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Epi/Gibson/Fender price differences?


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Hey guys just wondered why an epi LP Is around £280+ And a Gibson is about £1300+ But you can get a fender strat for £350+?


Would a low priced strat be like buying an epi version?


Why dont Gibson make guitars in the cheap range with there name on the head stock like fender?


Gibsons are made in USA right?

Are all fenders made in the USA too (Except the mexican i know off?)



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Gibson has two brands (+ custom shop)


Gibson - USA

(Epiphone Elitist - Japan)

Epiphone - Asia


Fender has three (+ custom shop)


Fender - USA

(Fender - Japan)

Fender - Mexico

Squier - Asia



Fender's marketing strategy is obviously such that the price ranges on all three almost overlap and the upgrade from one product line to the next is so small you'll be tempted always to invest "just a little more". Products made in Mexico look to me as they would be made almost with the same specs as the American stuff (but with less expensive parts and materials when possible) so that they would look and feel a lot like the original thing. For £350, by the way, you will get only the basic Mexican model.


Gibson on the other hand plays it safe and tries to sell expensive handcrafted instruments to everyone. "Don't have the dough? Buy the Epiphone instead and get over with it." Epiphones look and maybe sound something like Gibsons but they are not even on the same page with Gibsons specs (bodies, necks, hardware and electronics etc).


One would think Fender gets better profit from their products. Strats were originally designed to be mass produced as cheaply as possible and compared to Gibsons the amount of manual labor must be very low... see how many decent affordable copies there are around.

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Fender is a good guitar...one of the best, but a fender doesn't have a carved top or set neck, so that's a production cost reduction. Strat pickups are mounted on the pickguard, another production savings. A technician can build the pickguard and mount it at once into the body, thus eliminating the intricate wiring necessary for the Gibson.


I have no problem with bolt on necks. You can order a replacement and repair a guitar that has had the headstock broken without incurring the craftsman labor cost to replace or repair a set neck break. A properly fitted bolt on neck is pretty much trouble free, provided that screws are tight and the wood contact is flush and tight. You might have to mill or shim the contact surface to match the body to the neck angle and truss rod adjustment range.


Fender style electronics are easy to replace. MF sells the fully wired pickguard with various pup combos as a drop in unit. It's easy to customize a Fender.

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Conceptually, Squier is to Fender as Epiphone is to Gibson. Bother Squier and Epiphone were once independent companies, but were bought up by Fender and Gibson (respectively) and then converted into the cheaper, overseas version of the parent.


HOWEVER, Squiers are significantly cheaper both in quality and price than Epiphones. From a quality standpoint, Fender's Mexican-made "Standard" line is pretty equal to Epiphone's standard lines (LP Standard, G-400, Dot, etc). Here in the States, they're priced pretty equally, too.


I gotta tell you, I love my MIM Standard Stratocaster! It looks, sounds, feels, and plays wonderfully. I find myself wondering if another $300 or so for the American Standard Stratocaster would do much for me.


But to upgrade my Epi LP Deluxe to a Gibson LP? Not likely to happen without significant income changes! Gibsons tend to be priced more in line with Fender's Custom Shop stuff.

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I have all a Gibson Studio that I bought this year for 1100 Can. Right now that is about the same in US dollars.

I also have a MIJ Epiphone Elitist Custom that I paid 799 US for a couple of years ago.

I also own 8 Strats that include 1 CIJ, 2 MIM, and 1 MIA Deluxe, and 4 Squiers 2 Standards and two of the more recent Deluxes.

Gibson does make a low end model. They have the vintage mahogany, and the Studio which are true Gibsons without the binding. They are very nice playing guitars. Also the Elitist line is comparable to any Gibson.

The Strats that I have range in price from 249 Can. To 1500. The 50th Ann. Deluxe MIA that I own is a beautiful guitar. But I must say the MIM 60th Ann, and the Deluxe Player Strat are very nice guitars for 1/3 the price.

I would say that the best overall bang for the buck is my two Squier Deluxes. They are absolutely amazing guitars for the money. If you can find one in Britain I would jump on one. They only come in two colors Daphne Blue and Pearl White Metalic, with maple fretboards but they come stocked with Duncan Design pickups and the smaller headstock and they are wonderful guitars and the going price is 249 US. They are made at the Cort factory in Indonesia and the build quality is on par with the Japanese. So you can get a great, even amazing Strat for between 250 and 500 dollars.

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IME, Fender products are much closer to USA specs than Epis are to Gibson. Even their Squier brand feels more like the USAs than Epi/Gibson. You can get a very playable Squire Bullet Strat for $99 or pay several $1000s for CS or Signature models. Big difference with Epis, is generally speaking, the fit, finish and electronics are better in the lower priced lines than the Fender Squires. The electronics in the Squires are poor and the fretwork on most of them needs alot of improvement. While you don't see alot of them on the used market, Squire does make a Master series that are actually quite nice guitars, I would say on par with any Epi solid body or CIJ Fenders. The Squire Masters series, while not as bad still need the ends of the frets filed IMHO. most of them come with Duncan designed pups which are still asian and on par with Epi stock IMO. Fender CIJ are not made for the US market and therefore not as redily available but are equal or superior to the MIM line but again IMO nto as high quality as the USA line.


I've played Both Fenders (all lines), Gibsons, and Epis all my life. I won't pay the $$$$ for Gibsons these days, and I am not a big fan personally for their studio line. I believe that Epi and the Fender MIM and CIJ lines are clearly the best value. Like any mass produced line, you have to make sure that you get one of the better ones. Both are about equal in terms of consistency, although Epi may have a slight edge here.


I could go on and on so I won't. Both lines are excellent IMO, and have different assets. I like most Fender necks better and Strats for sound versatility. But I love my semi hollow Epis and several others in the solid body line. My next several purchases will most like be Epis as I only need so many Strats and Teles.


Again, IMHO.

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Did you read Slashes quote in Guitar Player magazine about the Slash Epi and Slash Gibson Les Pauls? "The Epiphone Signature model is more affordable than the Gibson USA model, but it actually has a lot of the same exact gear on it."


I'm still trying figure out the difference between Gibson and Epiphone. My theory right now is that if you buy a new epi, put about $200 in hardware into it, you have a better guitar than a Gibson. For a couple years now, every Gibson I ltry at Guitar Center has some flaw in the finish.

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OH no.... not again ..


Nic, that's just the BS that they want to feed people.


Investing money in an Epiphone will make it a better Epiphone. Not a Gibson, never ever

(yes we know you may come close if you're talking about the sound).


They are simply done with so different specs and materials.

The "same exact gear" quote is probably true only with the pickups.

Everything else is cheap, Asian, and metric.




I'm outta here before I lose it...

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Fender vs Gibson is kind of confusing.


Gibson is top of the line made in the US. Epiphone is foreign made.


The elitists, the one I own and the others I have played are as good as Gibsons. I know nitro vs poly. Yes I do own Gibsons so I can put them side by side.


Every now and then you will find an Epiphone regular line that is better than the sum of its parts and is just great. Mainly though they are a bargain Gibson and need a little work to get them up to better standards. My Jorma and Supernova I have not changed a thing my other Epiphones always something.


My Supernova has a few cosmetic flaws thick paint here and there, soundholes the finish kind of lumpy. My Jorma perfect. I have no problems switching between my real 335 and the Jorma. The beauty is my Jorma is stamped a 2nd so I got it close out with a case for less than the Supernova. I have had it several years and have never been able to find the flaw. My Supernova tone wise to my Gibson not as nice but nothing I'm going to change. The Jorma could say Gibson on it. Yes I can be snob sometimes which is why I have to have my Gibsons also.


The Squire line is Fenders Epiphone. The Japanese Fenders are as good as the US Fender stuff if not better. The Mexican Fenders can be as good as the US stuff or not. You just have to dig through them.


I own a Mexican strat in Lake Placid Blue and after playing every Strat Japanese, US, and Mexican picked that one because I just could not tell any difference. I was willing when I bought my strat to spend whatever I had to as I knew I would just own one strat, but chose the one I have because of the color and the neck.


Fender seems to be the General Motors of guitars. There is a model for every price range all the way to the top.


The Elitist line with Epiphone/ Gibson now kind of gets them to the same place Fender has already been for years.

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To me a Gibson style guitar is a thing of beauty whereas the Fender's seem to be fairly utilitarian. But then I am not yet a musician.


In saying that my next guitar will be a Tele or Strat style to fill a niche in my small collection, so perhaps I will grow to love them as well?



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Strats and Teles are designed for production line assembly and inherently cheaper and easier to build. Another factor in production costs is the old fashioned nitro cellulose finish which Gibsons have but Epis and low-cost Fenders don't (Epi Elitists excluded). The low cost Fenders, especially the Mexican and Korean ones, are usually great guitars. I'm not including Squier in that; their quality seems hugely variable. I've had 3 USA Fenders, 2 Mexican, 1 Korean, and 1 Jap Squier. The difference in quality has not been huge; hence the 3 I have now, which are much loved and played, are all non-USA.


There's a great range of choice now depending on your budget. Epi offer good quality Gibson copies at reasonable prices. Bear in mind they are copies, every single thing on them is lower spec than the Gibson equivalent, hence the lower prices. I'm a fan, I've owned 4 now, but I always upgrade some of the components.


When they're available, for a bit more money you also have the Gibson Faded models, where the only compromise seems to be the minimalist finish. Hardware, electricals and wood are same as the higher-end Gibsons so you get a great guitar straight out of the box.


And if you're lucky enough to be able to afford them, you can pay out for a full-spec Gibby. I'm sure the profit margin is greater than it is on the Epis and Fadeds, but thats' usual commercial practice with premium brands; you pay a bit for the name.

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To me a Gibson style guitar is a thing of beauty whereas the Fender's seem to be fairly utilitarian. But then I am not yet a musician.


That was Leo's point when he founded Fender to make the best possible guitar and mass produce them as in an automotive assembly style line. He wanted to make quaility electric guitars available to the average person. There is no mystery behind his early custom colors either, candy apple red etc they were all car colors.


The great thing about Fender was a stock strat was a sunburst and the custom colors more. If they messed up a burst on the line they just shot it a solid color and charged more. Talk about a win win for Fender that is marketing.


Gibson has always had more of a craftsman vibe to them. They both have their places and like the other post if I had to take one guitar to a gig and be able to cover all bases it would have to be my strat.


I like my Gibson/ Epiphones though they each have a different look and sound. And yes no 2 strats sound the same but a strat is a strat to me. Good solid design but I don't have the urge to collect a bunch of them.

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When you buy a Gibson, you won't have to change the pickups, unless you just have to have a certain kind for some reason. The wood, even in a studio, is high quality mahogany and the maple top is a 1/4" cap instead of veneer. I like binding on a Paul. My '92 studio sounds absolutely great with no hardware changes, it's just a little on the plain side with no binding. Some people like the plain look.


I bought the Epi LP custom flametop for looks. I then spent $250 on SD's and bridge hardware/ pickguard to make it what I wanted. For about $300 more, I could have had a sunburst studio, but no binding and still no flametop. As far as playability, there's not that much difference. In fact, the Epi, after a fret leveling, which I did myself, actually plays better than the Gibby Studio.

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