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So what exactly are g400's made of...?


Ikis

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I have a g400. It sounds good for its price, it feels okay for any price, and goddammit, does it look good or what.

 

I'm pretty sure the guitar is not fake since the serial number makes sense....

I03040316

 

Meaning it was made back in april 2003....works fine, since the TRC says "Gibson", rather than "SG", as they all did before 2004. Also, the tuners are Grover, like they started putting on G400's after 2002.

 

About a year has passed, and I decided I want to upgrade this guitar. I wanna replace the pickups and all kinds of hardware, and turn it into my dream guitar. Hey, it's made of mahogany, right? So how hard can it be once I change everything else?

 

So I brought it to a specialist, and turns out that it's made of Luan.

With a fake-mahogany cover, to fool costumers that can't tell the difference.

 

Wherever you look, Epiphone claims that this guitar sports a "Solid Mahogany Body".

 

At first, I felt cheated, since they say "Mahogany" and what they really mean is "PHILIPINE Mahogany". Which is sort of a dirty trick, but oh well.

 

Until I checked the book, and turns out that...

 

------------

 

Per Federal Trade Commission

 

§ 250.3 Identity of woods.

 

* Mahogany.

 

1. The unqualified term mahogany should not be used to describe wood other than genuine solid mahogany (genus Swietenia of the Meliaceae family). The woods of genus Swietenia may be described by the term ‘‘mahogany’’ with or without a prefix designating the country or region of its origin, such as ‘‘Honduras mahogany’’, ‘‘Costa Rican mahogany’’, ‘‘Brazilian mahogany’’ or ‘‘Mexican mahogany’’.

2. The term ‘‘mahogany’’ may be used to describe solid wood of the genus Khaya of the Meliaceae family, but only when prefixed by the word ‘‘African’’ (e.g., ‘‘African mahogany desk’’).

3. In naming or designating the seven non-mahogany Philippine woods Tanguile, Red Lauan, White Lauan, Tiaong, Almon, Mayapis, and Bagtikan, the term ‘‘mahogany’’ may be used but only when prefixed by the word ‘‘Philippine’’ (e.g., ‘‘Philippine mahogany table’’), due to the long standing usage of that term. Examples of improper use of the term ‘‘mahogany’’ include reference to Red Lauan as ‘‘Lauan mahogany’’ or to White Lauan as ‘‘Blond Lauan mahogany’’. Such woods, however, may be described as ‘‘Red Lauan’’ or ‘‘Lauan’’ or ‘‘White Lauan’’, respectively. The term ‘‘Philippine mahogany’’ will be accepted as a name or designation of the seven woods named above. Such term shall not be applied to any other wood, whether or not grown on the Philippine Islands.

4. The term ‘‘mahogany’’, with or without qualifications, should not be used to describe any other wood except as provided above. This applies also to any of the woods belonging to the Meliaceae family, other than genera Swietenia and Khaya.

 

---------------

 

 

So how do you explain that?

Anybody?

 

Either my guitar is fake, and isn't really Epiphone, in that case meh. But if all g400's are made of Luan, like this one, then it goes beyond being a dirty trick - straight into the realm of strictly illegal.

 

Anybody wants to help me on this one?

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Lets see...Mahogany...could be used to loosely interpret several kinds of wood with mahogany-like properties, I'm not clear on the species, but several types of tonewood fall into that category. As for the illegality? I couldn't tell ya, I'm not a lawyer, but if the particular species falls into the mentioned category, then it seems on the up and up to me. Mahogany is expensive wood, and at Epiphones pricepoint, you surely didn't expect to have genuine mahogany did you? Be happy with what you have, I'm more than psyched with mine, alder cap and all! Best 499 bucks I EVER spent. Period.

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Well, I might have made it sound worse than it is out of anger...but still.

 

I do love my guitar, don't get me wrong. It's pure awesome, for the price paid. Visually, and argonomically, it's IDENTICAL to a '62 SG. It feels great. Granted, it doesn't sound like a Gibson, but it sounds great for such a low price.

I don't intend to sue anybody or anything, I'm just wondering.

 

I'm not the only one who has bought a G400. It just seems crazy to me that Epiphone would write something that is strictly a lie, when selling a product. I checked the books and I posted it for you to see- if it's made of Luan, then no, they do NOT have the right to advertise it as a "Solid Mahogany Body".

Maybe I was silly for thinking I'd get real mahogany for such a low price, but really, can you blame a beginner for that?

I mean, yeah, Mahogay is an expensive wood, if you know your way around all kinds of materials then you'd know that before buying your first guitar. I sure didn't. A guy only started playing guitar last week, he has no idea what mahogany means or how much it should cost.

 

It just seems strange to me that a big company like Epiphone would advertise blatant lies. Am I that weird?

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See Ike, thing is, their not really "lying". The woods used for construction fall into that "loose interpretation" of mahogany, Christ some of the necks on Chinese Les Pauls were being made out of Agathis, which has properties similar to mahogany, but structurally isn't a good wood to use for that type of application. But because it loosely falls into that category, and it's relatively cheap, and abundant, they used it. Their going to use whatever they can get their hands on to build a guitar, and slap a veneer on it, and call it "mahogany" because technically, it is. So, their not really "lying" per se, just stretching the truth a little bit. But, you get what you pay for, and you're paying for "mahogany".

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the wood your guitar is made from can still be loosely described mahogany right ?. It really doesn't matter as long as the wood has similar tonal characteristics to genuine mahogany. if Epiphone were to ship genuine mahogany from south america to Asia to build their guitars, we would be paying thousands for them..... I have had epiphones made of plywood before, lol.

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I have a g400. It sounds good for its price' date=' it feels okay for any price, and goddammit, does it look good or what.

...

 

So I brought it to a specialist, and turns out that it's made of Luan.

With a fake-mahogany cover, to fool costumers that can't tell the difference.

...

 

Anybody wants to help me on this one?[/quote']

 

You were perfectly happy with it until someone told you it was lauan??? Go make some music and enjoy your axe. It's a fine guitar.

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"the wood your guitar is made from can still be loosely described mahogany right ?"

 

Erm, nope, it can't. That's the whole point here....

I'll post it again. I know it's a lot of text, but please read it...at least the first and 3rd parts.

 

--------------------

 

Per Federal Trade Commission

 

§ 250.3 Identity of woods.

 

* Mahogany.

 

1. The unqualified term mahogany should not be used to describe wood other than genuine solid mahogany (genus Swietenia of the Meliaceae family). The woods of genus Swietenia may be described by the term ‘‘mahogany’’ with or without a prefix designating the country or region of its origin, such as ‘‘Honduras mahogany’’, ‘‘Costa Rican mahogany’’, ‘‘Brazilian mahogany’’ or ‘‘Mexican mahogany’’.

2. The term ‘‘mahogany’’ may be used to describe solid wood of the genus Khaya of the Meliaceae family, but only when prefixed by the word ‘‘African’’ (e.g., ‘‘African mahogany desk’’).

3. In naming or designating the seven non-mahogany Philippine woods Tanguile, Red Lauan, White Lauan, Tiaong, Almon, Mayapis, and Bagtikan, the term ‘‘mahogany’’ may be used but only when prefixed by the word ‘‘Philippine’’ (e.g., ‘‘Philippine mahogany table’’), due to the long standing usage of that term. Examples of improper use of the term ‘‘mahogany’’ include reference to Red Lauan as ‘‘Lauan mahogany’’ or to White Lauan as ‘‘Blond Lauan mahogany’’. Such woods, however, may be described as ‘‘Red Lauan’’ or ‘‘Lauan’’ or ‘‘White Lauan’’, respectively. The term ‘‘Philippine mahogany’’ will be accepted as a name or designation of the seven woods named above. Such term shall not be applied to any other wood, whether or not grown on the Philippine Islands.

4. The term ‘‘mahogany’’, with or without qualifications, should not be used to describe any other wood except as provided above. This applies also to any of the woods belonging to the Meliaceae family, other than genera Swietenia and Khaya.

 

----------------------

 

 

This LAW clearly states that you can NOT sell Luan and refer to it as "Mahogany". What else do you guys need? ._.

 

EDIT: I'll say it again, I DO like this guitar, it sounds fine to me, I enjoy playing it and will keep doing so. I don't mean to throw this guitar away because someone said the materials are not worthy enough, and I don't mean to go on some kinda crazy rampage and sue/disembowel people, or anything like that.

 

I just find it strange that Epiphone are BREAKING THE LAW and I thought I'd like to share it with people and hear some opinions on the matter. That's all =P~

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That's exactly it. Luan is what's called "Phillipine Mahogany", which really isn't mahogany at all. I believe it's in the same family, has pretty much the same properties, but isn't mahogany. And it would have to be shipped from Central/South America, which in itself would drive up the price of your G400 markedly. Not to mention most of that stuff is STRICTLY regulated now, even Gibson has to bid on it. So again, you get what you pay for.

 

Edit: I believe in spec sheets, it does state the material as "Phillipine Mahogany", which would legally cover them, I could be wrong, but it seems to me I read that somewhere. Didn't Epiphone have a "Luan Explorer" a few years back? So right there they tell you what the guitars made from...and I believe THAT was a veneer, again I might be wrong.

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"Erm, nope, it can't. That's the whole point here....

I'll post it again. I know it's a lot of text, but please read it...at least the first and 3rd parts."

Actually, i read it carefully before i replied the first time, and If it bothers you that much then i suggest you write a strongly worded letter to Epiphone!

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Nahh, I'm not even sure all those laws apply here in the middle east. As far as I'm concerned, I can claim that it's made of solid mythril. You can't blame me for trying =P~

 

P.S - anybody who has ever used a Floyd Rose bridge. Are the locks that much of a hassle? I'm looking into some Ibanez guitars but I have this nagging feeling that messing around with the locking tremolo whenever the guitar goes out of tune might drive me crazy....

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P.S - anybody who has ever used a Floyd Rose bridge. Are the locks that much of a hassle? I'm looking into some Ibanez guitars but I have this nagging feeling that messing around with the locking tremolo whenever the guitar goes out of tune might drive me crazy....

 

They can be a pain at times:

 

1. When you tune one string, the others move "sympathetically" by the time you get to string 6, string one is no long where you tuned it to. The trick is to overtune a little so by the time it has shifted, it drops into place instead of out of place.

 

2. The "fine tuners" only go so far, so once you've cranked it all the way down, you have to unlock the nut, back up on the fine tuner and re-tune with the normal tuning peg, then relock the nut.

 

3. When you crank down the lock at the nut, the string is pushed down slightly and goes a little sharp (not much, but enough that you can't just unlock, tune with the normal tuning pegs, relock and expect to be in tune).

 

4. When you break a string, tension is released and ALL strings go out of tune, so you can't really limp through the rest of a song (in a live situation) with 5 strings.

 

5. The bar itself, when used, sometimes does not return to the exact position where it started, so you may have to pull up on the bar gently to ease it back into place . . . it's very slight though.

 

6. Over time, the F/R bridge will steadily rise until it's so high it changes the action, you need to bring it in for setups regularly to return it to the original position or learn to do it on your own. I believe the fix required replacing a spring? I forget because I used to just bring mine in and have a tech do it.

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Meh, see what I mean? It sounds like a guitar that doesn't want you to play it.

 

That's why I was thinking of changing things in the G400 instead of buying a new guitar...I thought, if I install a Bigsby trem on it, replace the nut and bridge, and replace the pickups to some serious Seymour Duncan ones...Or Kent Armstrong. Haven't decided yet.

HOW bad could it possibly sound? Is Luan THAT inferior to real Mahogany that no matter what you do it'll sound "only sorta professional"?

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6. Over time' date=' the F/R bridge will steadily rise until it's so high it changes the action, you need to bring it in for setups regularly to return it to the original position or learn to do it on your own. I believe the fix required replacing a spring? I forget because I used to just bring mine in and have a tech do it.

[/quote']

 

The springs tend to stretch after time and use.

 

The fix for this is to either:

Adjust the spring clip that is screwed into the back of the guitar.

 

or...

 

move the springs to the outer holes on the trem block to put them on an angle - increasing tension - or replacing the springs.

 

But if the springs are too tight, the bridge will have way too much tension and never level out.

 

Yeah, its a pain. And FR trems can be daunting. But once you understand the concept and adjustments, its a pretty great setup. I prefer them over anything else.

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This LAW clearly states that you can NOT sell Luan and refer to it as "Mahogany". What else do you guys need? ._.

 

EDIT: I'll say it again' date=' I DO like this guitar, it sounds fine to me, I enjoy playing it and will keep doing so. I don't mean to throw this guitar away because someone said the materials are not worthy enough, and I don't mean to go on some kinda crazy rampage and sue/disembowel people, or anything like that.

 

I just find it strange that Epiphone are [i']BREAKING THE LAW[/i] and I thought I'd like to share it with people and hear some opinions on the matter. That's all

 

No, they are not breaking the LAW. What you are referencing is a guideline for the furniture industry:

 

Title 16--Commercial Practices

 

CHAPTER I--FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

 

PART 250--GUIDES FOR THE HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE INDUSTRY

 

TEXT PDF 250.0 Definitions.

TEXT PDF 250.1 Avoiding deception and making disclosures.

TEXT PDF 250.2 Describing wood and wood imitations.

TEXT PDF 250.3 Identity of woods.

TEXT PDF 250.4 Leather and leather imitations.

TEXT PDF 250.5 Outer coverings.

TEXT PDF 250.6 Stuffing (including filling, padding, etc.).

TEXT PDF 250.7 Origin and style of furniture.

TEXT PDF 250.8 Deception as to being ``new''.

TEXT PDF 250.9 Misuse of the terms ``floor sample'', ``discontinued model'', etc.

TEXT PDF 250.10 Passing off through imitation or simulation of trademarks, trade names, etc.

TEXT PDF 250.11 Misrepresentation as to character of business.

TEXT PDF 250.12 Commercial bribery.

TEXT PDF 250.13 Other parts in this title 16 applicable to this industry.

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Meh' date=' see what I mean? It sounds like a guitar that doesn't want you to play it.

 

That's why I was thinking of changing things in the G400 instead of buying a new guitar...I thought, if I install a Bigsby trem on it, replace the nut and bridge, and replace the pickups to some serious Seymour Duncan ones...Or Kent Armstrong. Haven't decided yet.

HOW bad could it possibly sound? Is Luan THAT inferior to real Mahogany that no matter what you do it'll sound "only sorta professional"?[/quote']

 

well, that is what I do. here is the reason:

 

Either in my garage or in ANY local bar, there are more things that will affect the tone you hear than the type of wood or type of finish. And, in a bar...most people are 'impaired' anyway!

 

Maybe if you worked in the studio it would matter. Maybe by as much as 5%!!!

 

But, for the price of a Mahogany Gibson, I could have 3 or 4 Epi's, one with a Bigby, one with Duncans, one black, one red, maybe a decent 15 watt tube amp. And enough left over for a couple drinks.

 

Obviously substandard wood is an issue structurally, but only if used wrong. Like the Agathis necks mentioned.

 

I was looking at an acoustic to buy, I bought an AJ-200S. I wanted the AJ-500R, but it was $300 more, and that was without electronics. Yeah, it is solid wood and all, but there are issues with it, as noted in other posts....

 

The reason I chose the AJ-200S is because I can put that other $300 in it with my choice electronis, nut, saddle, and setup and have a better playing guitar than an off the shelf AJ-500R. It will sound at least 75% the same at home, and will be indistinguishable in a band setting.

 

If you like your "Philippine Mahogany" SG, then do with it what you wish!! This is the fun part to me, is modding them!!

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Visually' date=' and argonomically, it's IDENTICAL to a '62 SG.[/quote']

Oooh, not just identical, but CAPITAL LETTERS identical. I have to disagree. I have, uhhh, three G-400s; a 2006 ''65' Maestro LE and two 2004 Vintage G-400s and I used to have a '99, then a '98, then an '04, plus I also have the Elitist '61 reissue (which is actually based on a '63) and the Gibson '61 reissue. Unfortunately, in order to keep costs down (I guess), the G-400 is definitely not 'identical' to the latter replicas. They have gotten a lot better over the years and a new EE model is a lot closer than the older Korean ones ever were, but even the EEs are only 'close'. IMO.

 

SG61x2.jpg

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That's exactly it. Luan is what's called "Phillipine Mahogany"' date=' which really isn't mahogany at all. I believe it's in the same family, has pretty much the same properties, but isn't mahogany. And it would have to be shipped from Central/South America, which in itself would drive up the price of your G400 markedly. Not to mention most of that stuff is STRICTLY regulated now, even Gibson has to bid on it. So again, you get what you pay for.

 

Edit: I believe in spec sheets, it does state the material as "Phillipine Mahogany", which would legally cover them, I could be wrong, but it seems to me I read that somewhere. Didn't Epiphone have a "Luan Explorer" a few years back? So right there they tell you what the guitars made from...and I believe THAT was a veneer, again I might be wrong.[/quote']

Nope. Not the same family. Note that the use of the term 'mahogany' in the case of the Philippine stuff is a trade designation only and has no basis in the genealogy of the species. And no, Epiphone does not specify that their mahogany is actually the Philippine stuff, at least not in any of the literature I've seen. The only loophole is that, since the Les Pauls and G-400s are finished with a veneer of African mahogany, there is a precedent where they can call it mahogany, but, even there, it's not solid and they really should be stating that it's African. The only mahoganies that can legally be referred to without some kind of modifier are the South American varieties of swietenia.

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How about..."Wow!! My guitar's made of Luan!! That' so Awesome!" Why not approach it this way? ;>)

You liked the guitar before you knew it was Luan with a laminate, right?! IF the woods,

specs, hardware, and pickups are really that important to you, WHY buy an Epiphone???

Why not SAVE more money, and get a Gibson?! People do this all the time, here. Buy

an Epiphone, then complain about everything about it! What's up with that?!! It's a

well know fact, that Epi's are nice, but budget priced guitars, made in Asia (mostly),

with Asian woods, elctronics, and hardware. You CAN "upgrade the electronic and hardware,

of course, but it will NEVER be a "Gibson," or even an American made Epiphone! Just ENJOY

it, mod it if you must. OR...wait and get what (maybe) you really want?!

 

As far as "Truth in Advertising?" LOL...that's an Oxymoron!

 

CB

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It may or may not be made of "real" mahogany but who exactly cares? Even Gibson dont and have not made ALL SGs out of solid mahogany - see the new Raw Power for an example. Persanally, at the price, I prefer my Prophecy SG over any of the cheaper Gibsons. Is it really real Mahogany with a real Maple neck - I dont know and I dont care. What I do know is it feels great, looks great and sounds great with a fantastic fast neck that no Gibson I have ever seen can match.

 

All you need to know is that Luan is a hardwood with very similar properties to Mahogany and is a perfectly acceptable material for building guitar bodies out of. That is assuming the guy is even right that yours is luan. Even "real" mahogany will show significant variations in colour and density from one piece to another.

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Well, the tonal purity of Lauan versus Mahogany is one thing, and I agree that Lauan is definitely in the ballpark, especially if you get a good piece, but I think the issue here is one of accurate and honest identification of the product being sold. I mean, if you bought a Dodge RAM with the Hemi engine in it but found out later that all you really had was a 2.0 litre engine out of a Neon with a vacuformed cover that looked like the top of a Hemi... I think you'd be pretty pissed.

 

Just for the record, I have four Gibson SGs (Honduras mahogany), an Elitist SG (African mahogany), three Epiphone G-400s and a Dillion SG (most likely by Unsung or a Saein) (Philippine mahogany) and none of the Lauan-bodied guitars is quite as resonant as the genuine mahogany ones, but then again maybe I'm just biased towards the latter; the proof would have to be in some kind of double-blind test.

 

SG7.jpg

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