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Hummingbird - Gibson v Epiphone

#1 User is offline   celticbhoy 

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 09:30 AM

Can anyone describe the difference between the sound from a 'Master Built' Epiphone Hummingbird and a Gibson Hummingbird?
I'm probably missing something but the woods used in both guitars (neck, fretboard, body, top) seem identical to me, so why the big difference in price?
By the way - I love this forum !!

#2 User is offline   guitarstrummer 

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 10:13 AM

I wasn't aware that Epiphone had a "Masterbuilt" Hummingbird model. It's not listed on the Gibson website. If you're talking about the Hummingbird that they do list, there's quite a difference between that one and the Gibson. I've played them both and there's definitely a difference. As far as materials, the Epiphone doesn't have solid back and side woods, the Gibson does.

For the price, the Epiphone isn't too bad. The sound just isn't the same, though. It has a much weaker sound than the Gibson and not as refined.

#3 User is offline   nodehopper 

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 01:02 PM

Quote

Can anyone describe the difference between the sound from a 'Master Built' Epiphone Hummingbird and a Gibson Hummingbird?
I'm probably missing something but the woods used in both guitars (neck, fretboard, body, top) seem identical to me, so why the big difference in price?
By the way - I love this forum !!


It can sometimes take some detective work when buying a guitar to figure out for sure if the woods are solid or laminate. I have seen advertising blurbs say Rosewood back and sides only to discover from the manufacturers details spec sheet that it is not solid wood.

The difference in sound between an all solid wood guitar and one using laminates will always be different. Sometimes it isn't necessarily a better or worse thing. All depends on your ear and the sound you are looking for ...along with some input from your wallet.
Stephen ...... "Ain't no more potatoes, the frost have killed the vine ......
Well, the blues ain't nothin' but a good woman on your mind" MJH


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#4 User is offline   Jinder 

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 12:57 AM

I think solid woods make a significant tonal difference, but not one that is relative to the price. When you buy an Epiphone, you buy a good mid-price instrument that, with some subtle upgrades (IE bone nut and saddle, luthier setup, maybe a pickup) can be a great working instrument that looks good, sounds good and plays well.

The difference is, though, that when you buy a Gibson, you buy a piece of musical history and an instrument that really makes a statement about yourself as a player and, if you are, performer. When I see a picker with a Gibson or a top-line Martin, I feel I can depend on them to be a serious player who is committed enough to their music to scrape together what, to most of us, is a heck of a lot of cash, to buy a lifetime keeper instrument which is not just a fabulous instrument but also something that most of us feel we have to "live up to". Owning my SJ200 for the last four years, and playing a couple of hundred shows a year with various projects with it, has really made me step up to the plate and play guitar properly, because of the stature of the instrument and my obligation to do it justice.

I would not have felt the same way about an Epiphone, as great a guitar as they can be. The stature and place in musical history is not there in the same way as it is for a Gibson, in my eyes.

I do know some GREAT pickers who use Epiphones, though. I gigged last year with a fella called Sion Whiley, he rocked up with a very well used Epi J200 electro cutaway, and played his behind off. Great stuff.

On the money side of things, status aside, I have a friend who owns an Epi J200, with laminate back, sides AND top, and the thing sings like a canary. It's a great guitar, and ridiculously cheap-sure, my SJ200 has an undeniable tonal edge over it, and is a little more "together" as a playing experience, but there's no way the Epi J200 is 1800 WORSE than mine.

My advice is to go for a balance of opinion between your ears and your heart. For example, Takamine guitars sound great, but I'll be damned if I could find any soul in the ones I've owned. Recently I played a beautiful, hand-built Huss & Dalton 000, and the thing looked and played absolutely out-of-this-world, But the tone just wasn't there for me.

I think if you can find a guitar which is both Tonemonster and Trinket, you're set. If that guitar, for you, is an Epi 'Bird, then go for your life :-)
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#5 User is offline   retrosurfer1959 

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 09:57 AM

I actually like the masterbilt line for a beater or haul around guitar I have never seen a Masterbilt hummingbird. I like the idea though a Masterbilt quality for the Dove and Hummingbird models that would be a nice guitar. the current lower end Epi birds they produce today are definately not the Masterbilt line they are a lower end entry level production guitar. I'm not a Epi hater either I have a Casino and a brand new Ultra II and there both really good guitars and the NanoMag pickup sounds great they need to add it to the Les Paul line
It's not a Collection can't you tell an obsession when you see it.

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 03:28 AM

Night and day.

#7 User is offline   grOOved 

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:26 PM

In a completely different league - wood, hardware, finish, and craftsmanship. The differences become stark when you put the two side by side appearance-wise and tone-wise.

#8 User is offline   J45dale 

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 03:00 PM

" Only a Gibson is good enough"
Dale.

#9 User is offline   celticbhoy 

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 08:21 AM

Thanks everyone for the feedback. I've just realised that it was a pretty stupid question really, and yes "Only a Gibson is good enough" as I pick up my SJ to sing a couple of Gallagher & Lyle numbers.

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