Some modern G-400 questions on specs, personal opinions, and junk

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by Beery Swine, Jun 9, 2019 at 12:10 AM.

  1. Beery Swine

    Beery Swine Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2018
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    I have dark cherry '66 G-400 PRO with Alnico Classic PRO pickups, with 4-conductor wiring I assume, based on the push/pull coil splitting ability (not a fan of any such jiggery pokery, personally). I love it tonally, but the biggest issue is the sticky nut. Need to lubricate that at some point, and learn how to do it and what to get for it, for that matter. Another issue is it seems to have a bit more hum-noise when not playing with distortion/OD on than my other guitars. Yeah, each guitar has different amounts of noise, but the Epi stands out a bit in this regard, and I'm wondering if it's the shoddy electronics, the wiring job, or if it was done on purpose to make it more "vintage". Seems weird to try to make a push/pull pot-equipped guitar more "vintage", but stranger things have happened.
    I've noticed that the G-400 and the G-400 PRO both have "Alnico Classic" pups, but the PRO has "PRO" at the end of the name, too. Is it the same exact pickup, but with 4-c wiring added for the push/pull, or are there other tonal/manufacturing differences? Does anyone know? Have there been any dissections on this? I suppose generally not, since they're not considered high-end pups. One thing that's had me curious is how much does 4-c wiring affect the tone of a pickup, if at all, even if you're not using it, compared to a 1-c braided pickup?
    I'm considering buying another '66 G-400 (I always prefer the large pickguard), black this time, and replacing the pickups with some kind of EVH type set. If this was your plan, would you go for the standard or the PRO version? Would the push/pull pots need to be replaced on a PRO, or could they just be on/off switches?
    How worth it is it to replace the electronics with Gibson counterparts to begin with? Does their's have less hum, better tone, more reliable, or wha?

    Other general discussions and opinions section:

    - Do you think there's a tonal difference between the pickups being mounted to the large pickguard vs. the small pickguard with mounting rings?
    - Do you think the Epiphone deluxe 18:1 ratio tuners are significantly different from the Wilkinson 18:1 ratio machines?
    - Do you think darker pickups are better in an SG vs a Les because it already has plenty of thin body snarl?
     
  2. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2016
    Messages:
    765
    Likes Received:
    693
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    I can speak to a few of these things which I've left in the quoted post above.

    The Alnico Classic Pro pickups are indeed 4 conductor wire. They are meant to be the same construction as Gibson 57's but with alnico 5 magnets. The Alnico Classics are alnico 2 magnets I believe and I know that the bridge pickup is much hotter, like 14k. The Pros are more vintage output, about 7.5 neck and 8.5 bridge. So they are different.

    On your next string change, scrape some pencil graphite into the nut slots.

    You could wire push/pull pots to function normally, but the Epi ones are utter crap, so my advice is replace them. IMO there's no need to pay for Gibson stuff, I've found Gotoh, Alpha and CTS pots to be of good quality.

    Hope that's some help.
     
  3. Beery Swine

    Beery Swine Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2018
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    Whoa . . . didn't realize how different they were. I'm DAMN glad I got the PRO. If I'd known at the time, I may have gone with the non-PRO because "more output, more gain, more metal", but after playing lower output pickups for a year or so now, I've found I definitely prefer them most of the time over high output stuff. The Seymour Duncan Distortion is a notable exception. Amazing and amazingly underrated pickup, imho. We'll call this whole thing about me not knowing the difference one of those Bob Ross "happy accidents".
    It really is amazing how drastic my guitar tastes have changed in just a year. I have, like I said, a G-400 PRO, as well as a PRS McCarty, and those two are my favorite tones right now, with an SD SH-6 equipped guitar bringing up a close 3rd. If only the SG intonated and stayed in tune as well as the McCarty. *sigh*
    I'm keen to get an Epi LP soon with probuckers, as well, and from what I've heard they're just the ACP (lol, guns are awesome) pickups, but with alnico 2s instead of 5s, but my memory may be faulty. I'm an old man. I wonder what a 14k a2 pickup would sound like vs an ~8k a5? A5s typically have a tad more output. I wonder if the a2 output downgrade would compensate?
    Funny, I've heard it said that they're trying to emulate the '57 Classics with the ACPs, but they sound a tad brighter to me (despite previously having said they remind me of the '57s in a previous thread somwhere). Maybe if they'd used a2s?
    Well, that seems easy. I could easily just loosen the strings now and do that. I saw some video a year or so back where a guy had a pencil, a thick postcard, grabbed a small lump of petrol jelly, and just scratched on the postcard with the jelly until it was pretty dark and lubed his nut with that. Is the petrol jelly not all that necessary?
     
  4. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2016
    Messages:
    765
    Likes Received:
    693
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    My '66 G400 Pro stays in tune the best out of all my guitars. The stock nut wasn't great, so I had a Tusq one installed. It wouldn't intonate properly as the stock ABR style bridge was too narrow, so I fixed that with a Gotoh Nashville style replacement.

    Graphite powder will lube the nut well, the petroleum jelly will keep it in there longer I reckon. I actually use some "dry" teflon bike lube on nuts, bridges, string guides, anything the string might need to slide against. It goes on wet but dries and leaves a teflon coating, works really well.

    Here's some info on Epiphone pickups, including ACPs and Probuckers, which confirms what you said above.

    http://www.epiphone.com/News/Features/2014/The-Sound-of-Innovation.aspx
     
  5. Beery Swine

    Beery Swine Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2018
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    "Alnico Classic PROs are similar to ProBuckers in construction except they use Alnico-V magnets, making them higher in output for enhanced mids and highs."
    That's probably the page I read it on and just forgot it was on there, because I know I've read the ACP and PB sections on their site before when researching their pickups.
    As far as intonation on my '66, I really have no complaints. The only reason I contrasted with the PRS is because that's the guitar I compare all others to. I mean the '66 has fine intonation, the stock bridge doesn't seem a bit off on mine as you said yours was, but the McCarty has about as perfect intonation as I've ever played.
    I was thinking about replacing the stock plasticy nut with a Tusq as well, but I might hold off on that and compare it with en ebony '66 I plan on getting and modding a bit anyways, that way I have something to A/B it with.
    I do have one question for you: how do they get the teflon to stick to things when nothing sticks to teflon? :p
     
  6. dub-setter

    dub-setter Active Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2013
    Messages:
    505
    Likes Received:
    247
    Location:
    berlin
    hi,

    i would also recommend to change the push/pull pots
    of the epi to normal "one sound" pots.
    (cts)

    if you re not urgently depending on coil splitting.
     
  7. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,251
    Likes Received:
    5,626
    Location:
    Sutton Québec
    If you have problems with intonation and tuning stability, I'd recommend you find a good luthier that will setup your guitar. You can then appreciate the G400 for what it is and not for how you tried to adjust it.
     
    Col Mustard likes this.
  8. Beery Swine

    Beery Swine Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2018
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    I *might* replace the volume pots, but then again I might just try to keep it all stock in this one for comparison to a future one.
    I used to think I'd like the coil splits and the coil taps and the reverse polarities and the whatnots, but then I actually started getting guitars with that. I don't like 'em, I just don't like the jiggery or the pokery. 2 vol, 2 tone, 3-way switch, that's all I want on a 2 hum or 2 P90 guitar. I'm not hating on others who want more, mind you, but it's just not for me.
    Like I said, it's really just tuning stability, and it's quite obviously the sticky nut causing most of whatever problems there are. It's the thing where you tighten a string slowly, then you hear the string snap from being gripped by the slot and it instantly sounds. I'll probably do like the other guy suggested with the graphite. The volume pots I'm considering replacing, but then again, I'm just a hobbyist, and as such it may not be worth it just to get a little less hum/hiss.
     
    DrBGood likes this.
  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    7,464
    Likes Received:
    7,249
    Location:
    Michigan
    Here are a few suggestions, from a fan of Epiphone guitars and the owner of two.

    First: Professional setup! I agree with my colleagues above who suggest this.
    Epiphones respond really well to upgrades... and the best upgrade you can do to
    your guitar is to pay a talented luthier to check it all over and set it up.
    >The luthier can probably locate the source of the noise, and fix that.
    The luthier can also check the nut slots to make sure they are cut correctly
    and at the proper depth... and make sure the nut slots are the correct size
    for the string gauge you prefer.
    >Proper setup should include straightening the neck, setting action and intonation
    and checking the frets for protrusion or proud frets. Correcting fret problems
    may cost extra, but is totally worth it.

    Your tuners are likely to be fine, but Gotoh makes an excellent quality replacement that doesn't cost too much. Gotoh tuners are lighter than the Grover Rotomatics that
    Epi burdens their SGs with, so the Gotoh tuners might help if your guitar is head heavy.

    The stock nut can be lubricated with a home made mixture of graphite powder and Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. This is what I use. There are also commercial lubricants such as Big Bend's "Nut Sauce." These also work fine, but are more expensive.

    I have replaced the nut on both of my Epiphones with Graph Tech "Tusq" nut, which is synthetic bone.
    These are inexpensive, and self lubricating, so they solve the problems you describe and
    they also don't cost too much. A good choice for Epi owners.

    Many luthiers prefer to install bone nuts, and I can't argue. Nut work is a skill
    that most guitarists don't possess, so most of us are willing to pay a talented luthier
    to correct a stock nut, or replace it with something better. The nut is a crucial
    part of your tone, so it's worth paying someone to make it right.

    Epiphone wiring is one of the weak links of the tone chain for this brand, IMHO.
    I have replaced the wiring harness on both of my Epiphones, and had no further
    trouble. You might find that you like the tone of your Epi pickups better after
    replacing the wiring, and this is also less expensive than new pickups.

    Good luck with your project. Feel free to ask questions, many of us have
    worked extensively on our Epiphones, and many of us have simply played
    Epiphones stock and had no trouble. I'm very fond of mine.
     
    dub-setter likes this.
  10. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,251
    Likes Received:
    5,626
    Location:
    Sutton Québec
    I wince everytime I read this. Don't take this personally Colonel, it's not from you only, but as general misconception carried around.

    Wiring for such a low amount of power being carried from pickup to switch, to pots, to jack ... on what ... 30 or 40cm in lenght, can't improve your tone. If you're a bat maybe or one of those superheros with enhanced hearing, you might find a subtle difference, when a guitar is played clean by a machine that will replicate the string stroke exactly the same for the tone test.

    Same with pots, they transmit that same hyper weak signal from one soldering tab to the mechanism inside to another soldering tab. If "anything" the amount or quality of weld on the tab will have a bigger impact on ... current transmission.

    Vintage braided wiring, what is that ? Or cloth covered ? If that was the bee's knee's, all of the guitars that are now produced with tiny teeny 4 lead humbuckers (you know, the ones that split the coils), should sound like sheeet.

    If you periodically take the time for cleaning and lubricating the mechanical parts of your electronics (switches too), they'll perform flawlessly. A dirty pot is a dirty pot, be it a cheap one in an Epiphone or one in a vintage 1959 Gibson LP. It'll scratch when you rotate it. But 90% of electric guitar owners, never rotate a pot.

    To me, going through that is like thinking that putting Porshe cloth on your VW seats, will make it handle corners better.

    There ... I said it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019 at 7:25 AM
  11. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,251
    Likes Received:
    5,626
    Location:
    Sutton Québec
    BTW, I have five Epiphone from 2004 to 2012, all with original pots, switches and wiring and they play great.

    I have two full bags of pots doing nothing, that were bought because I was said I surely would have to use them when the cheap ones in my guitars fail.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019 at 7:22 AM
    Biddlin likes this.
  12. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    10,815
    Likes Received:
    8,929
    Location:
    -
    Moi aussi! From my 98 Les Paul Standard to my new Riviera, the electronics work great.
     
  13. DaveInSoCal

    DaveInSoCal Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2018
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    127
    I currently own 4 Epiphones, one of them is a G-400, another is a G-400 Pro. I love both guitars, the Pro I have left stock, the G-400 I have completely modded - pickups, wiring, pots, bridge, nut, tuners.

    Epi's are a great mod platform to be sure but one issue I have had with every Epi is intonation. I have the G saddle flipped and backed all the way metal to metal on all of them and still the G string is sharp at the 12th fret.
    I did swap to a wider bridge on the G-400 to correct the issue since it was the worst of the four, it's fine now.

    Pickups are really subjective depending on your sound preference and musical style, I swap them out in my Gibsons as well. I usually go with Dimarzio Super Distortion / PAF combo although in my G-400 I have Dimarzio CrunchLab / Liquifire combo which is awesome!

    The lower priced Epi's generally come with Epiphone tuners vs Grovers in the higher priced models which I prefer so I usually swap those out since they are pretty solid.

    G-400 & Pro nuts aren't great but they work, I did swap for a Graph tech in my G-400

    As far as Pot's go, I swap them if I change pickups since I'm already in there. Although I did have a pot go bad on my Brent Hinds Flying V a month after I got it but that is the only issue I've had with the stock pots.

    Over all I think the G-400 is a good guitar for the price, better if you can get one used at around $200. For me personally, if I was going to gig with one of the G-400's I would do some upgrades, but for home use I think they are decent.

    Honestly though, I don't play them much as I gig with my Gibson SG's and a heavily modded Squier Strat that is killer.
     
    Beery Swine likes this.
  14. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    7,464
    Likes Received:
    7,249
    Location:
    Michigan
    all right, all right... The good Doctor and our famous Biddlin both testify that
    Epiphone wiring is all good. Me, I haven't had that experience, and I regard
    replacing wiring and pots as an inexpensive mod that might improve
    a person's Epiphone day. And I'm all for that.

    Certainly it's cheaper and easier than replacing pickups.
    I don't think that Epiphone pickups are bad at all. The cheapest Epiphone I ever
    played was my step daughter's Epi Les Paul Special ll... and the hum buckers in
    that instrument sounded fine. It was a serviceable entry level guitar, and for
    the price that means it was a good bargain. A little smaller and lighter than
    a full fledged Les Paul guitar. But I could play it fine.

    I replaced the Epiphone bridge on my Epi ES-339 P-90 pro with a Gotoh
    product that fit right on the stock studs easily and gave more intonation room.
    IMHO that was an excellent mod. Me, I really like my ES-339... I've modded
    this one to the nines, and the guitar has responded by giving me excellent
    tone and playability.

    So I'm a fan of modding Epiphones, and I've had a lot of smokey fun
    doing just that. Once I get 'em where I want 'em, they seem to settle in
    and play great music. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. But it's
    not the only story.

    I can't argue with Doc, because I believe he knows
    his stuff. Biddlin certainly does. So when these guys speak, I tend to listen.
    Each of them owns more Epiphones than I do, and have the experience to
    speak with authority. So I listen carefully, and then I make up my own
    mind. Such is what I recommend for any member or visitor here to do.
     
  15. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    7,464
    Likes Received:
    7,249
    Location:
    Michigan
    all right, all right... The good Doctor and our famous Biddlin both testify that
    Epiphone wiring is all good. Me, I haven't had that experience, and I regard
    replacing wiring and pots as an inexpensive mod that might improve
    a person's Epiphone day. And I'm all for that.

    Certainly it's cheaper and easier than replacing pickups.
    I don't think that Epiphone pickups are bad at all. The cheapest Epiphone I ever
    played was my step daughter's Epi Les Paul Special ll... and the hum buckers in
    that instrument sounded fine. It was a serviceable entry level guitar, and for
    the price that means it was a good bargain. A little smaller and lighter than
    a full fledged Les Paul guitar. But I could play it fine.

    I replaced the Epiphone bridge on my Epi ES-339 P-90 pro with a Gotoh
    product that fit right on the stock studs easily and gave more intonation room.
    IMHO that was an excellent mod. Me, I really like my ES-339... I've modded
    this one to the nines, and the guitar has responded by giving me excellent
    tone and playability.

    So I'm a fan of modding Epiphones, and I've had a lot of smokey fun
    doing just that. Once I get 'em where I want 'em, they seem to settle in
    and play great music. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. But it's
    not the only story.

    I can't argue with Doc, because I believe he knows
    his stuff. Biddlin certainly does. So when these guys speak, I tend to listen.
    Each of them owns more Epiphones than I do, and have the experience to
    speak with authority. So I listen carefully, and then I make up my own
    mind. Such is what I recommend for any member or visitor here to do.
     
  16. dub-setter

    dub-setter Active Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2013
    Messages:
    505
    Likes Received:
    247
    Location:
    berlin
    each to their own....

    some like it mod,
    others not....:smile:


    i´m with the col.
    i like replacing stuff that could improve
    the guitar in general ( fe. the cheap plastic nut on my g400 custom)
    is it necessary?... no
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019 at 3:13 PM

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