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Two days away from these pages and what do I find ?


Two new Gibson V Epiphone threads.

Multiple pages of "...Gibsons are overpriced", "...Epis are crap" , punctuated by a few brave souls trying vainly to introduce some common sense to the discusson !



First the cost issue.


1, Gibson Guitars are manufactured from nominally higher quality [ie more expensive] materials and parts.


2, The finishing process for Gibson is more complex and time consuming [time is money]


3, Gibson Guitars are manufactured in a country with markedly higher labour costs.[workers in the USA will not

work all day for the price of their dinner ! "]


Therefore Gibson Guitars cost a lot more to make than Epiphones. A few cents at cost translate to dollars at retail. It's actually surprising that the cost differential isn't even bigger !


Then performance.


Of course Gibson Guitars usually perform better than Epiphones...but anybody trying to quantify that performance advantage in relation to the two or threefold price differential is applying a totally wrong headed logic.

The good old "law of diminishing returns" is exemplified very well in modern Guitar production.


Time was when cheap Asian guitars were all crap. They simply weren't good enough. "Only the Gibson was good enough"...so the argument simply never arose.

Now the Asian guitars are good enough . So how much do you pay for "better than it needs to be ?"

From that point it's all personal value judgements...combined with the ability to pay for it.


So why did I say that Gibson Guitars are usually better than Epiphones ?

Because, assuming both are set up to play correctly, some Epiphones do perform above their station... and better than certain of their Gibson counterparts. By the same token, some gibsons perform less well than we would reasonably think they ought to.

This is in large part down to the wood. Tone wood of certain types and from partricular sources is typically better than wood from other nominally inferior sources. But, not always !

Wood is a natural and variable resource. Fate and mechanics dictate that certain lumps of Asian "mahogany" will ring more tonefully than some chunks of South American mahogany.


My rule, which I've stated around here before is that "You can't compare these guitars with those guitars, ...only this guitar with that one "


You have to judge each individual guitar on it's own merits .


Which leads nicely to adding that both Gibson and Epiphone production facilities could do with having a good look at their quality control from time to time !



[i apologise for starting yet another thread on this old subject =;

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The only comparison one can make of Epiphone and Gibson is similar design and shape. Everything else is different.


Each guitar is a unique, individual sounding and playing instrument.


CNC machining is great. But once you know how much hand work is done to produce a guitar you will have a better understanding of my statements. Anyone who has toured a guitar factory or has seen a video of a factory will know what I mean.


You A/B guitars all day long and no two will be a perfect match. So get over it.......

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CNC machining is great. But once you know how much hand work is done to produce a guitar you will have a better understanding of my statements. Anyone who has toured a guitar factory or has seen a video of a factory will know what I mean.


True' date=' true.


Here's some Epiphone image links from the Korean Unsung factory, found them on the old forum;









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That's why I took your advice from another thread recently. When those type of threads come back from the dead, I just play more. I mean recording with Epiphones and Gibsons just sounds so much better with all that fighting going on in the background. [-o<

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It would be interesting to know what the current Epis would cost if they were manufactured in the U.S. to their exact current specs. [-o< Wonder if that price would give them some credibility in the eyes of some?


What price do you pay for an American Fender today? That will get you in the ballpark I think.

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What I find amazing is the amount of hand made workmanship that is going into the Epiphones. I think Smoke said it best, and after playing it comes down to whatever floats your boat.


The Epiphone has some cost savings measures built into their construction, IE lack of true maple caps, and necks made from 3 boards, but does this make them sound inferior?


I own both Gibbys and Epis and have the luxury of having a friend with a music store....he allows me to test drive from home anything he gets in....and I have had complete crap from both manufacturers. There are too many variables that make the guitars sound great and play well.


Great post and I think we all should be patient to this type of posting, the forum is used by many people who do not scan for old postings and will probably not become regular users of the forum. The best thing is to politely reply with a link to an old posting to save the frustration.

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I have to say I've been saying for years that even in acoustics, sometimes you'll find a laminated back and sides that outdoes many solid back and sides, and sometimes that's import vs usa, too.


I had an Alvarez some years ago that was just incredible for 250.00!


After swapping many necks around on strat/tele type guitars, I found to my amazement that a pair of five piece mahogany and maple necks I had outperformed solid maple necks.. but only on certain guitars! Even of the same body wood.


I've also found out that my used to be belief that strong acoustic volume on an electric would produce a better electric sound.. it seemed to make sense, lots of people say it.. but after doing this a LOT.. guess what? Not always.

Damn nature! Fickle! Contradictory!


I like multi piece necks.. and I think anyone who's gotten a 335 with one of those rubber necks will know why.. my sheri can be tossed around

all over the place and I never bend the neck out of tune.. while on some solid mahogany necks, (in fact quite a few I've tried) even leaning forward while sitting down. to adjust your amp or something.. will just take the chord completely out.


Does that mean mahogany is bendy? Well, it seems it can be. I've played SGs you had to work at to bend out of tune.. no normal playing style would do it.


And I've found the rules don't apply, *though they do for the most part* when it comes to tonewood, too.

The best isn't always.


It's too bad there isn't a way to measure all of this.. to match up bodys and necks, instead of just piling them up and picking a pair.

But.. is that a good idea for the manu? If he said here's the best, and the 'rest' were also his, and costing him the same to make...

uh oh!


And we all know just from talking in here that MOJO.. ie: a persons personal mythological beliefs concerning sound/tone/manu/etc..

probably count as much as truth reality etc.. many times.


**Shakes shrunken head and throws the bones**


Great googly moogly!

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What price do you pay for an American Fender today? That will get you in the ballpark I think.


Mmmmm... not really. The construction process for a dot-inlaid bolt-neck, slab-bodied guitar is much simpler and therefore cheaper than for a trapezoid-inlaid set-neck, carved top guitar. Also the materials cost is higher since there's a lot more waste in a Gibson-style neck with its angled headstock compared to the Fender-style neck which can be made from a 1" slab of wood with little waste. Of course this assumes that neck will be made from one piece of wood unlike the Epi necks which tend to have a scarf-jointed headstock.

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You can always count on the Smokester to come through as the Voice of Reason. Gibson's President Dave Berryman says it best: "Epiphone is a value line". Bang for buck. And there's no disputing that. With Gibson, they're trying to make 'the best guitar they can make' and sell it for the highest price they can get for it.


There's no question the Gibby's are 'better' guitars from a materials/hardware standpoint. I've got about 20 Epis and 3 Gibbys. There's no question about who used the best wood, for instance. I don't take the Gibbys out of the house. My 'working' guitars are my Epis.


Some people get a warm fuzzy feeling every time they play their Gibsons because they know they're playing a fine guitar. I do, too.


Some people get a warm fuzzy feeing every time they play their Epis because they know what a great deal they got for a darn good guitar. I get that one, too. I gotta admit I get a huge kick when somebody compliments one of my guitars & I can answer back "Yeah, and I've got less than $500 in it"!


Plus, it seems almost sinful to modify a $2-$3k guitar. (What? You paid that much for it & 'it ain't quite right'?). Epis, on the other hand, are a modder's dream.


BTW, one of my brothers bought a 339 last week and it is SWEET! Wouldn't it be nice if we had an Epi version?

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South Korean law says that minimum wage is $3.84 USD... Tennessee minimum wage is $5.85.


Based only on labour costs, a Gibson should cost 50% more than an Epiphone... and I'm sure that they're getting paid more than minimum wage.


Factor in the cost of the higher-grade materials, and you have a bigger gap.


Or you could use Fender as an example:


Chinese Squier Stratocasters are $200

MIM Standard Stratocasters are $400.

MIA Standard Stratocasters are $1000.

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A lot of good arguments and being a former Gibson LP owner I agree on much of the differences pointed out.

The "Crap" statement was true of many 60's and 70's and mid 80's imports too a degree. But once the technology and consistency factor kicked in the late 80's on up Epiphone imports have been becoming increasingly much better. Todays Epiphone is really a Economy Gibson more so than ever. Not a bad thing either.

Too bad the guitar market is based on the headstock shape and name so much.

Im happy with my Epiphone and dont forsee replacing her but rather adding more at this point. And honestly they do seem to hold a pretty good amount of their resale value.

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Absolutely correct, all of you.


There is only ONE opinion that matters. Mine. The name on the headstock makes no difference whatsoever. It only tells me a little about the general design and construction of the unit in question. Says nothing about the mental/physical state of the people who assembled it. Maybe everybody had a good day, maybe the guy who routed the pickup holes or set the neck was hungover, but decided it was in spec and "good enough".


Give me one reason, that's all - just one, why somebody else's opinion should override the opinion of the person who will: a) pay for it; B) live with it; and c) make music with it.


The only reason anybody ever starts that "Mine is better than yours" crap is because the person in question KNOWS he/she has never done anything personally to be proud of, and therefore tries to adopt the status of the guitar rather than to go out and and actually work at doing something great. Most of them are totally dumbfounded if you ask these simple questions, "So, how have YOU improved since you bought it? Or, was it all just for show?"

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My rule' date=' which I've stated around here before is that [b']"You can't compare these guitars with those guitars, ...only this guitar with that one "[/b]




Smoke, requesting permission to quote this one in my sig?

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"So' date=' how have YOU improved since you bought it? Or, was it all just for show?"[/quote']


Funny....you have no idea how many times I've asked some folks a similar thing. They'll pick a so-so guitar over an excellent one just because of the location or the company that makes them....just plain silly IMO. Should never marry a guitar company, might just get your heart broken later on.


Maybe the stores for "some" folks should put one of those "out of order" parking meter bags over the headstock of the guitars until they decide on the one they want to take home.

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If I win the lotto tomorow(over 220 mil last I heard) I'll buy my 1960 Jimmy Page Black Beauty I want, but simple economics told me two things when I decided I wanted a Black Beauty, 1, I can't afford the Gibson Page reissue; and 2, I could afford the Epiphone. Also, I like the following quote:


"Plus, it seems almost sinful to modify a $2-$3k guitar. (What? You paid that much for it & 'it ain't quite right'?). Epis, on the other hand, are a modder's dream"


I checked into it, for $200 parts and labor I can get a Bigsby installed, I'll wait on the pickups right now(anyone got a idea how to find Page Burstbuckers for sale somewhere??)...now if I could just find a 6 way toggle i'm in business.. I do own one Gibson, just bought it actually, a 1947-49 BR-9 Lapsteel with original p-90 and original case, awesome sound and it cost me less then my Epiphone Black Beauty to boot...

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I guess the Gibson/Epiphone thing will never die.


Since I have a Gibson ES-330 and an Epiphone Casino and they are both as close as any two guitars from the two manufacturers, I feel qualified to answer.


The Gibson is a better guitar, but not five times better. Not even twice as good by my subjective observation.


The Epi is a very adequate, professional guitar. It seems to be much built better than the Jay Tursers I looked at (my local guitar shop carries that brand and others).


I have no problem with people in Asia, Mexico or anywhere else making less than US Minimum Wage. What I have learned from my travels, is that buying power is not directly proportional to the value of the US dollar.


If a country makes half as much per hour, but goods and services cost half as much, what's the difference.


I've been to China, spent a month there, from the Great Wall in the north to Hong Kong in the southeast. I spent some time in a group and some time traveling independently. While the standard of living might not be quite what the US standard of living is, it isn't that bad either. The people were well dressed, well fed and there were no homeless people there. I actually saw less absolute poverty there than in the US -- even in the poorest sides of town.


I worked on cruise ships for a few years. The people "below deck" make very little money by US standards. I was talking to one person who was making enough money while on the cruise ship to send enough home for his family to live on and saving enough to purchase a restaurant back home. He couldn't make that much money in his native Dominican Republic. I couldn't live in the US on that very same wage.


So that low Asian wage isn't as bad as the propagandists would want to make it seem.


There is nothing to be embarrassed about by playing an Epi, Squier, Turser, Dan-o or anything else. What matters is the music that comes out of the speakers.


On the other hand, if you want to spend more and support the workers in Nashville, I'm sure they will appreciate it, and you could end up with a very fine instrument.


Insights and incites by Notes

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you know, one of the biggest obstacles to clear thought in this industry is the fact that we "guitar people" tend to have an awful lot of the luddite in us.

Me included. I love the feel, the smell and the overall vibe of a traditionally crafted and finished guitar as much as anybody. I personally find the perfection found in many modern high quality instruments to be sterile and unfriendly.[That's why much as I respect and admire PRS for example , I don't like them very much]


On the other hand.

If you could take back in time to the 50s [before the nostalgia and retrospection set in] all the modern manufacturing techniques we have today, what would happen ?


"We have here this machine. Show it what you want and it will carve nine perfect necks at a time !"

...and this paint drys as tough as armour...you can shoot it on, buff it off and ship it in a couple of days !"


Gibson would have said "how soon can you install it? ...we'll show that Leo Fender ! "


One or two of the old luthiers might have raised objections but, "...hey, this is a modern manufacturing operation...learn to move with the times fella ! "


Would that have been a good or a bad thing ? depends which head we have on doesn't it.:-k


Truth of the matter is that most of the available modern manufacturing technology is deployed in the workshops of Fender and Gibson. The most significant difference to the perceived quality [to the open mind] results from the extra bit of personal attention the higher quality instrument gets after the machine spits it out.

Much of that can still be put into the cheaper instrument after you've bought it...and that's when the gap can really start to narrow !

The well chosen Epiphone, with a few uprated bits and a little attention to detail, can then start to push the best Gibson pretty close in pure peformance terms.

It still won't smell the same though ! O:)

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