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troysgguy

Epi Versus gibson

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So I bought a $170 pawn shop Epiphone g-400 sg and sadly I think I am starting to like more than my Gibson SG 61 RI. I really like the neck, gloss black finish and Grover tuners. I feel like their is something wrong me liking it more than the guitar that cost 5 times as much. I put a Dimarzio single coil vintage blues for the neck pup and kept the Humbucker in the neck. So can someone help me out? How can this be? Did I just pay too much for the Gibson name?

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Of course you paid too much for the Gibson name same as people pay over the odds for BMW, for Corvette, for Mustang, for lots of other 'names'. It's called goodwill and it's a calculable amount which consumers will pay for a 'trusted' brand over another regardless of actual difference in quality. There's nothing wrong with it and that's why companies such as Coca Cola spend billions on brand awareness.

 

It also has absolutely nothing to do with actual differences in the quality of materials used or the quality of the finished product - prime example is BMW which has a reputation for high quality and hence has a higher brand premium yet in recent years has a much higher mechanical failure rate than many manufacturers with with lower perceived quality.

 

This is not to knock Gibson who are in the business of making a profit and also are constrained by the fact that they HAVE to maintain their manufacturing base in the US (if they didn't it would kill the brand value overnight.) Material costs are a very small part of their cost base when compared to manufacturing in the Far East, the main overheads are wage bill and real estate/rental.

 

In a purely objective world Gibson could manufacture their guitars at much higher quality (in terms of both materials and finish) in the Far East and sell, them for probably 40% less, at a much higher profit level than they do now BUT if they did so the perceived value of the brand (no longer made by US luthiers no matter how fanciful the idea) would be diluted to the point where the cost benefits would be zero.

 

Your/my Epiphone is built at much closer to the optimum cost/selling price ratio because as buyers we don't have the brand expectations that Gibson buyers do so we get a much better value for money product but that shouldn't be confused with getting a BETTER product.

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I recently got a John Lennon ej 160 e acoustic/electric guitar...I had NO idea how high quality the newer Epiphone acoustics are...sounds beautiful and looks as good as it sounds. I KNOW it is "not as good" as the original Gibson, but it is at lest $3000 less money...and I doubt the Gibson can be that much better.

 

I have been playing guitar since 1962, and I am so impressed with Epiphone acoustics, I just bought a used Masterbilt that should be here next week.

 

I do not know of ANY brand of guitar that gives you so much quality and good sound for so little money.

 

mark

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I figured if I post it on the Gibson forum I would be banned for life. :unsure:

I don't think so. There also are many people like me owning instruments of both and different other brands.

 

Basically, the one-piece or few-piece composition of bodies and necks using expensive and, if applicable - see below -, quarter-sawn timbers as done by Gibson has advantages and shortcomings as well. If an extraordinary neck meets an extraordinary body and the tolerances due to work done by hand are fine, there will result a great instrument. Mediocre parts and mediocre tolerances will make a mediocre instrument. However, since most of the criteria are a matter of taste in first order, somebody might like the latter better than others would. The tops of Gibson Les Pauls are massive, so an expensive piece of high grade maple is entirely used up for one single instrument, and a large share of it is consumed by carving the top in shape.

 

Making instruments of multiple pieces of wood and using flat-sawn timbers, both for economical reasons, might result in instruments that on average are inferior compared to most of those made of fine quartersawn components. But there will always be some with outstanding performance like my Epiphone Les Paul 1960 Tribute Plus which sonically keeps up with my Gibson Les Paul Standard 2012 Premium Plus. I should mention that it features Gibson USA '57 Classic/'57 Classic Plus humbuckers and provides series/parallel options not offered by Gibson at the moment except the Axcess series Les Pauls. The cap can be made of maple or other hard woods like alder and topped with a maple veneer requiring a fraction of figured maple compared to massive tops. Moreover, the veneer is bent, and there is no offcut, too.

 

As for grain orientation, the make of figured tops, bodies and backs demands for flat-sawn woods since only this view will show the figuring. Additionally, there are guitars who are famous for their tone achieved by flat-sawn woods like most Fenders. There are very few Custom Shop Fenders available made of quarter-sawn timbers, and it is obvious at a glance when looking at the headstock. However, the performances of woods with opposite grain orientation overlap which may cause the respective instruments' performances to overlap, too, as stated above.

 

And if it goes about price range, my Epiphone Les Paul 1960 Tribute Plus is an incredible value for money - a real bargain.

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if not chased down w/torches & pitchforks......... [biggrin]

 

Fire bad. (said in best Frankenstein voice)

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Why sad :( , you got a guitar you like better than a Gibson for $170.00, I'd be ecstatic. [thumbup][smile]

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Why worry? -

 

$170 for a guitar that you enjoy (and if you drop it ...well not too bad) = happy days!

Gig the Epi and record with the Gibby = justification!

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I've seen enough video's of guys like Jack Pearson and Rick Vito who are playing POS guitars and rigs by comparison to what they could have, and they sound awesome. I don't think the name on the headstock matters if you have that kind of talent. Be happy with your guitar if you like it, regardless of the name on it.

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Thanks for all the replies. The early comment about tolerances got thinking. I lowered the action on the gibby so its just off the frets. It loosened up and boom, I like it again. The epi won't go that low. The thicker body of the epi does give it a warmer deeper tone, which I do like better. So I guess they both have their positive attributes.

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I recently bought a new G-400 CS/LE over the REAL SG for precisely the reasons you mentioned. The neck on the epi is far superior to the Gibby IMHO. It's the best neck I've every played. The quality of the guitar is excellent, no complaints at all. Since it was available in artic white and the Gibbys were only available in cherry, black, & walnut I think it looks much better. It plays great, I think it sounds the same, and it cost 25% of a comparable Gibson. I simply couldn't talk myself into the Gibson - even though I was convinced at the time the Gibby would be the better guitar. I have no regrets. In fact I recommend the epi over the Gibson to anyone shopping for an SG. I think it's that good.

 

It also says volumes about the improvement in imported instruments over the last decade or so. My epi was made in China. I didn't expect much but I'm very impressed. It's a completely machine made guitar but the quality, tolerances, & attention to detail are first rate. I think you'll find that all of the "budget" guitars in today's marketplace are very high quality. The only thing that sets them apart are design features. I think it's hard to go wrong no matter what instrument you buy today. You can find a very appealing instrument at virtually any price point. Especially if you can shop used.

 

Congratulations & I hope you enjoy your new guitar.

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It also says volumes about the improvement in imported instruments over the last decade or so. My epi was made in China. I didn't expect much but I'm very impressed. It's a completely machine made guitar but the quality, tolerances, & attention to detail are first rate. I think you'll find that all of the "budget" guitars in today's marketplace are very high quality...I think it's hard to go wrong no matter what instrument you buy today. You can find a very appealing instrument at virtually any price point. Especially if you can shop used.

 

 

+1. Imports used to be pretty crappy a few decades ago, but have gradually gotten better, especially in the last 10 years. Epi's Chinese factory has made a big difference with their guitars. I much prefer the recent Chinese over older Koreans. Better quality (especially PU's) and more consistent in general.

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Guitar sounds are really based on that individual guitar. I own a Gibson J45, but rank it third or fourth in sound quality. My best sounding guitar is an Epi Masterbilt DR500, amd then next would be my Eko J54, both were pawn store specials.

 

I think what happens with some of my fellow Gibson owners is the belief that more money equals the better product. We justify to ourselves (and spouses) why we spent over 2 grand for an acoustic.

 

So enjoy the fact that you found a guitar you like, no apology needed. No one will attack you if you post this in the Gibson acoustic room.

 

,,,,,,,now where did I put that torch and pick fork?

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I think what happens with some of my fellow Gibson owners is the belief that more money equals the better product.

 

They usually judge guitars by the name on the headstock. People tend to do that with everything. If something costs more, that's what they like best, and if a person is rich, they tend to like them more than a person who's poor. We're a materialistic society.

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I'm glad you fiddled with the Gibson 61 RI and got it tuned up. You may want to have it setup by a good Luthier and really see what it will do. Most of my guitars have been setup (not by a GC tech either) and makes a huge difference to my hands anyway.

 

Gibson vs. Epi now. What I have found, since I own both Epi's & Gibson's is you do get more in a Gibson for sound & quality. You just have to decided if the "more" is worth it to you as it's rather a big "more" but it is to me.

 

I absolutely love my Epi Elitist Casino. I will say I didn't and don't really love my MIC versions much at all. Japan does make a better fit & finish & I like the feel/sound more.

 

On the EJ-160E vs a Gibson J-160E (mine is a Fuller reissue 1962). HUGE difference in sound. Not saying my Epi is lousy, but not even close in the two guitars. I wouldn't be a candidate for a "new version" Gibson J-160 either. I like the ladder brace & ply top with a P90 pup. That's the sound I want.

 

Last case in point is my Epi Dove & Hummingbird. Love them both (just had the Dove in the RV with me for 12 days playing my fingers off). My Gibson version of the Dove & Hummingbird (just got the bird) is night/day difference. Price wise too. The look of the guitars, feel, finish, and then the SOUND is why I will lay out the extra cash. I'm not a snob, and don't buy for a label. I will pay more if I get more and will say I do like American Made products vs. China any day. Except for porcelain china. I like that from China. [biggrin] Not fond of the MIC materials or their world views & Gov either. I will also say that I have found my Gibson's more needing a great setup to be stellar vs the Epi's. Both play really nice out of the box but the improvement with a setup on my Gibson's have taken me from Liking the guitar to Loving the guitar.

 

Aster

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When it goes around setups, there are chances to achieve similar results when adjusting guitars of fine make. You always will have to deal with tolerances due to work done by hand as may be obvious when looking at the heights of bridges and tailpieces pictured below. Those on the Gibson USA Les Paul Standard Premium Plus 2012 are the smallest by far. Note that all the guitars are set to virtually same string action with the neck adjusted to be absolutely straight.

 

Epiphone Les Paul 1960 Tribute Plus:

zlec.jpg

 

Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Standard Figured:

qnl2.jpg

 

Gibson USA Les Paul Traditional 2013:

gzy3.jpg

 

Gibson USA Les Paul Standard Premium Plus 2012:

vs5b.jpg

 

Gibson USA Les Paul Standard Quilt 2011:

y50n.jpg

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I have both Gibson and Epi Les Pauls and my two favorite guitars to play are a Korean Epi and a faded Gibson Special. Mostly because of the neck feel. I like the slim necks. To me it doesn't matter if it's a $250 guitar or a $1500 guitar, if it plays good and sounds good, I like it. I have a Gibson double cutaway Standard and a Studio that get played the least because of the 50's neck profile. Just a little too thick for me to be totally comfortable with. But I love them just the same.

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To me it doesn't matter if it's a $250 guitar or a $1500 guitar, if it plays good and sounds good, I like it. .

 

I agree...got three Epi's (JB, Standard, 339) and two Gibson Doublecut LP's...and like them all...later.

 

cowboy123

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