review

Epiphone Faded G-400

Review by Mark Starlin

Epiphone Faded G-400

Imagine yourself as a Gibson executive back in 1961. Sales of Les Paul guitars are dropping off. Rock and Roll is changing the music business, including tastes in guitars. So you do the (now) unthinkable. You redesign the Les Paul. Not just a minor makeover, a radical new guitar design with double horn-shaped cutaways and a thin body. Les Paul himself is not impressed and asks to have his name removed from the guitar, which is temporarily renamed SG for “solid guitar.” The name sticks and the SG becomes a success. And fortunately Gibson management comes to their senses and reissues the original Les Paul body style a few years later giving them two very popular rock guitars. The Epiphone Faded G-400 is based on the Gibson SG design and bares its name on its truss rod cover plate.

Construction

The G-400 I received for review totally exceeded my expectations. Construction was flawless. I even opened the back control plate looking for sloppy workmanship only to find a shielded cavity with spotless wiring. The guitar had a rich, beautiful “faded” red satin finish. Even my wife commented on how nice it looked. It also comes in a worn brown finish [pictured.] The only thing I didn’t care for was the bright orange pickup selector switch, but this is an easy swap for those who prefer something less colorful like black. The neck action was great right out of the box, low and fast with no buzzes. Fretwork was also impressive with no sharp edges. The neck inlays had an aged look to them which worked well with the “faded” finish. The neck itself is on the thicker side of things, but I had no problems with it. It came with chrome hardware and Grover tuners. At this price range, I was very impressed.

Tone

The Faded G-400 comes with two humbucker pickups, a 57N in the neck position and a HOT-B in the bridge position. I tested the G-400 through a Mesa/Boogie Mark II tube amp (6L6 tubes), a Traynor Custom Valve 20 tube amp (EL84 tubes), and a Fender Jazzmaster Ultralight solid-state amplifier. The overall tone was somewhat dark and muffled when played clean, especially the 57N which was somewhat lifeless. The Hot-B pickup had more bite. But once you turned on the overdrive it cranked out 70’s riff rock tone with ease. Let’s state the obvious. You’re not going to buy an SG style guitar to play jazz. The G-400 wants to rock, and rock alone.

Playability

The neck on the Faded G-400 is a joy to play. I had great fun rocking out with this dude. But like any SG style guitar it is headstock heavy, and when wearing a strap the neck will pull toward the ground. Most players get used to this quickly and it becomes a non-issue, but it is an issue for some, so you’ve been warned.

Final Thoughts

The Faded G-400 is a great rock axe. It features flawless construction and an awesome finish. It may not be the most versatile guitar, but if you want to crank out some classic rock licks the Faded G-400 will look the part and sound good doing it.

Reader Comments

Better Guitar encourages your input. Agree with this review? Think I’m crazy? If you have played an Epiphone Faded G-400, email me your comments and I’ll post them below. The more opinions we have available, the better our buying decisions will be.

Brian Driver

I just got an Epi Faded Brown SG and I loved it! Beautiful finish, plays great, good frets (not common in a cheap guitar) and a great price $300.00. Only a couple of things wrong. First, the "Grover" tuners wouldn't stay in tune, and the orange toggle switch was kinda ugly. So I put U.S.A. Grovers on it, and a tan toggle switch cover on it. I might cut a bone nut for it but not in a big hurry! The guitar is VERY light! So it's great for practice around the house (as opposed to my Gibson LP STD!) I actually like the stock pickups. The bridge PU is VERY hot! Great for rock. Also I was really impressed with the access to all of the frets COULDN'T BE EASIER! Overall, a great value for the price!

Tris Stevens

Hi, got an Epiphone G400 Vintage faded cherry [the previous version of the Faded G-400] in the UK about 3 years ago. Nice guitar, some sharp fret edges and buzzes but fine after a fret dress. Very good value for money (they're even cheaper now), pickups fine for this price range. I also have a Gibson 61 reissue so it's easy to see where corners have been cut on the Epi (although they've been very neatly cut, tidy workmanship throughout apart from a couple of slightly askew tuners!) That said it's a good all round gigger at an amazing price. I also have an Epi Korina SG which is a sweetie.

Tom Domoslai

I recently purchased a Faded G-400. I love it!!! The first thing I noticed upon inspecting it, was that it was made from a solid piece of Mahogany, not a laminated Alder/Mahogany combo. This guitar wreaks of quality. The one I bought was actually a factory second because of a minor blemish, I paid a lot less as well. I can’t say enough about this guitar, It is light and plays like a dream. It sounds pretty good too. I may change the pickups just because I prefer Seymour Duncan’s. It is just a great guitar, as are the 4 other Epi’s I have. You just can’t beat them for the price and the quality.

stats

  • • Body: Mahogany
  • • Neck: 1-piece Mahogany
  • • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • • Nut: 1.68"
  • • Inlays: Aged Trapezoid
  • • Scale length: 24.75"
  • • Number of Frets: 22
  • • Neck Pickup: 57N HB
  • • Bridge Pickup: HOT-B HB
  • • Controls: 2 volume, 2 tone
  • • Pickup Switching: 3-way selector
  • • Hardware: Chrome
  • • Tuners: Grover
  • • Tailpiece: Stopbar
  • • Bridge: Tune-o-matic
  • • Finish: Worn Brown & Worn Cherry
  • • Built at Epiphone’s own factory in Qingdoa China
  • Positives
  • Great looks; fast neck; good rock tones; flawless construction.
  • Negatives
  • Headstock heavy; bland clean tones.
  • Rating
  • Performance: 9
  • Sound Quality: 7
  • Construction: 10
  • Overall: 8.7
  • Ratings Key
  • 0 = Worthless
  • 10 = Excellent
  • Estimated Street Price
  • $299

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