GIbson Melody Maker SG or Epiphone SG G-400

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by ravana, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. ravana

    ravana New Member

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    Note: I posted this over at "My Les Paul" forums a little while back. Soon discovered there was an SG forums so seemed like 1.) I probably belong here. 2.) This site recieves more SG related traffic so probably worth reposting here. Sorry for reposting across websites! With that said...


    Hello! A few years back I was given an acoustic guitar, played it for half a year and then it slowly became a dust collector :-/ My love for music and desire to learn guitar still hasn't died but I'm going to try another angle. Considering my favorite genres of music are classic rock, ska, and doom/sludge/stoner metal I think I'm going to invest in a starter electric and hope that learning black sabbath albums whilist learning theory will interest me more than trying to play black sabbath on an acoustic and feeling unsatisfied.

    I see that Gibson Melody Maker SG is for a sweet deal and getting an American made guitar as a first electric would be sweet. I won't lie I do have a certain pride with buying American :-X But I'm also fairly rational and have noticed that the SG G-400 fares for the same price, has better woods, more accurate of representation of the SG standard, etc. To summarize:

    Pros of Melody Maker
    - Simplistic
    - Better quality electronics - well electronic
    - Gibson :-)

    Cons of Melody Maker
    - I hear that the vol. knob gets in the way? Doesn't seem to hurt fender strat sales so not sure about this.
    - from what I understand maple isn't as of a quality tonewood as mahogany?

    Pros of G-400
    - Better representation of papa bear Standard SG
    - More range of tones
    - Knobs out of way

    Cons of G-400
    - Hear it suffers from being very neck heavy, more than the Gibsons.
    - MIC :-(

    General Questions:
    1.) If someone could address if the vol. knob gets in the way that would be much appreciated.
    2.) Is the SG the same size/thickness as the Standard SG?

    What do you folks think would be better in the long run once the, "Wee Gibson, first guitar thrill" goes away. Then again, as materialistic as it may sound - I'm sure that does cause a certain attachment too....

    Thanks,
    Rav.
     
  2. mikeystool

    mikeystool Well-Known Member

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    how about finding a used gibson faded SG? i know its not with your choices, but thats the route i would go..you can find them pretty cheap on e-bay, craigslist ect...
     
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  3. Tah-lee

    Tah-lee Active Member

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    Hello, I recently found this forum, too. Welcome!

    I agree with Mikey's suggestion...and there is another way to get a Gibson...Don't forget the tried and true Tah-lee method of acquiring things that I really can't afford: layaway :naughty:

    If Guitar Center tells you they don't do layaway, correct the salesperson by saying you'd like to to a COD (Credit on Demand) and hold the guitar you want with that COD. (Sounds like a layaway plan to me G.C.) They offer 30 days, but you can always get them to go 60. You need to put 20% down. I've done the COD on used items as well as new.

    I have a sweet SG on COD right now! I asked for the 60 days right off the bat, and they gave it. So, you have some options.

    Have a great day, and enjoy the adventure of finding the right SG for you.
     
  4. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Me too - a used faded would be in the same price range, and combine the best features of the MM and G-400.

    For me, the dealbreaker on theMM is single pickup. I *need* a neck pickup to be happy.
     
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  5. WDeranged

    WDeranged Active Member

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    I can heartily recommend the Faded SG, if you're in the USA you can pick them up amazingly cheap on ebay, my current one is just an all round good guitar, I haven't really found a bad sound in it so far.
     
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  6. happy_tom

    happy_tom Active Member

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    If you're like me, you can also buy a used epi & spend the rest of the money on modifications :laugh2:
    It's not for everyone, but you may end up with a better sounding guitar...

    Some more food for thought:

    epis don't hold their value as much as gibsons, which is good if you're buying used, and less cool when you're selling you epi - they are so cheap though, you might as well keep it as a backup when you move on to better stuff...

    There's another + for epi: there's plenty of room for improvement; namely replacing the pickups with the kind you like; there are bridges & tailpieces available, you can try different wiring schemes.
    Then there's cosmetic stuff; aftermarket pikcguards, knobs etc.

    with MM you're pretty much stuck with what you've got, unless you wanna do some serious woodwork... Still, it's a cool guitar.
    It's your call. :thumb:


    Fadeds are really good for the price. Personally, I' rather buy a cheapo Epi and be happy with it, until I had the $$$ for higher-end gibson. I'd go at least for a classic, stanard or 61 RI.

    (that was the original plan, but 3 years later I'm stuck with a bunch of modified epiphones & squiers... I've got nothing to complain, though)
     
  7. oldrockfan

    oldrockfan Well-Known Member

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    well, they beat me to it... a used SG faded special is a great value and would be right in your price range. If used isn't an option and you need to go new, I'd get the gibson melody maker SG. it will hold value better than the epi and allow you to sell it later to upgrade without taking a big hit. Also don't forget you can get deals on new guitars using the discounts that are always being offered by someone or another. YOu can almost always find a 15% and occasionally even 20%. Now if you do want to go with the epiphone, I'd get a faded epi G400. They are low cost and are very decent players for the money.
     
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  8. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Also check the used, scratch and dent, etc, specials.
     
  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I agree with all these guys. I own a faded special and love it dearly. I also have enjoyed buying cheap used Epiphones and modifying them till they sound great and make me happy.

    But since you're speaking of being a learner (hey, I'm a learner too, even though I'm in my sixties, I've been a learner all my life... *grins) I believe that keeping it simple is a good idea. So I'd recommend getting the best used Gibson you can afford. It ought to be playable with only a few dollars spent on setting it up (I'll detail a few recommendations about that too).

    The Melody Maker was invented as a guitar for students, intended to be simple and inexpensive. But many pro players use them, because they sound so good, and look cool. So there are no flies on the MM. It has it's own sound, and isn't like a Standard, but there's nothing wrong with that, IMHO.

    The Faded Special is Gibson's low cost model, it's low cost mostly because they don't work so hard to put an ultra smooth shiny finish on it. They sound nearly as good as the higher priced Standards etc. So this is also a really good choice. It's got two pickups and four knobs, and more tones available, and costs more. But you can figure it out in one afternoon. Highly recommended, by someone who owns one.

    No matter which one you buy, I'd spend some extra money at the best guitar tech you can find, and afford. Forget the sales guys at GC. Get your guitar set up properly by a pro guitar tech, and you'll have a much easier time playing it, and sound better and have a lot less frustration. Well worth every penny you can afford. Tell the guitar tech that you're learning and need the guitar set up with that in mind. I spent what I thought was a lot of money on my SG when it was new, but have been playing it hard for four years now with no problems and lots of joy. Have the tech check these things:
    Neck straightness, Nut slots, Check frets for high spots, sharp ends, leveling... then Bridge height, bridge saddle slots... Height of strings over frets...
    All these things together make what guitarists call "The Action." Most guitar techs have prices posted for these operations, and can check to see what your new guitar needs most.

    Welcome to ETSG. Good luck to you, and don't forget to post some photos when you make your choice.
     
  10. ravana

    ravana New Member

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    Thank you all for your response :-)

    Unless someone is willing to sell stupid cheap <= $300 is all I can do at the time. Quit my old paying job for more time for school/research internship (non-paying). I have $400 saved from the job so I spent $100 on a Vox Pathfinder 15R and 300 left for a guitar.

    I think a student guitar for a guitar student is appropriate. If I stick with it I'll jump to a Standard in a few years.

    Though one thing I want to make sure: The SG Melody Maker isn't a student guitar in the sense it's meant for young children, right? To my understanding it's full size? Does student just imply no bells and whistles?

    Thanks,
    Rav.
     
  11. mikeystool

    mikeystool Well-Known Member

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    well said as usual!:thumb:..the only thing id say to you is, i think a faded can sound AS GOOD as a standard, or better..i know when looking for my 1st SG, i tried standards, specials , faded specials...and i really heard not a whole lot if any difference in them from each other(besides some maybe having some fret buzz probably from not being set up properly in some fadeds)..it was more of a difference in feel..that said, i wasnt real thrilled with the 490'-498's, and was pretty sure i was gonna swap them out anyway, so i took the cheaper route, to have more cash for upgrades..im not about a gibson having to have binding or traps, so i have no regrets in my choice..
     
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  12. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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  13. oldrockfan

    oldrockfan Well-Known Member

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  14. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    yes, I believe the MM has a full size guitar fingerboard. It was designed to be simpler to use, so a student could concentrate on forcing their fingers to make chord shapes and play up and down the neck. The body might be a bit smaller and lighter, I don't know. I think all Gibsons get the PLEK setup treatment, which is important as I keep saying. It ought to be playable if so. But the MMs have a good reputation among all guitarists, and are well worth buying and using. Hey, I just read the reviews on the MM that ORF posted, and it sounds like you should grab one of those for your $300, unless you can find a used one for less. Now even I am G.A.S.-ing for one. *grins

    @Mikey... I agree with you, I looked at a number of SGs and picked the one that sounded best, which was the faded special that I took home. It sounded better than other SGs costing twice as much. But I used the word "nearly" out of politeness and respect to our brothers here who paid more than we did for their SGs... *laughs, jingles pocket full of big copper dollars.

    About Epiphones: People dis them because they are made in China by forced laborers or child laborers or chain gang laborers or some such... (people who make diddley-squat for pay) ...but there's a place in the world for an inexpensive guitar, and I have a really nice Epi that sounds almost as good as my SG. That's because I have replaced all the Chinese junk hardware with good quality components and spent some money having its frets professionally polished and set up. The best part about owning one is that you save enough buying it to pay for the setup (and for upgrades later if you wish). I believe that a well set up Epiphone is a more useful guitar than an expensive Gibson that has had no attention. Setup is a huge part of your guitar experience, and people who don't know this have unending trouble and frustration, and write cry-baby stuff on the internet in uninformed product reviews. So if you bought an inexpensive used Epiphone and took it to a good luthier and asked him to set it up for you to make it easier to learn on, you'd likely end up with a very usable guitar for small money. Smart move, eh? If you do, let us know how it works out.
     
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  15. ravana

    ravana New Member

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    Yup, that's the one I'm planning to get.

    Just one more day before I can go and get it. Just hoping the price doesn't go back up to regular or sells out. A lot can happen in one day D-:

    -Rav.
     
  16. ravana

    ravana New Member

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    Good news! I found a Faded SG for $400. Going to be rummaging around for the next week selling things on craigslist and making up that last $100.

    Things worked out well :-)
     
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  17. mikeystool

    mikeystool Well-Known Member

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    cool! pics when you get it:fingersx:
     
  18. oldrockfan

    oldrockfan Well-Known Member

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    used special faded for $400 is def the way to go. Get it and I betcha you will love it. PLus the added bonus of buying a used faded special for $400 is you can probably sell it for that price any time if you want to.
     
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  19. Kevy Nova

    Kevy Nova Well-Known Member

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    You definitely can't go wrong there!
     
  20. Ne_buddy

    Ne_buddy Member

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    Congrats on the Faded! And...

    Nice work ETSG lads.
     

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