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Struggling Pulling the Trigger

#1 User is offline   The Convert 

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 10:38 PM

So I've a pair of Epiphone Les Pauls that I love. I've modified both considerably, but in short, I've got an Epi Standard that I popped 57/57+ pups in, and an Epi Plus Top Pro that I upgraded with SD 59/SD JB. I really enjoy playing these guitars and they sound great, I think, but I recognize some limitations and want to start making vertical moves to Gibson LPs.

The problem I'm having is a combination of fiscal and emotional. It would be difficult for me to spend over $1500 or so, which rules out standards and the like, and I know it's in part superficial, but I have a hard time investing over $1000 on a LP that's so stripped down as a Studio or Tribute. Especially the lack of the binding just makes it seem cheap to me, when in the $600-800 range I can get a very nicely appointed Epiphone.

I know on some levels it's apples and oranges, but just hanging them in a row, the only thing that will remotely suggest that a Tribute is any ways as nice as the other two is the headstock. I know this is just aesthetics, but this is part of the instrument for me (and a lot of people, I'm sure.)

So I guess what I'm looking to find is someone who can tell me something like one of the following:

A ) For under $1.5k, you'll be disappointed with a Gibson LP because the features are so stripped down. Save more money or buy a high end Epi LP if you must.
or
B ) Even though the instrument is unadorned, playability is so much better, the pickups are very good, and other elements like sustain simply outperform most Epi's. Get the Studio/Tribute and enjoy falling in love.

Secondly, if anyone would be interested in sharing their experiences contrasting the Tributes and Studios, I'd be grateful for the insight.

Thanks for taking a minute to read and maybe chime in to free me from my neuroses.
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#2 User is offline   MichaelT 

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 02:23 AM

I have a 2017 Standard and a 2017 Tribute. Other than the top, high gloss finish, binding and case, the Tribute plays as well as the Standard. I find myself alternating between them a lot, just because they are so similar. I would suggest trying them yourself. I will say this though. I paid up for my Standard and it's worth it, to me. The sound, look and feel is amazing. If you're a serious player and want a guitar to last a lifetime, the Standard is worth the investment. You can always go used to save a little money.
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#3 User is offline   Versatile 

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 02:54 AM

Points of view will be expressed....and Epi's are excellent VFM....occasionally seeming to be better built than some Gibsons...:blink:

It is fair to say though...

Any Gibson will have more character and mojo than any Epi.....

V

:-({|=
Fiddling at the Pearly Gates
or somewhere
Lower and Warmer....

I like kayaking....it really floats my boat....

I dig most stuff....
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#4 User is offline   ikeus 

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 06:03 AM

View PostThe Convert, on 16 June 2017 - 10:38 PM, said:

So I've a pair of Epiphone Les Pauls that I love. I've modified both considerably, but in short, I've got an Epi Standard that I popped 57/57+ pups in, and an Epi Plus Top Pro that I upgraded with SD 59/SD JB. I really enjoy playing these guitars and they sound great, I think, but I recognize some limitations and want to start making vertical moves to Gibson LPs.

The problem I'm having is a combination of fiscal and emotional. It would be difficult for me to spend over $1500 or so, which rules out standards and the like, and I know it's in part superficial, but I have a hard time investing over $1000 on a LP that's so stripped down as a Studio or Tribute. Especially the lack of the binding just makes it seem cheap to me, when in the $600-800 range I can get a very nicely appointed Epiphone.

I know on some levels it's apples and oranges, but just hanging them in a row, the only thing that will remotely suggest that a Tribute is any ways as nice as the other two is the headstock. I know this is just aesthetics, but this is part of the instrument for me (and a lot of people, I'm sure.)

So I guess what I'm looking to find is someone who can tell me something like one of the following:

A ) For under $1.5k, you'll be disappointed with a Gibson LP because the features are so stripped down. Save more money or buy a high end Epi LP if you must.
or
B ) Even though the instrument is unadorned, playability is so much better, the pickups are very good, and other elements like sustain simply outperform most Epi's. Get the Studio/Tribute and enjoy falling in love.

Secondly, if anyone would be interested in sharing their experiences contrasting the Tributes and Studios, I'd be grateful for the insight.

Thanks for taking a minute to read and maybe chime in to free me from my neuroses.

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#5 User is offline   ikeus 

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 06:14 AM

Gibson and Fender (my humble opinion) are pricing themselves beyond the reach on normal mortals.
Give serious consideration to perusing E bay and other used guitar websites beside the classified here and local shops.
There are a number of companies whose main source of revenue is thru parting out guitars.
Hope that I am not breaking any rule but I often go to the Stratosphere site on E bay. Look under guitar neck/bodies, loaded pick-guards etc. They tear down Gibson, Epie's and Fender/Squires and have often dreamed of building up one of their Les Paul's that might be just what your looking for.
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#6 User is offline   Black Dog 

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 06:26 AM

My 0.02...

I recently went through the exact same thing. I had a couple Epi's that I liked but wanted a Gibson. I traded the Epis in and got a 2017 tribute T. The Gibson was a better guitar, better playability, I think largely because of being PLEK'd, but it sounded better too. But, I was left wanting something nicer for the finish and top. Now, I know people complain all the time about Gibson quality issues. I didn't have any problems like that, it was just plain looking. So I eventually got rid of the Tribute and got a Standard that is great.

If you want something with a nice top and don't want to dish out buckets of cash, I would get a high end Epi LP from Sweetwater. I'd have them PLEK it, put in a set of your favorite pups, new wiring kit with upgraded electronics, new tuning machines, bridge and stopbar. The Epi's have really nice tops (as you know). PLEKing would improve the playability and you'd have electronics and hardware as good as any Gibson.

I think you could do all that for around $1500, depending on which Epi you choose. I'll bet you'd have a hard time hearing or feeling much of a difference between that and a Gibson Standard.

Or, if you don't mind pre-owned, you could get a nice Gibson Standard for maybe just a little more.

Then when you've made your choice you can look up the thread about "gear addiction" syndrome (or something like that) as your collection grows...
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#7 User is offline   Megafrog 

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 06:26 AM

A Gibson is a natural progression from an Epiphone. I had a 1993 Epi Les Paul that was a great starter guitar but it doesn't compare favorably with my Gibsons, primarily because of the pickups in my opinion. I have from Gibson Les Paul specials, studios and tributes up to custom shop and I find I play the cheaper ones more than the pricey ones. My opinion is that a cheap Gibson is better than an "expensive" Epiphone but everyone has their own opinion.
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#8 User is offline   charlie brown 

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 08:21 AM

Check out the "Used" but not abused LP's, Traditional, Classic, especially. You can often find them,
for around $1,500+/-! And, you won't have to worry about the first "dent," or scratch! [thumbup] [biggrin]

Good Luck!

CB
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#9 User is offline   Twang Gang 

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 08:47 AM

I don't think buying a Tribute or Studio will really solve your problem. You will have a guitar that is perhaps a little better than your EPIs, but not much and you will still lust after a higher end Gibson LP.

I would say - wait, save as much money as you can, then trade in both EPIs for the nicest Gibson you can find. I know it will be hard to part with the EPIs as you have modified them, spent a lot of time with them, and know what tones you can get from them etc. But if you keep them and buy a new Les Paul at some point you will fall into the trap many of do which is having an increasing number of guitars but no additional time to play them.

The other alternative is to buy a used Gibson which will cost less. But the greatest inventory of used is probably on-line and then you don't get to play them first (and can't trade-in) so be sure there is a return policy in case you don't care for it.

If you are lucky you live near some big box guitar stores like Sam Ash and Guitar Center which will have a selection of new and used to choose from, and will accept trade-ins.

I just don't think upgrading to a Studio or Tribute will be a significant enough difference from what you already have, and if you get one of those you will still want a higher end LP. The new Standards are terrific so I'd shoot for one of those and they retail about $2500. So if you could get $500 each in trade for the EPIs (not sure if that's an accurate trade in value) you'd be looking at an additional $1500 cash out of pocket for something like this:


Posted Image
2017 Custom Shop 356 Mahogany/Maple Antique Natural
2017 Les Paul Standard T Honeyburst
2013 L5-CES Natural (Maple/Spruce)
2013 Les Paul Custom Lite (Mahogany/Maple) Ebony
2002 Custom Shop 336 (Mahogany/Maple) Vintage Burst
2007 Taylor Solid Body Custom (Sapele/Walnut)
2010 Fender Telecaster (Ash)
2006 Taylor Grand Symphony (Rosewood/Spruce)
1981 Ovation Balladeer
1963 Walthari Mittenwald Classical
Rivera Venus 6 (1 X 12)Combo
Blackstar HT-5R (1 X 10) Combo
AER Compact 60-2
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#10 User is offline   american cheez 

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 08:50 AM

i agree, go used if possible.
me personally, i recommend the '14 studio pro, like i have. you get grover tuners, 57 classic & a bb, coil splitting, and a triple A top. it doesn't have the binding, but it looks awesome, plays and sounds great. can be had used for waaayyy under a grand. sound and playabilty is on par with anything gison has ever made at any price.
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#11 User is offline   'Scales 

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 04:07 PM

If I was gigging it, then the best $1500 Gibson I could get my hands on, if I was rockin the bedroom then I'd save for the top shelf model.

Then again I use a 1984 Aria loaded with a frikken Dimazio X2N so I wouldn't be listening to my opinion. [blink]
we had longer ways to go, but no matter, the road is life.
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#12 User is offline   kidblast 

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:09 AM

God made Sweetwater Cards with 0% interest for 36 mo for a good reason!! :)
/Ray
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#13 User is offline   MichaelT 

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 06:04 AM

View Postkidblast, on 19 June 2017 - 05:09 AM, said:

God made Sweetwater Cards with 0% interest for 36 mo for a good reason!! :)


[thumbup]

I got my Tribute with the P90's on an 8 payment plan of $112 and change a month with no credit check. The payments are automatically taken out of my account each month. Very reasonable. 36 months with 0% interest from Sweetwater is a great deal. That's a 2017 Les Paul Standard, Classic or Traditional in your hands for less than $100.00 a month. I'm still loving my Tribute though almost as much as the Standard. Twang Gang is right though. Had I bought the Tribute first, I still would have wanted the Standard.
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#14 User is offline   Grog 

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 08:47 AM

I bought this Studio Deluxe T just shy of a year ago. Musicians Friend put it on sale for $1,199.00, $500.00 off. It came with a hard shell case, Grover tuners, coil tap & 10db boost switch. A great guitar that you wouldn't be afraid to play out......................

Posted Image
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#15 User is offline   Kojer 

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:43 AM

Try a studio or traditional and decide for yourself. I think you'll be surprised. I bought the studio some years back and im very satisfied.
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#16 User is offline   Kojer 

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:43 AM

Try a studio or traditional and decide for yourself. I think you'll be surprised. I bought the studio some years back and im very satisfied.
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#17 User is offline   Golden 

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:53 AM

I could rock that for sure I might be "tempted" to take a look without the poker chip. Just saying... [thumbup] [biggrin]
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#18 User is offline   1all's Pub 

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 10:15 AM

Studios and Tributes are fine guitars and to those for whom the aesthetics of binding and gloss finishes don't matter then they are an absolute wise choice. They have the same pickups and pots and hardware and tonewoods as the more expensive LPs, so why not?

BUT (and this is the kicker) if the aesthetics of a Studio or Tribute (or lack thereof) bother you now, before you own one, it will bother you even more after you get one. And it'll only be a stepping stone to a decked out model. And you'll just end up spending more money in the end, because you'll get a Studio or Tribute, then likely sell it at a loss to get the dressed up model you really wanted. My advice, just get what you really want the first time. It's almost always cheaper in the end (speaking from experience here [wink] ).

Take your time, save some money, shop around, look for a good deal and get what you want. I mean, lets be honest, we're talking a few hundred dollars difference here... it's not a life altering amount of money. Yeah, it's still a good chunk of money, but a few months after it's bought you won't even miss the money... but you'll have your dream guitar. Life's too short. Just my 2 cents. B)
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#19 User is offline   kidblast 

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 11:27 AM

View Post1all, on 19 June 2017 - 10:15 AM, said:

Studios and Tributes are fine guitars and to those for whom the aesthetics of binding and gloss finishes don't matter then they are an absolute wise choice. They have the same pickups and pots and hardware and tonewoods as the more expensive LPs, so why not?

BUT (and this is the kicker) if the aesthetics of a Studio or Tribute (or lack thereof) bother you now, before you own one, it will bother you even more after you get one. And it'll only be a stepping stone to a decked out model. And you'll just end up spending more money in the end, because you'll get a Studio or Tribute, then likely sell it at a loss to get the dressed up model you really wanted. My advice, just get what you really want the first time. It's almost always cheaper in the end (speaking from experience here [wink] ).

Take your time, save some money, shop around, look for a good deal and get what you want. I mean, lets be honest, we're talking a few hundred dollars difference here... it's not a life altering amount of money. Yeah, it's still a good chunk of money, but a few months after it's bought you won't even miss the money... but you'll have your dream guitar. Life's too short. Just my 2 cents. B)



IMHO probably the best and most complete piece of advice you'll get.

I do agree with the idea that if you have your heart set to a Standard, or a "Traditional" .. or what ever the heck they are calling the LPs with out the auto tuners, zero nut, wider neck,, etc... you're journey wont be complete until you're there.

I waited many years for an SJ200 Standard.. I could have gone with other fine acoustics, but I held out.

Every day when I open the case and take it out to play it, I can re-appreciate the wait.

just sayin..
/Ray
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#20 User is offline   MichaelT 

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 02:20 PM

View Postkidblast, on 19 June 2017 - 11:27 AM, said:

IMHO probably the best and most complete piece of advice you'll get.

I do agree with the idea that if you have your heart set to a Standard, or a "Traditional" .. or what ever the heck they are calling the LPs with out the auto tuners, zero nut, wider neck,, etc... you're journey wont be complete until you're there.

I waited many years for an SJ200 Standard.. I could have gone with other fine acoustics, but I held out.

Every day when I open the case and take it out to play it, I can re-appreciate the wait.

just sayin..


I'm the same way with my 2017 Standard. Every time I see it, look at the finish, feel it and hear it, I'm in love with it all over again. It's the Les Paul I've always wanted. It hurt paying that much for it (even after haggling the price) but it's been in my hands for at least two hours each evening. Like I said, had I bought the Tribute first, I would have bought the Standard later because of the finish, the binding, the case, the pickups, etc. I had an opportunity to buy a Les Paul in 1982-1984 but I bought the V instead. Ever since then I've wanted a Les Paul with a nice shiny finish with lots of flame. I just couldn't afford it for a long time. As soon as I saw the Bourbon Burst, I was hooked and searching for "the one." My Flying V's are jealous of it, I'm sure.
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