I need the pros' expertise here

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Spudboy, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. Spudboy

    Spudboy Member

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    Hey there. I've got this thing that is bugging me and I'm sick of listening to amateur opinions based on wishful thinking, so I'm hoping that maybe one or two of the luthiers that skulk around in here will be so kind as to share their expert knowledge.

    Here's the deal. We're talking about Epiphone "Korina" guitars. These guitars are abviously a Korina veneer over some kind of core, usually two (Flying V) or three (Explorer) slabs glued together.

    Now, let's look at the economics. These guitars retail for $500 US. So, the dealer plays somewhat less than that, and Epiphone plays less than that, and the manufacturer (usually Unsung in Korea) has to pay yet less in terms of materials, hardware, labour, machine and plant amortization, etc. etc. If we assume a 50/50 split between the hard and soft costs, I'm thinking that Unsung spends about $40 or so, all told, for all materials and hardware that go into one of these guitars. With me so far?

    OK. Given that you need a good 3 1/2 board feet to make one of these instruments, what are the chances that this core wood under the veneer is Korina? What are the chances that it's lauan?

    Gentlemen, start your engines.
     
  2. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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    I had an Epiphone Korina Explorer. It was solid, no veneer.
     
  3. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Supporting Member

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    White limba is $3-5 a board foot from a distributor here in the states. Now imagne what they pay for it. Then imagine what it costs in Korea.
    The crazy prices you may be seeing come from the wood brokers who sell to builders.

    It's not the highest grade of wood. They use it for pallets in most of the rest of the world.
     
  4. Spudboy

    Spudboy Member

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    Really. What year was it, might I ask?

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, mine, a 1999 model, is veneered. And anybody who has ever seen a block of Korina will tell you that that endgrain is not Korina.
     
  5. Spudboy

    Spudboy Member

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    So, Gibson can't keep the costs reasonable using Korina and switch their V and X production to mahogany, yet Epiphone can do it and still sell the guitar for 1/3rd what Gibson charges? Amazing.
     
  6. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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    '98 I believe. I no longer have it, and the only picture I have (not on the computer) is a straight-on shot.
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

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    I'm not seeing veneer; what it looks like to me is a multi-piece glued up body spread, which is how Gibson did it as well. And yes, that looks like limba (korina) end grain. I use the stuff all the time.
     
  8. Spudboy

    Spudboy Member

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    Well, notice how the seam between the two blocks disappears on the top? It nmight not show well on the photo, but it's plain as day that the core wood is three slabs and the veneer top and back are one single seamless sheet. The core wood looks to me like exactly the same Indonesian mahogany that Epiphone's manufacturers use on all their guitars; for example I have a G-400 made at the same plant as that Explorer (Unsung) and it is also made of the Indonesian stuff.

    Every piece of Korina I've seen has a definite stripey endgrain with dark lines that I'm not seeing on this guitar:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

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    Epiphone isn't paying US union wages.
     
  10. frankthomson

    frankthomson Member

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    had a popa chubby
    not veneered

    i agree w/ JABGUIT...that's solid korina....now maybe it's not #1 quality, but it's solid
     
  11. Spudboy

    Spudboy Member

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    Well, the sad fact is that one has to discount any statements based on memory. Just because a person never noticed a veneer job doesn't mean that wasn't the case, and if the guitars in question are no longer available for verification, well, sometimes people see what they want or expect to see... especially in the case of the Flying V where the veneer joint usually coincides pretty closely with the joint in the core wood. It's much more apparent on the Explorer.
     
  12. Tinman

    Tinman Member

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    +1

    As a former professional furniture maker who did a ton of veneer work, I can tell you that there would be a visible glue line where the veneer meets the substrate. In the photo, I can even see places where the surface grain continues down to the endgrain. Further, wood from the same species can look radically different from log to log. That has a lot to do with the soil content and the climate where each tree grew.
     
  13. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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    And the other sad fact is that mine was solid. I know what wood looks like, I know how to count the pieces. Mine was three full pieces with a small fourth one to complete the lower horn. The pickguard was installed crooked. The plastic nut was replaced with one of brass. It had Washburn 600 series pickups out of an HB-35. Replaced pots and switch. 3 finish chips when I sold it. I know every inch of that guitar, and it was solid, no veneer.

    I agree with jabguit, your guitar does not look veneered.
     
  14. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Lemme get this straight---you ask for "pros' expertise", several of the genuine article give you just that, and you proceed to ignore and/or insult them.

    Noiiice.
     
  15. hansv

    hansv Member

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    Dont you just love it :)
     

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