• The Gear Page Apparel & Merch Shop is Open!

    Based on member demand, The Gear Page is pleased to announce that our Apparel Merch Shop is now open. The shop’s link is in the blue Navigation bar (on the right side), “Shop,” with t-shirts, hats, neck buffs, and stickers to start. Here’s the direct link: www.thegearpageshop.com

    You’ll find exclusive high-quality apparel and merchandise; all items are ethical, sustainably produced, and we will be continuously sourcing and adding new choices. 

    We can ship internationally. All shipping is at cost.


Epiphone Pauls: MDF Tops!?!

Rob Sharer

Muso-Luthier
Messages
2,822
Had a discussion going on another thread where I delicately suggested that at least some of the standard-issue Epiphone Les Pauls have mahogany backs w/maple-veneered MDF tops. In case you've never encountered it, MDF is an engineered wood product; the name stands for Medium Density Fiberboard. Read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium-density_fiberboard

Anyhow, I was challenged about this claim. I responded that I was pretty certain that at least some of the guitars feature tops made of MDF, since my own personal example does. Well, the usual call for photos was issued, so here we are. I flaked up a bit of the MDF in both the switch and control cavities, but it's a bit clearer in the latter photo - the little orange-ish crumb next to the neck volume pot hole is a flake of MDF I popped up in the interest of science. The side-on shot of the switch hole also shows the characteristic pale-grey MDF hue. Check it out (apologies for the crummy camera-work):









EDIT: The next three photos are the better ones I took after being (rightly) chastised for taking crummy snaps.





 
Last edited:

Fuchsaudio

Member
Messages
7,766
I have the "hollow body" Epiphone Florentine (I think it was called) as a shop pedal test rat guitar, and the top is clearly plywood. Besides weighing a ton (really semi hollow not a hollow body) it's a pretty dull guitar. Have not upgraded pickups or hardware at this point, but the laminated wood could explain it.

It wouldn't surprise me if other Epiphone models had parts that were not totally real (or were layered) wood.
 

dantedayjob

Member
Messages
1,866
The pics aren't clear enough to be sure, but it wouldn't surprise me. Heck, I had a Kramer that had a plywood body... I was PI$$ED when I found out... Guitars aren't always what that are claimed to be, and that isn't always a bad thing... I was doing a pup swap in a Dean Black Gold V and discovered that instead of mahogany w/maple top, it was korina w/ a maple veneer! Hand written in the neck pup cavity was "sample"... Tone explained... lol
 

Trebor Renkluaf

I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse?
Messages
13,750
Plywood and MDF are not the same thing at all. Plywood is separate ply's of actual wood laminated together. MDF is a cabinet grade particle board made of wood pulp and glue and who knows what else. Not the same thing at all. Are you sure that thing has an MDF top?
 

tjmicsak

Member
Messages
5,597
I have a Strat body from a Kramer that is ply, but still hardwood, and I actually like the tone, although it is 20 years old and had time to age.

I think the question is still "How does it sound?"
 

eurotrashed

Member
Messages
1,226
Just checked the Samick made Les Paul. I don't want to chip it up like you did, but my guess is that it is ply and not MDF. It def looks different than your guitar
 

Rob Sharer

Muso-Luthier
Messages
2,822
Plywood and MDF are not the same thing at all. Plywood is separate ply's of actual wood laminated together. MDF is a cabinet grade particle board made of wood pulp and glue and who knows what else. Not the same thing at all. Are you sure that thing has an MDF top?
I use MDF frequently to make jigs and fixtures, so I'm well acquainted with the stuff. The top on my Epi is, in the center, 1/2" of MDF with a 1/32" maple veneer. I'm 100% certain of this. Cheers,

Rob
 

Guitar Dave T

Member
Messages
10,700
Regardless of what it's made of, how does it play and sound?

C'mon, guys, we're talking about $600 guitars here. Who cares what it's made of as long as it plays and sounds good?
 

Rob Sharer

Muso-Luthier
Messages
2,822
Regardless of what it's made of, how does it play and sound?

C'mon, guys, we're talking about $600 guitars here. Who cares what it's made of as long as it plays and sounds good?
I totally agree. I think the guitars are great value for money, and I'm not trying to take anything away from them or the players who enjoy them. I just wanted it to be clear, relative to recent discussions of wood and tone, that in the case of Epiphone's LP offerings it's certainly not the "maple" top that you're hearing. Cheers,

rob
 

mark norwine

Member
Messages
17,159
Who cares what it's made of as long as it plays and sounds good?
Well, I think I'd care if I was buying something that claimed to be a maple top, as Epiphone (Gibson) does on their website.....

http://www.epiphone.com/default.asp?ProductID=266&CollectionID=6

....but wasn't.

That said, and in the spirit of "full disclosure", the pictures above show a black LP Custom. And the Custom's website don't say maple....they just say "Mahogany"...

http://www.epiphone.com/default.asp?ProductID=47&CollectionID=6

Now, we all know that the original Customs had all-mahogany bodies, so are they advertising "all Mahog" to make you believe that they're giving you a solid mahog body, like they did in the 50's? Or are they simply not saying anything so as not to be held to account?

Sure, they're cheap(er than a Gibson), but I still think this is slimy. How low can Henry sink?

If the body is Mahog & MDF, then that's what the ad copy should state.

Heck.....it ain't even Mahog....it's Sapele....

EDIT: The pics above are not a Custom....the binding is wrong. But still.....
 
Last edited:

mc5nrg

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,108
Country of origin, approximate date of manufacture?
A few years ago, Epiphone made a big PR response to certain postings and pix, denying that any authentic Epiphones had particleboard, or was it MDF, content.
Maybe its a Sonex reissue? :huh
 

Tinman

Member
Messages
1,946
Slightly off topic: I bought on of those sure-cheap Epiphone LPs with a bolt-on neck. The spec sheet said the neck was mahogany and the only reason I bought this thing was to "harvest" the mahogany neck. Once I got the mega-thick black finish off, I discovered that the neck was maple. I showed it to the salesman, who is a friend of mine. He told me that this would be fun to bring up with the Gibson/Epi rep. The next time the rep came into the store, I brought in the neck. The guy looks at it and says "no, this is mahogany." Clearly its maple. So we bicker about that for a while, and then the rep asks me why I stripped it and what I was planning on doing with it, because if I was planning on using it on a non-Epi body I may be breaking the law. So I respond that I bought the neck, I can do whatever I want with it, and I continue complaining about the misrepresentation of the wood species. (Mind you, we are talking about a guitar that sells for $99 brand new, so this was more for sport than anything else.) The rep relents, and admits that this may, in fact, be a maple neck, takes my name and address and says he'll make it right. A month later I got an Epiphone t-shirt and a set of Epiphone strings in the mail.

MDF story: A friend of mine recently dropped of a painted Tele body and asked if could do some work on it. I was made completely out of MDF except for the very thin layer of masonite on the top and back.
 

Rob Sharer

Muso-Luthier
Messages
2,822
Country of origin, approximate date of manufacture?
A few years ago, Epiphone made a big PR response to certain postings and pix, denying that any authentic Epiphones had particleboard, or was it MDF, content.
Maybe its a Sonex reissue? :huh
Can't say, as far as country or date. There's no Sonex about it, though; it's an Epiphone Les Paul - says so on the headstock - with a glued-in neck, trapezoids, curly maple veneered top, and a transparent black finish. I'd be happy to provide the serial number, if anyone could date it from that. Meanwhile, we need some more data, so open up those control cavities! Cheers,

Rob
 

mc5nrg

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,108
Note that pretty much all manufacturer info generally includes the phrase:
"Specifications subject to change without notice".

Whose tele body?
 
Messages
3,041
Maybe Gibson gave up like, "Eh, they're just plugging these into bumble bee amps with 5 compressor pedals inline anyway, they won't notice the loss of sustain!"
 

lawl Dave

Member
Messages
50
I've got a plywood bass that actually sounds fine, so I think sometimes the tone with those kinds of woods are subjective. However, I did read on some Epiphone fan group I was browsing on Facebook that a guy did some looking around on his Epi LP and some material underneath the fretboard was plywood and possibly the body was too. But if it sounds good, it sounds good.
 




Trending Topics

Top