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Brand Name Guitars


Maiden69
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Ok, I decided to try and start a thread to help the ne wguys coming here to ask questions about Brand name guitars, like what do we think, are they good, what about the electronics and stuff like that.

I have experience with very few Brands, but the one that I'm going to talk about is the Epiphone...

I think that for the money it is a regular guitar to start, (and I'm talking in the amateur luthier point of view). I think that if you are looking at the guitar from the outside it looks great, the paint and the finish is pretty good for the price of the guitar, but I think that the finish is too thin and is prone to scratches and abuse.

Once you decide to modify the guitar is when you find out the short comings and were is that Epiphone cut corners in order to keep the price down. The electronics are alright for begginers, but the pots start to scratch and squeal in a few months. The pups are decent but are in the mid level not as good as the cheapest Seymour or DiMarzio.

(This is an area that you will like to improve the most)

The neck came pretty decent but a quick level job will make it better, and if you have a neck jig (which I don't have yet) will make it better!

The woods are not always what you will expect, especialy from a brand that's endorsed by Gibson and Les Paul himself. On my Les Paul Classic PLus (here a link to it)

http://epiphone.com/default.asp?ProductID=160&CollectionID=6

the top is a very thin veneer this is not mentioned on their site, it just says flamed maple, the body can be either mahogany or alder, just like the cracker Jack box surprise you never know what you will get! The neck is supposed to be Mahogany, and mine was maple.

The neck joint had a space between the tenon and the body about 3/16" which I'm sure kills the sustain. And as you can see in my pic, the tenon is cut square and looks out of place but the guitar is straight.

DSC00996.jpg

If you have had performed majopr surgery on a brand name guitar and have found out that it's better, meets the expectations or is worst than advertised, please post it here! May be in the long run if we get veredicts on the major brands this can be pinned and we can have a point of reference to send the new guys when they start asking those newbie questions. Nad I don't have and probably you to write this much about 5 times a month everytime somebody ask "what daya think about this or that guitar!

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heh ....ok,

where should i start hahahahaha, oh I know lets look at the facts...

68% og the WORLDS guitars were made by Samick, that percentage includes ALL epiphones, can ya guess what i think of that and what I would say next? fact is most people (usually kids) that dont know the information avaiable, could go out and by a bronze BCR or an old ibanez rg120 off of ebay, I myself, (partially due to building my own custom design and wanting to sell them and partially because I had a good experince with my first guitar being expensive) totally recommend that if you want to "try" a guitar even, that you shouldnt get something you could wind up being dissapointed with, and not to mention the fact that if one isnt the axe slinger they thought they wanted to be, an expensive guitar has much more resale value than an old beater or $4!+box as I call them.my guitars personally will hold value, as they will only be made 50 times each. this makes them fairly original considering there are billions of people worldwide, and it makes them collectable as well. These were the thoughts I had when starting up this company, as well as the need to beat prices for equalt products. So instead of having such a general topic, maybe we should choose to voice our opinions on what is going to get them the best bang for the buck, the first thing they need to kn0ow is this! DO NOT BUY A SIGNATURE SERIES GUITAR JUST CUZ YOUR HERO HAS ONE....simply go to a shop, and play em all till you fond the one you KNOW is it! everything here, at least for the most part, someone on here could argue just as convincingly as I have... so the best of luck to whomever jumps into the chasm of knowledge of what to and not to do!

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i got an epiphone LP custom last october and i'm totally satisfied with the guitar. used to have a gibson LP studio and i gave it away for the epi. the sustain of the epi is great and it plays very well. the first thing i did was some fretwork, because i like pretty low action and then the tone in the 13th fret at the higher strings "died". the stock pickups aren't that bad and the pots don't scratch till today either and i played the guitar a lot. the body and neck wood is definately mahogany. the top looks like it, too. but i'm not so sure about that. if it is, then it would come real close to the original customs, which were one block mahogany.

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Hey, some Epi lovers here!! :D

I am a big fan of Epi and I do realize as anakretia said that most of the world's guitars are made by Samick. I recently (this year) started selling the Samick Greg Bennett's and have found them to be of great quality, fit and finish also. They also have some great sounding basses in their line for well under the few hundred you'd expect to pay for a decent bass.

Since all of us have different "ears" I'd have to say play them and find one you like and that is in your price range. Be happy with whatever it is and know that someday you'll be able to afford that "one" you always wanted.

Since I sell them I get to play a hundred or so guitars and basses a month and I am still stuck on the Epi's. They are built well (the Korean ones) and they sound great. Schecter is another brand that is killer for the price. A lot of guys rip on the Seymour Duncans but I know guys that are die hard Gibson or Fender lovers and they all are impressed when they pick up a Schecter and give it a ride. I sold a good friend a Schecter 5 string and he hasn't touched his Fender Jazz 5 in months!!

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For those looking for a sub 500 guitar go look on ebay for any MIJ strat they are much much better than most american strats...

Thats the way to go in most cases. The electronics are great, and if the neck is messed go to warmoth and get a new one from the thrift shop I buy there all the time. Have bought 5 necks there this year!.

For the most part the EPI's are ok....

owned one for many years, just replace all of the elctronics and you have a good guitar...

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When I got my MIM Strat as a gift nine years ago, I immediately took it apart to see how it was built. It was my first electric and I was taking some electronics courses in school so I was just curious.

The one thing that stood out was the pickup routs. Instead of a big swimming pool rout like the American Standards, it had individual routs for the neck and mid pickups and a humbucker-sized rout for the bridge. I've never taken apart a 1995 US Strat, but what everyone told me was that they had the "pool" rout that messed with the sound somehow during those later years in the '90s.

So that was one pleasant surprise. I just wish Fender put the medium-jumbo frets on it instead of the small vintage wire. I guess that's the next project.

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Speaking of MIM Standard Strats (and probably tele's too), they are good starter guitars, however, be aware that they are not the normal 3 piece Fender bodies, but anywhere from 5 to 7 boards glued together, then laminated with alder on the front and back (or poplar on the pre 2001 guitars). Also, the bridges are not vintage width, they are smaller, so your upgrade options are limited. Pickups also are more cheaply made versions of Fender standard offerings, they feature ceramic bar magets under steel poles as opposed to the typical Alnico Poled single coils usually found on Fenders.

Speaking of Epiphone, I would argue that guitars like the Agile's are similar or better quality for much less money. Made in Korea in a lot of the same factories as Epi's, the LP copy has a maple neck, 2 to 3 piece mahogany body, with flame or quilt maple veneer. They are good solid guitars available for $200 to $250. They have set necks and a nice carved top.

Personally, I think that building a guitar yourself (from USA Custom Guitars, or Warmoth) is the best way to go to get a quality instrument. Resale is not that good, but you will get more money if you part it out on ebay, anyway.

Edited by javacody
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Yeah, I found out about the bridge when I tried to install some graphite saddles. Didn't fit, didn't want to blow anymore money trying to find ones that would :D

The original pickups were okay, but sounded way too bright and shrill. I use Seymour Duncans now and the sound is quite nice. I'm probably going to build my first lap steel with the original pickups.

The body is poplar, but since it's a black guitar and sort of my test-bed for new ideas, the poor man's (law student's) alder suits me fine for now. I didn't see any laminations when I was routing a battery-box in the body, but maybe they only did that on the sunburst models.

Now I know I could have probably bought an American or Japanese Strat nine years ago and probably had almost just as good of a guitar as I have now, but figuring my parents spent probably $250 on the guitar and I've added maybe $250 in upgrades, that's still $250-300 less than the US Standards were going for nine years ago.

Besides, this is the Project Guitar forum. We're all either about building from scratch or getting a beater and making it gold.

BTW, I tried out a PRS Tremonte SE the other day. Fabulous Guitar. I did a double-take when I saw it was made in Korea. Too bad they can't make anymore of them right now, but if you can, snap one up because it's a mighty axe for not much coin. Better than the Epi Less Les Pauls.

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crafty, I'm not dissin the MIM Standards at all. I've owned two of them, one was blue agave and the other the midnight wine. Both excellent guitars. One got Texas Specials and the other got Tex-Mex. Great, great guitars for the money. Great necks, good finish, good hardware, good electronics (other than the pickups which are just ok). Also a great project guitar. Most guitar shops have a lot of them, so you can really dig through and find a true keeper. You can pick em up used for $200 to $250. I give them a :D

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