I have an Epiphone G400. I think its dead sexy, but has some quality issues, even after professional set up. The tuners buzz on some of the open strings, luthier says they are cheap & need replacement (they look like Grovers, but don't say Grover on back, so not sure if the guitar is earlier version that had cheaper tuners...I bought it used, no clue how old it is). The tonal range seems a bit limited.

I was curious to try guitar with whammy bar, and I played Gibson LP with split coil, and liked the tonal variations that allowed. So I was wondering yesterday if it could possibly be feasible to mod my G400 to add whammy bar and/or split coil taps. When I googled this, I found the above guitar, which comes new with both of those things, and the SG body style I love, and Grover tuners. Also, it says it has 60s style slim tapered neck which I'm thinking MIGHT reduce the neck dive problem. All in all, it could be just the SG-style guitar I'm looking at, at a much cheaper price than trying to mod the one I've got (which would also be a real pain).

So, anyway, since I'm seriously considering the above guitar (and selling my current G400 to help fund it), I had some questions:

1. Any general feedback, thoughts on this guitar.
2. Any feedback on the Maestro tremolo because I've never read about it (my reading has mostly involved Floyd Rose or, a bit on Bixby, so I have no idea if this is junky or good tremolo, can dive bomb, etc.)
3. Suggested mods if I got this new Epi. The mods I was thinking about / toying with were:
(a) Upgrading pick ups. In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say. I've got little experience with split coil taps, but I've been reading articles saying that the muddiness of stock pick ups on SG, or Epiphone clone for that matter, makes the split coil effect less noticeable, and different pick ups can really help maximize the potential of the split coils to create great tonal variety / options.
(b) Bone nut
(c) Maybe upgrade tuners, though I'd probably wait to see if I have any problems (like I've had with my G400 tuners).

Bernie Sanders for President!
1. It's just an Epiphone G400 with a vibrato on it. People have very mixed feelings on them. Some say they're great for the money, others say they're junk.

2. It's a pretty terrible system imo. It doesn't hold tune and its range of movement is very limited. If you want Floyd Rose-like range and tuning stability, this is absolutely not it.

3. a) I've never been a fan of humbuckers that are coil split. They're really weak output-wise and they sound pretty crappy. WHat pickups you get depends on the sound you're looking for, but Seymour Duncan '59's in the bridge and a Pearly Gates in the neck are a great choice if you're a blues player, which I'm only guessing that you are based on the guitar you have in mind.

b) Bone wouldn't be a terrible idea, but TUSQ is a better nut material than bone in pretty much every way. More consistent, better tuning stability (thanks to them being teflon-impregnated) and they're harder.

c) If they're grovers you shouldn't need to upgrade them. If the tuners are rattling, make sure that all the nuts and screws holding them on the guitar are tight. If they're some mystery meat tuners, replacing them wouldn't hurt, although if you want better tuning stability, you might want to focus on other parts of the guitar first. Such as the nut and the bridge saddles.
Quote by Axelfox

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Feb 27, 2014,
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE

3. a) I've never been a fan of humbuckers that are coil split. They're really weak output-wise and they sound pretty crappy. .

I think your post nailed it, but I did have one comment on the above. I'm using coil splits on a lot of my guitars and love them. Compared to the humbuckers' output, the coil split will be weak sounding (I've got serial, parallel and coil split options on a few of my guitars). Not necessarily a bad thing.

1. Consider selecting a hotter humbucker. Split, the resultant coil still active will be closer to what you get on a strat or tele. I really like bridge pickups like the Suhr Aldrich or the Carvin M22SD; both of these split beautifully and both can be very well controlled as humbuckers with the volume control.

2. Consider setting up for most of your playing using the single coil instead of the humbucker. Essentially, I'll set up the amp and the pedals for general rhythm-type use switched to single coil. If you *start* there, you have a better chance of really liking the single coil mode. With the humbuckers I have, switching into serial (full humbucker) mode is like kicking in a volume boost and overdrive for solos.

If you go the other way (setting up for humbucker mode) and then switching to the single coil mode, you'll decide that the single coil mode is weak and wimpy pretty quickly.
Oh, and relocate the strap button to the tip of the upper wing, rather than leaving it on the back of the guitar. That's STILL a neck-heavy guitar.
Well, all the issues seem fixable except the quality of the tremolo itself. If the split coil taps don't do much for these pick ups, the pick ups can be upgraded. The neck heaviness can be fixed by moving the strap button. A cheap nut or tuners can be upgraded. I had an issue with the input for my G400, but that's also a cheap fix, if this one has a similar problem.

I think I read some one elsewhere complaining of the frets themselves being cheap, not sure if that's an easy fix or not, but by that point all the different fixes add up in cost... And, too, it still comes back to the question...if you fix every single cheap / substandard part on here, are you still left with a tremolo that has limited range and detunes the guitar when used?

Well, sounds like too many questions to pull the trigger on this one.

Bernie Sanders for President!
Frank Marino manages to get some very cool trem sounds using that system. granted he has an actual Gibson.

not a bad guitar at all as long as you do keep in mind that tuning stability may be an issue. obviously if you are looking for a metal machine that isn't the guitar. with a good setup for rock or blues you should be good to go. great color.

locking tuners and a better nut will go a long way. as for pickups depends on what sound you are after.
Last edited by monwobobbo at Feb 28, 2014,