all that. One's that don't measure up, are routinely sent back! [thumbup]

 

CB

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I have 4 Chinese made Epiphone electric guitars and basses and 3 Epiphone acoustics, and I think they are first rate.

 

I hear they have really improved over the last years since Epiphone started its own plant. I did own several Korean made guitars, including an Epi Dot, but sold all of them but one, a Samick Artist Series jazz guitar from the 1990's...and I might just sell that one, too.

 

There is nothing wrong with Chinese made guitars just because they are Chinese. Ephphone's quality is excellent.

 

 

mark

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