my new Epi SG - Made in Czech republic

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by laza616, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. laza616

    laza616 Member

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    Hey everybody,

    I just got my latest SG after i returned the Korean faulty one
    I bought (won) this on ebay last saturday
    Yesterday it was delivered to me from Germany
    Its my third Epiphone SG and currently i have 4 SGs (Gibson, BaCH, Vintage and this beauty)

    I am actually stunned after i slept on it and inspected it few moments ago.
    I compared it to my other SGs and to the previous Epiphones i owned or held in my hands or played throughout the years
    I had a Chinese EPI and Korean Epi. Never had Made in Japan, never even held it or saw it on my own eyes in Slovakia as i am from Slovakia which brings me to say that i am sorry for lousy English

    Well back to this Guitar
    Its Czech Made Epi, year 2000
    I was trying for couple of months to get one of those Czech Made as i am Slovak and i know old czechoslovakian communist guitars (Jolana, Cremona). I was curious and wanted to give it a shot
    Well it turned out that the rumours floating around the internet that these are better than their Brothers from Asia might be better, actually might me true
    I need to adjust the truss rod as the neck is a little bit bowed, previous owner had very thick gauge strings on it, who knows how many months or even years these old strings were slowly bending that neck
    That brings me to the first question as i dont have a tool to adjust it, what size i should buy? I never had to do it on my previous guitars, only on my acoustic guitar and no need to say that the truss rod was in the body Sound hole not in the headstock and even with this screw
    What kind of truss rod is that and what wrench would do it.
    The nut is fine i wont change it. All the hardware is unbranded. I have no clue what it is as All my guitars even Epiphones had different hardware. I would say that it might be random generic hardware but maybe someone form here will know more
    No need to say i had 2002 Korean Epi and 2009 Chinese EPI , and this one is built like a tank
    I just compared it to my Gibson SG standard (2009) and the size f the neck and everything is +/- the same, same weight, the only difference is that the Gibson is thiner on the edges, they are sawed (sorry if it is an incorrect word for it),
    This one doesnt have it sawed so "far" and it appears to be "thicker". More wood=more weight
    But its the same weight as a Gibson i have
    The body is from to me unknown wood, it doesnt look like a mahagony and its a three piece (as my Gibson). Do we know what wood it might be?
    The fretboard and the neck is very comfortable, actually i love the fretboard, just look at that pattern and grain
    It feels fantastic
    There is no neck dive at All, the guitar is perfectly balanced (after further inspection i find it better balanced than my Gibson for fucks sake....)
    The consturction quality is flawless. I held many guitars and this is something you would normally expected from pricy guitars, not from the Epiphones. Its definitely much better than Korean, Chinese and better than my Vintage VS6 and my BaCH SG
    Actually to be honest i held few Gibson specials and tributes and they were not this quality built
    Its harder to compare it to my Gibson SG standard as it has binding on the fretboard and different pickguard and different headstock and hardware
    But when it comes to the consturction,.....i would say that this Epi would survive more than Gibson altough both are very Well Made

    I didnt test the Sound yet as i have to make the neck as IT should be not bowed, and i will adjust then everything else for comfy play
    So far i am in love
    And to take a note that this is 20 years old guitar, its great
    I Made some photos
    You Can see that the pickguard is different, not three ply
    And Also the covers around the pups are in my opinion a little wider on the sides
    I would like to know what pups are these and Also i am curious what are those tuning machines. They look generic but i need to test them when i will put the strings on this guitar
    And to be honest i am Happy for this purchase AF
    I will replace the screws as most of these are already rusty

    I wonder what are the specs od this guitar, damn it
    What do you guys think?
     

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  2. laza616

    laza616 Member

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    And few more pictures
     

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  3. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure of all this? Your serial number decodes to a 1980 guitar made in Korea.
     
  4. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    It's a funny serial number for sure. It's got the B which would indicate the Czech factory, but the date numbers are off. I would have thought the 004 meant April 2000, but according to the Epiphone Wiki they weren't using single digits for the year by then. But who knows, there's often variations.

    Either way, if you like it who cares where it's from.

    http://www.epiphonewiki.org/index/Bohemia_Musico-Delicia.php
     
  5. laza616

    laza616 Member

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    Its not the first Czech Made Epi SG that Has "weird" SN
    I have Seen couple the problem is in those decoder websites
    All B SNs are Bohemia = Czech republic and as they were produced since 1996, these websites are confised with the Zero in IT. But the truth is that the first number indicates the year. And as in 1990 they still were making harmonicas in that old factory this is year 2000
    I am sure of it, they went to the European (mostly Germany) and also scandinavian market
    This guitar i bought from the Germany

    I Also read that most of these hardware parts should have been unbranded but Made by Schaller in Germany thats why these guitars might have been a bit better than their asian buddies
    And as far as i speak fluently both Czech and Slovak as we have been Czechoslovakia , i searched the local websites and now nonexisting forums and sites and found one post where some dude claimed he had Been working in this factory in Czech republic he said he had Been doing the finishes on these guitars and allegedly they have been using even better hardware parts than Gibson in USA (i doubt that as these are unbranded, might be cheap Chinese) and he also said that he would have picked these Czech Made Epis anytime over any other Epiphone and even Gibson. If i remember correctly it was previous Worker that worked in communism in the factory of Hořovice (they Made Jolana brand guitars) and he said that many of his co-workers were very skilled and experienced and the guitars they produced were fine and reliable.
    Actually as i know how it used to be in Czech and Slovakia (as i am a Half czech too, have family there as well) products (not just musical instruments) Made here were always good quality that lasted years and years. So i would believe that these Can be good
    I never had a chance to play more of these czech Made Epis, but what i say, you from thousands of products they do, there are always better and worse ones, no matter of its China, Korea, Japan or Gibson or whatever
     
  6. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    I have an LP from there. I think they were only made for the scandinavian market which is lucky for me because the build quality is absolutely stellar. Maple top, long tenon and the body is the same as a Gibson, i.e not thinner like many Epis. Stuck a 498/490 combo in there and rocked the world. That thing will never be for sale. If the SG's are of similar quality then count yourself lucky, laugh and rock on.

    As for the tuners I have no idea but I have the same and they're absolutely fine. Never had a reason to change them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
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  7. laza616

    laza616 Member

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    Yeah i am Lucky, so far the quality looks Superb I Wish i knew more about the wood and pickups
    But the fingerboard is fine higer end rosewood, very nice grain and pattern on it, comfortable as hell too
    The only downgrade i found is a smaller rear cover on the electronics, its like 0,3mm shorter so there is a small Gap so its a dust collecting place and so the dust gets on the electronics probably too
    Luckily the compressed air solves it and cleaned it nicely

    How about that truss rod? What type IT IS? I have to adjust it and i need to purchase some wrench on it but i am clueless what size
     
  8. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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  9. laza616

    laza616 Member

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    thanks, i gave the guitar to a friend he will check if he has this kind of wrench and he would adjust it
    and if not i will purchase this and will adjust it myself

    but i was digging some czech forums and websites and found an old interview with the mr Vykydal - director, CEO of the Bohemia Musice Delicia, so the plant was located in village Hořovice
    they were doing harmonicas, acordions and other instruments in communism, after Velvet revolution they had a contract with the Kramer, after they bankcrupted, in this factory toilet seats were made (LOL)
    and after privatisation in 1993 they started doing bass guitars , then guitars

    the interview on website says 1998/02 - it was published, but who knows when they actually did the interview. Mr. Vykydal said they did LPs for Epiphone and Thunderbirds basses and they were about to start producing SG400. They produced cca 100 guitars every month
    He when they bought the company they had to fire a lot of workers and they only kept the best 15 craftsmen. Then they hired new skilled and talented musicians, luthiers and craftsmen

    They won some award on mid 90s with some bass guitar in USA - they were selling these in US only from what i understood, and he said Gibson was interested with their Epiphone guitars and they started producing Epiphones in here.
    One thing is cleared for me, i never found any advertisement or anyone in Slovakia, Czech republic selling or speaking or playing Epiphone made in Czech republic - the reason is that they never sold a single Epiphone in this local market. All Epiphones were ordered and after they were made they directly went to the customs at the borders to process the papers and then to the "European" market, they were never sold in US or outside Eu. Mainly Germany and Scandinavia.
    Later in the interview he said that they did some necks for some WD firm in Florida that had licence for Fender
    the most interesting things from the entire interview were these:
    the woods they used mahogany was from India and Honduras, Maple was from Canada and USA, but also Czech maple but not for necks (for bass guitars they used only Canadian and US maple). He didnt mention the fretboard, but my is rosewood. The intresting part was that some flame maple was from some mountain Yugoslavian maple
    And then the interesting part number 2 - 70% of parts are imported - hardware is mainly from Germany, Japan and cheaper guitars had Korean hardware. Pearl inlays are from Japan, finish - lacquer was used from Germany and Austria
    He didnt mention the brands but i assume that for Epiphone when they employed special skilled craftsmen these were considered "high priority" as he was always talking about this contract as with "Gibson USA".
    He said they did also some special run of pieces of some custom special Epiphone guitars - i assume that these might be the Heritage for Scandinavia
    he didnt go to the details in the interview.

    So far i am sure that these Epiphones are not low grade. From the interview he went back to the years when the factory was used for making "Jolana" guitars in communism - these were mostly "wild" models but they also did some US copies - most memorable is Jolana Diamant - which is basically Les Paul model - these were very popular here in Czechoslovakia before 1990....These guitars were 50-50 - even he said that "construction was solid and high quality, the low part and issues were with the finish - i can confirm that. Also the hardware was weird and tuners were mainly bad, pickups were "whatever the **** is this" but they played - some guitars were ****, some players and owners said that their Jolanas were better than they Gibsons they had imported. Its the same as i have a fiat and i would say its better than Volvo, well its not. Jolana guitars were not the best deal, but in Czechoslovakia they were good. Mainly Russians loved them....
    These guys definitely knew what to do to avoid the mistakes and i think thats mainly why these Bohemian Epiphones were long time unknown and are rare - not many pieces were produced and they were only sold in few countries in Europe - mostly the "wealthy" ones - so the quality had to be high-end

    i would really like to compare it to the MiJ Elitist model

    i plan to find some former worker or manager, because i wanna know when my guitar was made in 2000 and what hardware and wood it is. And also i wanna know when exactly they stopped producing. They were doing some latest LPs in 2001 or 2000 i think
     
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  10. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Shame that production there doesn't seem to have lasted.
     
  11. laza616

    laza616 Member

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    @Von Trapp - yeah, they moved to Asia to cut expences on wages and to maximise profit, China makes much more guitars and the costs are silly when compared to Europe....

    actually update i just found: http://www.muzikus.cz/pro-muzikanty-clanky/Tovarna-s-vuni-dreva~22~brezen~2003/

    this is from 02/2003 report when they started doing Jolana guitars again for Czech market
    they were still making Epiphones
    look at that wall of SGs! wow perfection
    so they must have been doing it until at least 2004 because i found an older posts on one czech forum with LP Epiphone made here in 2004

    and there is said that pickups for new Jolana guitars are the same as they were putting into Epiphone guitars - made directly in this factory. So maybe that "X" pups in Czech made Epiphones are made in Czech republic here too
     
  12. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you from first hand experience that if you want an Epi, nothing, n.o.t.h.i.n.g, beats these guitars for build quality and attention to detail. They're built to Gibson specs, not Epiphone. If I didn't already have one I'd shut up about it so the prices don't go up but like I said, I already have the LP and since I have a Gibson SG I'm all good. But if you see a serial nr beginning with B, pay and run!
     
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  13. laza616

    laza616 Member

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    yeah it was weird that there is actually a Gibson truss rod in the Epi
    i am glad AF, with the shipping it was 281 EUR
     
  14. dub-setter

    dub-setter Well-Known Member

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    thanx for the info about the plant in czech.
    you rarely see those models pop up on ebay in germany.

    good price!
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
  15. laza616

    laza616 Member

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    And to underline the attention on the details while making this Epiphone in Czech republic, check the trussrod hole on the photo above in the first post
    And to a little comparison here is my Gibson SG standard trussrod hole....
    is it possible that the original (Gibson) could be made worse than its clone (Epiphone)?
     

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  16. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Yes, if the latter is Czech.
     
  17. laza616

    laza616 Member

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    Update guys!
    I finally tried it in my amp if the guitar even works, it works thank god. Pups and pots are All good, tuners are quite fine too after 20 years
    Today i got the wrench for the truss rod and so i set it nicely, adjusted action, intonation and put a new strings on the guitar
    And the result is that the guitar is loud as **** when unplugged, that was a great sign
    And when i plugged it to the amp, oh boy
    I Can sell my Gibson SG standard. This Epi is definitely sounding better I have no clue what pups are these, but they sound fucking AWESOME to me
    I will never sell this Epi ever. To me it Has now more value than my Gibson.
    Best Epi i held in my hands.
    No need to change anything
    I changed only screws on the truss rod cover
    I will wait and if the tuners will not hold the guitar tuned properly i will put some Schaller on it

    10/10 guitar. I am Happy as fvck
     
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  18. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    I knew it. Those damn Czecks sure did a number on both Gibson and Epiphone with those guitars. Congrats!
     
  19. laza616

    laza616 Member

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    I am amazed. I never thought that these guitars are so solid. I have read some mystery rumours but without the guitar itself in hands and testing it i would never believe that these could be better than Gibsons...... And here i am admiring this perfect guitar. Unplugged it sings like a bell. What kind of wood is that i have no clue but its acoustic quality is top grade.
    I took it All Apart. I cleaned even the wires a bit, used the whole can of compressed air to get rid of every dust from wood drilling inside of guitar holes
    Cleaned the Bridge and stoptail, used some magic on fretboard, cleaned the frets.
    Pickups are these "x" marked, they sound like a charm, beautiful. No need to do anything now
    I set it All Up and its a killer
    Even these old tuners seem to keep the guitar tuned
    I will check that tomorrow too and if they will be good i wont change them, there is no need for now it seems
    Actually i only changed the truss rod screws as the old ones were completely rusty and i had a lot of stress taking them off. They are now gone. The other screws from the pickguard and pickup rings are old, were bit rusty from the sweat but i cleaned it and now they are much better, will be fine for another couple of years
    For 261€ for the guitar in auction, 25€ shipping, 9,2€ truss rod wrench and 0,05€ for truss rod cover screws....This was the best deal i have ever done, ever.
    And i was sad like a week ago that i wasnt fast enough to buy 1998 Gibson SG standard for 500€ from Austria. I am so glad because i would not get this Epiphone
    I still want to get info about the wood used in the guitar and maybe more info about hardware and pickups
    The only thing that i know is that the fretboard is from very high quality rosewood.
    Body and neck are unknown to me, it doesnt have that typical mahogany grain
    I will try to make some video of it so you Can hear this guitar. I have no equipment for recordings audio i will use my camcorder to capture it
     

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