Epi G400: New Pickups or New Electronics?

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by nashsed, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    The Gibson vs Epiphone argument has been hashed and rehashed on this forum
    until many of us are impatient with it. But it is a valid discussion, and if we all
    remain civil, we can exchange ideas on this ever-relevant subject and not devolve
    into warring factions. New guys often come aboard here with prejudices that they've
    picked up on other fora perhaps.

    I'll answer the OP's very reasonable question with mine own humble opinion:
    First install new strings... old dead strings sound muddy and won't stay in tune.
    That may just solve your problem easy enough. Then experiment with pickup height. That too may surprise you pleasantly. Lower them a half turn at a time,
    or lower the neck p'up's bass side a half turn more. Then listen.

    Next install the best electronics harness you can afford... IMHO these parts are
    Epiphone's weakest link. I own two fine Epiphone guitars, and I like them a lot. Mine have been extensively modded, set up perfectly and they can take their places beside guitars costing eight to ten times as much, and not give up a thing.
    Epiphones 2018@100.jpg
    Epiphone pickups are serviceable as issued. Only when a guy begins to really develop a style might they come up short. I keep waiting for the day when Gibson admits that they make ALL their pickups in China now, which may unplug some of
    the snobbery. This is not true to my knowledge, but I'm cynical enough about
    what some guys assume is gospel, that I imagine the worst. *shrugs

    I believe that with good electronics (and a set of new strings), you might decide you like your stock p'ups well enough... if not, I recommend Golden Age hum bucker for the neck and Golden Age overwound hum bucker in the bridge.
    https://www.stewmac.com/Pickups_and_Electronics/Pickups/Electric_Guitar_Pickups/
    These are not as prestigious as Seymour Duncans or Gibson '57s or Lindy Fralins
    or many of the other brands people recommend. But they sound great to my ear,
    and are reasonably priced, which goes with the Epiphone motif. I have the Golden Age overwound p'up in the bridge position of the white Epi Wilshire above, and really like the tone. Resistance is about 12 Ohms... lots of presence, no ice pick.

    IMHO a well setup Epi is a very serviceable instrument. I love my Gibsons too, for
    their elegance and grace, and for the brute snarl they can produce when provoked.
    Epiphones can wade fearlessly out into the swamp and get dirty, and Epiphones rock
    where Gibsons fear to tread.
     
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  2. nashsed

    nashsed Member

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    Very eloquently put sir. I'm glad to see some level headed opinions being shared on this forum in a reasonably polite manner as opposed to the usual bickering and ranting that exists across most of the internet these days.

    I do replace my strings quite frequently so old strings wasn't an issue. On a side note I have ordered NYXLs for the first time but i don't expect miracles.
    Lowering the pickup height seems to have certainly helped a bit and i thank everyone for the suggestion. I might still go ahead and replace the electronics as that's far less of an investment than new brand name pickups.


    Why I choose to upgrade an Epiphone over buying a Gibson:
    Both are fine instruments in their own right. As an amateur who strictly plays for an audience of one, it is very difficult for me to justify spending thousands of dollars on a Gibson especially when i know i can't do justice to the instrument. If you can afford it, then all the more power to you. It saddens me to see a lot of my friends and peers bury themselves in debt to buy the next shiny piece of gear, especially when the quality of mid/low priced instruments have improved exponentially in the past few years.

    Good guitars are getting cheaper and cheap guitars are getting better.

    With regards to the low end Gibsons, i genuinely feel like a higher end Epiphone has a lot more to offer than a low end Gibson. With a low end Gibson, you are paying for the cost of American manufacturing and the brand name but clearly a lot of corners had to be cut to reach the lower price point.

    Also, investing time and money in to personalising your guitar is part of what builds that intangible connection that we have with that piece of wood. Isn't that the myth around which the whole signature gear industry is built on? Would someone tell a hot-rodder that he's a fool to not invest his money towards buying a brand new Ferrari/Porsche?

    Choosing one guitar over another because of better resale value seems very counterintuitive to me as that means you are already planning your next purchase and that's exactly the trap that consumerist forces want us to fall in to.
     
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  3. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Right on... it's all about the music, IMHO.

    The gear is what we often fuss over, and that's fun too.
    Or we wouldn't be here. We'd be playing our guitars.
    ...which many on these boards will remind us we should be doing.
    *grins

    In defense of low end Gibsons: I have two, and each of them has their
    own mojo. Low end Gibsons give up nothing to fancy guitars costing four
    or five times as much. As issued, mine have almost everything a player needs, and
    nothing that he doesn't. My two SG specials were both priced at about $600
    which is why I pounced on them. The working man's Gibson.
    April & Luna@100.jpg
    You can pay more than that for an Epi Les Paul Tribute plus, which I'm
    always tempted by, but really don't need. The Gibson SG special doesn't come
    with a whammy bar, so if you need one for your music, you'll have to buy one
    either on the guitar or aftermarket. Or get a Strat or a Shredder.

    I believe the humble Gibson SG special is a fine mod platform,
    just as an excellent Epiphone is. A guy can have a lot of smokey fun
    customizing his inexpensive guitar into something unique.
    Ye silk purse made from ye pig ear... etc.

    Pretty cool how much better the modern day Epiphone guitars are.
    They suffered from poor leadership and wrong choices in the past, and had
    a deservedly dicey reputation since moving offshore. But not now.
    They don't fuss over Gibson traditions very much, and happily make guitars
    that are more practical in some ways... laminated "wood" from unknown
    sources, Polyurethane finish which is hard and protects the guitar well...
    Decent guitars that a beginner can afford... hard to beat IMHO.

    Let a guy work out his chops on a good Epiphone, and if the music
    justifies it, get something more elegant as a reward. When you can afford it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
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  4. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Oh come on Colonel ... if the music justifies it, get a Gibson ? If the cheap guitar still brings the needed mojo, I don't see why it should be replaced. Or did you mean by justifying, that finally going on stage requires a "better" guitar ?

    I'm a 100% with you here. If I ever think of resale value when looking at an instrument, I probably won't buy it. When I get music gear, like sport gear or mostly anything, I do it because I want to make it mine. If I modify something, I assume that it might not please someone other than me who'll use it. I don't care. If I lose $200 at resale and I've had fun with it for 100 hours, I tell myself that at $2/hour, I come out a winner.

    Every minivan I bought, 5th up to now, first thing I do is remove all the back seats to give me room to load as much gear as I can. I usually don't keep the seats around because when time comes to sell the van, it will be so old nobody will care if it has seats in it or not.

    My "new" Swagger Wagon :cool: (luckily, this one has the last row of seats folding in the floor).
    Look it up, too funny: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8u2xMfERTU

    180801.jpg
     
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  5. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    I like waffles.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  6. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Who doesn't?
     
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  7. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Hope you have real maple syrup with them.
     
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  8. nashsed

    nashsed Member

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    I like pancakes :naughty:
     
  9. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    :naughty:
     
  10. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Settled, Sunday morning is a pancake breakfast. You guys are such a good influence.
     
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  11. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Of course, but only pure Vermont maple syrup!
     
  12. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    Gibson Special Faded :thumb:


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
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  13. nashsed

    nashsed Member

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    On a different tangent altogether...


    I've been fascinated with the sound of P90s of late and am contemplating ordering the Tonerider Rebel P90s.

    What's a better combination for an SG? P90 neck + HB bridge or P90s for neck & brodge?

    Music played would range from BLUES (first & foremost) to classic rock (Cream, Zeppelin, Humble Pie, ZZ Top...) to AC/DC, Sabbath etc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  14. nashsed

    nashsed Member

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    It's blasphemous to say this on a SG forum but as terrific as your Gibson SG Specials look i'd choose that Epi 335 (with P90s) over those right now.

    That's one fine looking guitar.

    A semi-hollow and P90s have been on my shopping list for a while now. :(
     
  15. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    I think the Colonel's P90 semi hollow is a ES339. And on this note, I think you should leave the SG alone and get a bona fide P90 guitar. Any humbucker size P90 attempt is just that. They get real close and some are great, but ... Once you play a real P90, you'll understand.

    Where did I see prototypes to fit a P90 bobbin into a humbucker ring/cover ? A pickup winder came up with one recently.

    EDIT: Here it is.
     
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  16. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    My SG Special with Gibson P94, pure riff guitar, I love it.


    [​IMG]
     
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  17. nashsed

    nashsed Member

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    Hot damn!! That looks like it was made to rock :dude:

    Just when I thought I'd made up my mind to go for a separate P90s guitar you show me this :(
     
  18. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Want more incentive ?

    01-.jpg
     
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  19. Beery Swine

    Beery Swine Member

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    I think the '59 is overplayed and overrated personally. The neck position is already getting a bass boost, and the '59 has a heavier bass response. I prefer a Jazz in the neck, much smoother, nice and bright, no muddy mids.
    For a hot bridge pickup, consider the Duncan full shred as well as the JB, but don't look at the tone chart for it FS, I think they screwed it up royally. It has lots of bass, but doesn't have that muddy flubbiness you might expect from a bass-heavy pickup, very tight and responsive attack. A lot of people lately like the Custom 5 for the bridge, and from what I've heard, it's another great pickup.
    Check out Keith Merrow's SD pickup demo videos, he does a great job with them, playing the same riff with the same setup with each pickup and seamlessly splicing them all back to back.
     
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  20. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    Cool Seymour Duncan Demo


     
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