#1
Is upgrading an Epiphone SG G-400 pro worth it?

I am considering slowly upgrading my Epiphone but I dont know if I should save enough money to buy a Gibson SG instead.

Lets say I upgrade everything on the Epiphone. Pickups, bridge, tailpiece, pots, nut, tuners and I also perfectly level the frets.
Will it play/sound like a Gibson?
I know that no matter what I do to the guitar it will always be an Epiphone but can upgrades get it close to a Gibson?

I mean if you change all the hardware on the guitar, the only difference between an epi and a gib is the quality of the wood (also craftsmanship but that mainly affects the finish, assuming there arent any major flaws with the guitar structure). So, is the quality of the wood really important?

Also, can someone please explain what playability means? (dont have much experience playing different guitars)
I read on the internet that playability has to do with action height, setup and string gauge.
So, if an epi and a gib have the same action height (level frets), same setup and string gauge will they play the same and if not is the difference significant?
#2
"As good as a Gibson" implies a standard that does not exist. Gibson makes a wide range of guitars and their quality even within models is notoriously inconsistent. So you're not comparing your theoretical guitar to anything meaningful.

The neck shape and angle as well as the finish feel quite different, but that's a measure of personal preference and not quality. So the answer to your question, as much as it can be answered, is that most Epiphones can be turned into excellent instruments with a fair bit of work. I wouldn't worry too much about it being "as good as" some imaginary standard.
#3
I'm an enthusiastic modder, but you have to recognise that it is all dead money, insofar as you won't recover any of it if you sell the guitar. This means that financially a used Gibson may be a better bet. The other option is to save all the old parts off the Epi and replace them if you decide to sell it, then use the good parts on another guitar, or sell them separately.
#4
I'm an avid modder as well, who owns an Epiphone Les Paul Custom. I have thought about modding it quite a bit, but when it comes down to it, all that really needs replacing are the pickups and electronics.

I polished the frets and they are all level and the action is as low as my Ibanez's, the neck profile and radius are super comfy, it plays like a damn good guitar.
It already has grover tuners and the nut is well cut and filed.

I guess what I am trying to say is, work out what actually needs replacing and upgrading rather than doing the whole lot for the hell of it.

For instance, my Squier was a total piece of shit that I bought for 30 quid from a pawn shop with the sole intention of replacing every single part of it and putting a lot of work into it. It was a load of fun and the guitar is great now, but I put a whole lot of time and money into it. (About £200 in parts and hours filing, leveling, redressing and polishing frets) After that and it was time to put it all back together I realised all the screw holes for the bridge, to bolt the neck on etc were all horribly out of place and misaligned, so I am now in the process of stripping off all the finish, filling all the holes, re routing all the cavities so they don't look like a drunken child did it and then refinishing it after re drilling everything.

I would be better off just buying a MiM or a body from Warmoth or something and using this body for firewood, but I have grown kind of attached to the hunk of shit.
My Gear:
Ibanez Jet King 2
Ibanez RGDIX7 MPB
Ibanez GRG 7221
OLP John Petrucci
Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro
Squier Stratocaster (modified)
Harley Benton CLD-41S (Acoustic)

Peavey Vypyr 30.

Boss CH-1 Super Chorus
Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb
#5
A few months back I modded my faded Epi SG G400 by replacing the stock electronics with Gibson '61 special pickups, "circuit board" pots, and switch harvested from a damaged Gibson SG. It made a huge difference in sound over the stock Epi humbuckers and I am quite happy with the results. Fast forward to last week = I bought a brand new Heritage Cherry 2017 Gibson SG Standard T. The Gibson SG has the '57 classic pickups in it which are hotter than the '61's and appearance wise the Heritage Cherry finish/bound neck naturally blows the faded Epi out of the water. As far as playability goes IMO the two are nearly identical. I REALLY like the Gibson...but at the moment it's safely tucked in it's case. The Epi? It's still out on the stand next to the amp getting it's daily flogging.
Last edited by bsadowsky3031 at Feb 17, 2017,
#7
I looked at a few Gibson SGs but finally settled on a G400-Pro 1966 on sale for $349. It's less than half the price of the cheapest SG. After a basic setup, it played and sounded great. This weekend I'll swap out the tuners for Grover 18:1 lockers and eventually, I'll probably replace the pots, switch and PuPs with better quality. By the time I'm done, I'll spend less than the low end SG Faded and have exactly the guitar I want. It won't ever be the full equal of it's Gibson Standard but I'll probably never know the difference with my playing.

I don't care about headstock status or resale value, so it works for me.
Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
#8
I see no point in "changing everything". If you like the guitar and changing the bridge or having the neck pleck'd will put the icing on the cake, go for it. If you don't like the guitar, find one you do like. A stock Epi is usually quite a nice player that is often as good as a Gibby in many ways. I own a 67 Gibson SG and still appreciate Epi SGs. I would have no problem gigging with one straight off the rack after a minor setup to suit my style.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Feb 20, 2017,
#9
I wouldn't replace everything or buy another guitar... I would simple replace the pickups, bone nut, and wiring/pots. Get a good setup on it and rock out.
'16 Gibson LP Standard T, '15 Epi LP Standard with 57/57+ Gibbys
Blackstar S1-45, a few pedals.
#10
I modded my Epiphone Les Paul Special II... EMG 81 and 85 and some Grover tuners and a new nut... At some point a new bridge and stop bar... Why? It's my first guitar from 1996 and I'll never part with it... Actually is a really nice guitar now... Sentimental value is high enough for me to justify spending money on it...
#11
Quote by gorkyporky
bsadowsky3031

Whats the point of having a good guitar if you dont play it?
I do have a good guitar that I play. A couple actually. Along with the two SG's I also have A Gibson V with boutique pups/wiring, a stock Epi LP Tribute + and a MIM Fender Strat with vintage noiseless pups/wiring. I bought the Gibson SG mainly on account of the smoking deal I got ($350 off retail...I couldn't refuse). I play all my guitars as the mood strikes but the Epi G400 is the one that sits in the stand next to the amp 100% of the time. As far as the new SG goes I may get around to playing it....one of these days.
#12
bsadowsky3031 Oooooh, ok, i thought you were one of those people who upgrades to a nice guitar and then never plays it, becuase it can get damaged or something.

I try to rotate my guitars, so that one doesnt get jealous over the other.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.