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Questions about Epi LP Tribute

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Hello everyone!

 

I'm considering buying a good Les Paul guitar, but as I'm limited by my budget (not willing to drop 4 of my monthly wages on a gibson les paul), I'm looking at the Epiphone Les Pauls.

 

I've found that there is an LP Tribute series of Epi guitars, which are supposed to be top-of-the-line Epiphone guitars, with true gibson pickups and other decent hardware that sound and feel really good, closely resembling the Gibsons.

 

There are not many shops around here that sell Epiphones, but luckily one of them is nearby, and is the biggest. I went there yesterday and saw three different Epi LP 60' Tribute Plus' hanging on the wall: a faded cherry burst, a vintage sunburst and a blacky-brownish-something-not-burst. They all looked pretty good from a glance. However on close inspection I saw that the faded cherry one had scratched fretboard and its strap buttons were screwed in at a disgustingly wrong angle. The strap buttons on the blacky-brownish one were off, too, but not as much. The vintage sunburst guitar had them at the most... straight angle of them all. So I asked the shop assistant to let me try the vintage sunburst model.

 

After playing it for a bit I noticed that playing at the 1st-to-4th frets was causing my bends to grind against the frets. It was mostly ok closer to the body, but those first 4 frets at the headstock were really annoying to play at.

 

Then I started messing around with the volume & tone knobs. Quickly I realised that they too, just like the strap buttons, were placed at a bad angle and made a noticeably crooked motion when turned, all four of them. The volume knob was not working as I knew it. It made no decrease in volume from 10 to 8, then suddenly made the volume drop from 8 and down, and shut off for good at 2-3.

 

The fretboard had some scratchy lines on it, too ("wood pores, totally normal", - said the salesman). Actually, the salesman parried all of my arguments and only acknowledged the awful placement of strap buttons on the cherry burst model. Well, I did not want to argue, but I knew he was bull****ting me.

 

He, however, wanted to sell me the Gibson LPJ, which costs around the same (~50 bucks more), and told me that I'd get much more value for my money that way. He handed the guitar to me, and it looked quite ugly and its body was rough to the touch, like it did not have any finish or wasn't properly polished. The knobs behaved better on it though, if I remember correctly, but I was not paying much attention at that point.

 

Loved the sound on both, though. I think I'm secretly a Les Paul guy.

 

But I left the shop in shock, and almost in a state of depression. I really wanted to buy a Les Paul, but the quality of those guitars presented was so off-putting. I have a Korean B.C. Rich guitar that is perfectly built. I did not expect anything less from the best models Epiphone can offer.

 

So I came here to ask the knowledgeable folk:

 

1. Is it normal for Epi LP Tribute Pluses, the top Epiphone guitars, which are not that cheap at all, to have such glaring assembly issues? I could not find absolutely anything about crooked knobs or scratched fretboard in the reviews.

 

2. The Epiphones are made in China, right? Could they be shipping second(third?)-grade products here? I live in Russia, by the way.

 

3. Am I too nitpicky?

 

Cheers.

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1. No the fit and finish on this guitar is usually very good. And it is consistent from sample to sample since they are not "hand made."

 

A guitar that has dried out in shipping will sometimes have fret ends that stick out because the fretboard has shrunk, but humidification back to about 50% should cure it.

As far as the electrical issues, I would be very suspicious. The Tribute has U.S.A. Gibson pickups and CTS potentiometers and should not be having those volume issues. Crooked wobbly knobs make me think counterfeit. There have been cases of this even with less expensive models.

 

2. I have one Chinese Epiphone Dot and a Korean Les Paul Standard. A friend has the Joe Bonamassa signature mnodel. None of these issues are "normal", and yes they may feel there is a market for counterfeits in your neighborhood.

 

3. You are not being picky. These conditions aren't normal for an Epiphone product.

 

Keep hunting, the Tribute is a great guitar.

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Yes, those are made in China, and it sounds like you ran aground with some sketchy examples. what you found, no,, not normal from my experience with the more recent Epiphones.

 

I've got some experience with these as my son bought one last year, (got it from Sweetwater) and his was flawless.

 

BTW.. I believe the PRo-Buckers are not "USA" Gibson pickups, I thought they are made in China, but that aside, they are probably the best MIC made pickups I've come onto yet.

 

I have a set in my Sheraton Pro II that I picked up last winter, they are great pickups.

 

To the point on your pending purchase, perhaps you should check out one of the "Better" places on the net to do business. www.sweetwater.com

 

Go there and you can check out the available stock in their Guitar Gallery. you should be able to see very clearly, the model you want (by serial #) with high res photos.

 

 

I know a lot of people don't like buying sight unseen, but they are VERY good to work with, and if you buy anything from them, and have a problem, they will make it right immediately, which I can backup from past experiences. Really, they are fantastic to work with. They probably reject as many guitars as the sell. (According to the guy I've been working with, those guitars you tried, perhaps wouldn't have even gotten by their initial inspection process)...

 

I've bought 4 guitars from them, the last being a J200, had some minor issues with it, and they made it right very quickly for me. The rest were perfect out of the box. have a problem with it, just send it back, and they'll issue you another one just about immediately.

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Yes, those are made in China, and it sounds like you ran aground with some sketchy examples. what you found, no,, not normal from my experience with the more recent Epiphones.

 

I've got some experience with these as my son bought one last year, (got it from Sweetwater) and his was flawless.

 

BTW.. I believe the PRo-Buckers are not "USA" Gibson pickups, I thought they are made in China, but that aside, they are probably the best MIC made pickups I've come onto yet.

 

I have a set in my Sheraton Pro II that I picked up last winter, they are great pickups.

 

To the point on your pending purchase, perhaps you should check out one of the "Better" places on the net to do business. www.sweetwater.com

 

Go there and you can check out the available stock in their Guitar Gallery. you should be able to see very clearly, the model you want (by serial #) with high res photos.

 

 

I know a lot of people don't like buying sight unseen, but they are VERY good to work with, and if you buy anything from them, and have a problem, they will make it right immediately, which I can backup from past experiences. Really, they are fantastic to work with. They probably reject as many guitars as the sell. (According to the guy I've been working with, those guitars you tried, perhaps wouldn't have even gotten by their initial inspection process)...

 

I've bought 4 guitars from them, the last being a J200, had some minor issues with it, and they made it right very quickly for me. The rest were perfect out of the box. have a problem with it, just send it back, and they'll issue you another one just about immediately.

 

you are correct about the ProBuckers but '60's Tributes do have Gibson '57's.

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you are correct about the ProBuckers but '60's Tributes do have Gibson '57's.

Current Model I believe it's called the "Les Paul Tribute Plus" off the Epiphone.com website

PRODUCT FEATURES

Vintage deep-set glued in neck

Carved hard maple top

Gibson USA ’57 Classic™ humbuckers

Push/pull series parallel switching

SPECIFICATIONS

Body Material mahogany

Top Material Carved Hard maple

Neck mahogany

Neck Options 1960s SlimTaper™

Neck Joint Vintage “Deep Set” glued-in

Dimensions 24.75” scale

Nut width 1.68”

Fingerboard rosewood with pearloid trapezoid inlays with 22 medium jumbo frets

Fingerboard radius 12”

Pickups Gibson USA ’57 Classic Humbucker 4-wire (neck) and Gibson USA ’57 Classic Plus Humbucker, 4-wire (bridge)

Controls Switchcraft 3-way pickup selector, Neck Pickup Volume, Bridge Pickup Volume, Neck Pickup Tone (push/pull/series parallel), Bridge Pickup Tone (push/pull/series parallel)

Binding Fingerboard 1 ply, cream

Bridge Locktone Tune-o-matic™/Stopbar

Hardware Nickel

Machine Heads Grover® Locking Rotomatic 106 Series 18:1 Tuners

Typical Weight (+/- 5%) 8.4 lbs

Strings D’Addario® 10, 13, 17, 26, 36, 46

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Hello everyone!

 

I'm considering buying a good Les Paul guitar, but as I'm limited by my budget (not willing to drop 4 of my monthly wages on a gibson les paul), I'm looking at the Epiphone Les Pauls.

 

I've found that there is an LP Tribute series of Epi guitars, which are supposed to be top-of-the-line Epiphone guitars, with true gibson pickups and other decent hardware that sound and feel really good, closely resembling the Gibsons.

 

There are not many shops around here that sell Epiphones, but luckily one of them is nearby, and is the biggest. I went there yesterday and saw three different Epi LP 60' Tribute Plus' hanging on the wall: a faded cherry burst, a vintage sunburst and a blacky-brownish-something-not-burst. They all looked pretty good from a glance. However on close inspection I saw that the faded cherry one had scratched fretboard and its strap buttons were screwed in at a disgustingly wrong angle. The strap buttons on the blacky-brownish one were off, too, but not as much. The vintage sunburst guitar had them at the most... straight angle of them all. So I asked the shop assistant to let me try the vintage sunburst model.

 

After playing it for a bit I noticed that playing at the 1st-to-4th frets was causing my bends to grind against the frets. It was mostly ok closer to the body, but those first 4 frets at the headstock were really annoying to play at.

 

Then I started messing around with the volume & tone knobs. Quickly I realised that they too, just like the strap buttons, were placed at a bad angle and made a noticeably crooked motion when turned, all four of them. The volume knob was not working as I knew it. It made no decrease in volume from 10 to 8, then suddenly made the volume drop from 8 and down, and shut off for good at 2-3.

 

The fretboard had some scratchy lines on it, too ("wood pores, totally normal", - said the salesman). Actually, the salesman parried all of my arguments and only acknowledged the awful placement of strap buttons on the cherry burst model. Well, I did not want to argue, but I knew he was bull****ting me.

 

He, however, wanted to sell me the Gibson LPJ, which costs around the same (~50 bucks more), and told me that I'd get much more value for my money that way. He handed the guitar to me, and it looked quite ugly and its body was rough to the touch, like it did not have any finish or wasn't properly polished. The knobs behaved better on it though, if I remember correctly, but I was not paying much attention at that point.

 

Loved the sound on both, though. I think I'm secretly a Les Paul guy.

 

But I left the shop in shock, and almost in a state of depression. I really wanted to buy a Les Paul, but the quality of those guitars presented was so off-putting. I have a Korean B.C. Rich guitar that is perfectly built. I did not expect anything less from the best models Epiphone can offer.

 

So I came here to ask the knowledgeable folk:

 

1. Is it normal for Epi LP Tribute Pluses, the top Epiphone guitars, which are not that cheap at all, to have such glaring assembly issues? I could not find absolutely anything about crooked knobs or scratched fretboard in the reviews.

 

2. The Epiphones are made in China, right? Could they be shipping second(third?)-grade products here? I live in Russia, by the way.

 

3. Am I too nitpicky?

 

Cheers.

 

 

Keep trying different guitars and different models. Each guitar is different, even among the same model. Eventually you will find your match.

 

If you wanted to go the used route, I'm sure you could also find a used Gibson Studio LP for about the price of a new high end Epiphone LP.

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Current Model I believe it's called the "Les Paul Tribute Plus" off the Epiphone.com website

PRODUCT FEATURES

Vintage deep-set glued in neck

Carved hard maple top

Gibson USA ’57 Classic™ humbuckers

Push/pull series parallel switching

SPECIFICATIONS

Body Material mahogany

Top Material Carved Hard maple

Neck mahogany

Neck Options 1960s SlimTaper™

Neck Joint Vintage “Deep Set” glued-in

Dimensions 24.75” scale

Nut width 1.68”

Fingerboard rosewood with pearloid trapezoid inlays with 22 medium jumbo frets

Fingerboard radius 12”

Pickups Gibson USA ’57 Classic Humbucker 4-wire (neck) and Gibson USA ’57 Classic Plus Humbucker, 4-wire (bridge)

Controls Switchcraft 3-way pickup selector, Neck Pickup Volume, Bridge Pickup Volume, Neck Pickup Tone (push/pull/series parallel), Bridge Pickup Tone (push/pull/series parallel)

Binding Fingerboard 1 ply, cream

Bridge Locktone Tune-o-matic™/Stopbar

Hardware Nickel

Machine Heads Grover® Locking Rotomatic 106 Series 18:1 Tuners

Typical Weight (+/- 5%) 8.4 lbs

Strings D’Addario® 10, 13, 17, 26, 36, 46

 

yeah, we're talking about the same guitar.

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Hey, thank you all for your responses! I knew there was something fishy about those guitars.

 

I don't think they are counterfeit, as they sound really nice, but are probably defective products. Who knows for how long they've been hanging there on the wall?

 

Turns out, it's the only shop in my city that sells Epiphones, after all, so no luck.

 

 

To the point on your pending purchase, perhaps you should check out one of the "Better" places on the net to do business. www.sweetwater.com

 

Thank you for you suggestion, but the site appears to be blocking any attempts to connect from Russia/Asia. Not many websites at all wish to deal with Russia in shipping musical instruments. Probably, for the best, as they'd just be stolen/broken/switched by our national post service.

 

I will probably look out for used instruments, and maybe I'll even find a Gibson LP for a decent price.

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Hey, thank you all for your responses! I knew there was something fishy about those guitars.

 

I don't think they are counterfeit, as they sound really nice, but are probably defective products. Who knows for how long they've been hanging there on the wall?

 

Turns out, it's the only shop in my city that sells Epiphones, after all, so no luck.

 

 

 

 

Thank you for you suggestion, but the site appears to be blocking any attempts to connect from Russia/Asia. Not many websites at all wish to deal with Russia in shipping musical instruments. Probably, for the best, as they'd just be stolen/broken/switched by our national post service.

 

I will probably look out for used instruments, and maybe I'll even find a Gibson LP for a decent price.

 

 

didn't know where you were located, should have asked about that I guess.

 

Wonder if this is any interest.

 

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/131436-epiphone-les-paul-tribute-plus-for-sale/

 

 

and thx for pointing out the PUPs LPS... I thought they had pro buckers.. the 57's are great pickups

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Hold out for one that's great. I was violently suspicious of the rave PlusTop Pro reviews, because I've tried Epiphones in the past that had crap electrics and fretwire like sandpaper.

 

But lo and behold, mine was pretty much perfect - one of the knobs is a liiittle wonky when you turn it, but it's cosmetic and doesn't matter to me. Okay, one other knob needs a turn of like 0.5-1 mm to "take", too. But otherwise, it's flawless, including frets, fretboard and binding.

 

Either Epi have stepped up their game, or I was lucky with mine. General consensus seems to be they've stepped up, so maybe look at another one?

 

There is, I think, no excuse for guitars that (here at least) cost about the same amount of dough as a Fender Mexi Strat to have issues like the ones you describe.

 

I'd keep looking (and like always, I recommend the +Top Pro with the ProBuckers. Maybe I'd recommend the '57s if I'd actually heard them ;)). Like you, assuming I actually had the money, I wouldn't spend the insane amount Gibson currently charges for an LP, knowing what I know - that there are real Epiphone LP gems out there.

 

Have them bring in another one. Maybe even a third. You won't necessarily become popular (the eventual purchase does the trick. If you're lucky), but it's not like it's the monetary equivalent of a bad cup of coffee.

 

Well, at least over here (Sweden) it isn't. I paid the equivalent of 750 bucks for my LP +Top Pro. That's the going rate for them. Gotta love taxes.

 

Take your time. I'd never have thought it, but my "make-do" Epi LP Plustop Pro became pretty much my favorite of all the guitars I've ever played, including Gibsons. So they're out there. Good hunting!

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I'll throw in my 2 cents worth: Les Paul Epiphone Standard Plus Top Pro. I love that guitar and it didn't break the bank. Ordered it from Zzounds several years ago and it was perfect. Not a flaw to be found and very nice top.

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Bluesman: agreed. Good to know I'm not the only one.

 

I'm amazed daily at the amount of bang for the buck. I absolutely love the neck pup, and you can argue all day long that Nato mahogany isn't real mahogany, but the tone of the wood is just amazing... He said dreamily...

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Besides five Gibson Les Pauls of which I already owned two when I bought her, I have an Epiphone Les Paul 1960 Tribute Plus in Faded Cherryburst. I tried several of them and they were quite the same. I think their multi-piece - five planks in case of mine and all of those I held in hand - bodies with veneered tops an backs make for high uniformity of the series. The only thing I didn't like on mine has been the dye they had put on the fretboard. I removed it using Ballistol vegetable gun oil, and to my surprise the board was (and still is) as dark as before, so I don't have a clue why they might have put that stuff on.

 

It may appear like blasphemy, but my Epi Tribute LP is neither better nor worse than my Gibsons, just different. She is so close to my Gibson 2012 LP Standard that I can't discern them when played using settings available on either on recorded tracks in a double-blind listening test, direct signal as well as amped the same way. The differences of timbers and pickups (Gibson '57 Classic/'57 Classic Plus vs. Gibson BurstBucker Pro Neck & Bridge) seem just to level out.

 

The Epi's poly finish clearly feels different and it less delicate than nitro. Anyway, half of my guitars have poly finishes like Fenders and Ibanezes. When wet from sweat, poly tends to feel slippery while nitro gets sticky. Either is not a serious problem for me.

 

I never found an Epi LP Tribute with the workmanship faults you found. Be that as it may, it is always best to lay hands on a guitar before buying. Finally, I think you are not nitpicky, you're right!

 

Good luck!

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I have a Tribute Plus that is perfect. However, it took a couple tries to get it. I purchased one from Amazon. It arrived beat to crap and damaged. I sent it back and they sent me another one with similar damage. The boxes looked like they were drug here behind the UPS truck rather than carried in the truck. I gave up on amazon and ordered the same guitar from the evil Guitar Center. Apparently they have their products shipped in the truck because it arrived in perfect condition just like my Plus Top Pro and my Black Beauty. They are great guitars, BTW.

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Consider a Gibson too

 

[thumbup]

Don't consider a Gibson, they have a nitro finish, which is awful, reacts with any plactisers anywhere

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