How My 1993 Korean Epiphone Sheraton 2 Turned Into A 1983 Japanese Sheraton

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Gergo, Dec 10, 2019.

  1. Gergo

    Gergo Well-Known Member

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    So, I had a scratchy pot on my 1993 Korean Epiphone, so I decided to swap out all the parts just for a change since I have had this guitar since 1995, and also to practice rewiring a semi hollowbody. So, I got the guitar out and started looking at the fret nibs. I decided to do a little research just to see when Epiphone stopped doing to fret nibs of the Sheratons. This is when things started getting interesting. (By the way.....they stopped doing the fret nibs after 1995).

    When I was living in Las Vegas, I had originally taken this guitar, along with a lot of my others to Ed Roman guitars to get an estimate on their value for insurance purposes. They had told me that from the serial number they had dated the Sheraton II back to 1991 Korea.

    Well, I started looking at photos of early 90's Korean Sheratons while researching the fret nib thing, and noticed that mine looked very different.

    Here is a photo of a known early 90's Korean Sheraton headstock:
    Known Korean.jpg

    Mine:
    4.jpg

    Known Korean bridge:
    $_1.jpg

    My Bridge:
    mine 2.jpg

    Also, I had this label inside the f-hole which after some research I find out that this is the pattern on the labels that Epiphone put in their Japanese acoustics in the early 80's.

    2.jpg

    But the problem was the serial number:
    mine.jpg
    This number dates the guitar to October of 1993, made in the Korean Samick factory. Obviously this is what that guy at Ed Roman used to estimate the value of this guitar.

    So, I put all of this info on the "Epiphone Owners Group" page on Facebook, and got a lot of responses. Turns out that yes, this could have been a Samick number, and that Samick may have just made the guitar with leftover Japanese parts at the time. But, there was the issue of the middle Japanese label and the completely different logo on the headstock. As more people chimed in, it turns out that the 80's Japanese Sheratons used a very random serial number system that really did not have any real order, and that Samick actually repeated some of the same numbers in the 90's. Very interesting. Also, the font is different. The consensus is that this is indeed a Japanese Sheraton, and one collector said that from the headstock, it is likely from around 1983.

    So, I had to do one more thing for confirmation. Something I really have had no need to ever do because I always thought the pickups sounded good. I pulled a pickup and saw this.

    pickup.jpg
    From the pickup, it looks like this guitar was likely made in the Matsumoku factory. This is a later (80's) Maxon pickup from what I understand.

    Pretty cool finding out that a guitar your have had all this time and believed it to be Korean is actually a pre-Elitist Japanese made guitar. It pretty much doubles the value too, but I would never sell it because it has always been one of the best built and playing guitars I have ever owned.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  2. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    That's a nice surprise. I'll bet you've got some of those MMK 75s residing in your Aria Pro II collection too, maybe even some MMK 45s. Great sounding pups and tough to beat early 80s MIJ construction all around.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
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  3. slowhand84

    slowhand84 Well-Known Member

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    Nice, yep that headstock logo is definitely indicative of an MIJ versus the MIK. I bet those pickups sound great too, the MMK series is generally well regarded and I have had probably about 8 Aria Pro II guitars over the years with MMK pups (mostly the MMK 45s) and never saw a need to swap them out. Pretty much the only "stock" pickups I ever really held on to and didn't immediately upgrade.
     
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  4. andrewsrea

    andrewsrea Well-Known Member

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    Very cool story. I like the Japanese appointments better!
     
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  5. RiverDog

    RiverDog Well-Known Member

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    How cool is that? Congrats!

    I noticed the screw in the neck tenon. I might be completely wrong but that seems like a MIJ indicator, too. My 82 Washburn T-Bird Deluxe (Yamaki factory) has 2 screws in that location.
     
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  6. Gergo

    Gergo Well-Known Member

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    I don't know, but that would be interesting to find out. Maybe someone here knows for sure.
     
  7. Gergo

    Gergo Well-Known Member

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    Yep! I know that the RS-X70 has MMK45's, and the PE-120 has a MMK-75 in the neck. I think they sound great. They are kind of a fairly unrecognized great pickup from the 80's.
     
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  8. Mickey

    Mickey Gandalf the Intonationer

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    Does this mean my 1982 MIK Samick "Joe Pass" could be MIJ ???

    JoePass77.jpg
     
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  9. SamIV

    SamIV Well-Known Member

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    Not a bad ending. Time for sushi now.
     
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  10. Gergo

    Gergo Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, you kinda went over my head
     
  11. nomadh

    nomadh Well-Known Member

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    Very cool. Sort of similar I bought a repaired head gibson faded sg. Started at $100 bid up to 160. But i bet I could set it up to play well and it did. I kept being amazed at the rw fretboard so I did some research and found that this was a tail end s/n of the ebony board crescent moon series. Its an ebony board which I like alot and makes it an even better deal on value. Total luck out.
     
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  12. tonebender

    tonebender Well-Known Member

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    Interesting story. Funny how things made in Japan back then were considered inferior and now they are considered some of the best.
     
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  13. Jahnny

    Jahnny New Member

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    Thanks for the info. I have one very similar that I knew was matsumoku but the serial number site was saying it was from Samick. Now I'm sure that mine is mij. This is the best guitar I have ever owned. I played it next to an old Gibson 335 and I liked mine way better. I traded a Kalamazoo accoustic plus a benjamin for it.
     
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  14. tonray

    tonray Well-Known Member Supporting Member+

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  15. jwguitar

    jwguitar Well-Known Member

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    That’s awesome that your guitar turned out to be a Japanese Epiphone. I have one of the Elitist Dot Semi Hollowbody Guitars. Definitely one of the best guitars I own and best built guitar.
     
  16. jwguitar

    jwguitar Well-Known Member

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    I have a feeling 30 years from now people will consider a lot of the high end Indonesia guitars to be valuable. Write now most people write them off as inferior to US and Japan made guitars. That is far from the truth.
     

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