Can an Epiphone sg be as good as a Gibson sg?

If you asked me a year ago whether an Epiphone sg Pro could be as good as a real Gibson sg my answer would have been an outright no. However I am now in a position to question that original judgement and have to say that with work and the right choice of pickups you can get pretty close and perhaps even go a step better than a standard factory Gibson. The problem with Epis is that they are chucked out the factory off the production line without much care and attention but mechanically they are perhaps 80% or within 20% of being a Gibson. What Epiphone do not do is the labour intensive work that is required to make a real instrument because it is not cost effective for them to do it at the price point at which they intend to sell for. If you are prepared to do it yourself or get somebody who can do then you might find that you can get pretty close to the sound and playability of the real thing.

An Epi sg has the potential to be as good as a Gibson it has the right tone woods and construction is good. However the wiring of the pickups is particularly bad (uses plastic molex connectors another shortcut option brought in to speed up production and to reduce costs and craftsmanship) and should be rewired totally to a new schematic of 50s style sg. You will also need new capacitors. A better neck pickup preferably alnico II magnet. The next thing you will need to do is level all your frets. I would say that 75% of mine were unlevelled. That’s a lot of fretwork to do but it is the key to getting a real instrument. These are the labour intensive tasks that Epiphone will not do because it would make the sg pro almost as expensive as real Gibson. This is the attention to detail that Epis lack and which give Gibson the edge. Epiphone try to disguise this by sending their guitars out of their factories which overly high actions which when you try to lower them has the strings buzzing on the frets all over the guitar neck. A high action makes the guitar awkward to play and uncomfortable. This is very frustrating and will soon have you either giving up on the guitar or selling it and then dreaming of spending the extra cash to get a real Gibson. My advice is just don’t do it and don’t give up on it. True there is a great deal of work to be done but once you know what the problems are these can be sorted out with time and effort.

Sound like David Gilmour for less than £200

David Gilmour’s sound is very distinctive and much sought after by guitarists so is it possible to get somewhere near that sound for less than the typical price of a solid state guitar amplifier? Well I think it is possible. Nowadays the market is flooded with many Chinese copies of sought-after pedals and amp simulations and with these a convincing Gilmour like sound is possible for less than £200.


David Gilmour is known for using many effects to get his sound and much of this will no doubt be high end professional gear but it definitely is possible to get somewhere near to his more typical sounds with some of the Chinese gear. I am thinking along the lines of another brick in the wall and shine on you crazy diamond as being a distinctive and typical Gilmour  signature sound. So rather than going out and purchasing a Hiwatt amp and cabinet and a vast arsenal of guitar fx pedals and instead looking for the cheaper alternatives before you have to remortgage your house and then annoy everyone in your neighbourhood by deafening them all, first consider what are you alternatives.

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The Mixolydian Mode and why it needs a bit of help

Anyone who is into Blues music or Rock will most likely be very familiar with the sound of the Mixolydian Scale/Mode. However on it’s own the scale may need some help and encouragement  to really develop to it’s  full potential.

Much Blues Piano work which pioneered the Blues used the Mixolydian Scale. However in Blues piano it was important to follow the chord changes (particularly those of the IV chord and V chord) with changes to the Mixolydian appropriate to those chord changes. For example it was rare for a piece played in say the Key of A to stay solely on the A Mixolydian Scale throughout the entire piece over the most likely chord changes of IV ( D Maj) and V (E Maj).  So in Key of A more normally you will encounter that the A Mixolydian changes to D Mixolydian over the IV chord and again may change to E Mixolydian over the V Chord. There is good reason for this as we can see if we examine the scale to find out it’s inherent weaknesses.

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Albert King Style

The Albert King Style is deceptively straight forward but also hard to replicate convincingly. This is due in part to the fact that Albert King used an unconventional tuning and strung his guitar upside down. This means that if you wish to follow what he was doing it presents problems when playing with conventional tunings and strings.

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I can make your cheap budget electric guitars play better

In my experience the difference between cheap budget electric guitars and more expensive high quality guitars is more marginal than you think. There are many similarities and often what actually differentiates them is the actual labour, care & attention to detail and skills that have been invested in the more expensive instrument and conversely deprived from the budget instrument. The price of the cheap instrument is likely to be because these factors, which are the most labour intensive steps in an instruments production, are often shortcut or neglected allowing the manufacturer to sell in the budget price range. By allowing the budget instrument to receive these at a later stage we can vastly bring up the quality of the cheap budget electric guitars up to a point of comparability with the more expensive guitars. Of course there will be some difference that cannot be eliminated using this process such as quality of the hardware used but again there is an opportunity to change these things on a budget instrument at a later stage.

I offer a fret levelling and Trussrod adjustment service

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Counting 4/4 Time using the 1/16th notes

In this lesson I will demonstrate and explain the methods that I use for counting 4/4 time. Counting time is probably one of the most important skills that you have to learn as a musician but it is also a gateway into the world of creating and composing your own music. Understanding counting is an integral part of composing melody because it controls the underlying rhythm of any melody .

This lesson gets us thinking about counting  4/4 time and shows you what I consider to be the most useful way to do this. In this lesson we will be using a 1/16th note (semi-quaver note) to make the count. This I believe to be the most useful and often used subdivision. Anything smaller than this (1/32 note for example starts to make the counting complicated and ridiculous). Once you can understand and apply the count to the various notes of the subdivisions that you will encounter then we can then go on to look at making some rhythmic examples of phrases over a one or 2 bars. I will then go on to show you how these can be adapted and made into short melodic statements (melodies).

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Method of counting 1/16 th notes in 12/8 time

Many teachers and Music Theory sites will tell you that you count 12/8 time out in 1/8th notes. Well yes this is true but this is only good if you are using 1/8th notes all the time, which is a bit repetitive. To be more musical and creative you are at some point going to want to subdivide  the beat into other compound time configurations so sticking rigidly to counting the beat in 1/8 th notes is not going to be helpful and possibly it may actually become difficult. My method for counting in 12/8 time jumps ahead and actually uses the 1/16th notes to make the count assuming that this is the most useful and likely subdivision of the 1/8th note beat that you will use and encounter.

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