Neck material for Epiphone SG Special from May 2012?

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by NoiseNinja, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja New Member

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    Not that it's all that important, even if I'd prefer the neck of my guitar being made from hard maple rather than much softer mahogany.

    The recipe from the shop where I bought it says maple neck, bought in September 2012.

    The serial number says it was made in May 2012.

    The 2011/2012 catalog from Epiphone says that the neck material is mahogany for the SG Specials from that period, but the 2013 catalog says that they used hard maple for the necks of that model by then.

    Now would it be safe to conclude that the recipe from the store is indeed right and that Epiphone had changed to using maple necks for the SG Specials by May 2012, or does it look like the recipe might be wrong and that the neck is made from mahogany like the 2011/2012 catalog from Epiphone suggests?

    I have had the neck off once, and from what I remember, not exactly being a wood expert either, it looked like maple and not mahogany, but I might very well be wrong.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  2. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Epiphone guitars have a long and checkered history, but what you can safely assume now is that Epi SG specials are being made in Tsingtao China for the 'entry level' market. This means that they are built to be
    inexpensive, and the wood choices made by the factory are in accordance with market prices for different types and grades. The advertising in the catalog may describe instruments made during one production run, but the next batch made might have different components.

    Epiphone designers and engineers, workmen and women... seem pretty brilliant to me.
    They seem to be able to produce excellent instruments at a fraction of the price that we pay for Gibson originals here in the U.S.A. I own two Epiphones, a 2006 Epi Wilshire replica, and a 2014 ES-339 P-90 pro.

    Both are really fine instruments that I bought for relatively small money, and then proceeded to modify until I was satisfied that they gave me what I was hoping for. I have other guitars that I play, but these two
    Epiphones are so unique that I reach for them often.

    Anyway, the answer to your original question is: we don't really know what wood Epiphone might use for any particular production run of one of their guitar models. But their guitars are decent instruments anyway.
    Both Maple and Mahogany are excellent materials for guitar necks.
    So in your case, it really doesn't matter. it's an SFG! Rock that sucker.

    Gibson has made guitar necks out of mahogany for a hundred years and more. So has Martin Guitars (acoustics). Most guitars were made with mahogany until Leo Fender came along and demonstrated that guitar
    necks made of Maple were durable, toneful, practical, solid and economical. Closed minded individuals wanted to deny that Fender was
    any good, but such voices were quickly drowned out. Fender rules now.

    So if you want to have a preference in the wood used in your next guitar,
    you should plan to spend more money. You might pay ten times what you paid for your Epi SG special, but you'll be sure to get what you see
    in the catalog. In the meantime, I'd play your Epi SG until your fingers
    are raw. Epiphone makes good guitars. Closed minded individuals might try and deny this. But they can't. A closed mind is nothing to be proud of.
    Caledonia 916@100.jpg
    This is Caledonia, my Epi ES-339 P90 pro. For this instrument, the designers decided that the guitar would be made of maple, and the neck made of mahogany. Check it out:
    neck back 2@100.jpg
    I absolutely love the way this looks and feels and sounds.
     
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  3. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja New Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    Indeed my Epiphone SG Special is a great instrument.

    At first I didn't really care much for it, and only had it for recordings since I had bass as my main instrument of choice for many years, but just recently having gone back to focusing more on the instrument that originally got me started playing music and doing a thoroughly setup on my SG Special made me realize that it is actually surprisingly good for the price I payed for it and overall a great instrument.

    Sure I have had guitars that were more expensive and also that I liked better (particularly a Westbury Standard, that design wise is somewhat inspired by a SG, and is the best damn guitar I ever laid my hands on, but was stupid enough to let go), especially the pickups on the SG Special could do with an upgrade, but I am still able to get a very useful tone out of it, it has perfect fretwork with no buzz at all, and overall feels quite nice to play.

    For the money I spend I got a lot of guitar and I have a hard time imagining I would have been able to get any better for a similar price.

    When that is said, even if mahogany is an acclaimed wood type for guitar neck making, maple at least on paper should make for a more durable and stable neck as it is over twice as hard as mahogany.

    I do think my SG has a maple neck, since it says so on my recipe from the shop where I bought it and it is plausible that Epiphone had changed from mahogany to maple at the time it was made, since that is what it says in 2013 catalog and a 2012 add for the Gothic variation of the SG Special featuring for a guitar pack with an amp also says that it has a maple neck, but if it doesn't it won't be the end of the world, and from what you say it seems like there is no way telling for sure unless I screw the neck off again and get someone who has knowledge about how different wood types look take a look at it.

    However I don't like the idea of screwing off the neck of my guitar unless it would be absolutely necessary, so probably going to leave it at that.

    Though I did leave a question in the customer support option that Epiphone's web site offers, so perhaps I will get a full closure on the matter if they are able to answer me.

    Anyway, thanks again for taking time replying.

    Here it is, by the way, with a painted pickguard, a Sherman Filterbank II sticker and the stock knobs replaced with some chikenhead style ones:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
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  4. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to ETSG... You'll find kindred spirits around here.

    Your SG looks radical, and should be played loud IMHO.

    "For the money I spend I got a lot of guitar and I have a hard time imagining I would have been able to get any better for a similar price."

    That sums up the Epiphone thing for me...
    They sell instruments world wide, on this same philosophy.
    People of many different stripes buy and play their guitars in many different styles, many different languages. Music is the bridge.

    And many of us on this forum play other instruments as well.
    Luretta 6 Lansing 2010.jpg
     
  5. Chubbles

    Chubbles Well-Known Member

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    I bought an Epi SG Special on a whim for my 50th d-day (3 1/2 years ago). I loved the feel of the neck. If I can play a particular jazz chord progression easily, that's a good neck. I've since modded the hell out of it, and I play it often. It's the cheapest guitar I ever bought, but I do love it.
     
  6. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja New Member

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    Sure, it's an amazing instrument for the price and the neck feels nice as well.

    My concern was not really the feel of the neck though, but it's durability and stability.

    I also ponder on swapping out the stock pickups, preferably with the pickups my Westbury was equiped with, a DiMarzio PAF 59 in the neck and a Super Distortion in the bridge, though I might start out with just replacing the neck pickup, since that is really the main problem, being quite muddy, with a cheap Wilkinson Zebra MWHZ Alnico V pickup, and leave the stock bridge pickup in for now, since that actually sounds quite decent.
     
  7. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Active Member

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    The ONLY real possible issue you may have, and this is whether it's a budget guitar like the Special, or the more expensive lines are the frets. It seems the fret material isn't the best. Otherwise, no reason not to believe the guitar can't last you 20, 30 years. It's a guitar, the cheap parts can easily be replaced over time. And the special, is the lest expensive model they make.
     
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  8. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    As long as you don't go Townshend on it, it should last a lifetime.

    73_lpcustomsmash.jpg
     
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