Epiphone Sheraton new vs old

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Gogogoch, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. Gogogoch

    Gogogoch TDPRI Member

    Apr 25, 2016

    I play in a 60s covers band and I've been wanting a hollow-body (or semi-hollow) for long long time. I play through a Mesa Boogie f-50 (and have my eye on Vox AC15) and I'm looking for that glorious 'woody' tone that hollow body guitars can give.

    A friend who is a local luthier recommended looking for a Korean/Samick Sheraton and there's one in a local guitar shop from 1995 for £550. However, I've read that some believe that the newer Sheratons match or surpass the coveted mid-90s Korean models.

    Any thoughts or opinions on whether this is true or what to look for if I'm buying an older model? I realise that an older model may need refretting, which turns me off slightly due to the additional cost. I also admit total ignorance when it comes to guitar construction. I've always been a 'make do' kind of guy and tend play guitars stock. Would you recommend the Samick era Sheratons over newer models? Thanks.
  2. BluesGuitarMart

    BluesGuitarMart Tele-Meister

    Mar 5, 2012
    Dublin, Ireland
    New Epiphones are fantastic, quality control had improved massively over the last twenty years. I have never seen an old Epiphone that I think is better than what's being produced today. The relatively new Probuckers are great too.

    If you do go for a Korean one, the ones made by Peerless are much better than the Samick produced ones.
    Gogogoch likes this.
  3. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

    Jun 24, 2004
    Anderson, IN
    I can't imagine that anyone would call a Korean made Epiphone "much coveted."
    It's come to this...
    Gogogoch likes this.
  4. Treehouse

    Treehouse TDPRI Member

    May 8, 2019
    The Woods
    I covet my ‘07 Un Sung Sheraton very much.
    Obsessed and nojazzhere like this.
  5. Squawker

    Squawker Tele-Meister

    Nov 1, 2017
    Lommedalen, Norway
    I covet my blonde '99 Samick Sheration II very much, but:

    - the mounting posts on the Samick bridge are a totally non-standard distance apart. Kluson make a Nashville bridge specifically for upgrading Samicks. It's a better bridge than stock, definitely worth doing, not very expensive - but it would be nice to have a few more choices.
    - the tuners are what they are. Low ratio but they do a decent job. I swapped in Gotoh lockers since I was adding a.....
    - Göldo/Duesenberg Les Trem II fits perfectly on the tailpiece posts and is a nice alternative to sourcing a gold Bigsby B7 and Vibramate if you're leaning in the vib. arm direction.
    - I haven't touched the electrics
    Treehouse likes this.
  6. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    red grote 158.JPG red grote 173.JPG
    I haven't played a "new" Epiphone hollow or semi-hollow, but I WILL say, I don't believe I've EVER played a Korean-built "anything" that wasn't impressive.
    That said, I recently bought, after recommendation of FenderGyrl and others here, a Grote ES 335 copy. Actually, I bought two, and sold one to my guitar tech, who was just "gob-smacked" at the quality. The quality of finish and detail is incredible. I assumed when I ordered it I would replace pickups and controls, but that's NOT the case at all. The kicker? My price on Amazon was $160, shipped. I see they have gone up in price to $195, but that's still a bargain.
    I don't know how Amazon works in the UK, if at all.....but check them out, if you want an amazing guitar at an amazing price. (and no, I don't own stock or any interest in Grote ;) )
    P.S. I kept the red one. ;)
  7. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    My natural 2006 MIK Sheraton II is a lifetime keeper and has become my signature sound, but I played quite a few when I selected it, so there were differences. If you want a burst model, then the mid 90s were absolutely jaw dropping gorgeous and play great. The newer MIC ones have lost something. Perhaps it is mojo, but they feel more like a soulless Ibanez to me.

    That said, and if I knew what I know today and if I knew I was buying a lifer player, I would probably have an Eastman. So, if you can compare an MIK Sheraton to an Eastman T386, do that first.
    Treehouse likes this.
  8. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jun 2, 2003
    Yes the older Epi Korean's are somewhat coveted. They are a work of art like the old Ibanez's. Quadruple binds , abalone inlays etc. My take is, not only craftsmanship, but very nice woods were used also. My opinion on some of the newer Epi's ....say maybe .. early 2000's for maybe 10-12 years?, have some pretty cheap, green, wood in them. Especially the Joe Pass models etc look like junk wood was used. Epi grew exponentially in those years. I doubt they were prepared for the growth and required wood supply. I have had these guitars I'm talking about, however, I'm not just talking Sheraton's.... so not sure about that. It doesn't mean there aren't some great guitars from that era out there though. But the late 90's Korean Sheraton I had, and sold, last year was an amazingly nice guitar. Nicer than most Gibsons. The one with the big inlaid vine on the headstock and "Gibson" on the truss cover.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
  9. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    I have a lefty MIK sheritan , nice guitar by all standards well made , I also have a epi dot studio that was perfect set up and intonation bought used for 180.00 as oposed to the 600.00 I paid for the sheritan new

    P1011373.JPG P1011475.JPG
  10. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    I remember the Korean ones from when I was a teenager and no-one seemed to think they were great guitars at the time. I actually bought an early Samick one a decade or so ago thinking maybe I could use it for gigs and not take my Gibson 355 out to grotty pub gigs any more and it was a nice guitar but no substitute for a Gibson. I ended up selling it and carrying on with the 355. They're solid guitars, decent woodwork and finish, I had boutique pickups in mind, but it didn't have anything about it that wowed me - the adjectives say it all really, good, decent, solid but no excitement there.

    We get the modern ones through the repair shop fairly regularly and I think they're more or less on a par. They have the shape down a bit better, which always annoyed me about the Samick ones which have really weird horns compared to - 335. Fit and finish is probably a bit better on the Samicks.

    The post-Kalamazoo Epiphones that consistently impress me are Peerless and the Japanese guitars (Matsumoku until the late 80s, then Tereda who make the modern Gretsch Pro Line guitars). If I wanted to spend £5-600 I'd probably ignore the Sheraton and buy a Peerless made Riviera, or for £900-1200 I'd try to find a Japanese Sheraton (which is getting difficult but they do still pop up within that range).
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