Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Kenan

"It's not a Les Paul, it's a copy."

Recommended Posts

I noticed lots of folks around me, be it music store salesmen or simply musicians having this tendency, at the mention of the Epiphone, to "correct" me how it is not actually a Les Paul but simply a cheap copy of it. Now, technically speaking, they may be right: Gibson Les Paul IS the 'original' and there is no doubt about it, but to be honest, given the (historic) relationship Epiphone has with Gibson (being a subisidiary(?) of the parent company) and the fact that it was given (copy)rights to use 'Les Paul' brand/name on their products (not to mention earlier Epiphone models, which, like the Les Paul Special II I own, even had the "Gibson" name on the nut cover) and some more expensive models even Gibson hardware (pickups) I think it's a bit unfair towards Epiphone to simply put them in the same basket with other, less known brands who also produce Les Paul-type guitars.

 

I also noticed people around me easily conforming to the (IMO) somewhat elitist "If it's cheap it's crap" attitude and this goes for Epiphone as well. Now, I know, after reading these forums, there were and there ARE examples of poor quality control with Epiphone products but, to be honest, I also noticed (though presumably not as often) these things can happen with more expensive brands, like Gibson.

 

If this really was the case, noone would buy these guitars and I highly doubt Gibson would allow themselves to be associated with such a company in any possible way.

 

So, what do you guys think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cork Sniffing at its best (or is it worst?). And I own a Gibby LP. From what I've seen online, a lot of the "copies" be they Epi or whoever, are doing a lot more with a lot less than Gibby. And Gibby's QC has taken some recent PR hits as well. As is often seen and heard on these forums "there are good expensive guitars, and bad expensive guitars. there are good "cheap" guitars and bad "cheap" guitars. YMMV but to me, if it feels good, plays good, doesn't have defects and you like it, to hell what anyone else thinks. Jack Pearson plays a Squier Strat for cryin' out loud. Tell HIM it's a copy! My two cents, anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Several Gibson Les Paul guitars here as well as an Epiphone Les Paul 1960 Tribute Plus, and to me they all are real Les Paul guitars as they all say on their pegheads. [thumbup]

 

In contrary, my old Suzuki EL-600 is clearly a copy.

 

Just my two cents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would venture to go out on a limb here and assert that my recent Les Paul '56 Standard Pro with P90s and rosewood fretboard is a heck of a lot 'realler' Les Paul than the current Gibby with Min E Tune.and granadillo fingerboard.

 

Perhaps if Lester were still with us he would endorse those changes, but he's not, and he can't.

 

And hey, I have never owned any Epiphone with the sharp fret ends I got on my Gibson Les Paul 50s Tribute. I mean those were sharp and nasty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Imho, play the best guitar you can afford.

 

I've been fortunate to be able to purchase many fine Gibsons. But every brand requires careful selection to find a truly superior example of a given model, rather than drawing conclusions from one particular instrument. I also have Epiphones that are very satisfying, three of them being made by Terada-Japan, one made by Gibson in Kalamazoo, one from Korea, one from Indonesia, and one from China (all the electrics having Gibson USA-made pickups).

 

Take all the comparison discussions with a grain of salt & file it away as reference info. Then go out & find what works best for you, and enjoy the heck out of it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gibson's are really great guitars. They continually have been making some of the best instruments in the world - for a very long time.

 

That said:

 

"It ain't the guitar, man, it's the guitar-man!" [thumbup]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Les was actually with Epiphone before he was with Gibson.

 

http://www.epiphone.com/History.aspx

 

I've owned both Gibson and Epiphone Les Paul guitars. Epiphone Les Pauls aren't copies, but they really aren't as nice as their Gibson counterparts. Unless you add the "for the money" qualifier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gibson owns the Epiphone company.

Gibson calls it a Les Paul.

Therefore.....

An Epiphone Les Paul is a Les Paul.

 

Beside, if you check most (maybe all) other companies, they call their models LPs....not Les Pauls.

 

Willy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I noticed lots of folks around me, be it music store salesmen or simply musicians having this tendency, at the mention of the Epiphone, to "correct" me how it is not actually a Les Paul but simply a cheap copy of it.

 

I had to check the date on your post - I thought it might be from 20 or 30 years ago. [smile] I'd say people with that attitude haven't been keeping up with what Epiphone has been producing. I'll leave it at that. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A Les Paul is whatever Gibson says it is. They call my 2000 Classic a Les Paul and they call my very recent Epiphone '56 Pro a Les Paul.

 

rct

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to check the date on your post - I thought it might be from 20 or 30 years ago. [smile] I'd say people with that attitude haven't been keeping up with what Epiphone has been producing. I'll leave it at that. ;)

I second that! Gibson only snobs are pretty annoying. As far as I'm concerned both are equally Les Paul.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to admit that until recently, I was a Gibson snob. I was fortunate enough to get a real live Gibson SG Standard back in 1996. It was (and still is) a really nice guitar. That set my feelings about Gibson. I always wanted a Les Paul to go with it and eventually got one. Its a 2011 Studio Classic 60's. Again, a really nice guitar. I never gave Epiphone a second thought because, like alot of people, I assumed they were cheap copies. Within the last couple of years I have started to work on my own guitars. I have gotten pretty good at it and have set up some of my friends guitars now. One guy I work with gave me his Epi Les Paul Standard to set up for him. With a few tweaks it was nice playing and sounding guitar. Since working on that guitar, my collection now includes two Epiphones and I am on the hunt for a P90 gold top. It was my own ignorance and lack of real knowledge about the Epiphone brand that kept me from buying them. I know better now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cork Sniffers are often people who have insecurities regarding their talent or social status.

Buying an expensive brand name and showing disdain for a less expensive item can often be a futile attempt to mitigate their insecurity.

Just sayin'. :--)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cork Sniffers are often people who have insecurities regarding their talent or social status.

Buying an expensive brand name and showing disdain for a less expensive item can often be a futile attempt to mitigate their insecurity.

Just sayin'. :--)

[thumbup] What you get out of the guitar is what really matters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cork Sniffers are often people who have insecurities regarding their talent or social status.

Buying an expensive brand name and showing disdain for a less expensive item can often be a futile attempt to mitigate their insecurity.

Just sayin'. :--)

 

Indeed. And usually they're hung like a light switch. [flapper][biggrin][flapper]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Piling on...

 

I also owned a Gibson Les Paul ten years ago or so. Very nice guitar, sounded good. Didn't care for the neck too much, and it had finish issues (orange peel) in a couple places on the body. I'm more of an acoustic guy, so it didn't get much play and was eventually sold.

 

Fast forward several years... I'm playing more electric and looking to pick up another LP. Hit the local shop and A/B several models including both Gibson and Epiphone. I like the tone of the Gibsons, but I seem to find little QC issues on most of them and I still don't like Gibson necks. Then I pick up a Epi LP Standard Pro Plus. The look is great in Honeyburst, the neck feels like home, and the action and intonation are spot on. No QC issues that I can find. The p'ups are a bit hotter than I like but at 25% of the price of the Gibson equivalent, this is a no brainer decision. An easy pickup and electronics swap (went with the classic Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz combo and Jimmy Page coil split/phase reverse set up) and this guitar is now a wonderful part of the arsenal.

 

Moral of the story: Pay attention not to the brand name on the headstock, but to what your head, hands and ears tell you about an instrument. Only then will you be satisfied.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The guitars Epiphone began sourcing and importing from Asia in the seventies had very little in common with any Gibson models. In the decade prior to that, Epiphones were virtually identical to Gibsons, made alongside them in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and sold for comparable prices. A radical downturn in guitar sales, combined with growing competition from brands that utilized low-cost Asian manufacturing, forced Gibson to re-marked Epiphone as more of a budget-friendly brand, and they too looked to Asia for the source of their product line.

 

For more than a decade, little about those guitars resembled anything being made by Gibson. Then, in 1986, new partners bought Gibson, which was on the verge of bankruptcy, and began to reinvigorate it. One of the partners, Dave Berryman, became president of Epiphone. One of his first moves was to add a couple of models inspired by the Gibson V-2 and Explorer to the line. Sales were great.

 

Meanwhile over at Gibson, their initial strategy for USA manufacturing was to concentrate on building Les Pauls, and moderate or stop the production of almost all models. Sales rose, and the company soon began getting healthier.

 

The new Gibson owners were also paying attention to what had been going on at Fender in the last few years. They had decided to combat the sales of low-cost, Asian-made Strat and Tele copies by importing their own under their Squire name. It's important to note that at that time, many out-right Gibson copies were also being made, too.

 

At the same time, it's also said that Les Paul himself, seeing the upswing in Gibson sales (and therefore, his residuals), approached Gibson with the idea of making an Epiphone version of his signature guitar in Asia so it could be sold at a lower price than a US-made model.

 

That may or not be true, but it is certain that some combination of the prior factors I listed (the Epiphone V-2 and Explorer were invigorating sales; Gibson sales were thriving due to a focus on Les Paul models; Fender was combatting copy-cat sales with their own imports) contributed to Gibson's decision to leverage its historic legacy, and re-make Epiphone into a brand that offered low-cost versions of Gibsons.

 

The first Epiphone Les Pauls were introduced in 1989. Here's what Les Paul himself (or the copywriter who wrote it for him) had to say in that year's Epiphone catalog:

 

"You can get mighty discouraged playing a 'dog.' That's why I'm pleased Gibson has introduced the Epiphone Les Paul. Rather than getting a 'hunk of junk,' new players can now be assured of having a playable instrument and one that will lead them up the right road."

 

So, Lester isself says Epiphones are Les Pauls. Who is anyone to argue?

 

Even though Epiphone Les Pauls are not built with exactly the same materials or methods as Gibson Les Pauls, Les said they were OK by him. I bet he'd be very pleased with the recent improvements made by Epiphone in the last few years, too. They're better than ever, and can easily be appreciated for their own merits, just as Gibson Les Paus can be appreciated for theirs.

 

The Epiphone Les Paul is not a Gibson Les Paul, but it is a Les Paul. Just a variant.

 

Don't forget, there have been hundreds of variants of Gibson Les Paul models over the years, many of which varied from the mahogany body, maple top template that is thought of as a classic Les Paul. As a matter of fact, one of the first two Les Paul models introduced by Gibson (the Custom, in 1953), had an all mahogany body. Many subsequent variants had design input from Les himself. He made major modifications to his personal guitars--he was especially fascinated with unique pickups. He didn't like the SG (which first debuted as a Les Paul, so was subsequently renamed). So the lesson is, a Les Paul is whatever Les Paul gave his seal of approval to, and he gave it to the Epiphone Les Paul.

 

 

 

Red 333

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Piling on...

 

I also owned a Gibson Les Paul ten years ago or so. Very nice guitar, sounded good. Didn't care for the neck too much, and it had finish issues (orange peel) in a couple places on the body. I'm more of an acoustic guy, so it didn't get much play and was eventually sold.

 

Fast forward several years... I'm playing more electric and looking to pick up another LP. Hit the local shop and A/B several models including both Gibson and Epiphone. I like the tone of the Gibsons, but I seem to find little QC issues on most of them and I still don't like Gibson necks. Then I pick up a Epi LP Standard Pro Plus. The look is great in Honeyburst, the neck feels like home, and the action and intonation are spot on. No QC issues that I can find. The p'ups are a bit hotter than I like but at 25% of the price of the Gibson equivalent, this is a no brainer decision. An easy pickup and electronics swap (went with the classic Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz combo and Jimmy Page coil split/phase reverse set up) and this guitar is now a wonderful part of the arsenal.

 

Moral of the story: Pay attention not to the brand name on the headstock, but to what your head, hands and ears tell you about an instrument. Only then will you be satisfied.

[thumbup]

 

BUT - on the other hand, orange peel on Gibsons is also due to the nitro finish. All of mine have some, it's the nature of these beasts. [biggrin]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<snip>

 

Even though Epiphone Les Pauls are not built with exactly the same materials or methods as Gibson Les Pauls, Les said they were OK by him. I bet he'd be very pleased with the recent improvements made by Epiphone in the last few years, too. They're better than ever, and can easily be appreciated for their own merits, just as Gibson Les Paus can be appreciated for theirs.

 

<snip>

 

Red 333

This is the point of the matter!

 

In the '70's and before Epiphone was not considered in any way a "knock off" or inferior, but just another brand. In the last few years Gibson has done all they can to support the Epiphone line. The new factory in China is exactly the commitment that makes me feel as if I am getting a quality instrument that can hold its own with any manufacturer. The "what you get for your money" factor is truly the icing on the cake! Even the instruments that they have manufactured in other parts of the world are held to a much better standard these days and by factories that have been making guitars for many decades.

 

98% of the television I watch is music oriented and I continue to be pleasantly surprised at the support that Epiphone is shown on stage, where it counts!

 

I for one am glad I found my Epiphone guitar and this instrument would have come home with me if it said "First Act" on the headstock!

 

Rock on y'all

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although I truly do understand the concern a lot of people have about what a given guitar is named, especially when it comes to resale or trade in value.

But personally, I'm at a place in life were resale value is less important to me .... so unless it's something that rolls off the tongue ... like Rickenbacker Bass ... I really don't care what my guitars are named.

 

What I really care about works out sorta like this ....

Assuming decent quality of build, I'm ~80% into tone, 5% into versatility (meaning great 'multi' tone capability) 10% into action/playability, and 5% into how it looks.

If my guitars were branded with model names like Edsel, Windows Vista, Chevy Vega, or AOL, as long as they sound great, play well, and aren't butt ugly, I'm all in ....... even it's a Radio Shack Enron! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... the fact that it was given (copy)rights to use 'Les Paul' brand/name on their products ......

 

It's not copyrights, it's trademarks.

 

My only Gibson Les Paul was a '73 Les Paul Deluxe. Fine guitar. Today I have 4 Epiphone Les Pauls:

 

Three Epi Les Paul Deluxes. Here's my modded Blue Sparkle:

 

9EpiLPDfinished.jpg

 

My others are a red sparkle with SD pickups and an un-modded goldtop.

 

And my '67 rocker:

 

Goldoverall_zps90e9b83c.jpg

 

They are every bit as good as my Gibson LPD was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

The Epiphone Les Paul is not a Gibson Les Paul, but it is a Les Paul. Just a variant.

 

Red 333

 

Totally agree. If people refer to their guitar as an Epiphone Les Paul then that to me is a great description. Sure it could simply be called a Les Paul but that would have a lot of people immediately thinking Gibson just because the term Gibson Les Paul is so legendary, so some might think its deceptive if they are that way inclined.

 

So, I'd just call it exactly what it is - an Epiphone Les Paul - anyone who then wants to talk about 'not a real LP' is simply stirring, and their problems are their own in that regard.

 

As for quality - as others have said, if you are playing it rather than selling it, I reckon why not get what feels and sounds great to you and does the job you want in a reliable way irrespective of the label.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...