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  #1  
Old 12-31-2020, 03:39 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Default Epiphone SG Prophecy

Earlier this month, I asked if anyone had any experience with the Fishman Fluence pickups... a hundred or so people looked at the post, but no response. I ordered an Epiphone SG Prophecy with those pickups; it arrived yesterday, after a real fiasco dealing with the music shop. I won't say the name of the shop (they have a great looking website, btw), but their initials are Cream City Music. Long story short: they showed they had two in-stock on Reverb. 9 days after placing my order, I find that did NOT have the color I wanted in stock... didn't have it when they listed it... didn't have it when I ordered it... and then tried to blame the "miscommunication" on Gibson/Epiphone, Covid, and the holidays.

Of course I canceled the order and asked for an immediate refund. They did that, and one of the owners called me. He was decent on the phone and said the problem was "100% their fault"... unlike the salesperson who tried to blame everything and everybody else.

After that conversation, he made me a "make things right" offer on a different color that they did have in stock. He called back while I was in the shower, and my wife made the deal with him. (yes, she is a guitar enabler)

They claim to do a set-up on every guitar that gets shipped out. I say "claim," because the action was good, the guitar seems decent, but the fret ends on the lower side of the neck are absolute meat hooks. After the fiasco of the first order, I really thought they'd make sure all was right before shipping it. In fact, the owner I spoke with said he personally checked it over before it got shipped. I was flabbergasted by that statement. If this guitar had been on the wall of a guitar shop and I took it down, one feel of the fret ends would have had me put it back on the wall without even playing it... and I would have let a salesperson know that guitar's frets need to be addressed before they try to sell it to anyone. For full disclosure: I have never had to do that.

I've been playing guitar for 56 years. This was the worst case of raggedy fret ends on any guitar I've played.

I like the guitar. Not the color I wanted, but I'm less concerned about that than the playability and pickups. The action is good, the pickups are very nice. The owner offered to send a pickup tag for the guitar (he seemed genuinely surprised when he called to see how I like the guitar and I was steamed about those fret ends). I told him I'll keep the guitar and fix the fret ends myself.

My wife ordered some tools from StewMac. I haven't had to do any fret work on any of my guitars in over 5 decades of playing, but I figure I can't make it any worse than it is currently.

Once I get those fret ends so they don't chew up the lower part of the index finger on my left hand, I think I will enjoy this guitar (if I can forget about the buying experience). The Fishman Fluence pickups are nice - a lot of great tones at your finger tips. I haven't owned a solid body electric since the 90s (last one was a Strat, but most of my playing is acoustic); I like the style of the SG. I read a lot of positive reviews about the Epiphone SG, and I tend to agree with that. The situation with the fret ends should not have gotten out of the factory like that... and certainly not gotten out of a guitar shop that claims to do a "35 point inspection of every guitar we sell." (including a custom set-up)

To wrap up - the guitar: good; the buying experience: two big thumbs down.

Looking down the neck...



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Old 12-31-2020, 07:17 PM
TiffanyGuitar TiffanyGuitar is offline
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Wow. Hate you had such a bad experience. I wouldn't normally look at that color combo...but I think it works really well on a SG. Seems to accentuate its shape nicely. That color combo on that body grows on me and I am not a big SG fan.
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Old 12-31-2020, 07:42 PM
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fazool fazool is offline
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I recently picked up a Sterling Cutlass CT-50 (the previous and discontinued higher version). They are the lower-brand of Music Man like Epiphone is to Gibson and Squier is to Fender.

The guitar is simply fantastic and could easily be a main guitar. I got it mainly because I occasionally want a SSS pickup configuration and (just rarely) need a tremolo. BTW mine also wasn't available in the color I preferred.

I love this guitar.

But when I got it the fret ends were like a cheese grater. I dressed the ends, played it again and decided they were STILL terrible. So I really got into it and spent a lot of time doing it right. When done, they were great and it was totally worth it.

So two messages:

1) I understand your experience as the guitar condition mirrored mine
2) After putting the time and effort it to make it right, the guitar will be fantastic
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Old 12-31-2020, 07:50 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiffanyGuitar View Post
Wow. Hate you had such a bad experience. I wouldn't normally look at that color combo...but I think it works really well on a SG. Seems to accentuate its shape nicely. That color combo on that body grows on me and I am not a big SG fan.
In photos, I really liked the red SG. That was what was in the "miscommunication" Reverb ad. They had the blue in stock (really). That was my wife's first choice. Now in hand and looking at it, I like the blue/black. The fret markers are abalone with the body color repeated in the marker. Locking tuners. I'm liking the Fishman Fluence pickups. Everything except the fret ends is good. And, if you buy from a shop who actually looks over the guitar, I think it's a good value.
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Last edited by Captain Jim; 12-31-2020 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 12-31-2020, 08:14 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fazool View Post
I recently picked up a Sterling Cutlass CT-50 (the previous and discontinued higher version). They are the lower-brand of Music Man like Epiphone is to Gibson and Squier is to Fender.

The guitar is simply fantastic and could easily be a main guitar. I got it mainly because I occasionally want a SSS pickup configuration and (just rarely) need a tremolo. BTW mine also wasn't available in the color I preferred.

I love this guitar.

But when I got it the fret ends were like a cheese grater. I dressed the ends, played it again and decided they were STILL terrible. So I really got into it and spent a lot of time doing it right. When done, they were great and it was totally worth it.

So two messages:

1) I understand your experience as the guitar condition mirrored mine
2) After putting the time and effort it to make it right, the guitar will be fantastic
I appreciate the "two messages" Fazool (I remember you from the Unofficial Taylor Forum). "Cheese grater" is a good description of these fret ends - ticks me off that the owner and the guitar tech "didn't see a problem."

I am looking forward to learning a new skill... something about old dogs and new tricks. With the New Year holiday and weekend in there, it will take a while for that fret kit to get here.

I used to be a "Gibson guy" - still have my 335 that I got when I was 13, but have moved on a Les Paul and a couple acoustics (Gospel and a Hummingbird); I have always liked the look and sound of the SG. Since electric isn't my main forte' these days, this seems like a workable solution. I will put in the time and effort, hope I am able to get the same results as you.

Best wishes for this new year,
Jim
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Old 01-01-2021, 07:56 AM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is online now
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Hey Jim, if I were you and there was still an open return window I'd return it. If anything, a shop that calls you because of a bad experience (kudos on them for that) should re-inspect any guitar they send to you (terrible they didn't or just didn't care). The last thing you want is to have a guitar that gives you a sour taste when you see it.

If you can't return it, fix those fret ends or find someone who will, which looks like is your plan.
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Old 01-01-2021, 09:44 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dru Edwards View Post
Hey Jim, if I were you and there was still an open return window I'd return it. If anything, a shop that calls you because of a bad experience (kudos on them for that) should re-inspect any guitar they send to you (terrible they didn't or just didn't care). The last thing you want is to have a guitar that gives you a sour taste when you see it.

If you can't return it, fix those fret ends or find someone who will, which looks like is your plan.
I don't want to have to deal with them again. I plan to keep the guitar and fix it. The StewMac fret kit should be here on Wednesday. I understand what you say abut the "sour taste," but I plan to enjoy this guitar in spite of them.

I am an acoustic player; this electric won't ever be my main guitar. I have two other nice electrics (a 335 and a T5), but I was mostly curious about the Fishman Fluence pickups. I like 'em. This gives me another sound.

I still shake my head over the ordeal, but that is behind me. It's a new year - I'm looking ahead!
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Old 01-01-2021, 09:56 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Jim View Post
I ordered an Epiphone SG Prophecy...the action was good, the guitar seems decent, but the fret ends on the lower side of the neck are absolute meat hooks...If this guitar had been on the wall of a guitar shop and I took it down, one feel of the fret ends would have had me put it back on the wall without even playing it...I've been playing guitar for 56 years. This was the worst case of raggedy fret ends on any guitar I've played...I'll keep the guitar and fix the fret ends myself...

My wife ordered some tools from StewMac. I haven't had to do any fret work on any of my guitars in over 5 decades of playing...
Quote:
Originally Posted by fazool View Post
I recently picked up a Sterling Cutlass CT-50...when I got it the fret ends were like a cheese grater. I dressed the ends, played it again and decided they were STILL terrible. So I really got into it and spent a lot of time doing it right...
KILN. DRIED. WOODS. - the "new normal" of the guitar world...

I never had this problem with any pre-1970's instrument...

They do because they can - including virtually all the big-name USA manufacturers, all the Pac-Rim makers, and most small-shop/individual luthiers - and as long as we keep buying them they'll keep selling them...
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Old 01-01-2021, 11:52 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Steve, the guitars I play the most are Emerald carbon fiber guitars in 3 different sizes... NO ISSUE with kiln dried wood, and Emerald does a great job with their guitars. I still have some wood acoustics, and no issue with those lovely Taylors (several in the last decade) - perfect fit and finish.

I played several of my music partner's solid body electrics when we were together last, and I kinda got the urge for one of those again. I looked a bit early last year, then put it on the back burner... until I learned about those Fishman Fluence pickups. Then read a bunch of reviews on how Epiphone guitars in the last few years have been so good. Really, everything else about this SG is good except the fret ends... and just on the bottom of the neck. I guess more than anything, I was ticked that Cream City Music sent this guitar out with this situation, after having it out with them about the misrepresentation in the Reverb ad... I believed what the owner said to me in a phone call afterwards... zero faith in them now. They won't get the opportunity to get any more of my money.

I will make this guitar work and learn a new skill in the process; a skill that I haven't needed in 5 decades of playing.
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Old 01-05-2021, 09:48 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Update: the StewMac fret tools came in this afternoon. I spent this evening working on the guitar after watching a few more videos. I am pleased with the results...

https://captnjim.blogspot.com/2021/01/guitar-tech.html

My main goal besides eliminating the "meat hooks": don't over-do it and take too much off, and don't scar up the fretboard or binding. I would call this about "90% better." I'll take off a bit more at the next string change.



https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-tool...shine-set.html
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Old 01-18-2021, 07:59 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Having spent a couple weeks with this guitar, I have to say I am very impressed with the Fishman Fluence pickups - no buzz or hiss when the gain is turned up and when you turn down the volume on the guitar, the sound gets quieter, not weaker.

It has been 25 years since I've had a solid body electric, and this is a decent guitar. Heavier than I expected, probably due to the maple cap. I haven't done any more work to the fret ends, yet, but I picked up another set of strings and plan to work on it some more this week.

At this point: good guitar, great pickups, awful buying experience (not the guitar's fault). Yes, I am able to play the guitar without fretting (pun intended) about the dealer.
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Old 01-18-2021, 09:29 AM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Jim View Post
Having spent a couple weeks with this guitar, I have to say I am very impressed with the Fishman Fluence pickups - no buzz or hiss when the gain is turned up and when you turn down the volume on the guitar, the sound gets quieter, not weaker.

It has been 25 years since I've had a solid body electric, and this is a decent guitar. Heavier than I expected, probably due to the maple cap. I haven't done any more work to the fret ends, yet, but I picked up another set of strings and plan to work on it some more this week.

At this point: good guitar, great pickups, awful buying experience (not the guitar's fault). Yes, I am able to play the guitar without fretting (pun intended) about the dealer.
Jim, excellent execution of that plan. You have a great guitar now.

Just looked at the specs. Your SG has a 1/2" maple cap. That'll add a little weight. I wonder if it's in the 7.5 lbs range.
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:57 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Jim, excellent execution of that plan. You have a great guitar now.

Just looked at the specs. Your SG has a 1/2" maple cap. That'll add a little weight. I wonder if it's in the 7.5 lbs range.
Looking on-line, weight estimates run from 6 pounds to 11 pounds. I put it on my bathroom scale just now (not super accurate at that light weight) and it came in around 9 pounds. It feels noticeably heavier than my T5. Makes my Emerald carbon fiber guitars feel like they're going to float away.
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Old 01-22-2021, 03:17 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Here's a video I just finished up, electric track with the new Epi SG; acoustic track with an Emerald X10...



I have been doing a series of "Stayin' at Home" videos with a guitar and a Shure MV88+ since the virus changed how we do things. Thought I'd change it up a bit with this one - recorded each track with a Spire Studio, video shot with an iPhone 11 Pro, video production with iMovie.
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Old 01-26-2021, 07:18 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Another "Stayin' at Home" video, but my pretty videographer was occupied with a quilting project, so... 6 music/vocal tracks, video on different instruments, and editing (5 hours all in)...



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNsuIApaPaY

Showing a bit of the SG in this video.
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