First SG: some mods questions

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by FoldedWilderness, Jan 2, 2018.

Tags:
  1. FoldedWilderness

    FoldedWilderness New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    8
    Hi, I am new to this forum, new to Epiphone and finally; relatively new to guitar in general.

    I had a Squier Startocaster standard for a while and liked it but, I wanted something with a hard tail, humbuckers and a shorter scale length, so I went for a:
    left-handed Epiphone SG g400 pro.

    This guitar is more my style and I like it a lot so far. I am still at the learning stage (l'm in the middle of learning the 5 shapes of the pentatonic minor scales at the moment and learning some riffs along too.)

    Anyway, this long intro was to set the table to ask what are considered the weakest points of a SG like mine?
    So far, I've been generally happy with almost everything, except for the 3-way switch, which disconnects the neck pickup with the slightest touch, when it is in the middle position.

    I'm not looking to change much at all for the moment, because it makes little difference to a noob like me still, but I'd be happy to make changes that could improve playabilty.


    TLDR: Are there anything on a SG 400 pro that "need" changed, or to be worked on?
    Thanks for any replies.
     
  2. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2016
    Messages:
    4,946
    Likes Received:
    2,788
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    Other than a faulty switch that needs fixed / replaced?

    There's nothing that "needs" to be replaced, provided you're happy. I'd suggest a good setup just to maximize what you have. Not from Guitar Center though.

    That said, I'm a avowed modder and as such I tend to hot rod damn near anything I get my hands on. If you've got the skills and the itch and you'd like to see some of what can be done with a G400 there's a link in my signature to The Lady.

    The PRO already does some of the things I added to mine, so that might have held me off longer.
     
    FoldedWilderness likes this.
  3. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    11,061
    Likes Received:
    9,246
    Location:
    -
    Welcome. As Raiyn on your parade says, it's all pretty good to begin with. I would recommend using a bit of switch cleaner to see if that solves your selector switch issue.
    Spend more time playing than reading about mods on forums and you'll be ahead of the game.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2017
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    Stratford, Ontario
    Yeah, if you're happy with everything as is but the switch, go ahead and hit it with some cleaner. That might fix it. If not, the only mod you might really "need" would be just to replace the switch with a better one.
     
    FoldedWilderness likes this.
  5. FoldedWilderness

    FoldedWilderness New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    8
    Thanks guys, I am glad to hear there isn't anything that is considered specially weak in those guitars. I remember reading about various other inexpensive models, where people would suggest to change the nut, or the pickups, or other things right off the bat, day one.

    I'll open up the back and see if anything is up with the selector switch a and then concentrate on trying to play the thing for now.
    I am a bit of a tinkerer, so I AM interested in making some changes somewhere down the line.

    @Biddlin, thanks for the picture, I'll look for something like, I might not need it now, but if/when I do; I'll know what type of thing to look for.

    @Rayin, I went to look at 'the Lady' and you did an excellent job in modding yours. I like the tuner knobs being black, the stock jade ones are fine but, these are much cooler.
     
  6. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2017
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    Stratford, Ontario
    FoldedWilderness likes this.
  7. FoldedWilderness

    FoldedWilderness New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    8
    @bchaffin72, Great job too!

    Upgrading to the full controls is what impresses me most.
    I would worry about the fret stickers breaking over time, when doing bends, for example.
    It seems worth a try though, they sure look great!
     
  8. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2015
    Messages:
    630
    Likes Received:
    602
    Fret stickers? The G400 Pro uses pearloid plastic inlays.. It won't be a problem.

    The only issue I had with mine is that one of the push-pull potentiometers went bad, and getting hold of one of the quick-connect style push pull pots is kinda difficult (why these aren't easily ordered from Epiphone is anyone's guess). In that case, I'd probably just drop in a good old fashioned soldered harness and be done with it. As for the switch, get a new one if you like, but try some contact cleaner first.

    As far as upgrades being necessary? None, really. The G400 is a fine instrument stock. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  9. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,598
    Likes Received:
    6,127
    Location:
    Sutton Québec
    Same echo here. Nothing needs changing on that SG. Don't go look for the bad influences cited above :shock: But a pro set-up is not something out of the question. A good luthier will bring the play-ability of your SG to its summum.

    As for the toggle switch, do get some cleaner spray, you'll use it down the road. If that doesn't cleat the problem, take it out of the guitar without unsoldering anything, and look for a piece that could be loose or bent the wrong way. Those switches can easily be taken apart and re-adjusted. All my Epiphone still have their original toggle switch.

    Another thing ... pups need to find their optimal height to render their full potential. Go at them with a screwdriver. Raise the bridge pup to two credit card thick from the strings. Play it clean and dirty and lower it until you find the tone you like the best. Take your time with this. One screw turn at a time. Test. Another turn if not satisfactory. Once you find it, come back one turn to confirm that it's it.

    Same with neck pup. This time you do it in reverse and start low, flush with pup ring. Similar procedure, but inverted. You're now looking for a honk in middle position that won't be a duplicate of the neck tone by itself. Some kind of Strat quack. Once you find the sweet spot for middle, the neck pup will be at its right height.

    Have fun and don't be afraid to experiment. Nothing that can't be reversed here.
     
    FoldedWilderness and Sweetums like this.
  10. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2016
    Messages:
    921
    Likes Received:
    849
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    As others have said, the G400 Pro is a great instrument and doesn't really need anything. Play it for awhile and you might find some things you want to mod.

    On mine which I got second hand, the push/pull knobs were pulling right out so I rewired the harness with all new full size pots and played around with the tone cap values.

    I was also having trouble getting the intonation right, so I swapped in a wider Nashville style ToM and had a new nut installed at the same time.

    I like to use the volumes to adjust my gain, so I put some treble bleed circuits too.

    Definitely mess around with the pickup height as the Dr. recommends, one of the best "mods" you can do to improve/personalize the sound of your guitar, and it's free!
     
  11. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2017
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    Stratford, Ontario
    Doing the controls was actually fairly easy, with a bit of care.

    The inlay stickers are fairly thin and well below the frets, so I don't even feel them. And I use custom 8 gauge strings, so I play with a light touch anyway. The stickers seem to hold up.
     
  12. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    7,629
    Likes Received:
    7,526
    Location:
    Michigan
    To answer your original question:

    Weak points on an Epiphone begin with the toggle switch
    and the push pull knobs if present. Many of us just remove all of
    the wiring and replace it with good quality parts. Simplify the controls
    and install dependable switch and jack. Doing this, you just have to
    make sure the new parts will fit in the metric holes.

    IMHO it's worthwhile to consider replacing the bridge. Gotoh makes a good one that doesn't cost much, and fits right on an Epi. The Gotoh bridge has more travel than the stock part, and that's good if you're
    using light strings. I think the Gotoh part is higher quality than what
    comes from the factory.

    Many of us have replaced the nut with one made by Tusq. I don't know
    what the factory nut is made of, probably Corian or some other synthetic.
    I have installed the Tusq nut on three Epis, and it wasn't difficult, nor did
    it need much sanding in order to fit.

    Epi G-400 has a reputation for being head heavy. IMHO this can be solved by replacing the heavy Grover tuners with a lighter set. Once again, Gotoh makes a good quality part that fits right in the holes on
    an Epiphone, doesn't cost too much and may cure the neck dive.

    Grover rotomatic tuners are excellent machines, but too heavy for an SG
    IMHO. If you have a combination of neck dive + Rotomatics, there it is.
    You can also replace just the tuner buttons, which will shed SOME weight
    and might help.

    As said above... NONE of these mods are necessary, because your G400 is perfectly serviceable as issued. I'd play it for a good long while, and
    listen to the tone. Use the DeOxit spray inside, and see if that helps.
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And I'll add a +1 to the idea of getting your
    Epi professionally set up. That's the best money you could spend on it.
     
    FoldedWilderness likes this.
  13. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2016
    Messages:
    4,946
    Likes Received:
    2,788
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    Reaming the holes is a simple task and would allow the use of higher quality US spec parts. The tool is cheap too.
    There's no question in my mind about that. Getting rid of the wire retained Epi bridge was one of the best moves I made.
    It ain't Corian. I'd put money on ABS plastic. Cheap.
    Specifically, on the switch and pots. Don't be the guy who soaks down everything. It's sad that I have to make a statement like that, but there are those special people out there who'd point the tube in the jack and fire away.
     
  14. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,598
    Likes Received:
    6,127
    Location:
    Sutton Québec
    US spec parts aren't necessarily higher quality.
    But does it bind a string ? Is it too low ? Does it buzz ? Does it rob the tone of open strings in the cowboy chords ? If none of the above, why bother replacing it ?
     
  15. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2016
    Messages:
    4,946
    Likes Received:
    2,788
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    Compared to Alpha? :rofl: A nicely toleranced CTS or Bourns is kilometers better.
    Did you happen to notice my first post in this thread?
    :hmm: Wow, and I put that emphasis in from the start...

    It may work fine, and it probably does, doesn't change the fact its made of cheap plastic and not "Corian" like the Col. suggested. Heck, if it were Corian I doubt some of us would've bothered swapping it out.*

    *Likely due to the fact Gibson epoxies their Corian nuts to death and if Epi were to do likewise....I don't even want to think about that.
     
  16. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,598
    Likes Received:
    6,127
    Location:
    Sutton Québec
    :fingersx:

    I have a PRS with an horrible plastic nut (as everybody describes it) and my P90 tone is heavenly good. I can't imagine how good it would be with a good nut ! Nut tone is only affected on open strings after all, isn't it ? I'd love to see a A+B comparison on an oscilloscope or something scientific like that. Then on a 100 blindfolded tests.
     
    SG standard likes this.
  17. FoldedWilderness

    FoldedWilderness New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    8
    @Col Mustard : That is a lot of things to think about. I imagine changing the nut would help to keep the guitar in tune longer, but I am not sure what would changing the bridge and tail do?
    As far as the SG being head-heavy; it really is but I don't play with a regular strap, since I have tendon problems in my arm, I use a harness to hold up the guitar and play seated, so no diving problem at all.

    @Raiyn : No worries, I might be new to guitars but, I would not have tried to drown my controls with the deoxit stuff, it just doesn't sound like a good idea.

    @DrBGood : Adjusting the pickup heights is something I'll most definitely try over the weekend. So, I adjust them to taste? There is no real 'standard' to aim for?

    I'll work on it this weekend, when I'll have time to take it slow.
    Thanks for all the replies, it's been informative.
     
  18. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,598
    Likes Received:
    6,127
    Location:
    Sutton Québec
    Your ear is the ultimate standard. Follow the procedure I wrote and you should come pretty close to the best you can do. It's a fun part, take your time and try it again the next day. Because your hearing is not something linear, you might find a "better" setting then.
     
  19. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2017
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    Stratford, Ontario
    Another thing I found didn't hold up was the built in kill switch on the original tone pot that mine came with. When I rewired mine I initially left it in but it didn't take too long for that to start acting up, so I replaced it with a standard pot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  20. Norlin SG

    Norlin SG Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    631
    Likes Received:
    414
    I suppose this: is wrong as well.
    Well said. Even if you do change the potts etc you should have DeOxit D5 on hand. I've brought potts back from the dead with it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
    FoldedWilderness likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice