Epi Elitist Vintage SG.....?

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by SurfGuitar141, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. SurfGuitar141

    SurfGuitar141 Member

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    I've been checking out a new Epiphone Elitist Vintage SG.....('61 Reissue)....at a local music shop with a price tag of $849.95 including a hardshell case.
    The shop owner claims these Elitist models are as close in quality to a USA Gibson as you can get without the $2,000.00 price tag of an actual Gibson '61 Reissue, however shop owners are known to make such claims in order to sell an instrument.
    I do know these models are made with higher quality in Japan then the regular model Epi's that are manufactured in China, and the electronics are higher quality American Made over the standard grade Epi's, but is this guitar really worth $849.95 compared to the standard grade Epi 61 model selling for $349.95 at Guitar Center......?

    Visually the Elitist model does look flawless, has a very nice feel, however I have not plugged it in yet, so I still do not know how well it will sound.
    I'd like to hear some opinions from those here who own and play the Elitist Vintage SG, what are your thoughs on fit, finish, feel, and sound....also what amp do you play your's through.....?

    Presently I have a Fender Blues Jr. that works well with the single coil pickups on my Stratocaster, how well do you think the humbuckers will work with this amp......?


    A little background in case anyone is interested.....
    I'm 52, have been playing off and on since my teens, not a very good player at all, I don't play out but do get into a casual jam session on occasion. Have just gone through a two year period without picking up a guitar, and just got the bug to start playing again. Owned an American Standard Strat since 2002, but have always like the looks and sound of the SG, I'm thinking a change in guitar models just might help restart my love of playing. New to this forum, and looking forward to some advice from seasoned SG players.....
     
  2. Aeran

    Aeran Member

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    the last I read on the Elitist model was that they were discontinued because the quality was a little too close to the Gibson USA Standards. As for being made in Japan, that I'm not so sure of, I thought Korea, but I don't have any evidence, just remember reading. Those Elitist guitars are extremely solid for the money and the one thing I have NOT heard is someone being displeased with one.
     
  3. ricardo_vicente

    ricardo_vicente Active Member

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    The Elitists were/are made in Japan to very high standards.
    The models are pretty much the same specification as Gibson USA guitars, the main exception being the finish. Gibson models use nitrocellulose whereas the Elitist models have a poly(-urethane?/-ester?) finish which is possibly a bit cheaper.
    However, it is very thinly applied and nothign like the thick finishes on Korean/Chinese Epiphones.
    I used to own an Elitist Casino and also played the Elitist SG in a store.
    The Casino was a high quality instrument with original Gibson hardware and pickups. I'd even go as far to say that it was built and set up with more care than most of the Gibson USA guitars which have passed through my hands.
    At the time I came across the SG, I currently owned a Gibson SG standard. I was a little miffed at the time because the Elitist SG was a bit nicer than my Gibson.
    As far as the quality of the Elitist range is concerened, I say you can buy with confidence. They are far superior to the standard Epi models and usually every bit as good as a standard Gibson USA guitar.
    Whether the SG or the humbuckers are for you etc., well that's just down to taste.
    Good luck.
     
  4. SurfGuitar141

    SurfGuitar141 Member

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    Thanks for the input so far, much appreciated......

    The SG I was looking at had a label on the back heel of the neck indicating it's origin of manufacture to be Japan. All the other models I looked at in Guitar Center had labels stating China....

    Now I'd like to throw another question in the mix.....

    Guitar Center is selling the Gibson Faded SG's for $699.00, at $150.00 less money, and these being an actual Gibson USA product with the 490 pickups it kinda adds another choice to the mix....

    What's the general consensus on the difference in fit, finish, and overall quality of these guitars compared to the more expensive Epiphone Elitist model......?
     
  5. Six String

    Six String Moderator Staff Member

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    Tony....... as a shameless plug for advertising................ ;D I might suggest considering Sweetwater Sound (see ads at the top). I do this because of two reasons...... 1st- Sweetwater is helping the forum through advertising and other contributions and if all things are equal then supporting those that support us makes some sense....... IMHO.

    2nd- I happen to know that if there were any problems, they have an excellent return policy. How do I know this you ask? I am fortunately close enough to Sweetwater Sound that I got a very impressive tour through their place....... check it out: http://everythingsg.com/forum/index.php?topic=19233.msg232885#msg232885 ......... and I have to say it was extremely impressive!!! And no, I don't get a kick back from them or a commission and certainly believe everyone has the right to make their own decisions.................. but it does make sense to support those that support us.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled program.................................... ;)
     
  6. suicidehummer

    suicidehummer Active Member

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    [quote author=Aeran link=topic=19736.msg239262#msg239262 date=1252785602]
    the last I read on the Elitist model was that they were discontinued because the quality was a little too close to the Gibson USA Standards. As for being made in Japan, that I'm not so sure of, I thought Korea, but I don't have any evidence, just remember reading. Those Elitist guitars are extremely solid for the money and the one thing I have NOT heard is someone being displeased with one.
    [/quote]

    They were actually discontinued due to low sales. Apparently the buyers in that price range had a hard time believing anything Epiphone made could be high quality. They probably would have survived branded as Gibsons as a MIJ Gibson line...

    And BTW they're made in Japan without a doubt.

    [quote author=ricardo_vicente link=topic=19736.msg239263#msg239263 date=1252787863]
    Gibson models use nitrocellulose whereas the Elitist models have a poly(-urethane?/-ester?) finish which is possibly a bit cheaper.[/quote]

    Polyurethane. The Chinese Epis use Polyester.

    [quote author=SurfGuitar141 link=topic=19736.msg239264#msg239264 date=1252789369]
    Thanks for the input so far, much appreciated......

    The SG I was looking at had a label on the back heel of the neck indicating it's origin of manufacture to be Japan. All the other models I looked at in Guitar Center had labels stating China....

    Now I'd like to throw another question in the mix.....

    Guitar Center is selling the Gibson Faded SG's for $699.00, at $150.00 less money, and these being an actual Gibson USA product with the 490 pickups it kinda adds another choice to the mix....

    What's the general consensus on the difference in fit, finish, and overall quality of these guitars compared to the more expensive Epiphone Elitist model......?
    [/quote]

    Well being that I'm not a fan of Fadeds I may be biased, but the Elitist should blow the Faded away. The 490s I believe are the same as the 50SR/60STs in the Elitist.

    Basically, you're buying the Gibson name if you buy the Faded because it offers nothing more than the Elitist, in fact it offers less.
     
  7. Aeran

    Aeran Member

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    dang it appears I was wrong on all counts, sorry about that, OP. thanks for schooling me, guys, thats why I come here.
     
  8. iblive

    iblive Well-Known Member

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    [quote author=suicidehummer link=topic=19736.msg239285#msg239285 date=1252812691]
    The Chinese Epis use Polyester.
    [/quote]
    You mean like the leisure suit I had back in the seventies? ;D
     
  9. suicidehummer

    suicidehummer Active Member

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  10. Zeppelin Rules

    Zeppelin Rules Active Member

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    [quote author=suicidehummer link=topic=19736.msg239285#msg239285 date=1252812691]

    Well being that I'm not a fan of Fadeds I may be biased, but the Elitist should blow the Faded away. The 490s I believe are the same as the 50SR/60STs in the Elitist.

    Basically, you're buying the Gibson name if you buy the Faded because it offers nothing more than the Elitist, in fact it offers less.
    [/quote]

    Actually the 60st is the same as the 498T not the 490T

    I think the Faded has a couple of advantages over the elitist. One, availability, as Elite SGs aren't made anymore and even when they were, I never saw one in stores. Two, price as they're 2/3rds the price. Three, the nitro finish.

    In fact I think the only place the Elitist trumps it is in cosmetics.
     
  11. SurfGuitar141

    SurfGuitar141 Member

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    [quote author=Zeppelin Rules link=topic=19736.msg239320#msg239320 date=1252876104]


    Actually the 60st is the same as the 498T not the 490T

    I think the Faded has a couple of advantages over the elitist. One, availability, as Elite SGs aren't made anymore and even when they were, I never saw one in stores. Two, price as they're 2/3rds the price. Three, the nitro finish.

    In fact I think the only place the Elitist trumps it is in cosmetics.
    [/quote]

    All good points Zep, and I agree the Epi has in on cosmetics, but the Faded has it on too many points to over look.
    I've also posted this controversy on the Gibson SG forum, a lot of good points brought up there as well. I know the Epi has it's fans here, and again I don't doubt they are outstanding instruments, the Elitist being the best of them all, but for reasons of my own, I believe I may tend toward the Gibson Faded Special.
    I thank everyone who has offered their advice, it has all been appreciated.....
     
  12. suicidehummer

    suicidehummer Active Member

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    [quote author=Zeppelin Rules link=topic=19736.msg239320#msg239320 date=1252876104]


    Actually the 60st is the same as the 498T not the 490T

    I think the Faded has a couple of advantages over the elitist. One, availability, as Elite SGs aren't made anymore and even when they were, I never saw one in stores. Two, price as they're 2/3rds the price. Three, the nitro finish.

    In fact I think the only place the Elitist trumps it is in cosmetics.
    [/quote]

    Thanks for straightening that out about the PUPs I wasn't sure.

    But what does availability matter if his local shop has one? That will only make the resale value higher...

    And as I said, the nitro finish has no grain filler and IMO little affect on a solidbody guitar's sound anyway.
     
  13. guitarweasel

    guitarweasel Well-Known Member

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    [quote author=iblive link=topic=19736.msg239313#msg239313 date=1252872416]
    You mean like the leisure suit I had back in the seventies? ;D
    [/quote]


    [​IMG]
     
  14. Zeppelin Rules

    Zeppelin Rules Active Member

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    [quote author=suicidehummer link=topic=19736.msg239324#msg239324 date=1252879518]
    Thanks for straightening that out about the PUPs I wasn't sure.

    But what does availability matter if his local shop has one? That will only make the resale value higher...

    And as I said, the nitro finish has no grain filler and IMO little affect on a solidbody guitar's sound anyway.
    [/quote]

    I missed that in the OP.

    It does have grain filler, have you ever touched a faded, if it didn't have filler the finish wouldn't be flat. It just doesn't have as many coats of nitro.
     
  15. SurfGuitar141

    SurfGuitar141 Member

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    FYI....

    Nitro cellulose lacquer is a thin coating, even on the most dense woods it requires several coats with sanding in between each coat. Once it has built up, it has to be finish sanded then buffed out to get that deep gloss. It's very labor intensive compared to the modern polyester finishes used on most other production solid body electric guitars.

    The biggest contribution to the lower cost of the faded series of Gibson guitars is the reduced material and labor costs in the finish.

    (for those who may not know)....
     
  16. suicidehummer

    suicidehummer Active Member

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    [quote author=Zeppelin Rules link=topic=19736.msg239332#msg239332 date=1252885573]


    I missed that in the OP.

    It does have grain filler, have you ever touched a faded, if it didn't have filler the finish wouldn't be flat. It just doesn't have as many coats of nitro.
    [/quote]

    I have played Fadeds and I have felt the grain. Sure didn't feel or look like a guitar with grain filler used on it.
     
  17. everdying

    everdying Well-Known Member

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    [quote author=suicidehummer link=topic=19736.msg239285#msg239285 date=1252812691]
    They were actually discontinued due to low sales. Apparently the buyers in that price range had a hard time believing anything Epiphone made could be high quality. They probably would have survived branded as Gibsons as a MIJ Gibson line...

    [/quote]

    i heard something else, that they were discontinued cos they were eating into gibson's sales.
    there may be a reason why it went from being offered worldwide to being only jap domestic, basically the same thing is happening with fender japan.

    also have a look around on ebay and see what the Elitist SGs or even the older Orville by Gibson SGs are going for, you'll be surprised to see them going for in excess of $850.
     
  18. suicidehummer

    suicidehummer Active Member

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    I doubt they were eating into Gibson's sales. Stores stopped ordering them because they couldn't unload what they had.

    They're not available in Japan anymore either.
     
  19. Drazden

    Drazden New Member

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    It was my experience, working for a shop that stocked them, that here in Canada, nobody really gave them a chance. Those that took the time to test one against a 'real' Gibson took the Elitist almost every time, but most people just went 'Not Gibson? Nope' and moved on. Apparently the Canadian distributor for the line still has some Elitists laying around the warehouse. Just Les Pauls, though... no SG's.

    I love my Elitist LP, though, and am currently in the market for an SG ;D
     
  20. Rockyroad

    Rockyroad New Member

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    How does the Epi Elitist neck thickness compare to the Gibson SG models.

    My Les Paul faded neck size is what I am looking for; as I have small hands and small finger reach
     

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