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Epiphone G400: Save up for an upgrade or a new guitar?


TheWorminator

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Hey all, first post here.

 

I have an Epiphone G400 guitar, and I was thinking of upgrading it. The stock pickups need upgrading, and I'm thinking of having some work done on the frets by the local guitar shop to make sure they're leveled. However, considering that the guitar was only 300 dollars in the first place, the cost of a full set of pickups ($200+?) and having the frets worked on is kind of hard to justify.

 

I'm happy with the sound I get when it's played without an amp, so I think the guitar itself is alright, just the pickups aren't great and there's some fret buzz even on a higher action.

 

Basically, I'm interested in what your opinion is on this. Should I be spending almost the cost of the guitar itself in pickups and shop work, or should I just be saving up for a better guitar?

 

Thanks!

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Hey all' date=' first post here.

 

I have an Epiphone G400 guitar, and I was thinking of upgrading it. The stock pickups need upgrading, and I'm thinking of having some work done on the frets by the local guitar shop to make sure they're leveled. However, considering that the guitar was only 300 dollars in the first place, the cost of a full set of pickups ($200+?) and having the frets worked on is kind of hard to justify.

 

I'm happy with the sound I get when it's played without an amp, so I think the guitar itself is alright, just the pickups aren't great and there's some fret buzz even on a higher action.

 

Basically, I'm interested in what your opinion is on this. Should I be spending almost the cost of the guitar itself in pickups and shop work, or should I just be saving up for a better guitar?

 

Thanks![/quote']

I have a G-400 Vintage I bought in July, new for $265 (GC 10% off coupon..)

I absolutely love the guitar and have been very satisfied for once with the stock pickups. They are very good on this one.

I did have the frets leveled and polished. A local luthier/ Authorized Gibson Repair Center for the area/ does a wonderful fret job for $65.

It plays like a dream now.

I did think about changing pickups early on, but thought maybe go GFS due to the lower cost compared to another brand.

Getting two GFS pickups for around $80 seems a bit more reasonable.

www.guitarfetish.com

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Thank you for the quick replies.

 

@BKitten: I was thinking more of the high end Epiphones, maybe up in the 700$ range? I assume they'd be built to better standards, have nice stock pickups, sound better right?

 

@Gas Jones: The prices for that are appealing, but the site and the off-brand pickups seem kind of sketchy. Do you know anyone who's had experience with the pickups? How would they be compared to Seymour Duncan or Gibson? (The two brands I'm looking at)

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I assume they'd be built to better standards' date=' have nice stock pickups, sound better right?[/quote']

Not really. And most Epiphone humbuckers are the same - Alnico Classic (neck) and Alnico Classic Plus (bridge on LPs, G400s). Dots and some others have the "regular" classics in both positions.

 

Now for the important question: what amp(s) do you use?

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Thank you for the quick replies.

 

@BKitten: I was thinking more of the high end Epiphones' date=' maybe up in the 700$ range? I assume they'd be built to better standards, have nice stock pickups, sound better right?

 

@Gas Jones: The prices for that are appealing, but the site and the off-brand pickups seem kind of sketchy. Do you know anyone who's had experience with the pickups? How would they be compared to Seymour Duncan or Gibson? (The two brands I'm looking at)[/quote']

Honestly I have only dealt with Duncan and Dimarzio myself, so paying upwards of $140 for two pickups isn't foreign to me.

I also wondered about GFS but have heard so many positive things (mainly at Harmony-Central forum)..yet I wonder how they would compare.

It's tempting to go for the GFS Crunchy PAT

but would they be much better than the Epiphone pickups?

I don't know.

The stock Epi's in my newest G-400 seem to be close to '57 classics..as they're intended to be.

How they managed that is a head scratcher.

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Hahah' date=' and this is when people pounce on me. I currently have a cheap Robson 10 watt amp that I don't really use. Instead, I use a Line6 Pod Studio GX to add effects or play it clean through my Logitech Z2300 speakers.

 

Please don't kill me. I'm looking at amps to buy too, but they're also quite expensive. [/quote']

It's cool. I honestly think your money would be much better spent on an amp before pickups/new guitar.

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Hahah' date=' and this is when people pounce on me. I currently have a cheap Robson 10 watt amp that I don't really use. Instead, I use a Line6 Pod Studio GX to add effects or play it clean through my Logitech Z2300 speakers.

 

Please don't kill me. I'm looking at amps to buy too, but they're also quite expensive. [/quote']

I never really get the sound I want out of my computer based TonePort UX2..it is alotta fun sure...

but the real test comes in front of the Marshall stack. Oh Yeah.

We know it's alive then!

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It's amazing how different a guitar can sound through different amps. I own an Epi Ltd. Edition 1966 G-400. Great guitar. Sounds lousy through my Fender Frontman 10 watt (all my guitars sound lousy through that amp...even my Gibson SG Standard and SG Special). But through my Marshall 15 watt, Line 6 Spider 15 watt and Fender G-DEC 30.... they all sound great.

I don't think you should spend another dime fooling around with the G-400...an already fine guitar. Put your effort into a decent amp. Then you'll see how good a guitar you already have in the G-400.

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I would definitely get a new amp first. There are a lot in the 200-300 dollar range that are very good. I have a Vox AD30VT ($269 now) and I love it. In fact I liked it so much I just ordered a Vox VT50. No, it doesn't sound as good as a tube amp, but it sounds pretty darn good. As far as the muddiness goes, a new amp could make a huge difference. You can always EQ the amp to the guitar and take some bottom end out. And if you still want new pickups, at least you have a descent amp.

 

If you go for pickups I would recommend GFS Vintage 59s, I have had great luck with them. Don't blow them off because they don't cost $200 and don't have a "name", they are very good. Can you tell a difference between the Classic 57s and the Vintage 59s? Probably, but I'm not sure most people could. And yes, they are a HUGE improvement over the stock Epi pickups.

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But even through a decent Marshall amp' date=' wouldn't it still sound as muddy as it does now? Or slightly better?[/quote']

 

Don't have to be a Marshall you know. Maybe that's just what Gas likes....my prefernce are blackface Fenders. Try them and find out like he says.

 

Anyhow back to the SG. Might be you could just be in need of a set up in the worse possible way. Have you ever had one done? Sounds like to me you be needing one to tell the truth.

 

Maybe you got a dog but I've had my '96 G-400 for 13 years and it's been totally stock....just one great guitar IMO.

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I'll also bring it into the guitar shop to see how much it'll cost to have it worked on. I can't seem to find any Gibson Authorized Repair centers near me though, but hopefully it should be fine.

 

@rafael: Yeah, I think I just say Marshalls automatically, hahah. If I have time, I may bring my guitar into the store and try out some different amps.

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Thanks guys. I'll take a look at the GFS pickups again too.

 

One more thing' date=' should I be staying away from Marshall's MG series? As far as I can tell, they're the low end line, are they decent/worth it?[/quote']

No worse than a ValveState and a bit cheaper.

I have an MGHDFX 100 watt head with the 412a cab.

Dialed in right it smokes!

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I'm happy with the sound I get when it's played without an amp' date=' so I think the guitar itself is alright, just the pickups aren't great and there's some fret buzz even on a higher action.

 

Basically, I'm interested in what your opinion is on this. Should I be spending almost the cost of the guitar itself in pickups and shop work, or should I just be saving up for a better guitar?

 

 

[/quote']

 

I've done plenty of mods costing more than the guitar itself, they were worth it.

But I agree with others on buying a decent amp first. Who knows, you might like the stock PUs after all.

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I bought my G400 new in 2006. It sounded so good that I did nothing to it for almost 2 years.

Than the switch started misfunctioning (as often is the case with Epis). So I replaced the switch with a switchcraft one, had new wiring put in with new higher value caps for the tone pots. This gave me quite a bit more control with the tone knobs. But this didn't change the overall sound of the guitar really at all.

Then I finally got the nerve to put on a new Tusq nut. I wasn't afraid to put on a new nut really (I've put quite a few on in the past). I was just afraid that somehow I was going to mess up a really great sounding guitar.

You guys ever do that? You get a guitar that sounds so awesome, you're afraid to mess with it at all!? That was my case. What also contributed to this was probably the fact that it was my first new guitar.

Anyway..........Get a new amp! That is what you should be doing for sure. You'll probably be surprised at how great that guitar already sounds.

Also, consider raising or lowering the pup height. This can change the sound/tone a lot.

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Guest icantbuyafender
But even through a decent Marshall amp' date=' wouldn't it still sound as muddy as it does now? Or slightly better?[/quote']

 

 

If you play through a floor processor pickup upgrades arent going to do much unless they are active.

 

EMG is about the only pickup brand that goes well and actually makes a sound difference with line 6 gear.

 

I personally dislike both EMG and line 6 in favor of good old fashioned tubes, analog effects, and alnico magnets

 

GFS is definately your best bet to try out new pickups without breaking open the piggy bank.

 

Im a epi les paul w/ gibson 490R/490T pickups man myself. But that is just what my ears like. Low output.

 

Honestly GFS are just as good as any. The Big Name brands charge for their reputation and name.

 

The other brand Ive heard great things from is Rockfield. Good up and comers, available at Guitar Center.

 

Your G400 is a damn good guitar. I have one. Nearly everyone here owns a les paul and an G400.

 

I say, check out guitarfetish.com and browse pickups and soundbytes. plus, see if they have some hardware to personalize your G400 too.

 

Welcome.

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A G400 is a fine guitar. For straight-up rock you're not going to do a lot better with other Epis, unless you want something bulky like a Sheraton, which you probably don't if you like the SG look and feel. Your next geniune step up is a Gibson SG and that's crazy $$$ so I'd be spending on some good amp gear instead. My G310 sounds great through the aforementioned AD30VT, I'm sure a G400 would sound even better. Get a good amp and you may decide you don't even want to change the pickups.

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The Marshall MGs are no good tone-wise. I had an MG 100 DFX, it went back to Marshall twice in less than a year. They are made in China and the speakers are crap. clean sound was poor and FX were dire. The Valvestates with Celestion speakers are much much better. I would say don't judge the pups until you've had a good trial with a better amp. Even then, new pots and capacitors can clean your sound up significantly for less expense than one pup. My personal view is that the Epi stock neck pup is ok for solid bodies but the bridge pup lacks something.

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