Epiphone Elite/Elitist models. What were they thinking?

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by Rich Cuellar, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. Rich Cuellar

    Rich Cuellar Member

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    I recently bought a 2005 Epiphone Elitist SG and posted about how much I love it. But, It got me to thinking, what the hell was Gibson thinking when they released this model? Its Gibson level quality (ie hand selected woods, USA pickups and hardware, etc) but it was twice the price of the rest of the Epiphone line and almost as much as a Gibson Special. Granted, it had neck binding/inlaid headstock/trapezoid fret inlays that the Special didn't have, but it was still an Epiphone albeit an expensive one, I imagine people would have picked an entry level USA Gibson Special over an imported top level Epiphone every time since they were about equal in quality. Since they only made about 1500 of them, I imagine they realized their mistake. But with all that said, I owned a 2017 Gibson Special Faded T and as much as I loved it, the Elitist is better all around. Anyone else have any additional info or opinions?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
  2. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    I am glad to hear you love your elitist. I have absolutely 0 hands on experience with epiphone, minus noodling around with the odd one at a guitar store. But I have recently been brought up to speed on the matter via my own research.

    For me it started with my love for the blues and deciding I wanted ES-335. I had a nice Gretsch, a Strat, a les paul copy and some other music gear that I never used. I listed those for sale and moved them out in quick order and got myself about $1200 to play with.
    I shopped the 335 market across Canada pretty hard for about 90 days , but couldn’t locate anything that got me jumping.i found lots locally, new and used, but nothing under $2700. That was just more than I had to spend, so easy decision. I did find a few out of province for closer to $2,000 but it was still over what I wanted to spend and it would have been an expensive roll of the dice.

    I have never really been attracted to copies, no matter how good. So the Eastman and others didn’t really call out to me. I tried the epiphone Dots, but off the shelf they all seemed like dogs... fret boards were dry, finishes seemed good for the money, but couldn’t bind to one.

    Then I discovered the Sheratons. Didn’t know boo about them, but they played nice and their finishes, minus nitro, were on par with I expect from Gibson. Color me impressed. Played a handful of new ones, and they were all good! Some better than others, but I would have been happy with any of them. Quality was there. I searched the used market and located a Koreanone about 5500 km (3500 miles) away and negotiated my way to $690, which includes $140 for the shipping. This beauty should arriving in a weeks time.

    Long story short, your right. Some of the epiphone top tier models are really excellent guitars. If this Sheri plays as nice as the others, I would be convinced the only reason I would buy a 335 would be for the headstock. Epi does have some amazing guitars at a players cost, you can’t take that away from them.
     
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  3. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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  4. Rich Cuellar

    Rich Cuellar Member

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    Man, that is a nice looking guitar. I may have to look out for one of those! I could never afford a Gibson 335...
     
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  5. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

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    Sheraton’s are great.

    But the question at hand revolves around:

    1) the elitist line.
    2) the question “what were they thinking”.

    Rich... it’s a crazy good question. I’m wondering if they were trying to elevate the quality profile of the epiphone name??

    Or...if the elitists were primarily made for the Japanese or “collector” market?

    I’d totally love to hear the story.
     
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  6. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    i will keep you posted once it arrives. But I am hoping it plays as good as it looks
     
  7. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    Korea Unsung plant
     
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  8. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    you bet, when I started my hunt I was advised to search for the unsung or the samick plant
     
  9. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    To o.p. : Prefer a made in Japan Epiphone SG, the elitist tomb headstock is ... strange :smile:, but Elite/Elitist is a good guitar.


    [​IMG]
     
  10. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Well-Known Member

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    Good call going with the Sheraton. For the price you can't beat them. I think you'll like how it plays. I've had mine for a few months now and it still impresses me every time I plug it in.
     
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  11. Rich Cuellar

    Rich Cuellar Member

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    I have no problem with the tombstone head stock personally. Its a great guitar regardless...
     

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