50’s Standard, first impressions

BDW60

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This one is a Sweetwater exclusive lemon burst with a quite nice veneer, gotta say. Perfect weight at 8 pounds, 9 ounces, and I really picked this one because of it being on the lighter side and it having one of the darker laurel boards I’ve seen. The real light boards are just a no go for me.

The good:

* It sounds good. Nice, balanced, acoustically loud. The probuckers are solid ... a little brash sounding in bridge but easily tamed with a bit of tone rolled off. That said, this kind of bridge tone is probably what many people would prefer over a smoother, richer sound. This is a personal preference thing. Neck pickup sounds pretty great with the tone all the way rolled off. Sounds nice everythIng wide open. Sustain is good even with a horrible setup, but more on that later.

* This is a great 50s neck. Really great. It is substantial but never feels clumsy. I have medium size hands but short fingers and it is very comfortable. I will put calipers on it when I tear it down here soon. C shape, almost no shoulder.

* The general fit and finish is quite good. I don’t think it’s reasonable to go over a 600 dollar import guitar with a fine toothed comb and nitpick every little thing. There really isn’t much to even say. The binding isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good. The treble edge of the NuBone nut is a little sharp, will have to take the edge off it.

The OK:

* Tuners seem to work well enough. Look so shiny. I don’t love shiny. Not sure if these are supposed to be a nickel finish but all the bits on this guitar seem pretty chrome.

* They could have picked a “less red” color for the back and neck. It’s pretty red. Again this is subjective.

The bad:

* The frets. The ends aren’t gonna draw blood, but they need some work. The crowns are really rough. Like never been polished at all by anybody who gave a crap level of scratchy. Bending is bad. Pair this with a way too high action and some of the nastiest feeling cheap factory strings I have ever laid fingers on, and playability is not good. What is this black crap on my finger tips? Yuck. It’s amazing that this guitar‘s charms shine through these out of the box issues, but they do. The 55 point inspection is dubious, indeed. That’s basically Sweetwater making sure it at least functions like a guitar and doesn’t have any awful cosmetic problems. How anybody thought these frets were Ok to send out, I have no idea. But honestly, in this day and age, any 600 dollar guitar should have decent fret work out of the box. Plenty of makers do this. Epi is not there yet.

So in summary, this is a guitar with pretty darn good bones. Good value for money. If you have to pay $150 for a pro setup and fretwork, that makes me less enthusiastic. In any event, I only have two choices. Get to work on this thing or send it back. The thought of sending it back makes me a bit sad. As I said, it has its charms.
 
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Pop1655

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Beautiful piece! Well stated review. I just picked up one of these used in 2fer trade deal I did. I can't really be specific, to me it feels like a lot more guitar than my previous PlusTop Pro. I like the pups more than I thought I would. I agree and have the tone on both turned down more than usual, but like what I get. It's a whole lot easier to turn tone knobs down than it is to turn them up when you start on 10. I'd definitely say there's no mud in these. The neck gave me a double take on first grab. It's more of a baseball bat than I'm accustomed to. Just a few minutes in though and it got real comfortable. I'm probably more of a 60's type, but it's fine. Agree on the red, but again have accepted it in pretty short order. I'm well pleased with the fit and finish. No complaints. Surprised actually. I like and much prefer no push/pull, so I'm good there. I like your weight better. I'm 9.3. I hate to hear and I'm surprised on your fret ends. I'm a fanatic about fret ends. I don't know if the previous owner took care of that (sorta doubt it) or if it came as a good one, but I was very surprised I haven't had the urge to bring the file out of the drawer. I'd almost say I'd think about asking if another one in stock had better. That alone could warrant a swap to me. Doable yourself, but I always get nervous and use a lot of tape going after fret ends on a bound neck. These seem like pretty serious bang for the buck to me.
 

BDW60

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Beautiful piece! Well stated review. I just picked up one of these used in 2fer trade deal I did. I can't really be specific, to me it feels like a lot more guitar than my previous PlusTop Pro. I like the pups more than I thought I would. I agree and have the tone on both turned down more than usual, but like what I get. It's a whole lot easier to turn tone knobs down than it is to turn them up when you start on 10. I'd definitely say there's no mud in these. The neck gave me a double take on first grab. It's more of a baseball bat than I'm accustomed to. Just a few minutes in though and it got real comfortable. I'm probably more of a 60's type, but it's fine. Agree on the red, but again have accepted it in pretty short order. I'm well pleased with the fit and finish. No complaints. Surprised actually. I like and much prefer no push/pull, so I'm good there. I like your weight better. I'm 9.3. I hate to hear and I'm surprised on your fret ends. I'm a fanatic about fret ends. I don't know if the previous owner took care of that (sorta doubt it) or if it came as a good one, but I was very surprised I haven't had the urge to bring the file out of the drawer. I'd almost say I'd think about asking if another one in stock had better. That alone could warrant a swap to me. Doable yourself, but I always get nervous and use a lot of tape going after fret ends on a bound neck. These seem like pretty serious bang for the buck to me.
I won’t do the fret ends, probably. Best left to a pro. I can do everything else myself. The ends aren’t horrible, but you feel them in certain spots. The crowns need some serious love. I would be very reluctant to swap this because it does sound quite good and not sure I want to play the lottery on that.
 

Robo67

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I won’t do the fret ends, probably. Best left to a pro. I can do everything else myself. The ends aren’t horrible, but you feel them in certain spots. The crowns need some serious love. I would be very reluctant to swap this because it does sound quite good and not sure I want to play the lottery on that.
I just picked up a used 50's Gold Top on Ebay….waiting to see how it looks and feels...its 11/2019 build...so an early 2020 50s standard (new head stock) Gold Top...got a good deal appears to be mint form the pics...we shall see.
 

Pop1655

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I won’t do the fret ends, probably. Best left to a pro. I can do everything else myself. The ends aren’t horrible, but you feel them in certain spots. The crowns need some serious love. I would be very reluctant to swap this because it does sound quite good and not sure I want to play the lottery on that.
I’d get out the painters tape and give it a go first. Sometimes it surprises me how little it takes. It’s amazing how one tiny little spot can feel.
 

Duane_the_tub

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Great review. I heard a joke once that the "55 point inspection" entails opening the case, "pointing" to the guitar with both hands (5+5, as in fingers) and then closing the case again. I always wonder how many floor sales these companies lose by sending out guitars with such sub-par fretwork.

I hope you keep it. Really nice looking guitar.
 

ucsteve

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Im pretty happy with my goldtop. I dont know what the fret ends were like honestly when i got it. But it hasnt felt like an issue. My buddy might have cleaned up the edges for all i know. As soon as we took it out of the box I had him switch out the tulip styles tuners and swapped the p/u's. beyond that he just adjusted the action a bit as far as I know. If he did hit the frets, it wasnt enough so that he mentiioned or charged me for it. I wanted those pro buckers for my 2002 CB standard and i put some seth lovers in the goldtop. Im now waiting to get it back this weekend as its having a Bigsby put on it. Guitar feels and sounds great so Im super pleased so far
3 stooges.jpg
 

BDW60

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Great review. I heard a joke once that the "55 point inspection" entails opening the case, "pointing" to the guitar with both hands (5+5, as in fingers) and then closing the case again. I always wonder how many floor sales these companies lose by sending out guitars with such sub-par fretwork.

I hope you keep it. Really nice looking guitar.
Good point. If I had picked this one up in a store and plugged into some random amp, I probably wouldn’t have very impressed. I can only assume Epiphone figures they are “beginner” Les Pauls and that market doesn’t know or care about the frets. If that is true, they are selling their own product short.

I would gladly have paid 50 more bucks for this guitar in exchange for more TLC at the factory. But I know they’re hitting a price point.
 

BDW60

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Im pretty happy with my goldtop. I dont know what the fret ends were like honestly when i got it. But it hasnt felt like an issue. My buddy might have cleaned up the edges for all i know. As soon as we took it out of the box I had him switch out the tulip styles tuners and swapped the p/u's. beyond that he just adjusted the action a bit as far as I know. If he did hit the frets, it wasnt enough so that he mentiioned or charged me for it. I wanted those pro buckers for my 2002 CB standard and i put some seth lovers in the goldtop. Im now waiting to get it back this weekend as its having a Bigsby put on it. Guitar feels and sounds great so Im super pleased so far View attachment 513596
So did you have Grovers put in it? Interested to know if they drop right in because I am considering it.
 

ucsteve

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So did you have Grovers put in it? Interested to know if they drop right in because I am considering it.
I think I bored out the 02 a lil for them, but im gonna ask my guy today if he bored out the holes on the goldtop. Prob did. its not a big deal, i got a decent tool for it and did it on the Dali for sure when I put the 2020 tulips on that. Ive done it a few times now
 

peobryant

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If I were you, I'd contact Sweetwater and let them know you're dissatisfied with the setup and you'll need to spend some money to get fret work done, they may refund you some money in order to have that done. It never hurts to ask.
 

BDW60

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If I were you, I'd contact Sweetwater and let them know you're dissatisfied with the setup and you'll need to spend some money to get fret work done, they may refund you some money in order to have that done. It never hurts to ask.
Already done two days ago. Still awaiting response.

About the work: I called a local small shop that has done some work on my guitars to ask the owner a few questions. I don’t think things are going very well. Put it this way, there are no other guitars in the que. Not normal at all. This is a guy who has been in the business for about 40 years and has done work for me now and again for the past 25. Easily the best guy in town. Pretty much the only guy in town.

I’m not touching this guitar. I just got home from dropping it off. If we don’t support these mom and pop places when we can, when we finally come out of this Covid mess there won’t be any left. And that just sucks for us and our communities.

So it’ll be great when I get it back. It would be great if Sweetwater would throw me a gift card or something, but I’m not going to fret about it.
 

ucsteve

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So did you have Grovers put in it? Interested to know if they drop right in because I am considering it.
he doesnt remember having to ream out the 2020 or 02 for the grover locking and reg tuners he put on. But if needed, just buy a decent reamer and go easy on it, no major skill needed there
 

ucsteve

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and being that they offer grovers on the 60's, i am of the mind the epi tulips and grovers are pretty standardly sized
 

BDW60

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Ok, it’s back and playing great. Frets feel much better. Set of DA XLs in my preferred 9.5-44. The difference in playability with the work and the strings is crazy.

For those interested in neck specs, I put the calipers on it and got .88 at the first and .99 at the 12th. Here’s a pic of the laurel board cleaned up and given one serving of Music Nomad F1 oil. This is an example of what it can look like if you start with one of the darker ones ...

474E34F6-0584-4775-AD64-86B6EA5A21F0.jpeg


So I bought this guitar to see how far Epiphone had come and dig into a bigger neck for awhile (my historic has V2 60s). I can say I am impressed with the overall package and surprised with how good this one is. So I have about $700 in it with tax and the fret rescue and pro set up. It easily out kicks that coverage. At only about 1/4 the cost of USA Standard, wow, I dunno what to say. It’s a great deal.
 

Pop1655

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Again, well stated. Glad it worked out.

.....also, kudos on the 9.5s. I can’t believe more people don’t sweat by these. Only strings I use.
 

ucsteve

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I can say I am impressed with the overall package and surprised with how good this one is. So I have about $700 in it with tax and the fret rescue and pro set up. It easily out kicks that coverage. At only about 1/4 the cost of USA Standard, wow, I dunno what to say. It’s a great deal.
aint it? feels like a brick sh*thouse of a guitar. And being that its not a 1500-2500 guitar I had precious few reservations about some person adaptions so to speak.
 


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