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Gibson Les Paul Studio vs Epiphone Lee Malia


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I am openning this thread in both sections since I'd like to get opinions from both sides.


The thing is, I've got an Epiphone Lee Malia in mint condition which I really like, and was bought about 2 months ago.


I've been offered by my cousin a Gibson Les Paul Studio for it, it's the 2016 model and I know it's in good state, just some scratches and blemishes, but nothing important. It also brings a case (a gibson one), while my epiphone doesn't have one.


I've played them both side by side and still can't decide, I've really gotten used to the Lee Malia. The gib sounds better in some areas, and while theres not a major difference, it has a better overall sound.


The Gibson is definetely crunchier, but I think the Epi doesn't get as muddy as the Gib does at certain points.


I like them both and can't decide. What do you guys think?

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They are both solid guitars. The Lee Malia LP has Gibson pickups, but in my view it's too ornate. If the studio had a finish that I preferred I'd probably be inclined to make the trade, but ultimately it's your decision. They're both about tthe same level of overall quality, but the Lee Malia isn't seen "in the wild" as often as an LP studio.


Also, the Gibson headstock shape is way cooler than Epiphone.


Go with your gut, make a decision and don't second guess yourself.

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Also, the Gibson headstock shape is way cooler than Epiphone.



I agree.. One of the reasons I will probably never own an Epi.. Not cos I think they are bad but I love the look of my Gibsons from head to toe.....

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The headstock we are referring to is the "clipped ear" design found on most Epi electrics.


I understand that. It's just that some models, of Epiphone's, have decent headstocks. At least,

to me. Personally, I've always felt, that if Epi is going to "clone" Gibson models, they should

use the Gibson headstock, and just brand it "Epiphone," like they (often) do, for those made for

the Japanese market exclusively. [thumbup]




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Sheraton headstocks are great. Epiphone already outsells Gibson. If Gibson allowed Epiphone to use its headstock shape (which I DEFINITELY wish they would) they'd have a super hard time selling any more Gibsons.


I own a 2007 Epiphone LPC (limited edition Antique Ivory) that, after a Gibson 498T installation and a pro setup, has been incredible ever since, but I still loathe its headstock shape.

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It's interesting, that back in the '60's, when I was starting to play guitar,

Epiphone headstocks didn't seem to be criticized, as much as they are now.

Back then, Epi's were made right along side Gibson's, in the same factory

(after Gibson bought out Epiphone). So, the "quality," and materials, were

the same. The only difference WAS the "headstock" shape, and in the case of

the Riviera, and Sheraton, the mini-humbuckers. Other Epi models had their

own spec's, of course, to their original models. But the "quality" was equal!

And, the prices on Epiphone's, back then, was only marginally lower, than an

equal Gibson model. Not massively so, as they are today.


That all changed, in 1970, when Gibson sent Epiphone "packing," to Asia!


Now, in a lot of minds, the Epiphone headstock shape, signifies an "Asian Made"

instrument, more often than not (except the rare Nashville CS limited edition

models), so the Gibson headstock represents not only their iconic brand, but

an American Made, "Superior" guitar, as well. Whether or not they actually are,

is constantly debated. In effect, Gibson had done a good job, of "marginalizing"

it's own subsidiary, to keep it's own brand, in a better light. It would interesting,

if anyone has the statistics, to see how much actual profit, is generated for

Gibson, by Epiphone, as oppose to actual Gibson products! Now, in all fairness

to Gibson Corporate, they have constantly increased the quality, of Epiphones,

over the last several years, especially after the Qingdau, China plant was built

for producing "Ephiphone" products, exclusively. That was IMHO, a great step,

in the right direction. And, has seemed to have lifted the overall quality

expectations from all the other factories, as well! Win Win situation. Now,

IF they'd only go back to Kalamazoo USA spec's, all could be right with the

Epiphone world, once again! [thumbup][biggrin]


Being a (retired) photographer, myself, I used to notice, several years ago, that

the advertising photos, for Epi's were less well lit, and even "dull" by comparison,

to the Gibson ad photos, at least on the web pages. Which had the subliminal effect,

of preference toward the "nicer looking" Gibson guitars, via better quality photos.

Not so sure, that's as true, now...but, it definitely was, several years ago. It was

just one more way, that Gibson chose to highlight "Gibson" first, and Epiphone as

the "bastard step child!" I'm glad to see, they've abandoned, or at the very least,

improved upon that, in many ways, these days!


Just some thoughts.



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  • 3 weeks later...



I'm lookig into buying a les paul. never owned one before and i really like the look of the lee malia. normally i only buy used gear but i've got a feeling this one isn't going to pop up on too many used sites here in belgium...


so i'm thinking about buying it new. but for that price i can buy a gibson les paul studio used...



lookwise i really like the malia allot more and i know it's tonal range is pretty good with the pickups it has and the split coil but the epiphone vs gibson thing is still in the back of my head. new vs used


also i can't try it cause i'll have to order it on the web.

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