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Help with LP purchase


axplayer

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Hello everyone. I just started to get back into guitar playing after a 10 year layoff and my mid 80’s Strat-copy just isn’t doing it for me anymore. Friday night I got to played my friend’s Epi Black Beauty and that got me hooked on the Les Paul sound. So now I’m thinking about purchasing a new guitar. Since I’m new to the LP world, I need some information and opinions.

 

I’ve done lots of reading in the past few day, but I haven’t had the opportunity (or the guts) to go to the music store yet. Since buying a Gibson LP is totally out of my financial range, I’ve narrowed my decision on either buying Epi Les Paul or an ESP/LTD 400VF. Both are pretty close in the price range that I want to spend. Other than control layout and pickups, I don’t see much difference between both guitars. I have read somewhere that the ESP/LTD body is thinner than the Epi, so the ESP/LTD could be lighter (?).

 

Questions about the body materials:

 

On the Epi Standard LP (not the plain top or plus top), is it a maple cap or an alder cap on a mahogany body? I’m getting conflicting information.

 

On the Plus tops is it a mahogany body with a maple cap then a flame maple veneer on the cap or is it a mahogany body with a flame maple veneer on top of the mahogany?

 

Questions about the electronics:

 

What is the general opinion on the stock pickups on the Epi? I’m hearing some forum members that they’re not bad, but are most people are replacing them?

 

The ESP/LTD comes with Seymour Duncan JB/59’s. What is the general opinion on SD pickups?

 

Accessory question:

 

Hardcase or gig bag? My Strat copy was always in a gig bag, but I never was worried about a headstock snapping off. Plus Strat replacement necks are plentiful and are easily replaced too. Should I budget the extra cash for a hardcase? I personally don’t think I’m hard on guitars when transporting them, but accidents do happen.

 

Thanks for everyone’s opinions and ideas

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If you can afford a Custom or an Ultra I'd say GO For It!

 

Just my Opinion, but the Higher end Epi's are superior to the Lower End Gibsons.

 

To answer your question about materials... Pick one up.. if its heavy, I guarantee you its Mahogony!!

 

If you have large choice of different guitars. I'd look for a Made in Korea model. Isolate it from the rest of the CHINA made and make your choice after playing every one they have.

 

That's what I'd do. I'd stay away from the Special, Standard and Jr.

 

1. Feel it

2. Hear it,

3 Last.....look at it.

 

Choose wisely grasshopper [-o<

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I would think that it would be maple top-they seem to be more common with Epiphone LP's. Generally, the stock pick-ups on the LP's I have are good, without the need of modification. It is all personal opinion though, some people prefer stock, some people may want to upgrade. Though I like my stock humbuckers, if I wanted something with more edge or depth, I would consider an upgrade-but for now they suit me just fine as is. Seymour Duncans generally get alot of good ratings, so you probably would be fine with them as well. As for hardshell case, I personally would go for it. I have a few gig bag guitars-and plan on getting them cases too when I can afford it. But if it is an initial question, I would just pay the extra $40 and add in the hardshell case, rather than pay $20 for a gig bag. Hope this helps!

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I believe all but the plaintops are of alder, with the veneer, the P.top is maple, from what I understand. The electronics are ok, I guess, I swapped most of the stuff in mine for better stuff, and I'd get a hardcase just because that's what I would do, your results may vary. I'd go with the Epiphone, but that's just me.

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MF has musicians gear les paul cases for forty bucks. you'd pay twenty or thirty for a bag and worry the whole time with a paul. get the hard case.

epi case is usually higher.. but maybe with guitar only forty bucks. otherwise the m.gear case is certainly ok.

 

keep the pups a couple of months for sure... they are alnico mags, good construction.. tone is subjective. people vary greatly. I switched to p90s, some prefer others.

 

I never could keep the wood straight, and for the most part, I really doubt it makes much difference. and since they use veneers, you dont' know how many pieces, what thickness, etc.

really it's down to the individual guitar anyway.

 

dagwood may very well be correct re: lower end gibbys vs higher end epis.. epi gives you a LOT very well done.

TWANG

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and a quick plug for the epi les paul studio.. no hot cosmetics but mine is a serious tone machine and a great player.

300.00.. worn colors and you can find a sunburst now and then, too.

alnico pups, grover tuners.. set neck, mahogany body/neck...

all but the vanity plates!

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and a quick plug for the epi les paul studio.. no hot cosmetics but mine is a serious tone machine and a great player.

300.00.. worn colors and you can find a sunburst now and then' date=' too.

alnico pups, grover tuners.. set neck, mahogany body/neck...

all but the vanity plates!

 

[/quote']

 

Was waiting on that plug Twang...lol I can back you up on it also..well worth the money and the open pick ups sound better to me...but that could be just me...I do like how the stock ones sound thru my tube amp.

Capt

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Yeah, I've looked at the studio. That was one of my first choices, but I like to have pickup covers. That's why I would like to get the Standard. I never thought of the Custom like Dagwood suggested. It's brings the ESP/LTD and the Epi closer in price. But can I get over the fancy dancy gold hardware ? I'm still leaning towards the plain top lp. I like the plus top, but it's just a veneer.

 

So I will add a hardcase as a definite thing to buy.

 

Next question: Made in Korea or China. Aren't all Standards made in China now? Are the Customs made in Korea?

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About where they're made.....

 

I suggest looking to see where they're made, If you can find any Korean's....set it aside for strong consideration, if for no other reason because they're not made there anymore.

 

Also don't be afraid to look on Craigs List for some used. This time every year I see more and more Guitars come on for sale... sort of an after-thought, Christmas gift house cleaning.

 

These kids get these guitars for christmas, hack on em for a few weeks, figure out they don't want to play or haven't played much and want to sell their stuff. I wouldn't offer anyone over three hundred for a standard, two for a studio and maybe only 4 for a custom.

 

Have fun searching [-o<

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Epiphones don't use maple caps. It's either an alder or mahogany cap (whatever they have on hand) and on certain models they have a maple veneer.

 

The pickups would generally be thought of as better in the ESP, but that's still personal opinion. SD makes pretty good pickups, and the JB/59's are pretty popular. A lot of people on this forum, from what I hear, replace them.

 

I'd say get a hardcase. Fenders have a straight headstock and gibson style have an angled headstock this is a lot more fragile.

 

The best thing to do is got to a music store and try some out and pick your favorite.

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Now I'm confused on body material....:D. Ouch.

 

I think I now have to suck it up, go into a music store, try not to embarass myself and try some guitars out.

I've thougt about buying through e-bay or craiglist, but I really need to touch it, feel it and play it.

 

The hard case I'll buy on-line.

 

Thanks everyone.

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I think I now have to suck it up' date=' go into a music store, try not to embarass myself and try some guitars out. I've thougt about buying through e-bay or craiglist, but I really need to touch it, feel it and play it.

 

The hard case I'll buy on-line.

[/quote']

 

That will be the best, that way you can see and feel. I wouldn't worry about embarrasing yourself, but if it does worry you go when you don't think it will be so busy, like on a Saturday.

 

I don't know about your area, but Craislist is a joke where I live. People are asking new prices for used. I have yet to see a decent asking price.

 

Depending on where you get your guitar, a lot of stores will match online prices, check it out. That way you can take your guitar home in a harshell case. Personally, I wouldn't get a guitar without a hardshell case.

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Seems like conflicting info here, that also conflicts with the Epiphone web site. So I might as well add to the confusion.

 

If I have their web site info memorized correctly, all LP's have a mahogany body (except the special II) and neck (except the ultra). All of the non-solid color "tops" that they give info for are maple. I'm fairly sure they are wrong in some cases like the Dot 335 for instance that's supossed to have a maple neck. It looks like mahogany to me.

Pickups: The LP basic humbuckers have a full deep tone and pretty good high-end response as well. I actually slightly prefer the tone and playability of my Dot 335 over my LP, even though the Dot has the cheaper no-name humbucker pickups.

 

Play them all then decide. :D

 

I would never play gigs without a hard case.

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Seems like conflicting info here' date=' that also conflicts with the Epiphone web site. So I might as well add to the confusion.

 

If I have their web site info memorized correctly, all LP's have a mahogany body (except the special II) and neck (except the ultra). All of the non-solid color "tops" that they give info for are maple. I'm fairly sure they are wrong in some cases like the Dot 335 for instance that's supossed to have a maple neck. It looks like mahogany to me.

[/quote']

 

 

I thought some Epi LPs (Standard?) had an alder body with a slab of mahogany on the back?

 

Some Dots did end up with a mahogany neck, but I think those are exceptions... Mine has a maple neck. I sometimes wish it were mahogany so as to be closer to a 335 in construction and tone, but maple is more stable..

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Before you even go near a store go to the Epiphone web site. They provide ALL of the details on all models they make. VOLT is correct about the LP body wood. That is one of the main reasons I purchased a standard model.

Solid mahogany body and neck. AND about $1,300.00 cheaper than a Gibson. A recent visit to the China factory for Epiphone reviewed in the most recent Guitar World - the one with EVH and son on the cover - was much impressed with quality control at the factory. That also helped sell me on Epi's.

 

Brian

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I have played and owned quality Gibson and Guild guitars in my near 50 years of playing and IMO the Epiphones, at least the LP and the Dot that I own are a tremendous bang for the buck. And they play almost as easily as the big buck guitars. Only thing I don't know yet is how well they will hold up over the years.

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I have played and owned quality Gibson and Guild guitars in my near 50 years of playing and IMO the Epiphones' date=' at least the LP and the Dot that I own are a tremendous bang for the buck. And they play almost as easily as the big buck guitars. Only thing I don't know yet is how well they will hold up over the years.[/quote']

 

my sheri is 13 maybe older.

aint nothing wrong but a little fret wear. I barely levelled it, just enough to recrown a couple of frets and make up for the inevitiable low spots from all that play.. and as low as those frets came stock, I can still do this again in four or five years.

That's pretty good wire right there.

 

I levell crown polished the new lp studio very soon after buying it. it wasn't as nicely done as my sheri had been.

it took almost nothing.. and it plays like butter. and I expect it last just as long.

 

The Sheri, polished up, still looks like a pup.

It's tuners are stock and work very well, thank you, no upgrade needed at all.

 

I broke one thing on it, and that was this year. twisted the intonation screw on a string too tight and pulled the head off it.

Hardly epis fault, that.

 

pots.. another story. but we really have to expect that I think, at least for a while.. maybe, just maybe, epi will start to offer certain models with improvements in electronics.. as they added so many sheild painted models, alnico magnets, etc.

And quality seems to me to be a thing with epi just like the old VW bugs.. a little each year, here and there.. cause why mess with a good thing?

Think of how much better those slash owners, *you hear me jonesin?* would feel with CTS pots stock.

 

But.. I'd bet they hold up largley depending on care, as with anything good.

probably bury me with blondie.

unless the kid cremates me, which he seems to think is very funny.

 

TWANG~

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Everyone I know that has had a broken headstock has a story about how it happened. Ceiling fan, dropped it on the floor, spun around and banged something hard, got knocked off the stage onto a concrete floor. I don't know anyone who hit a power chord and had the headstock fall off.

 

Fenders have maple necks...hard wood. Epi LP's generally have mahogany necks. Mahogany is more easily dented than maple, but is a better tone wood, IMHO.

 

The point is that you have to take care of your axe. Baby it, put it in the case, don't let other people handle it and abuse it. Buy a case that someone can sit on and not hurt the guitar, A gig bag is only good if you are extremely protective of your instrument. Lay a gig bag on the floor and someone will step on it, throw things on top of it, and break your guitar. The extra money for a good case may save you several times the cost in damages.

 

A hand picked Epi LP is a good guitar out of the box. If you are picky about the little things, you will end up modding it. We mod Epis to get insane sustain, harmonics, super action, etc. We change the pickguards, switches, pickups, bridges, saddles, tuners, and do fret dressing, All to tune it to the max, just like some people do with cars.

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