If you're looking for a cheaper alternative to a USA Gibson, Epiphone are the first brand for many to turn to, and it's no exception when looking at SG models.
At the budget end are the very similar G-310 and the G-400. Yet the G-400 carries around an extra $50 on the price tag. What do you get for your extra 50 bucks and is it worth the outlay?
|Model||Epiphone G-310||Epiphone G-400|
Alnico Classic Plus
|Bridge||LockTone™ Tune-o-Matic||LockTone™ Tune-o-Matic|
|Epiphone G-310||Epiphone G-400|
When you spec the guitars side by side, there really isn't an awful lot between them.
As expected, both have an identical mahogany neck at the same length, and the classic rosewood fretboard.
The glued in (as opposed to bolt-on) neck on the 400 will in theory add a touch more sustain, but many seasoned players dispute this. Considering the prestigious American Fender Strats are still made with bolt-on necks is telling.
If you're looking to make a decision based on looks, bear in mind that the 310 is only available in ebony, while you have the option of cherry red with the 400. There's also a Worn G-400 in faded brown or cherry.
The 310 is also absent the nickel pickup covers on the 400.
On the subject of hardware, points go to the 400 for the higher quality Grover tuners.
The only significant difference between these models is in the stock pickups - Alnico Classics on the G-400 against the 650R/700T on the G-310.
The Alnico pickups on the G-400 are wound hotter than the more traditional humbuckers on the 310. So if you're going to be playing more modern rock and metal, you'll appreciate the beefier tones attainable from the 400, which can easily be scaled back if needs be.
This difference can also be heard clean, with a slightly richer, fuller sound from the 400.▲ Compare Sound
Two almost identical models - save yourself $50 and get the cheaper one?
Actually we don't think so in this case, and the reviews seem to support this.
Don't get us wrong - the G-310 has been selling for over fifteen years to guitarists who want the basic SG style and sound on a budget, and there are plenty of happy owners.
But if your playing style is typically more overdrive based (i.e. crank to 11 and thrash!), and you generally want a bigger sound, then we'd point you in the direction of the G-400.
We see this comparison as an example of how tonal versatility is indeed worth the extra cash on seemingly identical models. We'd be happy to stump up the additional pocket money for a G-400 - the small extra cost being a fair representation of the better pickups, along with the higher quality Grover tuners.