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Is Gibson really that better than Epiphone these days?


carverman

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OLD BOB...here ya go. This has to be about the umpteenth re-iteration of this old familiar and much disputed topic. :D

 

Main reason seems to be...that Gibsons are not intended for the unwashed masses and therefore have to be better made. :^o

 

Remember the old Gibson slogan.."Only a Gibson is good enough." =D>

 

So there..let the friendly discussion start...:D/

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Yes, Gibson's are better! There's the old "blanket statement." But...I've always felt it really depended on Model! Some Gibson's are quite a bit better,

other's not so much. Epi's quality has varied, from time to time, but so has Gibson's. Epi's strength, these days, is more about value/dollar spent. Gibson,

is prestige, as much as quality. With Epiphone's newest "Dedicated" factory, the quality will only get better...to the point that Gibson will allow, that is.

Where a guitar is made, is of little (real) importance, anymore, except in bragging rights. I prefer "Made In USA," for obvious reasons, but don't shy away

from off-shore guitars, from American Companies, provided the quality and value are there. The real problem, seems to me, is that the salaries of the

"unwashed masses," have not kept up, with inflation, all to often. Normal (non-custom shop) Gibson (Fender, Ric, and Gretsch, too) are priced much as they were,

in the '60's...IF you take inflation into consideration. My first electric guitar, New ('64 Fender Stratocaster), was $280.00 w/case. If you translate that amount, to todays

dollars, it's about $1,700.00 So, the USA Fenders are about right, to a bit less even, in price. Gibson, too. Limited editions, CS are always going to be much higher.

IF that's worth it, is up to the buyer. Quality of the "Vintage" Gibson's was all over the place! Quality, of the new regular line Gibson's is far more consistent,

overall, IMHO (as always). Epi's seem to get better and better, out of Quindao, especially. So...again, the price difference(s) may or may not, be worth the quality

difference. Only the buyer (truly), can determine that. I love 'em both, and am constantly amazed, at what a great guitar Epi puts out, within their price structure.

 

CB

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Yes.

 

Gibson has Epiphones made to order, to a price. Gibsons are made at their factories, hopefully to a standard (there's some debate about this, but I have a Kalamazoo Gibson, a Nashville Gibson, and a Memphis Gibson, and no issues with any of them).

 

As long as Epiphone is price-lining, they will take shortcuts that Gibson doesn't, whether in the quality or type of wood (Epi Les Pauls are made with alder rather than maple, for example), the consistency of electronics, and a BIG difference, that between the poly plastic finish on Epiphones vs nitrocellulose lacquer on Gibson.

 

That's not to say that Epiphones are not perfectly fine for a lot of people: I've owned a couple of them myself. But the ones I owned, playable and attractive as they were, were not as nicely made, or as nicely finished, or as playable as my Gibsons. As I've said elsewhere, it's a great thing that Gibson makes their elegant, robust designs available at a lower price point. When I think about the poor quality of the inexpensive guitars I started out on in the '70s, it makes me realize that Epiphone is doing a GOOD THING.

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~Please allow me to introduce my-self........i'm a man of weath, and taste~ I'm gonna play Lucifer here & add one more ingredient to the pot.

Next week i'm pulling the trigger on the "top o' the line" Agile LP, (without going into the "neck thru" class that is)......

i'm getting the AL 3100 Bound CSBF, with all the "improvements and hand work".

 

When it arrives, i'm gonna do a real "all things being equal" head to head with it, my GLP, and my '56 GT........

I've read all kinds of wildly infatuated praises of the AL 3100 on the GIBSON forum, and many there are of the opinion that the Agile is actually better (than the Gibsons of late).

I'll let y'all know how it comes out.......

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What constitutes better? A guitar is a unique and personal thing, and in many cases an Epiphone might suit a person better than a Gibson. Gibsons don't offer me personally anything more than what I get from an Epiphone. For me they're just not different enough. Epiphones sound goold look good, feel good, and are finished to a reasonably high standard, and are affordable. Plus they embody all the things about a Gibson that I like, the classic Les Paul, SG, Firebird, whatver styling and shape, with reasonable authenticity. The only Gibson that, for me, is different enough from other Gibsons and Epiphones, at least in terms of sound and feel is the Les Paul Classic 1960. That has a beautiful tone and feels exactly how I imagine a Les Paul made in the 60s would've felt. And in comparison to other Gibsons, it's relatively inexpensive.

 

So basically, I'm trying to say that it's about how the guitar feels and makes you feel when you play it, and how it works for you, not just the name on the headstock. Hell, the SX Strat I had, but stupidly sold recently, was fantastic, and it was super cheap.

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Epiphones are better because I can almost afford them, mostly. Actual Gibsons don't exist as far as I'm concerned. I'm fairly sure that I will never be able to justify the price of a Gibson within my lifetime. I refuse to spend more than $1000 (Australian) on a guitar, and to give you an idea of what that means a new Epi LP standard retails for about $1100 and a new Casino is about $1600 (not that I would buy either). A Gibson LP studio is about $2500, Standards hover around the $5k mark, something with bling is even more. I like guitars with bling so it's good that brands like Epi exist so that sort of thing is within reach for me. Don't give me that "tone" and "feel" stuff, it just makes me want what I can't afford.

 

And when you read those prices remember that the $AUS is about 86 US cents right now. So we really are paying about three times as much for our guitars, in real terms. Don't ask me why that is. Because we're suckers, I guess.

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It's an interesting discussion certainly - allow me to add my two penneth. I've just gone through the search for a 335 type guitar and finally bought a Sheraton II from a big Gibson dealer local to me. They had a huge range of top $ Gibsons in store and they also had a huge range of Epiphones, all this in the one place and all at the same time! Can you say private guitar brand shoot out? I certainly can ... and did.

 

A couple of points then ...

 

# - I'm not a cork sniffer, never have been - I do not subscribe to the ethos of Brand X = Quality/Tone. I have played guitars for 20 years, worked in guitar sales in the past and have seen this disproved over and over.

 

# - You can get a dog from any factory, you can also get an exceptional guitar from ANY factory. Hand crafted does not always promise quality control and good workmanship.

 

# - I am under no illusions about the materials guitars are made from - Danelectro and Silvertone guitars speak volumes to this point. I've a Dano with a masonite body that rips it up ... everything is stock but for the tuners. So much for high quality parts = tone? Jimmy Page seemed to get plenty of tone from his U3's ... as did Syd Barrett.

 

Now to my journey into purchase. I have no dog in any of these brand discussions, if I found a killer Gibby for the right money I'd buy it. The Sherry fit my budget at the time and I went out and played as many Epiphones as I could - Dots, Casino's and Sherry's. I found the Dots totally unimpressive, the Casino's were never really in the race since I already own a Gretsch.

 

The moment I picked up a Sherry it was game over ... beautiful guitar, stunning finish, solid, heavy ( which I like ) - slim neck and fast fret board - fantastic playability and acoustic tone and a great guitar plugged in. I spent 3 hours all up demoing the Sherry I ended up buying and I could not put it down. The shop is a Gibby dealer so I made sure to try the Gibby 335's as well for a bench mark.

 

Result? The Gibby's were really nice guitars, they felt great but they were not as well finished as the Sheratons I played ... in short they didn't have the consistency of the Epi. Feel wise they were about the same for me and I liked them both - I probably preferred the Epi truth be told. The Gibby's had a lot of rattle at the bridge ( I know this is an adjustment issue but still ) and little finish issues here and there, the Epi's did not - . The only edge that the Gibson had was better pick ups, bone nut vs plastic and a nitro vs poly finish ( Personally a poly finish is what I would consider very hard wearing so depending on your attitude that can be a big plus ... the rest was line ball and some change.

 

I bought the Epi and didn't look back. I don't buy guitars for re-sale - I buy them to play and keep. I'm not a collector but a player and that's my bottom line. As far as I'm concerned I found about the best guitar out of all that I played and that's how you need to approach it. Look for the guitar that has the best feel, construction and quality regardless of brand in the price range that suits your budget. In terms of the wood materials my Epi was made from ... I'm utterly impressed; see pics in my other post of the Sheraton I bought.

 

I have no intention of selling the Sherry ... it will get PAF 57's, upgraded pots and wiring and a Bigsby. The fit and finish of the Sherry I got was better than the Gibby's I was playing. Am I surprised ... not really, it's a misnomer to call these guitars entry level in my view - they are professional instruments. Put a Danelectro U3 in the hands of Jimmy Page and it's a professional instrument ... ticket price has little to do with it. #-o

 

Best, Tiki.

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~Please allow me to introduce my-self........i'm a man of weath' date=' and taste~ I'm gonna play Lucifer here & add one more ingredient to the pot.

Next week i'm pulling the trigger on the "top o' the line" Agile LP, (without going into the "neck thru" class that is)......

i'm getting the AL 3100 Bound CSBF, with all the "improvements and hand work".

 

When it arrives, i'm gonna do a real "all things being equal" head to head with it, my GLP, and my '56 GT........

I've read all kinds of wildly infatuated praises of the AL 3100 on the GIBSON forum, and many there are of the opinion that the Agile is actually better (than the Gibsons of late).

I'll let y'all know how it comes out.......[/quote']

 

I have a feeling you're going to be impressed with the Agile. I bought an

Agile/SX Callisto for a co-worker's daughter to learn on. For $99.00, I repeat, $99.00.

It was as well made as some $300.00+ guitars I've played. If they only came in some

other color than pink....

 

Oh, yeah - any bets on how long it takes before the first "I THINK MY EPI IS A FAKE" post...?

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Yes, Gibson is better than Epiphone. That said, I really believe that blindfolded most players would have a hard time choosing between 5 Epi's and 5 Gibby's in a play test through a good amp, especially if the Epi's had aftermarket pickups and they all had been professionally set up prior to the event. At least, IMHO, my take is that they wouldn't find a 3x difference in value were they to come down to 2 guitars judged to be the best; an Epi and a Gibby. If my two favorite choices after the blind test were $3000 and $799, I would be inclined to choose and buy the lesser priced "great" guitar of the 10.

 

The Gibby hardware will still be shiny after 20 years and the Epi will need new hardware, especially if it were dressed in gold plate. My Gibby LP Studio still looks like the day I bought it new. My goto Epi LP got an after market bridge and retained the original stopbar. I'm noticing that the stopbar is beginning to suffer tiny pits from perspiration. But then, look at some of the stars and their road worn brand name axes. The finishes are just about gone in some cases after hard play through the years.

 

It's all taste and the ability to afford high priced instruments. Some of us just don't feel inclined to spend $10,000 on several guitars when we can spend $2000 and get several guitars and still make the mortgage payment. It's the same reason that we all don't drive $100,000 Mercedes autos when Fords and Chevies get the job done nicely.

 

My suggestion? If you can buy $3000 guitars and not miss the money, go for it! If your budget is tight, buy Epi and enjoy...from an appropriate distance most people will not be able to tell the difference.

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I've never bought a new Gibson, and don't think I ever will. Of the 5 I've owned, 2 have been Studios and one has been a Faded. All have been bought secondhand, and all of them were cheaper than a new Gibson LP Studio here in the UK. I've bought :

 

Gibson LP Special DC faded with 2 P90s : £450

Gibson LP Studio DC : £510

Gibson Blueshawk : £450

Gibson V '67 RI : £620 (with case)

Gibson LP Studio, (platinum, with case): £535

 

All of those were in very good condition with no issues to sort out. All off e-bay too.

 

An Epi LP Custom new, from an official dealer here in the UK, is £469. Black Beauty is £549.

 

European prices for Gibsons are effectively higher than USA. So are Epis. But, for the price of a new Epi LP Custom from an official dealer you can afford a secondhand Gibson Studio/Faded. They are every bit as well-made as the standard Gibsons, same hardware etc, just less expensive finish. If you want a Gibson enough, you can find fairly affordable ones.

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OLD BOB...here ya go. This has to be about the umpteenth re-iteration of this old familiar and much disputed topic. ](*

Main reason seems to be...that Gibsons are not intended for the unwashed masses and therefore have to be better made. :^o

Remember the old Gibson slogan.."Only a Gibson is good enough." :-

So there..let the friendly discussion start...:D/[/quote']

 

Look, everyone knows that a Gibson is better than an Epiphone simply because Epiphone is Gibsons "Knock Off Brand" for the people who can not afford a Gibson. Personally, I applaud Gibson for this!

 

The wood quality is better in a Gibson.

The hardware is better in a Gibson.

The finishing compounds are better in a Gibson.

The headstock is better on an Epiphone! :)

 

The bottom line is this, for me at least... Today Epiphone makes solid body guitars that have finishes, workmanship, and even hardware (On some models) that are well worth the money that is being asked for them in the stores.

 

When I purchased mine a few weeks ago now, I knew right from the start what I was getting, and knew that neither of the two I bought would ever be plugged in until the pick-up's were changed out. I also knew that I would be replacing the plastic nuts with bones ones hand carved out of blanks by yours truly. I actually just installed the first nut on one of them last night. Now all I have to do is cut the slots then shape the top after the depth is correct, and I will have my Epiphone sounding about as good as you can get one to sound... If I could play it well enough to actually prove that to you in the first place that is. :)

 

Ohh, and I will buy my first Gibby next year. That's the goal anyway.

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If Gibson is "better", it is not by vey much.

My first REAL Gibson was a '68 black LPC bought in '76 for $400, with factory case. I later had a white '75 LPC that I bought for $1000 with factory case.

I now own an Epi '61 re-issue LPC/SG - white - that I bought for $400, no case this time.....

 

I find my old '68 Custom is selling for around $6500 and I am wondering how many stupid rich people there are out there buying them all....

I'd pay a grand for an old Gibson LPC, maybe even $1500, but not much more. They are fine guitars, but so is my Epi, and if there is a difference in "the wood", it is maybe $85 worth, not several thousand. Gibson buys wood by the shipload and does not pay anything close to retail prices I see for bodies, luthier woods, etc.

 

I loved Les's music and his guitars, but they are not worth the price unless you are so insecure you have to have "Gibson" on the headstock to play well....

 

Just me, though - obviously people are buying them....

 

mark

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I've never bought a new Gibson' date=' and don't think I ever will. Of the 5 I've owned, 2 have been Studios and one has been a Faded. All have been bought secondhand, and all of them were cheaper than a new Gibson LP Studio here in the UK. I've bought :

 

Gibson LP Special DC faded with 2 P90s : £450

Gibson LP Studio DC : £510

Gibson Blueshawk : £450

Gibson V '67 RI : £620 (with case)

Gibson LP Studio, (platinum, with case): £535

 

All of those were in very good condition with no issues to sort out. All off e-bay too.

 

An Epi LP Custom new, from an official dealer here in the UK, is £469. Black Beauty is £549.

 

European prices for Gibsons are effectively higher than USA. So are Epis. But, for the price of a new Epi LP Custom from an official dealer you can afford a secondhand Gibson Studio/Faded. They are every bit as well-made as the standard Gibsons, same hardware etc, just less expensive finish. If you want a Gibson enough, you can find fairly affordable ones.

 

[/quote']

 

Do you still have the double cut Les Paul with p90's? Really would like to hear your opinions on it. Really fancy one and am saving at present

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Look' date=' everyone knows that a Gibson is better than an Epiphone simply because Epiphone is Gibsons "Knock Off Brand" for the people who can not afford a Gibson. Personally, I applaud Gibson for this!

 

The wood quality is better in a Gibson.

The hardware is better in a Gibson.

The finishing compounds are better in a Gibson.

The headstock is better on an Epiphone! :-

 

The bottom line is this, for me at least... Today Epiphone makes solid body guitars that have finishes, workmanship, and even hardware (On some models) that are well worth the money that is being asked for them in the stores.

 

When I purchased mine a few weeks ago now, I knew right from the start what I was getting, and knew that neither of the two I bought would ever be plugged in until the pick-up's were changed out. I also knew that I would be replacing the plastic nuts with bones ones hand carved out of blanks by yours truly. I actually just installed the first nut on one of them last night. Now all I have to do is cut the slots then shape the top after the depth is correct, and I will have my Epiphone sounding about as good as you can get one to sound... If I could play it well enough to actually prove that to you in the first place that is. default_eusa_wall.gif

 

Ohh, and I will buy my first Gibby next year. That's the goal anyway.

 

All I really want to know is,

 

How do you know the pickups need to be changed if your not going to plug them in first. I have a few Epi's and I thought I might need a pickup change as well. BUT I sat down for a while, For me it was hours on each guitar, and tweeked and tweeked. Now I can say I do not need a pickup change all you need is to take the time to set the pickups up to your needs.

 

A Gibson is a Gibson and a Epiphone is a Epiphone.

 

I had a guitar teacher tell me once. If you do not know how to play you worry about what brand of guitar you are playing. If you know how to play you worry about price.

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All I really want to know is' date='

How do you know the pickups need to be changed if your not going to plug them in first. I have a few Epi's and I thought I might need a pickup change as well. BUT I sat down for a while, For me it was hours on each guitar, and tweeked and tweeked. Now I can say I do not need a pickup change all you need is to take the time to set the pickups up to your needs.

A Gibson is a Gibson and a Epiphone is a Epiphone.

I had a guitar teacher tell me once. If you do not know how to play you worry about what brand of guitar you are playing. If you know how to play you worry about price.[/quote']

 

I knew I did not like the original pick up's because I had heard them when I tried them out in the store before I bought them. I also knew that I wanted a certain sound out of both Epiphones before I got them. The exact same sound for both in fact.

 

No offense meant to you or your old teacher, but that line is a bunch of B.S. in my humble opinion.

I say this for many reasons, one of which being that a Gibson has a certain sound attributed to it right out of the box. An American made Fender Srat, and/or Tele, have certain sounds attributed to them right out of the box. I am sure that you can tell the tonal difference between all of them with your eyes closed.

 

I would say a more correct statement would be:

If you do not know how to play, you worry about what brand of guitar you are playing because all you know is names, and your ears/body have not developed a personal benchmark of tonal quality or overall playability to go by yet. If you do know how to play, you worry about price versus tonal quality/playability/bling/name (Pretty much in that order too).

 

I, like many other people, buy guitars for many different reasons. I just recently bought my two new Epiphones for basically one reason. The finish on them. Everything else was completely secondary. I could not resist them, and knew I would have to put some other parts on them in order for me to even want to actually play them. Otherwise they would have just become living room end pieces.

 

I special ordered an American Fender to play clean stuff because I wanted a Floyd Rose on my Fender, as well as the humbucker- single-single non slanted pick up configuration.

 

I will more than likely get me a Gibson, or a Gretsch sometime next year. I can not decide because I need a good hollow body, and I love what both makers offer. I am leaning towards the Gretsch though! OOoooo!!!! I mean, I already have me two Epiphones, so that kinda takes care of the Gibson body style for me, and I have two to boot.

 

One more thing you must understand... I ALWAYS tweak all of my instruments to my liking. I do all of my own set up's. All of my own hand carved bone nut replacements. All of my own re-fret jobs. All of my own neck and fret leveling jobs. Basically everything except re-finishing them... Yet. :-

 

As long as there is a good core to work with, I can make any piece of crap sound and play like a jewel.

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I would say a more correct statement would be:

If you do not know how to play' date=' you worry about what brand of guitar you are playing because all you know is names, and your ears/body have not developed a personal benchmark of tonal quality or overall playability to go by yet. If you do know how to play, you worry about price versus tonal quality/playability/bling/name (Pretty much in that order too).

[/quote']

 

I know how to play. I worry mainly about price vs bling/playability. I don't really worry about tone. That's why they have EQs on amplifiers. "Tonal quality" is 100% subjective anyway. I actually adore what some guitar players would probably call a "bad" tone on some of my instruments. My Gretsch acoustic which is probably made out of balsa wood outperforms every other steel string acoustic I've ever played for "tone" including $20,000 Martins. Well, to my ear it does anyway, someone else would no doubt tell me I'm full of it. But then that's exactly my point.

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you can get amazing tones out of cheap equipment! I'd chose a Gibson mainly because they have the more beautiful finishes and the headstock everyone seems to be drooling about. A Gibson is just a little bit better (I think) than an Epi. They're just better made guitars, both look- and sound-wise.... I absolutely don't care if it's a Gibson but if I had the money I'd buy a Gibson.

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MrJones...

The Gibby faded LP DC with P90s is a wonderful guitar. Mine has been my most-used guitar for gigging over the last 3 years. Light, perfectly balanced, solid, easy access to high frets. Fast slim 60s neck. 2x P90s give you a great range of tones. I didn't like the original faded yellow finish because it's much darker than the old TV yellow, so I refinished mine. I also swapped the bridge pup for an overwound Kent Armstrong P90, around 10.5k.

 

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...looking forward to that agile 3100 side by side comparison by the way.

 

Got "ca$h in hand" a half hour ago..........have to load it onto ye' olde debit card tomorrow morning and order away, (guitar and case).

I'm getting the AL 3100 Bound CSBF with the triple binding on the BACK of the body too.........it'll be my only LP w/a bound back..........@ 10+ Lbs, it sounds quite "meaty" and the profile pic makes it look "thick as a brick".

We'll see.

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