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I don't know about you guys but I've been keeping an eye on the specs of some Epiphone guitars. Turns out the woods keep changing, here are some observations:


The G-1275 used to have an alder body, now it's mahogany. The Les Paul standards use to have mahogany/alder bodies and now they're mahogany. A review linked to the dot page on the webbie says it has a mahogany neck but the specs claim it's maple likewise The LP Ultra on the webbie says its neck is maple but the review link on it says it's mahogany. The dot studio on the site used to have a maple body and a mahogany neck and now it's fully mahogany but when I check with musiciansfriend, it's fully maple like the dot.


Epiphone seems to have some inconsistancy when it comes to woods and that's pusing me away from buying a Dot studio. Can anyone clarify this? Thanks.

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Generally, epi used combinations that weren't standard to the gibby counterparts.. substituting alder for a maple cap, and then using a veneer of maple, for instance.


also generally, they try, it seems to me, to get closer year by year.

So.. my epi studio has all mahogany, whereas earlier ones had some alder.

They are all tone woods.. nothing wrong with the wood.

At this price point you can't expect the very best pieces of solid wood to be used. You probably couldn't tell much visually or audibly in a lot of cases.

The epi dot at it's price has good wood.. because they try to improve, because supplies vary, they are a bit insonsistent as to exactly what is there, but it's not like it's bad.


In short, the inconsistencys are usually improvements. But.. for example.. mahogany necks sometimes, to me, seem very flimsy compared to maple.. so while the classic dot had mahogany, I'd probably be more inclined toward one with a maple neck anyway.

the tonal difference will be slight, and may very well be better..


and when I'm doing my N. Young stomp around the music room and tend to bend my neck too much, it's all about ME!



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They are all tone woods.. nothing wrong with the wood.




Well... where's that hobby horse of mine.. ah, there we go...


the thing is, there's just the tiniest bit of untruthfulness in Epiphone's use of the term "mahogany". By omitting any qualifying designators, they put forth the impression that their guitars are made of the same wood as a Gibson. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are two accepted "real" mahoganies, i.e. Honduran and African, plus a plethora of low-grade Indonesian woods that are somewhat similar in grain structure which all fall under the heading of "industrial" mahogany. Guess which one is used in Gibsons, and which one is used in Epiphones. Well, Epiphone Elitists tend to be made of solid African mahogany while the regular Epis merely have a veneer of African mahogany over the Indonesian stuff. And no, they are not sonically similar. Now it's true that once in a blue moon you'll get a piece of Honduran mahogany that is dead, and also once in a blue moon you'll get a pretty good sounding chunk of the Indonesian stuff... but I think my point is clear.


The Dot is a plywood guitar, so whether the top ply is maple (as in the regular Dot) or African mahogany (as in the Dot Studio) is really moot IMHO. Most of your tone is going to come from that solid center block, which on a Gibson/Elitist is made from solid maple... guess what is used in the Dots?

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Copied beloware my thoughts on this subject which I expressed in the "old house" in a similar thread.

Might not all be totally relevant to this thread...but much of it is ;^).

On the whole I pretty much much agree with spud...but don't have quite so much of a downer on wood from certain sources ;^)


"Huge subject this..and one that a few of us have discussed at great length over the years around here. Rotcan and myself, amongst others, have had plenty to say about it .

The stuff that started this thread was luan. Luan is a type of Asian hardwood that gets lumped into a group of timbers which are often referred to as "industrial mahogany".

The guitar industry in the modern era has taken great liberties with the term "mahogany" and uses it to describe quite a number of botanically unrelated types of timber with a mahogany like appearance and/or properties.

They do it because South American mahogany is the classic tone wood from which most Gibson derived solid body guitars are traditionally made. They want to re-enforce the impression that their Gibson inspired designs are built from appropriate materials.

"Luan", "Philipino mahogany" and various "African mahogany" timbers [related to Sapelle etc] are all called mahogany if you're a mass market guitar maker !

Is it dishonest or cheating ?

It really depends on how you look at it I suspect.

If you work on the assumption that Honduros mahogany equals "tone monster" and Luan equals "POS", then it probably is.

If, on the other hand, you apply a greater understanding of "tone woods", it's not quite such a big deal.

If you take two seeds from the same tree and grow them in two different places with different levels of ground moisture and a differing aspect, you might then cut a spread of timber from the same part of each tree with noticeably different mechanical and tonal properties from the other. You might also cut two lumps of wood from different parts of the same tree to find that one sings like a bird and the other is as a dead as a lump of MDF ! You could then cut two spreads of timber from different species of tree at either side of the world... to find that they sound remarkably alike !

The reasons for this are another discussion...but the bottom line is that the rules aren't as clearly defined as a simplistic view would suggest.

Wood varies greatly in it's tonal properties, even if nominally from the same source.

Some lumps of Luan, or African mahogany will sound better than some lumps of South American mahogany, if used to construct a similar guitar to the same standards.

How the wood is used is also maybe an issue for another discussion


This could run and run................"



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I gotta go with smokestack.. I've had good pieces of ash or alder, for example, that just seemed to not have it.

I've built saga, basswood bodys, that sounded just fine.

Got two here, in fact, I'm just finishing up. I couldn't tell very much difference, using the same pups, between the Saga basswood

and a solid ash body I've got.

There just wasn't anything at all wrong with them.


And same for sheratons.. it's multi ply wood.. the rigidity is key for that guitar.

I've had laminated acoustics that sounded SOOOO good I was shocked.

And solid acoustics that had nothing going at all.


I never could find out what wood was used in the sheris centerblock.. someone told me once it was a man made product..

seemed ok by me!





I thought dots had no center block?

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I thought dots had no center block?


You're thinking of the Casino or the Sorrento. The Dots and Sheraton (and the Supernova I would suspect) have a "mystery mahogany" center block.


And I agree that basswood is a perfectly viable tonewood. It's only failing is its completely boring grain... which makes it just fine for guitars with a solid finish. The superior Samick LPs of the early nineties had basswood bodies, and G&L uses basswood for its black Tribute series guitars, saving the swamp ash for the ones with transparent finishes; tonally there seems to be no difference. Alder/basswood/poplar seem to be pretty much interchangeable.

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Wouldn't disagree there. I think poplar is an very underated and subsequently under-used tonewood. For me it combines the conistant warmth of alder with a little of that light "swamp ash" snap and bounce. A great wood for Fender type instruments.

Similar story with basswood, which can be a bit soft and lacking in durability but has a great lean and throaty sound. Superb for contolling the weight of sound from hot 'buckers under gain.

Like spud said, the main drawback with both is that they ain't too pretty under a trans finish !

[Try telling Music Man that basswood and poplar aren't quality tone woods =D>]


Thing is, all those woods are affordable and relatively consistant in their properties and voice.


They're also quite readily interchangle, without much tonal compromise, in the manufacture of Fender inspired guitars... and there lies the rub.


There aren't so many consistantly good sounding substitutes for the mahogany which makers feel obliged to use in Gibson derived designs.

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Similar story with basswood' date=' which can be a bit soft and lacking in durability but has a great lean and throaty sound. Superb for contolling the weight of sound from hot 'buckers under gain.

Thing is, all those woods are affordable and [i']relatively[/i] consistant in their properties and voice.


As a wood carver, I buy a certain amount of basswood and tupelo. Basswood is light with a virtually non existant

grain. Tupelo is lighter still. Both are easy to machine but it's not a hardwood.

Basswood is ok if you paint it with solid colours, but doesn't exhibit any discernable grain when it is stained with a nice cherry stained clear finish for a guitar body.

As far as it's use as a tone wood, ..... my jury's still out on that one.

Strictly my opininion, but I would not use basswood for any critical areas of a guitar that require it to produce a decent tone. Neck, toneblock, body..it's just to unpredictable to determine durability and consistency.

Obviously, it's a lot cheaper and in better supply than fiddleback maple, African ribbon

stripe mahogany or the preferred Honduras mahogany/rosewoods.

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Basswood is light with a virtually non existant grain. Tupelo is lighter still. Both are easy to machine but it's not a hardwood.


Ummm... anything that comes from a tree that has leaves instead of needles is, BY DEFINITION, a hardwood. Even balsa wood is a hardwood. Softwoods are pine, fir, spruce, tamarack (larch) et cetera. As a "carver" you should know this, dude... so don't go confusing the tyros.

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