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CJCifuentes

Could a customized epi be as good as one gibson?

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For example, I have an epi les paul standard and i was thinking about changing all the pieces, electronic and that stuff.

 

Put on it good and expensive P-90's and other things.

 

(Sorry for my bad english)

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Yes. Mine is.

 

...But that's the only experience i have in the matter - a small sample: one instrument and one opinion about it. [mellow]

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Some of them sound just about as good stock.

With upgrades, as good or better in some cases.

 

This is a popular video, Epi Dot vs Gibson Es-335...

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This is a bit like the "have you played an Epi that is as good as a Gibson" thread.

 

It always seems to me that the answer to this sort of question is one of subjective experience. I do know that both my Gibson's (ES345 1959 Reissue and Les Paul 25 / 50) stand head and shoulders in terms of quality of build and - most important - how they play than any of my Epi's, including my heavily customised Epiphones. And ALL my Epi's play well (even if I don't).

 

For example, my heavily customised Epiphone ES345 (see my ES345 "Special" thread) is a superb playing guitar - no doubt about that at all. I love it. But despite all that I have done to it (just about all that can be changed has been) it is just not in the same class as the Gibson 1959 Reissue ES345.

 

But then why should it be? The Gibson was nearly £3000 to buy and the Epiphone substantially less than £1000 with all the extra bits and luthier work.

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No.

 

I've done upgrades to numerous Epis, because I enjoy doing it, and it does improve them. It doesn't improve the re-sale value that much though; you'll be out of pocket if you do sell.

 

I've had 10 Asian Epis, none matched the 6 Gibsons I've owned, even after upgrades. Epis are constructed differently, because they are designed to be built quicker and cheaper.

 

Whatever components you change (tuners, pickups, switch, pots, caps, wiring, bridge, tailpiece) the quality of the woods, fretwire, and fitting of the frets will be not be quite as good. From talking to a couple of luthiers,the fret work can be the biggest difference. Epi frets, like most Asian guitars, are not glued in, and use lower quality wire.

 

Do it if you want, I usually do. Just don't kid yourself that it will match or beat a USA-built Gibson. And don't judge Gibson quality by the badly set up guitars displayed in a lot of retailers.

 

I've owned:

 

Epis: 2 Samick LP Standard, 2 Chinese LP Standard, 1 Chinese LP Custom, 1 Samick G400, 1 Samick Sorrento, 2 Indonesian LP Juniors, 1 Samick Sheraton;

 

Gibsons: 2013 LP Custom Lite, 2004 Studio, 1991 Flying V, 2001 Blueshawk, 2004 LP Special, 1978 LS6

 

There may well have been a few others I can't remember...

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Almost everything you hear when playing an electric guitar is due to:

1. The player. A great player will sound great on almost anything. A poor player will sound no better on a Gibby than an Epi.

2. The pick-ups and strings. Both pretty easily upgraded.

3. The amp. There are reasons people use particular amps to play particular tones.

 

All else is relatively minor.

 

There are differences in build quality, but as manufacturing practices get better, so too do guitars. I've heard from many people that Gibson quality isn't what it used to be, and that Epiphone's quality has greatly increased. Yes, there are differences still, but I'd wager the gap has narrowed quite a lot.

The Gibsons use undeniably better materials and are probably built a bit sturdier and with greater attention to detail. But sound-wise, I truly doubt that the price tag for a Gibson is justified over a smartly upgraded Epiphone... unless of course you have deep pockets and affordability is no issue to you, or you've fooled yourself into thinking that the prestige of the Gibson name is worth the extra cash, or you simply prefer Gibsons for whatever reason.

 

Just my opinion, based upon lots of study and little practical application. YMMV. ;)

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Do it if you want, I usually do. Just don't kid yourself that it will match or beat a USA-built Gibson. And don't judge Gibson quality by the badly set up guitars displayed in a lot of retailers.

 

How about an expensive Epi vs cheap Gibson? I preordered Bonamassa Ltd Epi, but GAS doesn't let me go :) I still have a chance to switch the order to Gibson LPJ. I know both guitar will do better than I'm able to utilize, but... In particular, I worry about fret wire. One of my guitars has shown fret wear where I bend in a year, another one haven't after two years of playing one hour a day. Gibson advertises specially treated fret wire, does that help? Another question is a weight relief. I wonder if JB Epi is noticeably heavier?

 

I'm going to check LPJ in a local store soon, but I obviously can't check the JB Epi.

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Exactly..depends how you read the question and what you consider 'better' to be...

 

Could a MiJ Elitist with Burstbuckers be better than a 2013 SGJ?

Could my 1969 solid body with '60's mini HB subbed in for single coil be better than a Sonex 180?

Could a current MiJ Casino with whatever mods you like be better than a stock Melody Maker?

 

in my opinion (which is all it is) yes, yes and yes.

 

in any case CJ its going to say Epiphone on it whatever you do, so as others suggest don't worry about whether its as good as anything else, make it just what you want it to be for you! [thumbup]

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Having owned both, and done upgrades to the Epis, my answer is "No, not really."

And I really, really wanted the Epis to be as good! For me the Epis were awesome guitars "for the money".

Take the cost difference out of the comparison and I always prefer the Gibby over the Epi.

 

And I like inexpensive guitars.

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Having owned both, and done upgrades to the Epis, my answer is "No, not really."

And I really, really wanted the Epis to be as good! For me the Epis were awesome guitars "for the money".

Take the cost difference out of the comparison and I always prefer the Gibby over the Epi.

 

And I like inexpensive guitars.

 

 

Agree same experience, close but never quite there.

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Well, from what I've played, with Epi's, I'd say NO, reluctantly, too. :unsure:

However, the closest I've played, was a Sheraton II, with upgraded electronics,

and Gibson pickups (Classic 57's)! That was very, close, to Gibson, in sound,

and quality, on THAT particular Sheraton. I can't say that will always be the

case, however. :-k

 

My own AIUSA Sheraton IS, however, every bit as good as any Gibson I own. The

only thing I changed, were the machine head buttons(to Imperial's)...just for my

own personal aesthetic.

 

CB

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My take on "is an Epiphone as good as a Gibson ? " With a little work, change out a few things (tuners/pickups), then, yes, most likely. It's not the guitar, any properly set up guitar will "play" OK, it's the player. Tone is in the fingers. Epiphones are good guitars. If you can actually play, you can make an Epiphone sound pretty good. If you are just starting out, you'll sound just as bad (or good) on an Epiphone, as any Gibson. I like Epiphone guitars. Is that bad ?? lolmsp_biggrin.gif I sound like myself, no matter what guitar(s) I play, Gibson, Epiphone, Fender, Ibanez, Gretsch...whatever...I still sound, like me...rolleyes.gifmsp_unsure.gifmsp_glare.gifmsp_smile.gif

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Epi's would "feel" more like Gibson's, if they had the same "Nitro" finish!

And, therefore, be a lot closer, overall...IMHO. But then, they'd cost a lot

more, to offset the extra labor costs, involved. So... [tongue]

 

 

CB

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I sound like myself, no matter what guitar(s) I play, Gibson, Epiphone, Fender, Ibanez, Gretsch...whatever...I still sound, like me...rolleyes.gifmsp_unsure.gifmsp_glare.gifmsp_smile.gif

 

I do like that answer. I've played a few different brands over time, and yes, like crust, I still sound like me no matter what I play on. I can't judge a Gibson, because its been many years, well many decades actually since I owned one.

 

I'm really curious now after reading all the responses in this thread. Perhaps I'll take a set of headphones into GC next time and try a Gibson and an Epi and draw on my own conclusions. But whatever the outcome - I will still like my Epi - because the Epi is the only one I can afford. msp_thumbup.gif

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I do like that answer. I've played a few different brands over time, and yes, like crust, I still sound like me no matter what I play on. I can't judge a Gibson, because its been many years, well many decades actually since I owned one.

 

I'm really curious now after reading all the responses in this thread. Perhaps I'll take a set of headphones into GC next time and try a Gibson and an Epi and draw on my own conclusions. But whatever the outcome - I will still like my Epi - because the Epi is the only one I can afford. msp_thumbup.gif

This comparison might lack. When strung from the factory, to my taste most Epiphones blow most Gibsons since Epiphone uses strings delivering a far wider range of tone than Gibson factory strings. After restringing at home with strings to my like, even louder and with a more even response than Epiphone's, the results are the opposite - the tonewoods used by Gibson obviously support the pure string tone better.

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I do like that answer. I've played a few different brands over time, and yes, like crust, I still sound like me no matter what I play on. I can't judge a Gibson, because its been many years, well many decades actually since I owned one.

 

I'm really curious now after reading all the responses in this thread. Perhaps I'll take a set of headphones into GC next time and try a Gibson and an Epi and draw on my own conclusions. But whatever the outcome - I will still like my Epi - because the Epi is the only one I can afford. msp_thumbup.gif

 

I took the question to be literally "... as good as ...", which to me is more than just sound. Material quality, fit/finish, feel, etc.

 

I kind of agree about personal style, but I have yet to master pickup emulations with my fingers. I've never been able to get clarity out of muddy pups with my fingers alone ;)

 

Nothing at all wrong with Epis "for the money". I've owned others, but I own exactly one Gibson, my first. I also own a $500 Peavey, a $400 Fender, a $800 Yamaha and a $180 Peavey bass. I'm really not a guitar snob, honest :)

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As others have said, it depends on context. If your dream guitar is an LP Standard, an Epi LP Standard with upgraded pickups will get you closer than a Gibson Melody Maker will. Better in that context would be subjective, but certainly closer to the classic sound. If we're comparing like for like, I'd go for the Gibson. With Gibson you're paying three to four times the price for a relatively subtle improvement, and I think Epis are exceptional value for money compared to Gibson, but the subtle improvement is enough for me that I've been prepared to pay the extra.

 

I just did a full makeover on a Samick made Sheraton - loved the neck profile so I completely overhauled it with boutique pickups and completely new electronics. It's a very good guitar but it doesn't get close to my Gibson ES355.

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Good point from 'scales; Japanese or USA built Epis are completely different to Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, and similar quality to Gibsons.

 

The price comparison and value for money questions are fair too. I would never pay full retail price for a new Gibson,I don't think they are worth it at UK prices. All the Gibbys I've bought have been secondhand, around half the cost of new. Several cost me less than the brand new Chinese Epi 339 Ultra I bought when they came out. I regretted that purchase...

 

If you shop carefully on e-bay you can get a good secondhand Gibson for similar money to a top-end new Epi. And with a second-hand Gibson, you'll always get a similar price back on it if you decide to re-sell.

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there is an example i can think of the iommi SG to be slightly bias as the pick ups are the same as the gibson and if im not mistaken the body is the same wood?

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Tone is in the fingers. I sound like myself, no matter what guitar(s) I play, Gibson, Epiphone, Fender, Ibanez, Gretsch...whatever...I still sound, like me...

 

Yeah, I feel this gets forgotten sometimes in these discussions about gear [smile]

 

Regarding the OP's question he wasn't clear about what he meant; Did he mean would the Epi play or sound as good, and/or did he mean be worth as much for resale? We don't know. There's an Eric Clapton video on Youtube where he was asked about guitars and I smiled when he basically said (I paraphrase) "We just looked for ones with straight necks". I don't remember him saying anything about electronics or wood or tuners or bridges. He just played them and made them sound good. Of course if we all took that approach there would be a lot less to talk about and the retail market would be in the tank LOL

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I don't remember him saying anything about electronics or wood or tuners or bridges. He just played them and made them sound good. Of course if we all took that approach we'd all play Epiphones.

 

Fixed that for you [biggrin].

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there is an example i can think of the iommi SG to be slightly bias as the pick ups are the same as the gibson and if im not mistaken the body is the same wood?

Sadly I can't tell which exact species body and neck of my Epiphone Les Paul 1960 Tribute are made of. It came stock with Gibson '57 Classic/'57 Classic Plus pickups, serial/parallel options through push/pull pots, and comes close to my Gibson Les Paul Standard 2012 with BurstBucker Pros which is a fine one of their kind. I wanted the Epiphone for adding the parallel option. It feels definitely different, but I guess that's the finish, and the differences in tone are of a kind that the pickups compensate it close to perfection. However, the Epiphone sounds very different from my Gibson Les Paul guitars with '57 Classic/'57 Classic Plus pickups.

 

Real mahogany means timbers from Swietenia macrophylla or big-leaf mahogany which is an endangered species, Swietenia mahagoni and Swietenia humilis. All of them are native American trees. I don't think they are used for making Epiphones.

 

Swietenia macrophylla is also grown in Asia to my knowledge. Since wood qualities always depend on the environment, they will have different characteristics. Tress growing naturally in a stormy region will be sturdier, be it maple, mahogany, ash, alder, poplar or whatever.

 

Growing mahogany is a thing of several decades, so often South American nato or Asian nyatoh are used for making guitars. The latter is also endangered meanwhile.

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You know, when one thinks of all the great, influential recordings, by the old

"blues masters," that were played on Kay's, Harmony's, etc., or whatever

they could get hold of, much less afford, one realizes what friggin' spoiled

"cork sniffers," we are! [tongue][flapper] LOL [biggrin] Those guys would have "killed"

to have the kind of choices we have now, even in "budget" guitars! [tongue]

 

CB

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CB really hit on it.

 

Here's another: I guarantee I sound better today on an Epi than I could have imagined on a Gibson or anything else in 1965 - and I was playing for money, was featured on a local television station, etc.

 

I do have some concerns to a degree on the wood quality of Epis but, compared to the olden days, the cheapest Epi today is far, far better than some "all wood" guitars in the '50s and '60s that cost far more in adjusted dollars. The old "Harmony" brand, I think, did age their woods, but since even they figured the quality was somewhat less, they tended IMHO to "over-engineer" their designs.

 

Another factor is that we're seeing more mid-range acoustic and acoustic electric guitars from Martin that are high quality "particle board" rather than wood; necks often high quality laminated "plywood."

 

I think we'll see more of that in the future. Those Martin necks - and remember the Gibson SG with that type of construction - and high quality rifle stocks made of the same material may actually last longer with fewer problems than the wood in a Les Paul or J45.

 

We can argue "sound," but as CB noted, that's most likely a matter of ego. I've never heard an audience howl against the sound of a X brand guitar compared to a Y brand guitar. Even lousy quality pups don't have to sound extremely bad if we work them right.

 

Yeah, I think a Gibson is a better quality instrument overall compared to an Epi at least in terms of woods. Or at least it should be in ways that are invisible as well as those that are visible and to an extent, in sound.

 

But again, what is "good?"

 

m

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