G400 differences through the years?

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by Grizzlyman, Jun 17, 2020.

  1. Grizzlyman

    Grizzlyman Active Member

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    Hi all,
    Sorry if there’s already a thread on this, if there is please point me in the right direction as I have had a search and.... no dice.
    So, does anyone or amongst all of you collectively, do you know the differences between the standard G400 model through the years?
    I ask because I just found out my cherry G400 was made in the unsung factory in Korea, it has no veneer. A particularly thick piece of rosewood for the fingerboard, Grover tuners, trapezoid inlays, mother of pearl pineapple inlay, etc.
    I’ve seen more modern ones with veneers on the front and back, different stock tuners, different style logos, different looking fretboards. Some even vary in thickness quite significantly. I have a friend who’s G400 is as thick as a Les Paul!
    Does anyone have a general or even more detailed overview of the history of this guitar and the various idiosyncrasies over the course of its production?
    Would love to be educated on the matter...
     
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  2. Grizzlyman

    Grizzlyman Active Member

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    Here’s my cherry G400 currently awaiting deliver of strings and soldering up of pickups.
    Pickups and tuners swapped out from a Mk1 Epiphone Iommi.
    Those are light reflections not marks on the finish! 12CAE4DF-0745-44BB-B174-12F8FA9CA76D.jpeg
     
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  3. dub-setter

    dub-setter Well-Known Member

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  4. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    The wiki dub-setter posted above will give you the basics, but there's definitely some info missing. With Epiphones you'll often get undocumented variations in things like hardware and finish. Even their own site has info that is partially or completely incorrect. I'm not sure if there's anywhere that would have it all.
     
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  5. Grizzlyman

    Grizzlyman Active Member

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  6. Grizzlyman

    Grizzlyman Active Member

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    Thanks Plankton! It was quite informative. I did a general google search for ‘best G400 production years’, found a healthy discussion in another forum where there was an opinion shared by a few posters who said he Korean made G400s were superior to the later Chinese made ones. Then a load of people saying this was a myth.
    General consensus seems to be there was no ‘good’ year for the G400, gems and turds can be found in any year from any factory apparently. Some people swear by their Chinese ones, others swear by their Korean ones. Seems nobody disputes the quality of the Japanese ones EVER!
    My Korean G400 is certainly finished to a high standard, rosewood fretboard is really thick and tight grained, quite dark. Seems to be sometimes an indicator of quality, whether true or not I don’t know. I’m sure some of the ‘dry, pale-looking’ rosewood/Pau ferro ‘boards probably actually play just as good as the darker rosewood boards. I’m sure there’s some dyeing going on in some factories and not others....
    Also the later models with African mahogany veneers... why? That just makes me question the quality of the wood in the middle!?
    I’m sure it makes no difference, but does make me wonder...
     
  7. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Pre 2003 Korean are known for their nice bodies (no veneer) and necks. Electronic quality was debatable. There was a lot of variations as they moved production around. Telltale discrepancies were crooked tuners and misaligned control knobs. But mostly nice and solid SG's.

    Then came a short 2 year run of the Vintage G400 (mid 2003 to mid 2005). Korean too but this one was the closest they got to their big brother, the Gibson SG Standard. No veneer, long tenon, one piece neck with binding, USA designed Alnico5.

    VG400WCtop.jpg
    I bought 4 of those in a short time and kept 2.

    IMGP1222_tonemapped.jpg

    2019-03-28 1.JPG
    Then production moved out of Korea. Like you mentionned, lots of minor differences on subsequent G400's. Most had the Alnico Classic at neck and the HOTCH at bridge. Good pickups if you took time to adjust their height.

    When the Pro was introduced, new pickups (Probucker) came along and so did coil splitting. Then in the past few years, neck binding reappeared and now with the 2020, eveything is again revamped.
     
  8. SGfan84

    SGfan84 Member

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    I hear ya on that. My 2011 G400 Worn Brown (fully loaded with the hated veneer, which does not bother me at all, heck look at zebra wood guitars, stripes galore) has a substantially fatter, thicker and more comfortable neck than my 2017 G400 PRO, which has a real slim taper neck. The fretboard on the PRO has a darker neck than the Worn Brown model. My 2004 G400 Goth is totally different from the other two (smaller body, neck not as wide as my Worn Brown but round and thicker than my PRO. The hardcase that came with the Goth can only be used for the Goth as the other two G400 models don't fit inside. I remember posting about this but was hassled for measurements, which I could not give at that time, but I do have some cool measuring tape now - just need to get back to the city after all of this quarantine so I can measure them back to back.

    I've attached some pictures, in the last one, I took the pickguard off of the Worn Brown just to see how it looks.

    SG Trio.png
    20191015_180520.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2020
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  9. Grizzlyman

    Grizzlyman Active Member

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    Thanks for all that info Doc! Very interesting stuff! Oh man, it’s the G400 vintage that’s the one!! I wish I had one of those, I bet leftys are as rare as rocking horse poop! If I see one on eBay, I don’t think I’ll be able to resist!!!!
     
  10. Grizzlyman

    Grizzlyman Active Member

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    Those are some lovely axes there man!! I hear you on the neck differences, my Iommi has a slim taper but the cherry G400 has a fatter feeling neck.
    I tried to put the Mk2 Iommi custom in the hard case that I used for my Mk1 Iommi G400 and it doesn’t quite fit, it’s a little bit too long for the case! The Mk1 fits perfectly. Both 24 fret necks.
    Weird.
     
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  11. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    One easy way to recognise it in an ad, is its gold logo on the headstock and the neck binding.

    2003 headstock.jpg
     
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  12. IMadeYouReadThis

    IMadeYouReadThis New Member

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    My first G-400 was purchased in 2016. It was the vintage G-400 (satin finish) and had a rosewood board, no binding. The body had veneers front and back. My current one is the same model, #70 of the 2018 model year. Interestingly, the fretboard is bound ebony unlike the other examples I've seen from that year. No idea how it happened, but it is indeed ebony.
     
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