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Epiphone vs. Gibson comparison

#1 User is offline   mikekefr 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:09 AM

Ive been told by more than one person that the only differences between epiphone les pauls and gibson les pauls are the hardware/guts,tuners,pickups,electronics.You guys believe this to be true or false?
gear, schecter c-1 classic, schecter diamond series omen 6, bc rich ironbird nj series, guild burnside flyin v, jackson js32t flying v, dean baby v, alvarez tele, fender mexican strat w x2n and paf, epiphone ace frehley model, epiphone lp special 2, dean edge bass, dean exotica grand auditorium bubinga acoustic/ele., dean performer acoustic/ele., fender 12 string acous., alvarez artist acou/ele., boss gt-8 split signaled into marshall MG100 HD4X half stack and a crate gx130c combo on a 4x12 crate half stack.Retired gear digitech gsp 2101studio and a johnson j-station.

#2 User is offline   jonny_2_owls 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:13 AM

The woods used and nitro finish on gibsons as opposed to poly finish on epiphones make a big difference too.

The sounds can be quite similar though.

#3 User is offline   damian 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:14 AM

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#4 User is offline   fretter 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:53 AM

Chevy vs. Cadillac

Might be similar, but in many ways different as night and day.

I like to think of Epiphones as the affordable Gibsons.
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Posted 09 February 2012 - 09:23 AM

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#6 User is offline   wwit 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 09:52 AM

Ive always looked at it like this. If you can afford a Gibson and it feels good, plays good and sounds good then buy a Gibson. Right out of the box all it needs is set up to the individual player. But all things relative, a $1000ish Studio LP isnt going to be as tasty as a $4000ish Custom.

Epiphone is a good guitar thats affordable to the masses. But its not a Gibson. That said the Epi's are a great foundation guitar. Solid to build from. Once set up its a good guitar. Epi's can be great guitars if you find one thats nice and resonant and dont mind spending more money on them on upgrades. Again all being relative there is a big difference between a lower end $200 Epi vs. the $700 higher end Epi.

#7 User is offline   mikekefr 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 09:59 AM

View Postwwit, on 09 February 2012 - 09:52 AM, said:

Ive always looked at it like this. If you can afford a Gibson and it feels good, plays good and sounds good then buy a Gibson. Right out of the box all it needs is set up to the individual player. But all things relative, a $1000ish Studio LP isnt going to be as tasty as a $4000ish Custom.

Epiphone is a good guitar thats affordable to the masses. But its not a Gibson. That said the Epi's are a great foundation guitar. Solid to build from. Once set up its a good guitar. Epi's can be great guitars if you find one thats nice and resonant and dont mind spending more money on them on upgrades. Again all being relative there is a big difference between a lower end $200 Epi vs. the $700 higher end Epi.

I actually have one of each that you mention,an Ace Frehley model and a Special 2,and yes the difference is quite noticeable,im interested in getting a gold top next and am in no $$ position to get a real gibson.The epi limited edition 56 at musicians friend looks awesome for the $$.
gear, schecter c-1 classic, schecter diamond series omen 6, bc rich ironbird nj series, guild burnside flyin v, jackson js32t flying v, dean baby v, alvarez tele, fender mexican strat w x2n and paf, epiphone ace frehley model, epiphone lp special 2, dean edge bass, dean exotica grand auditorium bubinga acoustic/ele., dean performer acoustic/ele., fender 12 string acous., alvarez artist acou/ele., boss gt-8 split signaled into marshall MG100 HD4X half stack and a crate gx130c combo on a 4x12 crate half stack.Retired gear digitech gsp 2101studio and a johnson j-station.

#8 User is offline   bigneil 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:09 AM

Epiphone was a reputable guitar company in it's own right before Gibson took it over (bought out the competition).

In terms of Quality, with instruments that were, or still are exclusive to Epiphone, I believe the quality to be excellent. models such as the original Wilshire or Sheratons for example. Les Paul himself said Epiphone is a fine instrument building company.

However if we are talking about epiphone built licensed copies of Gibson guitars, then I think that the Gibson models are superior....Built from the finest quality materials by master craftsmen under stringent quality control and sold for $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ megabucks.

The Epiphones are mass produced from "eastern mahogany" instead of the rare and expensive Honduras mahogany from south america. eastern mahogany is a term used to describe any number of woods native to the east that are not even related to mahogany but have similar tonal characteristics, The Gibbys have a thick carved maple cap but the epiphones generally use poplar, or if its a plus top, poplar with a thin maple vaneer. then of course the electrics and hard ware are of a lesser quality. However these guitars are licensed copies and are basically the same guitars, at a price that the average Joe can afford [thumbup] .

In short, I believe that Gibson and Epiphone are simply not comparable and are designed to appeal to two completely different markets .... there is no epiphone Vs Gibson.

Mind you, I also know that if you play before you pay you can find a great "keeper" of an Epiphone, and if you were to put in some quality pickups, you would have to have to have a very special ear to tell them apart in a blindfold test.

In fantasy world,(assuming we are talking about epiphone copies of gibby models).... just say I am a wealthy pro musician, I would buy a few Really nice Gibbys for the collection, or playing at home or studio when I feel like being extravagant, but I would also have a fleet of Epiphones kitted out with upgrades to use for band practice and gigging.
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#9 User is offline   mikekefr 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:19 AM

View Postbigneil, on 09 February 2012 - 10:09 AM, said:

Epiphone was a reputable guitar company in it's own right before Gibson took it over (bought out the competition).

In terms of Quality, with instruments that were, or still are exclusive to Epiphone, I believe the quality to be excellent. models such as the original Wilshire or Sheratons for example. Les Paul himself said Epiphone is a fine instrument building company.

However if we are talking about epiphone built licensed copies of Gibson guitars, then I think that the Gibson models are superior....Built from the finest quality materials by master craftsmen under stringent quality control and sold for $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ megabucks.

The Epiphones are mass produced from "eastern mahogany" instead of the rare and expensive Honduras mahogany from south america. eastern mahogany is a term used to describe any number of woods native to the east that are not even related to mahogany but have similar tonal characteristics, The Gibbys have a thick carved maple cap but the epiphones generally use poplar, or if its a plus top, poplar with a thin maple vaneer. then of course the electrics and hard ware are of a lesser quality. However these guitars are licensed copies and are basically the same guitars, at a price that the average Joe can afford [thumbup] .

In short, I believe that Gibson and Epiphone are simply not comparable and are designed to appeal to two completely different markets .... there is no epiphone Vs Gibson.

Mind you, I also know that if you play before you pay you can find a great "keeper" of an Epiphone, and if you were to put in some quality pickups, you would have to have to have a very special ear to tell them apart in a blindfold test.

In fantasy world,(assuming we are talking about epiphone copies of gibby models).... just say I am a wealthy pro musician, I would buy a few Really nice Gibbys for the collection, or playing at home or studio when I feel like being extravagant, but I would also have a fleet of Epiphones kitted out with upgrades to use for band practice and gigging.

Thanks for the detailed explanation,thats what i was after,info w/ opinions !!
gear, schecter c-1 classic, schecter diamond series omen 6, bc rich ironbird nj series, guild burnside flyin v, jackson js32t flying v, dean baby v, alvarez tele, fender mexican strat w x2n and paf, epiphone ace frehley model, epiphone lp special 2, dean edge bass, dean exotica grand auditorium bubinga acoustic/ele., dean performer acoustic/ele., fender 12 string acous., alvarez artist acou/ele., boss gt-8 split signaled into marshall MG100 HD4X half stack and a crate gx130c combo on a 4x12 crate half stack.Retired gear digitech gsp 2101studio and a johnson j-station.

#10 User is offline   Lord Summerisle 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:37 AM

View Postfretter, on 09 February 2012 - 08:53 AM, said:


I like to think of Epiphones as the affordable Gibsons.


An affordable version of a Gibson, indeed.

I think that's a pretty fair statement.

I don't know why people would expect something that retails for a third or a quarter of the price of something else to be equal in quality, or only have superficial differences.

Modern Epiphones get you a Gibson-style guitar for a relatively small amount of money. Epiphones are not unique in that regard. I've played one or two Vintage (Wilkinson) brand Les Paul-styled guitars that were also relatively cheap, and also extremely good.

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http://www.jhs.co.uk...geelectric.html

But I've also played a Gibson 61 reissue SG. And one hour with it just made me really wish I had $2K to drop on a guitar because it was, well, perfect. And hence very expensive. That tends to be the way of the world, I find.

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The nice thing is that there is a broad marketplace in terms of guitars these days...

When the SG GAS hits, I could:

(1) Buy an Epiphone G-400 and have a good guitar.

or

(2) Buy an Epiphone G-400 and mod an already good guitar to further suit my tastes.

or

(3) Save up and buy what I really crave - a top of the line Gibson SG.

But I don't believe that option 2 is a way of getting to option 3 and saving a load of cash in the process.

#11 User is offline   bigneil 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:44 AM

i have a vintage brand strat and it is very good. but i tried a vintage brand SG copy, it looked like an SG but it did not feel or play anything like an SG [thumbdn]
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#12 User is offline   Lord Summerisle 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:53 AM

View Postbigneil, on 09 February 2012 - 10:44 AM, said:

i have a vintage brand strat and it is very good. but i tried a vintage brand SG copy, it looked like an SG but it did not feel or play anything like an SG [thumbdn]


My experience with Vintage stuff is a bit like my experience with Squiers.

Once you make the jump up from their lower-end stuff to their higher-range stuff (which is still pretty cheap, in terms of money), you get a heck of a lot more guitar for your modest amount of cash.

The Vintage AV1s for example:

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I don't often see this brand where I live now (the United States), but I often think about picking up a Vintage AV1 whenever I visit my Dad on Merseyside.

Along with a Burns Marquee and other stuff I can't get here. Like Ribena, for example.

#13 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 03:03 PM

View Postbigneil, on 09 February 2012 - 10:09 AM, said:

Epiphone was a reputable guitar company in it's own right before Gibson took it over (bought out the competition).




While that was true from the 1920s into the 1940s, Epiphone had been in a downward spiral for years. Ted McCarty snagged Epiphone not because they were a threat but because he wanted their doghouse bass line. Gibson also saw Epiphone as a way to offer another line of instruments to retailers who were none too happy about the territorial agreements Gibson made to protect dealerships. McCarty later said he got the company so cheap he could have paid for it with what he had in his pocket.

It turned out to be a heck of a move though. By 1966 Epi was bringing in some $3 million bucks.

From what I have seen the question most folks face is not whether to buy a Gibson or an Epi (which often comes down to expendable cash) but the Epi or one of the other numerous offshore built versions like the Edwards LPs. Some like the older Tokai Lesters have become darn near legendary.
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#14 User is offline   stm113 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 03:42 PM

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#15 User is offline   stm113 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 03:44 PM

I own both Gibson & Epiphone Les Pauls. My Gib's are 2 studios from the mid 90's and my 2 Epi's are a 50th anniversary V3 standard and a 2011 standard plus top. Also the last cover band that I played in the other guitarist had a 2008 Gibson LP standard that he let me play alot (he liked me playing that opposed to my ESP EC 1000s) so my opinion is based on real world experiences...

The biggest difference I notice at first is the tops in the Epi's aren't as good & the carve (arch) isn't as pronounced as the Gibs. Also, the hardware & electronics are no where near the quality on the Epi's compared to the Gibson. The Gibson also feel slightly more solid that the Epi's do.

All that said, my 2 Epiphones are my main guitars because 1-I like the slightly lighter body for longer shows, 2-I actually like my guitars to feel a little more loose, instead of feeling like the guitar is too tight or don't give. 3-none of the guitars I buy ever stay stock for hardware/electronics so I'd rather have a better quality build & less quality on the hardware since it'll go away anyways. 4-if the guitar gets damaged which is very likely with heavy gigging, I'm not crying over a $1,500+ guitar like I did when my 1st Gibson was knocked off of a stand & snapped the head stock.

The only real negative for me, especially for live use is the shape of the head stock... because we all know how musicians listen with their eyes about as much as their ears.

#16 User is offline   charlie brown 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 05:01 PM

[tongue] This subject, has been done to death! Buy what you like/love, regardless...even if that means having to save money, a bit longer, to do so. My Epiphones, are top quality instruments, in every case. I (personally) have never based someone's worth, as a player, on what brand, or headstock design, was on their guitar. It was how well, they played, the one(s) they had! "Cork sniffers," to the contrary.

It is interesting, at times, what a great player can get out of a guitar that some, in the audience, might
feel to be inferior. (I actually LOVE it, when a great player does that!) I have way more Gibson's,
than any other brand I own...but, I'm certainly NOT a "snob" about it. I LOVE my Epi's, Ric's, Fenders,
and Gretsch guitars, just as much. But then, most of my Gibson's were purchased years (even decades)
ago, when they were nowhere near the prices, they are, now.

So...Find a great guitar, regardless of price or brand, and just have a ball! [thumbup] [biggrin]

CB

#17 User is offline   Epi Rocks 

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 06:25 PM

View Postcharlie brown, on 09 February 2012 - 05:01 PM, said:

[tongue] This subject, has been done to death! Buy what you like/love, regardless...even if that means having to save money, a bit longer, to do so. My Epiphones, are top quality instruments, in every case. I (personally) have never based someone's worth, as a player, on what brand, or headstock design, was on their guitar. It was how well, they played, the one(s) they had! "Cork sniffers," to the contrary.

It is interesting, at times, what a great player can get out of a guitar that some, in the audience, might
feel to be inferior. (I actually LOVE it, when a great player does that!) I have way more Gibson's,
than any other brand I own...but, I'm certainly NOT a "snob" about it. I LOVE my Epi's, Ric's, Fenders,
and Gretsch guitars, just as much. But then, most of my Gibson's were purchased years (even decades)
ago, when they were nowhere near the prices, they are, now.

So...Find a great guitar, regardless of price or brand, and just have a ball! [thumbup] [biggrin]

CB



Well said CB. Agree with you absolutely.

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I've just ordered 2 Burstbucker Pro's and a 498T for my G400 Custom.
I expect it will sound every bit as good as my old '67 Standard.
It already feels just as great to play as it is. [rolleyes]

The rest is up to you, the player. Soooo...... practise hard and you can make
any reasonable guitar sound hot. [thumbup]

Cheers
Paul
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EPI's
Black Beauty - 2004
White Devil (G400 Custom Ltd Maestro) - 2006
Explorer Korina - 1958 Re-Issue

Fender Squier Pro-tone Stratocaster - 1998
Legend 12S String Dreadnaught - 2007
Fender Acoustic - 1993
Gibson Studio Fireburst - 2011

Amps
Roland Cube 30x
Marshall MA100H
Hughes & Kettner Quadbox
Kustom Quad 100H
Trace Elliot Powered Twin Box

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#18 User is offline   Blueman335 

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 12:34 PM

View PostEpi Rocks, on 09 February 2012 - 06:25 PM, said:

I've just ordered 2 Burstbucker Pro's and a 498T for my G400 Custom.
I expect it will sound every bit as good as my old '67 Standard.
It already feels just as great to play as it is. [rolleyes]

The rest is up to you, the player. Soooo...... practise hard and you can make
any reasonable guitar sound hot. [thumbup]


Nice SG Custom. I have one of those maestro's myself, I have three Duncans in it: Custom 8, Phat Cat (P-90), and a '59N.

And yes, I've seen great players pick up cheapo entry-level guitars and play amazing things on them. On forums, we tend to get hung up on gear and prices, but the most important part of music is the fingers and the imagination. No guitar plays itself.

#19 User is offline   wiggy 

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 06:03 PM

View Postbigneil, on 09 February 2012 - 10:09 AM, said:


The Epiphones are mass produced from "eastern mahogany" instead of the rare and expensive Honduras mahogany from south america. eastern mahogany is a term used to describe any number of woods native to the east that are not even related to mahogany but have similar tonal characteristics, The Gibbys have a thick carved maple cap but the epiphones generally use poplar, or if its a plus top, poplar with a thin maple vaneer. then of course the electrics and hard ware are of a lesser quality.


Agree with most of what you said and 100% of the sentiments but:

1. Eastern Mahogany is a specific South American wood (Nato) and doesn't come from anywhere near the Far East

2. Honduras Mahogany (is now grown in a number of places including the Far East) and, despite what Gibson would have you believe, is neither rare nor expensive.

3. Current Epiphone Les Pauls have a maple cap (about 3/8" thick rather than the 1/2" of a Gibson) with a flame maple veneer on non solid colour finishes (except for the Custom which is solid Nato)

4. Finally - NOT all Gibson LP's are Honduras mahogany now (something which was hinted at on several occasions by Henry). I have personally seen a number, in a trusted Gibson dealer, which almost certainly were Nato. Interestingly, when I pointed this out to the guys in the shop and after several of them had examined the guitars very closely, they checked the spec from Gibson and noticed that the spec only mentioned 'Mahogany' (Honduran didn't appear)

At the end of the day the best guitar is the one that speaks to you - the worst guitar I've ever picked up was a 3000 Gibson LP and the most responsive was a Tele I built from parts off Ebay for a song. In your hands the result might well be the total opposite.
My current Setup:
Genevieve - My Epi Les Paul Standard in Natural fitted with BB Pros
Dot Studio in faded cherry with GFS Mean 90 in neck and Gibson 57 Classic in bridge.
Home built 52 style tele with matched custom wound Bare Knuckle 'Yardbirds'
Epi BC30 fitted with NOS '61 RCA Blackplates and a '59 Mullard GZ34
Strat style bitsa affectionately known as the plank
Korean Tanglewood TW400N acoustic
EJ200CE Super Jumbo
AXL Player Bass

Very little talent & big dreams!

http://www.soundclick.com/ianwigg

#20 User is offline   wiggy 

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 06:08 PM

View PostEpi Rocks, on 09 February 2012 - 06:25 PM, said:

Well said CB. Agree with you absolutely.

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Posted Image

I've just ordered 2 Burstbucker Pro's and a 498T for my G400 Custom.
I expect it will sound every bit as good as my old '67 Standard.
It already feels just as great to play as it is. [rolleyes]

The rest is up to you, the player. Soooo...... practise hard and you can make
any reasonable guitar sound hot. [thumbup]

Cheers
Paul


I would caution the BB Pros are VERY (and I do mean VERY) sensitive to pole piece and overall pick up height so be prepared to spend some time getting the best out of them. Get it wrong and they can sound really harsh but it's worth persevering. Defiantly not as balanced as 57's though with much more of a mid range hump.
My current Setup:
Genevieve - My Epi Les Paul Standard in Natural fitted with BB Pros
Dot Studio in faded cherry with GFS Mean 90 in neck and Gibson 57 Classic in bridge.
Home built 52 style tele with matched custom wound Bare Knuckle 'Yardbirds'
Epi BC30 fitted with NOS '61 RCA Blackplates and a '59 Mullard GZ34
Strat style bitsa affectionately known as the plank
Korean Tanglewood TW400N acoustic
EJ200CE Super Jumbo
AXL Player Bass

Very little talent & big dreams!

http://www.soundclick.com/ianwigg

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