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NGD (gone wrong)

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Stratandtele, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Stratandtele

    Stratandtele Tele-Meister

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    IMG_0272.JPG Epiphone recently released the DR-400MCE to their masterbuilt line of acoustic guitars. All solid woods, spruce top, mahogany back and sides, one piece mahogany neck, satin finish, electronics. $399 for a solid wood guitar, I've been shopping for an acoustic electric for use in a duo/trio I've been tinkering with lately. I bought one online. The guitar arrived a few days later, I let it acclimatize for a day in the shipping boxes. I opened it up and found a nicely set up, good sounding guitar. I started giving it a close inspection, and that's when the wheels fell off. There were several finger/palm prints in the finish, and too much excess glue around the bridge and strap button. The finger/palm prints look like the builder had glue all over his/her hands and touched the top of the guitar in at least three spots (one is shown in the glare of the pic near bass side of sound hole). It won't polish away, and I shouldn't have to. A good detective could probably identify the builder. There was also a rough area (chips in the edge of the wood) on the back of the guitar, near the edge/binding that shouldn't have been there. I didn't expect the guitar to be perfect, but I found too many flaws to keep it. The retailer was very accommodating, and gave me a return authorization without any problem. They are covering return shipping. I thought quality control at both Epiphone and the 55 point check at the retailer (hint hint) should have picked up on the flaws and rejected this guitar. I'm not going to have another delivered, so the search for a decent acoustic continues. Off to FedEx to return, disappointed...
     
  2. still_fiddlin

    still_fiddlin Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    My personal experience with that 55-point inspection was not quite as bad as yours, but it's clearly not something that gets done on every guitar, if it gets done at all. Marketing fluff.

    Personally, I'd pay the sales tax and order via GC if you can't find one in the store. I can't imagine getting an acoustic without playing first, and there's usually a room you can try acoustics out and, in particular, A/B several in any price range to really compare what you're looking at. No shipping charges for store pickup either.
     
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  3. Brokenpick

    Brokenpick Tele-Afflicted

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    -$399 isn't that much for a decent acoustic.
    -That acclimatizing that ya hear so much about these days is overrated.
    It's true it should be flawless, if new.
    I can't even imagine "55" points to check on the guitar... unless they count each brace or each glue seam separately.

    Good luck in your search!
     
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  4. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Bummer.
     
  5. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    That is a real let down and a bummer for sure. I ordered an Epi acoustic at a lower price point and it is flawless, so there is no excuse for you to receive that guitar in that condition.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
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  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    While I'd agree that flaws in the finish are disappointing, I would not reject a guitar if it met all my other requirements, and if few guitars lived up to my requirements.

    For clarity, few guitars live up to my requirements, lower price being one.

    OTOH I might consider adjusting my requirements if few guitars met them.

    For example IME solid wood back and sides do not make a guitar sound better in and of themselves.
    Since those are more expensive features, adding them to a price-point guitar will take some other quality away, making the guitar sound worse rather than better.

    At the higher levels of quality, flawless finishing means better quality, but at the lower levels of quality, flawless finishing means your money went into a part that does not improve the sound or playability, thus again, making the guitar sound worse.

    In this case of course Epi did not advertise the guitar as featuring mediocre finish quality- for the purpose of getting the end user the maximum amount of bang for the buck, IOW they did not say they maximized sound (construction features) and playability at the expense of cosmetic finish quality.

    What Epi probably did do is tell the production foreman that they expect this feature list but at a lower price point than prior lines with the same feature list.
    Since it's unlikely Epi asked the foreign factory staff to include handprints in the feature list, we have to assume that "masters" building a guitar with higher priced features at a lower price point were forced to rush the process and eliminate some cosmetic QC steps.

    IME when a new model appears with more goods for less cash, the first batches have extra flaws and better prices, which eventually even out into less flaws and more money. I like those runs though because it may be possible to get "a nicely set up good sounding guitar" with top shelf construction features at a plywood price.

    There was a series of runs of a new Alvarez solid top model retailing for like $159 maybe 15+ years ago.
    I played dozens of them, and most were just so darn close to being great except for several functional flaws that stopped me from buying.
    14th fret humps were prevalent, as many budget acoustics seem to end up, or back then anyhow.
    I still prefer plywood back and sides combined with a high quality solid spruce top.
    Solid back and sides is to me not money well spent on a budget guitar.

    I would actually consider an all solid wood $399 acoustic bought online that plays and sounds good, to be a win. Even with the handprints!

    YMMV!
     
  7. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't worry about the acclimatizing stuff either. I think it's overstated as well. Then again, I live in Florida. I think common sense should dictate whether the ambient temperature differences are significant to warrant such caution.
    I've always thought the #Insert fantasy value here# point check is a load of cow dung.
     
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  8. Stratandtele

    Stratandtele Tele-Meister

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    I agree with what you've said here entirely, I didn't expect perfection. This guitar just was too sloppy to accept. I have another epiphone, an es335 pro, that is a great guitar. Also $399 at the time of purchase. I couldn't find a blemish on it anywhere. I was hoping for the same type of quality with this one. Hopefully, I just got a bad example. I may give it a few weeks, and try again. Looking for something decent, to drag around to bars and jam sessions. A guitar that wouldn't break my heart if it were smashed or stolen by some drunken idiot. Thus the low price point.
     
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  9. Stratandtele

    Stratandtele Tele-Meister

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    Agree on all points...
     
  10. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    Problem with 55 point inspections is they use
    the MFG suggested 55 points., not their own.
    A 55 point inspection on 99 dollar guitar vs a 999
    may have different items they look for.

    strings...check
    neck...check
    tuners..check

    just saying.
     
  11. GigsbyBoyUK

    GigsbyBoyUK Friend of Leo's

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    But just imgine if in 40 years' time people are saying 'hey you gotta get an old Epi with fingerprints from such and such a person, man they are the best'. Kinda like how everyone raves over pickups signed 'AY'. You may have just sent back the best investment you could ever have made.
     
  12. mnutz

    mnutz Tele-Afflicted

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    Sorry about your Epiphone. That's a tough price point for acoustics.

    An often overlooked model is the new Córdoba built Guild D240e. The one I ordered new was flawless. I'd say they've got pretty great quality control. The guitar sounds great too.

    It's not all solid, but has that Guild archback that really helps with volume.

    I looked for a long time at that price point and that's what I ended up with.
     
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