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King Loudness 09/01/2011

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"Cool take on the G400"

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The Epiphone Negative SG is one of the many special runs that's been done over the years by the company to appeal to different markets of consumer. This particular model has a white/black colour scheme that is supposed to seem like the guitar is a photo "negative" of a regular black SG. To that point it features a mahogany body and neck, a maple fretboard (unusual for a Gibson/Epiphone) black trapezoid inlays, 22 frets, sealed tuners, tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece and a pair of alnico humbuckers with a typical SG control layout. It's topped off with an Arctic White finish. These guitars were made in one of Epiphone's overseas factories in 2009 (likely China by this point).


The SG is a guitar that is particularly ergonomic for a Gibson designed instrument. This particular model is fairly light and easy to hold for long periods of time. It balances well on a strap and doesn't suffer acute neck heaviness like some SG models do. The shape of the guitar allows for the body and hands to rest comfortably for extended periods as well. The upper fret access is decent on this guitar too - you can get right up to the 22nd fret without issue.

Getting a nice sound out of this guitar isn't too difficult. The stock humbuckers aren't the greatest quality but they do the job. It's got a decent range of tones available from clean to distorted that all sound good enough for what they are.


The guitar like many Epiphones has cheaper pickups/electronics that do inhibit the tone somewhat. They're a bit more muffled and dead than I'd like to hear in a guitar like that... but ah well. The clean tones are reasonable enough. The neck pickup does a nice jazzy tone, the center position is good for some funk, and the bridge pickup does an okay facsimile of country tones. The drive tones are great considering the electronics. The neck pickup is excellent here for lead work involving legato or other technical items, and the bridge pickup is tight enough for rock and metal rhythms and fast alternate picked items too.


All in all I think the Epiphone G400 Negative is a decent take on the SG. Like any Epiphone it is bound to be plagued with some cheaper parts and sometimes hit or miss workmanship, but for the $400 price that they were new, it's not too bad. They are now discontinued but you can find them used for about $250, which is a decent price to pay for a unique take on the classic Gibson SG!