Epiphone G-400 Pro - solid Mahogany? Nah...

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by Erik Holm Nielsen, May 27, 2017.

  1. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

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    What!??!!

    Let's start fresh. Forget the solid wood thing. It's completely irrelevant. You're not missing any subtletles... and your mastery of two languages proves that you've got more going on between the ears than I do.

    There are really only 2 questions here. I've been trying to get the focus on my question for the majority of this thread. Not on an argument over advertising intent. Everything else I've written was to answer questions or to TRY to support the notion that sparked my question.

    Other than Rox...no one's even acknowledging those 2 questions.

    QUESTIONS:

    1). How many pieces of wood is too many when you're calling that guitar a "solid wood" guitar?

    2). Why do we "love" epiphone and love to hate Gibson?

    They're honest questions. I'm not taking the piss out of anyone here.
     
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  2. ypnos

    ypnos Well-Known Member

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    In this forum or generally speaking? Cause here, we've come to the point where people who prefer Gibson and not Epiphones try not to disturb others who prefer epiphones from Gibsons, and even when some "weird" members such as Gibsg join with cork sniffing attitude, are supportive of the epiphone brand and the people that own such guitars, and bash the "weird" guys,even though most of the times their feelings are not even hurt, just want this to be a peaceful forum.

    But on the other hand there are those who prefer the epis, and try to bash Gibsons all the time, even though the most of them may have never owned one... Weird is that no one complains with this behaviour.

    It's like reverse cork sniffing, done for diffirent reasons, but with the same effect in the end.
     
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  3. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

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    Anti cork sniffing.... I can see that completely.

    Does the same thing go on with fender/squier? I see tons of squier's turned into fenders with hardware and decal swaps.

    Doesn't seem like the folks like the epiphone to Gibson headstock mod....it's more invasive that's for sure...but the end result is the same. Pure cosmetics.
     
  4. drown

    drown Well-Known Member

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    I've really been enjoying the civility of this thread. I've stayed out of it since I was away and not logged in and enjoying reading quietky from the sideline on my mobile.


    My thoughts, although I no longer own an Epi so I don't have a dog in this fight.

    I completely agree with Norton that it's completely douche to hide multiple pieces of wood behind a veneer, not be upfront about that and call it a solid guitar. It doesn't matter and is irrelevant how many pieces of wood. The douche part is obfuscating and not making that very clear in your promotional material. Since it likely doesn't matter to the sound, or to those who like to buy Epis anyways, why hide the fact. Use words like multiple pieces of wood sandwiched bettween maple veneer caps,

    Do I agree that this is the equivalent of a plywood guitar? No, absolutely not. I think we can all agree on what is plywood right? My previous Epi was likely made of plywood. Then wrapped in a horrible plastic like finish. I hated the feel, weight and look of it. Do I hate Epi guitars? No. I don't know enough to do so. I've held and played fairly nice, new Chinese made G400s at my local shop. Leagues ahead of my old special.

    I now own several Gibsons, most made from multiple pieces of wood. I was not surprised when my guitars arrived like this since Gibson's web promo material for these guitars was quite clear on this fact. On the other hand if any of my guitars had shown up with a surprise veneer cap they would of been returned. I'm not into veneer caps. At this time it's not what I look for or want in a guitar. That's why I don't lust after most LPs. Thus, any company that was to trick me into purchasing one by hiding this fact would lose my business. I shouldn't have to read through these kinds of message boards to find out that my guitar was made this way, that information should be clearly communicated.

    I agree that there are better value guitars at the Epi price point, but I'm also not foolish enough to think that brand recognition and loyalty isn't also a factor for many customers. Ultimately people are free to buy whatever they want free of judgement, but they should also be able to do so with the full knowledge of what they are getting and I would expect more from Epiphone in this regard.
     
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  5. ypnos

    ypnos Well-Known Member

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    Don't know and dont't care to be honest.

    Whatever makes people happy. If X guitar makes Y person creative and happy playing, makes him/her wanna reach her fro inside the case, that's the point of measure. My point of measure is diffirent fron someone elses. Whatever makes you happy!
     
  6. Rox

    Rox Active Member

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    Before I knew about guitars, I would have believed that a "solid" guitar would be one piece. I'd have assumed it was talking about a solid piece of wood... but I didn't know anything about guitar construction. And of course, even if you had a one piece thru body and neck, the fretboard will be a second piece.

    Even a one piece body Les Paul from any high end manufacturer - it's still at least 5 different pieces of wood. Body, neck, fretboard, left headstock wing, right headstock wing.

    Let's move on to a four piece body Strat (being slightly uncharitable!), three pieces on the neck including skunk stripe and fretboard. So that's seven in total!

    And when I looked at it like that, it felt right to assess them in that way... but really, technically, I was wrong because I was misunderstanding what "solid bodied" meant.

    The guitar manufacturer definition of "solid body" isn't about the lamination of the woods - or number of wood pieces, but that it is a "solid body" design - ie, it is not a "hollow" bodied guitar.

    It's worth remembering that we're talking guitar manufacturing terminology, and what "solid" refers to. The solid body guitar was invented as an amplified alternative to a hollow bodied guitar to stop as much feedback in live situations.

    So the definition isn't about method of construction, but construction type.

    So selling a guitar constructed out of 20 pieces of wood as solid bodied is technically accurate given the etymology of "solid bodied".

    I think this is where it all gets tangled up and the confusion lies. Manufacturers are inside the industry and are still using the same language they've always used.

    But we're getting wiser and more cynical, to the majority of us, "solid body" implies one thing... to guitar manufacturers, it can - and does - mean something else.

    Does this mean manufacturers should be more transparent over the construction methods of their guitars?

    Sure. Absolutely. There's so much choice, clear descriptions give us the opportunity to shop around.

    But, if sticking a veneer over a multi-piece body is a bit shady, so is finding a species of wood not related to mahogany as we would know it, and still calling it mahogany. ;)

    And there it is, every single manufacturer out there obscures and befuddles. Wood species are a blinkin' minefield.

    Which is why we go back to - is it a good guitar? A completely subjective assessment, but the only assessment that matters to the player.
     
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  7. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

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    Indeed.

    Really well stated points! I wasn't even thinking about solid vs semi hollow etc.

    20 pieces.....If not hollowed out....that would Still be a solid body guitar.

    Wiser and more cynical. Haha! Definitely more cynical. Which is a bit sad...and probably directly linked to steady dose of potentially shady marketing speak.
     
  8. drown

    drown Well-Known Member

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    Lots of good points here Rox. Like you I did not know much about guitars. Sadly, I think it is specifically those of us beginners, who do not, who are the targets and victims of deliberate obfuscation by manufacturers. The great thing about language, the english language in particular is that it allows us to use our words to make things clear. Despite the "tradition" of solid meaning shape and form rather than number of pieces of woods, there are other words to communicate this information. I find Gibson has been fairly clear about this in the literature describing the guitars I've purchased lately. They tell you how many pieces are being used, and what density or quality of wood, in some cases providing information on all the options and highlighting which this model uses. TMI? Not for me. An informed customer is a happy customer.

    I agree 100% about wood species labeling, this is just as dishonest. It should be spelled out clearly, using a plant's latin AND common names and source of origin. If for no other reason than it will likely be required if you ever want to sell your guitar or move internationally.

    I agree that If it plays good and sounds good it's worth it. I just like having all the information and not being misled, deceived or at worse lied to.
     
  9. Sp8ctre

    Sp8ctre Well-Known Member

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    1. If it's a bunch of thin sheets glued (plywood) together and then cut to form a body I do not consider it a Solid Wood guitar regardless of and definition...multiple pieces of solid wood laid side by side and glued together would be a Solid Wood guitar IMO. I would hope it could be done with 5 pieces or less.

    2. I don't "Love" Epiphone...I really don't like them much at all and I've sold off all my Epiphone guitars. I'd rather spend my money on an entry lever Gibson Studio or such than a $900 Epiphone...at the end of the day I just don't feel happy with the Epiphone in my hands...
     
  10. Erik Holm Nielsen

    Erik Holm Nielsen New Member

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    I'm not questioning whether the guitar playes well, like mentioned by others it's about the marketing angle.

    In my opinion a solid body could be made out of up to 3 pieces of wood, but not in a sandwiched fashion, which only serves the looks of the guitar.

    If I'd known that my sg have a veener top I wouldn't have started this re-finish project, and I've learned that I should ask in here first instead of getting info of the Epi homepage.

    \Erik
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
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  11. Rox

    Rox Active Member

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    I agree - although technically a solid bodied guitar can be made out of plywood - I'd argue vehemently that it isn't solid bodied because by it's manufacturing process, the plywood had voids within it where the different species expand and contract.

    In all fairness, it's a bit more complicated than that. :smile:

    As I've said, the description "solid body" for guitar doesn't describe the construction method, but the type of guitar. Other than plywood discussed above, the number of pieces of wood are largely irrelevant.

    Let's consider a high-end thru neck bass guitar where the neck is at least three pieces for strength (like a lot of 70's Les Paul guitars and some late 60's SGs), and then the body wings are glued on from there. Here's a high-end, luthier built bass:

    [​IMG]

    So that body is nine pieces of wood. But I couldn't argue that it isn't a solid body guitar.

    Here's another example - same construction with a multi-pieced body using veneers:

    [​IMG]

    That's probably 12 or 13 pieces - In all conscience, I couldn't argue that isn't solid bodied either.

    However, I do absolutely agree with you that manufacturers should specify laminate / number of body pieces / veneer where it isn't clear by just looking at the guitar itself.

    I've stripped a couple of 90's Les Paul Studios over the years, and because they're single colour - there's a mix up of woods under there. One I stripped was four body pieces. But that's why they chose it for a single colour Studio.

    If they were making Epi's out of genuine single slab mahogany, it'd be a hell of a lot more expensive. ;)

    But if you strip it and discover strips of wood, use them to your advantage, use them as a feature...

    [​IMG]
    If life gives you lemons, make a nice Lemon Meringue Pie.

    :smile:
     
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  12. Rox

    Rox Active Member

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    In fact, just to confuse things, if you were to buy a Les Paul with a single piece maple top and single piece mahogany back with weight relief, is that a solid body guitar?

    The design is solid body, but parts are hollow... it's more like a centre-block Gretsch...

    [​IMG]

    There we are - two types of weight relief on a solid body guitar... not so solid bodied any more, but people want these features... ;)

    Bloody minefield, it is.
     
  13. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    SG = Solid Guitar
     
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  14. Rox

    Rox Active Member

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    Aye, but the Gibson Explorer doesn't explore, the Flying V does no flying and if the "Les Paul Custom Fretless Wonder" isn't inaccurate and a case for the Trade Descriptions Act, I don't know what is - it has the normal number of bleedin' frets! :D :cheers:
     
  15. Bettyboo

    Bettyboo Well-Known Member

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    That's not the issue, the explanation by the manufacturer is the issue at hand; then the purchaser can make an informed decision.

    From Ibanez site, as an example:

    neck type SR4 5pc Jatoba/Bubinga neck

    [​IMG]

    Jatoba/Bubinga Slim Neck
    Coupling Jatoba with Bubinga has made the neck strong and stable despite its thinness.
    http://www.ibanez.com/products/u_eb...7&cat_id=2&series_id=51&data_id=58&color=CL01

    All the information is there for you.

    Here, from Cort, the information is very clear for you how the guitar is made and what woods are used:

    When it's a neck thru, they say so:

    http://www.cortguitars.com/en/produ...ProdTag=&qPack=&qNew=&qKey=all&qWord=&idx=190

    When it's a top for cosmetic purposes, they say so:

    http://www.cortguitars.com/en/produ...ProdTag=&qPack=&qNew=&qKey=all&qWord=&idx=200

    It's very clear.

    When I was looking at buying Epis, say a Tribute LP or Custom pro LP, I read a lot of Epi marketing info to check the specs because I don't want a poly finish or a laminate ('photo-flame style'...) top; it isn't very easy to find out the info.

    Here's an example, to us here, it obviously looks like an Epi laminate top - actually, I'm gonna call it a photo-flame from here on because that's fundamentally what it is..., but it doesn't clearly say so, and many folks just wouldn't know (many might not care, and that's fine, but I care).

    [​IMG]
    Tone Woods with Great Feel!
    The LP Traditional PRO has a solid Mahogany back with a carved top and a solid Mahogany neck that's hand-fitted and glued into the body for excellent neck-to-body contact and acting almost like one continuous piece of wood. The neck features a SlimTaper™ D profile with a smooth and fast "worn" type finish on the back of the neck and body.

    http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Les-Paul/Ltd-Ed-2014-Les-Paul-Traditional-PRO.aspx

    It clearly says a 'carved top' - which it might be, that'd be great if it was - so, if it was a photo-flame, it'd be a fair shout that this is dishonest marketing.

    Here's another:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Electrics/Les-Paul/Epiphone-Les-Paul-Traditional-PRO-II.aspx

    That looks similar to the other Epi laminate backs, but the marketing is clear:

    The new Les Paul Traditional PRO-II has the classic build and profile of all Les Pauls with a solid Mahogany body and a traditional carved top. New color finishes include Ebony, Desertburst, Ocean Blue, Vintage Sunburst, and Wine Red. The solid Mahogany neck has a 1960s SlimTaper™ “D” profile with a 24.75” scale and is hand-fitted and glued into the body so the entire guitar resonates as a single piece of wood. A "worn" type finish on the back of the neck and body add to the lived-in feel. The fingerboard has 22 medium jumbo frets, single-ply cream binding, and mother-of-pearl Trapezoid inlays.

    It's a lovely looking guitar, and if it's not a photo-flame, but really is that lovely top, then I apologize unreservedly.

    If it has a laminate back and top then it's clearly worded to deceive and is indefensible, imho.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
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  16. Rox

    Rox Active Member

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    I said "However, I do absolutely agree with you that manufacturers should specify laminate / number of body pieces / veneer where it isn't clear by just looking at the guitar itself."

    I was responding specifically to Erik's assertion that a solid top should be "up to 3 pieces".
     
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  17. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Are you guys listening to yourselves ?

    Are you buying a guitar to play it or to offer it to a dictator, that'll decapitate you if he finds out this is not a guitar made by and for Gods ?

    The Epiphones shown above have solid mahogany bodies. It is what it is. It's not soft, it's not hollow, it's not plywood, thus it's solid wood. Be it 25 pieces or one, it is still solid wood. A carved top is what it is too. It's surely not flat slab like a Special. It's been carved, thus it is ... carved.

    As for you Boo, if you see two Les Paul Traditional PRO-II with EXACTLY the same top, I mean cloned. Put both images one on top of the other and every grain streak align with the one under, then it is a flame top. It's the same processed photo reproduced on dozens of guitars. If not, it's a veneer. And a veneer is unique as it comes from an actual unique tree. None are the same, even the open book grain pattern on the most expensive custom guitar you can find, will be different from one side to the other.

    So if you can't find that second LP that is a clone, we'll be waiting for your unreservedly apology.
     
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  18. Bettyboo

    Bettyboo Well-Known Member

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    Strange choice of words...

    A veneer is not at all what you said in this context. Words are not prescriptive, they must be contextualized to have meaning - in this case, it is clear that Epi are using an engineering process to fake the look of an expensive maple top (and that is fine on a lower cost guitar, but they should be honest to the consumer; they should not play around with words in an attempt to hide the true construction of the guitar from the consumer - consumer laws are very clear on that point). A traditional carved top, Epiphones choice of words, is a thick maple slab on a Les Paul - that is known, and that is not what Epiphone are putting on their guitars; they are trying to fool consumers - and when consumers give up their rights by accepting dishonest practices then said consumers make a dishonest marketing person's job very easy...

    Part of my daily job is as a discourse analyst, and when I see phrases like:

    my radar immediately peaks because in this sentence "as" has two possible meanings: 1) in and of itself; 2) similar to. The second meaning has no real meaning at all because "similar to" is just a scale and can effectively mean almost anything (my leg, an ant, the sky, all resonate similar to a single piece of wood in some situations...).

    The point is, this is purposeful word choice, and that purpose is to deceive. This is the exact point being made in this thread - you may choose to ignore the point, pretend it doesn't exist or play chess... but that is the point originally made by others, and it's entirely valid.

    Is the guitar still a guitar? Yes.

    Will the sun still rise tomorrow? Yes.

    Are Epiphone attempting to intentionally deceive potential customers? Yes.

    Do you care? Seemingly not.

    Do other folks care? Yes, they do.
     
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  19. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Ahh ... Maybe I should answer in French and let you guys translate :p
     
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  20. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

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    Drbgood....i hope you're not taking this personally. But that was funny.

    What's so ridiculous about those posts ? Those are some excellent points. And when you compare Epi's text with ibanez and cort the difference is fairly stark.

    Do you honestly think that epiphone's promo literature is transparent and honest?

    Sooo you'd be cool with a 25 piece body being touted as being built of "solid wood"? You wouldn't feel like you were being mislead even a bit?

    these are Real questions I'm not trying to bait you.
     
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