2 Les Paul Juniors, but different weight

habrys

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A few months ago i decided to start learning to play guitar - mostly inspired by Rocksmith 2014 reviews. So I'm a complete noob, please be patient with me.

I bought Rocksmith 2014 and separately an Epiphone Les Paul Junior vintage sunburst from an online shop in Germany (very large and pretty respectable one). I love the guitar so far. I think it's amazingly good for an €100 instrument.

Then I started to travel by plane between Germany and Poland so I bought another guitar - an identical Les Paul junior, from the same online store. One stays in Poland, another one in Germany. This way I can practice all the time, no matter where I currently am.

The second one sounds just as fantastic as the first one, everything is all right as far as a noob can tell. But it's substancially heavier. I mean physical weight, not tone.

What the heck? Is it possible, that it's made of another wood despite the fact, that it is exactly the same model bought in the same store?
 

notjoeaverage

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Wood of the same species can have variable weight for the same size piece of lumber.

Wood that grows at different rates, due to climate, rainfall and sunlight, will definitely have different weights.

It is quite normal.
 

habrys

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I was not aware of that, thanks for your explanation.

Still, the difference is very noticable. To the point, that when I pick the lighter one for the first time after practicing for a few weeks on the heavier one it feels almost... hollow. At first I even thought that maybe this little cavity under knobs for wires etc. is bigger or something :)

Anyway as far as I can tell it doesn't affect anything in terms of playability or sound. So, I'm going to just ignore it.

Maybe one day I'll get to it and actually weigh both guitars and compare results. Just out of curiosity...

Thanks again!
 

RTH

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What years and (specific) LP Junior models are they? Aside from different wood densities, they were also made with either laminates, lauan/mahogany or alder...depending on the year or model. Some have mahogany necks, while other might have maple necks. The materials can vary quite a bit.
 

RTH

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They could have been made in different years, factories and/or different coutries. Check the serial number on the back for the production year. Just because you bought them several months apart in the same year does not mean that the guitars were made during the same year or in the same factory or country.

Also, materials change per Epiphone's discretion and without notice. For example, I bought an SG Junior LE a few years back. This run was spec'd as basswood. Mine, however, is made from luaun/mahogany. It weighs a ton compared to the basswood Juniors and I removed the neck to verify the wood. No rhyme or reason as to why there is a difference, but there is.

Definitely not basswood like the specs claim.
rth-albums-epiphone-sg-picture71124-sgjr1.jpg
 

habrys

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Interesting...

Ok, so here is the heavy one. Does it mean it's produced in 2012?

I don't have any possibility to check the number of the lighter one (which is in Poland right now) until tomorrow. But I'll definitely do it as soon as I get a chance and report back :)

Thanks for your explanation!


2015-01-09%2021.13.41.jpg

2015-01-09%2021.20.32.jpg
 

RTH

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This one was made in 2012 in China. 13 = Unknown factory. Could be Qingdao or an OEM plant.
 

DaveM

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Two guitars made from the same tree can vary greatly in weight, let alone different wood species. Density within the tree varies over the length and within the growth rings across the grain.
 

RTH

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Also, the LP Juniors seem to bounce back and forth between laminated and solid bodies, as well as lauan, alder and basswood for the solid body woods. The laminates can vary as well, usually made with two different wood types on a body, lauan being the constant with alder, maple or basswood sandwiched in between.
 

rogue_one

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It's dendrochronology at it's finest. Numerous factors will affect a tree' growth during it's life cycle (i.e, drought, fires, extreme rainfall, physical trauma such as landslides, even deer or other large animals shedding their antlers on the trees). All of these factors will significantly affect the density of the wood.

Geek moment over.
 

RTH

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Two guitars made from the same tree can vary greatly in weight, let alone different wood species. Density within the tree varies over the length and within the growth rings across the grain.

Absolutely. And if we can verify that both guitars are made from the same species, that would certainly be the case. This would require removing the necks and inspecting the pocket.
 

RTH

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Habrys, if you would like to determine if the guitar is solid or laminated, take off the control cavity backplate and inspect the sides of the cavity. If the body is laminated, you will be able to see the plys through the paint as a series of horizontal ridges. A solid body will look relatively smooth with some wood grain poking through.

Sidenote: this will not effect the warranty. Removing the neck possibly will.
 

Papa

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As I said, I ordered 2 times exactly the same guitar in the same store.
Seems to have little to do with it.
A couple of years back I bought a Special ll for my grandson. (Same difference...Slab guitar)

I personally went to the store. They had 2 on the floor and 6 back in stock.
It was a slow day and the manager gave me access to the storage area.
I checked out all 8. They were all made within a year or so of each other.

The heaviest was easily 1/2 again more than the lightest. The rest, in between but all different.

Papa
 

RTH

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OP went MIA? I was hoping he would shed some light on origins and wood types of his guitars. Oh well.
 

habrys

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Still here :)

I opened the control cavity of the heavy one and the wood inside seems solid - no layers can be seen.

As I said, the other (lighter) one is in Poland, meaning I won't have chance to take a look for a couple of weeks. I'll definitely report back when I'm there.

Just spend a nice evening messing around with action and truss rod adjustments, trying to get rid of some buzz. After a few hours, mission accomplished - no more buzz, sweet spot found at last :)
 

RTH

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Cool! Looking forward to learning about the other guitar!

Remember, these are bolt-neck guitars, so if you cant get your action low enough for your taste without buzzing, you can always re-shim the neck. There should only be a 1 - 2 degree angle. Often times, Epiphone doesnt get the neck angle right on bolted necks.
 

habrys

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Turned out I had to travel to Poland sooner than expected after all.

So here are pics of the other guitar - the lighter one. I also noticed, the fretboard wood is a little bit darker. I opened the cavity - no signs of layers there too.

I think this one is altogether better. Playing/practicing seems easier. No buzz at all though I didn't try any action or truss rod setup here.

2015-01-18%2014.53.24.jpg


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RTH

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Wow. Same year, month and factory. Only 2300 guitars apart when serialed. Either the wood density is extremely different or they were made from different types of wood.

I'm going to have to go with density on these. With the volume of production over the course of a month, I would have to assume these were made in Qingdao instead of an OEM factory. Qingdao's consistency is very good, and was kind of the point as to why Epiphone opened two dedicated factories in China. The run of SG Juniors with the different woods were made in an Indonesian OEM factory.
 

matiac

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First thing I'd do is loose those pot-metal tuners...never had very good luck with those. And for God's sake, it's a JUNIOR...put a Dogear P90 on it, it'll fit, I did the same with an SG Junior that HAD a humbucker...
 

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