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I am new here and only have been playing for a couple years but why all the negativity about Epi's? Can't afford a Gibson but I do have an Epiphone Elitist Casino that is awesome and I put new pickups in my Special II that plays as good as any guitar I have tried at GC. I guess when you ask a question like this there will be some negatives but I am truely trying to figure this out. The Golden Gods were sponsered by Epi, there are quiet a few players that use Epi (Edge is probably the biggest) and still there is no respect for this brand. [crying]

 

I sincerly hope to start an interesting thread but I would also like to get some ammo to back up my choice of guitar.

 

thanks to all and keep on rock'n

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Welcome to the forum, Bazinga ...

 

The bottom line is that there IS no arguing with the sort of cork-sniffers that will instantly want to dismiss Epiphones. Those of us that play them realize that many of them are excellent instruments ... your Casino being an outstanding example of that. Those who don't know that history of the company, or to whom only the name on the headstock matters, will never get it.

 

My advice is to get so good at playing your guitars that your tone and ability will speak for itself! I have played an Epiphone on stage with a major Las Vegas show for the last year and a half. Never has anyone asked me why I am playing an Epiphone ... especially none of my fellow musicians!

 

Post some pics of your beauties ... and again, welcome!

 

Jim

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Epis will always have an image problem because Gibson use the brand to chase the cheap end of the market. They're aimed at people who can't or won't shell out the price of a "real" Gibson.

Most of Epis sales come from deliberately cheap copies of Gibsons, mainly LPs and SGs. That invites direct comparison with them. When you do the comparison, you find the Chinese/Korean/Indonesian Epis are made of cheaper wood, cheaper finishes, cheaper hardware and cheaper electricals. They are made by cheaper labour. About the only thing that's of equal quality is the Grovers on some models. Everything else, from top to bottom, is lower spec than the equivalent USA Gibson.

 

That doesn't make them bad guitars, now and again you'll find one that plays and sounds excellent despite the cheap materials. Similarly, every now and again you'll pick up a sub-standard Gibson.

 

The Elitists like yours are the exception; Japanese made, to higher specs all round. I've never read a single negative comment here about an Elitist. However, few of the people who see your guitar will realise this. Don't let it bug you. You've got a good guitar, and arguably better value than spending on the Gibson brand name. People who really know guitars will know that. Just enjoy your Casino.

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Gibson and Fender were losing too many guitar sales to cheap copy imports starting in the early 70's. I'm sure you've heard the term "Lawsuit model".

It was kind of a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" thing. Now we have Epi's for Gibson and Squier for Fender (and imo the much better Fender Starcaster, truer to original). But wouldn't you know it, the Starcaster is considered by many to be a cheaper Squier..which is fine with me if it means I can get them for under $50.00 and drop in a Fender loaded pickguard for @another $50.00.

 

I agree 100% with Jim on becoming a better player and letting most of the tone come from your hands.

 

The cheaper asian imports are a working man's best friend and in this day and age of computer technology running most of the factories equipment to exact tolerances...a "bad one" is becoming very hard to find imo.

 

*btw I sold the LP Jr that's in my avatar a couple of weeks ago and the guy who bought it sent me a message through ebay saying that he owns about 12 guitars and this is easily his 2nd favorite, second only to his $2500.00 Bill Crook custom guitar. I'll get another one soon for sure.

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It's because in the past Epiphone has made some truly awful guitars. Compare a mid 90s G400 sporting an Alder body and maple neck, rubbish pickups and shoddy build quality and compare it to a Gibson SG of the same era, that's what people are referring to. These days the G400 is made of mahogony, has nice Alnico pickups and better quality control. The Elitists proove Epiphone can make guitars that match Gibson for half the price.

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As I was reading the OP, I thought the same thing that two others have stated: Playing the guitars well, and with pride will be the best PR that the line will ever get! Sure, I wish I could afford a Gibson, but I love my two Epi's and would/will get more as time goes on. I don't feel the need to defend them, they are what they are - very good guitars.

 

One of the things that I have learned here (of the bazillion things learned!) is that there was a period of time when the QC of the line crashed, and when there is any negativity of a product, the bad taste left because of it is still there.

 

The Epiphone line was never made to be a Gibson, quite to the contrary. It is meant to compete with the other companies that made cheaper guitars that cut into Gibson's profits. Again, as stated - If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!' We all need to stop the comparisons to Gibsons and compare to the true conterparts - Asian made guitars within the same price range.

 

Think about this for a moment. Epiphone has the AJ-200 models that retail for $299.00. Now they have the AJ-200 EB, which retails for $99.99. It was not created to be comparable to the spruce tops, but to accommodate the true entry level players. Put a $100 guitar out there with the Epi name on it and in the hands of new players, and they will eventually move up to the higher priced Epi's. Brand recognition. There are many other low-end guitars out there and by 'joining 'em', Epi is giving itself yet another stepping stone. But, I'm sure that there will be comparisons. And for the record, I played that guitar and it sounded pretty good! Curious as to how well it holds up over time.

 

I originally chose Epi's because I wanted a Gibson and couldn't afford it. I found out that Epi was Gibson affordable line and went with it. We opt to buy the guitars we buy. If we don't like the guitar, we are going to look elsewhere.

 

Sheila

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The difference between a Gibson and Epiphone of the same model is like the difference between the Lexus and Camry that share the same body, engine and transmission.

 

The Lexus gives you leather seats, motor controlled mirrors, and lots of other extras that does not get you from point A to point B any better, but it does so with more creature comforts and luxury items.

 

Same with Gibson/Epi

 

I have a Gibson ES-330 and an Epiphone Casino.

 

The Gibson has better wood, a nitro finish, real MOP neck inlays, and the famous Gibson headstock.

 

They both play well, the necks are for all practical purposes identical to my hands, the action is low on both, and when playing, the only difference is the 330 is the "long neck" model so I have a bit higher fret access.

 

The ES-330 and Casinos are also acoustic guitars, and as an acoustic the Gibson sounds better.

 

However, the previous owner of my Casino put Duncan P90s in it. Plug them in and to my ears the Casino sounds a bit better than the Gibson. Because we play the pickups, not the guitar. The guitar is just the handle we use to play the pickups.

 

So if you don't mind driving the Camry instead of the Lexus, the Epiphone is fine. But the Lexus owner will always look down on the Camry, partially to justify the extra expense he/she put into the Lexus, and partially because he/she is attracted to the "higher end" brand in the first place.

 

On the other hand, there are things I would change to make the Epi better. I'd replace the pickup switch, the Asian switches just don't seem to last as long as a good old Switchcraft brand. I might not do that until the stock switch started giving me trouble though. I'd consider changing the pickups, although I don't think I would replace an Epi P90 as they have a great reputation in the first place.

 

I leave the Gibson at home and take the Epiphone to the gig (I make my living playing music - sax/guitar/wind-synth/flute/vocals/etc.). If another musician judges my music by the name on the headstock instead of what is coming out of the speakers, his/her opinion is of no value to me.

 

Here are my tools:

GuitarCousins2.JPG

 

Insights and incites by Notes ?

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I'd like to add some more thoughts.

 

When Leo designed his first "Broadcaster" (eventually to become a Tele) it was a cheap guitar. Bolt on neck, slab of wood for a body, and a couple of pickups. A guitar reduced to it's primary and essential elements. If you have a Broadcaster today, it might be worth more than the stock in your retirement portfolio.

 

In the '60s, the Danelectro was the equivalent of today's First Act guitars. They were even sold in Sears and other department stores under the store's brand name. Put that Danelectro in the hands of Jimmy Page and I guarantee that it will sound better than anything I could play on any guitar ever built (and I've seen him do just that).

 

As long as Gibson puts out lower priced copies of it's guitars and puts Epiphone on the headstock, they will be compared to the Gibson model. But that didn't bother the Beatles as they could have afforded ES-330 guitars.

 

My ES-330 was built in 1970 and is now a collector's item. Since I switch between sax, flute, guitar, wind synth, vocals, percussion controller and sometimes keyboards on stage, and often need to switch in a hurry, I didn't want to take a chance on wrecking my Gibson. At the time, Gibson wasn't building a 330 (they have since re-issued it) so my only choice was a Casino.

 

If Gibson had reissued the 330 at the time, I probably would have bought it instead of the Epi. I got the Epi (used) and was delighted with it. A couple of years later, Gibson re-issued the 330. For the price Gibson wants for the 330, I could have bought 4 Casinos. Is the Gibson 4 times better than the Epi? Definitely not. But is the Gibson a better guitar? Definitely yes.

 

When I was younger, I went for top-of-the-line instruments. Now that I'm older and hopefully wiser, I go for what I consider "second tier" instruments. Almost as good but about 1/4 the price. That way I can have 4 times as many instruments for the same amount of money.

 

And believe me, the audience doesn't know the difference between a First Act guitar and a top of the line Gibson. All they care about is what is coming out of the speakers. The only person who cares about the name on the headstock is another musician...

 

...and...

 

You can play for yourself, you can play for other musicians, or you can play for the general public. If you are good enough, you will get the audience that you asked for.

 

Insights and incites by Notes ?

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Epis will always have an image problem because Gibson use the brand to chase the cheap end of the market. They're aimed at people who can't or won't shell out the price of a "real" Gibson.

Most of Epis sales come from deliberately cheap copies of Gibsons' date=' mainly LPs and SGs. That invites direct comparison with them. When you do the comparison, you find the Chinese/Korean/Indonesian Epis are made of cheaper wood, cheaper finishes, cheaper hardware and cheaper electricals. They are made by cheaper labour. About the only thing that's of equal quality is the Grovers on some models. Everything else, from top to bottom, is lower spec than the equivalent USA Gibson.

 

That doesn't make them bad guitars, now and again you'll find one that plays and sounds excellent despite the cheap materials. Similarly, every now and again you'll pick up a sub-standard Gibson.

 

The Elitists like yours are the exception; Japanese made, to higher specs all round. I've never read a single negative comment here about an Elitist. However, few of the people who see your guitar will realise this. Don't let it bug you. You've got a good guitar, and arguably better value than spending on the Gibson brand name. People who really know guitars will know that. Just enjoy your Casino.

 

 

 

[/quote']

First of all, kudos to all on this thread for your well-reasoned responses. Hasn't always been the case with the "Epi vs. Gibson" type discussions!

This response raises a question: what about the non-Gibson-copy, yet non-Elitist models? I am speaking as someone who is presently tracking a Joe Pass (and may be pulling the trigger today or in the next week), and was slightly distracted by the 'Kat models. Very interested in opinions here.

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As long as Gibson puts out lower priced copies of it's guitars and puts Epiphone on the headstock' date=' they will be compared to the Gibson model. But that didn't bother the Beatles as they could have afforded ES-330 guitars.[/quote']

 

Well, at the risk of being a boring and repetitive pedant - as I pointed out in another thread recently, back in the mid-1960s the Gibson / Epiphone distinction was utterly irrelevant, in terms of price. Whether the Beatles (or anyone else) selected an Epiphone Casino or a Gibson ES-330, they weren't saving money either way, as the cost was identical.

 

epiphone62p6.jpg

 

gib62p8.jpg

 

 

 

Anyway, returning to the original poster's question.

 

In any hobby, sport, interest or whatever else, you'll always find gear snobs. My other interest in life is cycling. If you read some bike forums you'd think that you need a $2000 bike to even pedal 5 miles to the grocery store. Happily, most people are much more rational.

 

I suspect a lot of people buy instruments according to their income level. Which is why you'll see a lot of Epiphones or cheaper Fenders in the hands of skilled musicians playing bar gigs in small towns; and also why, I imagine, a lot of Gibson Custom Shop models are gathering dust in the Manhattan apartments of corporate attorneys.

 

My opinion...I just don't care what anyone else thinks about my guitars or the name on the headstock. All I care about is whether I like the guitar, and whether the listener enjoys the music I play on it.

 

My favourite guitar is a $700 Hagstrom Viking reissue, made in China. If someone offered me the chance to swap it for a brand new Gibson ES-335 then I'd say, most definitely, "no". Some people on other forums will read this and take it as proof that I'm deluded and an idiot. Such is life. 504_shrugging.gif

 

I'm not saying that my Chinese Hagstrom is better or worse than any other guitar, because I'm genuinely completely disinterested in the comparison. I'm simply saying that it's my guitar and I like it, and I don't really want or need anything else in its place. So even if I won the lotto, I wouldn't change it. This is the type of logic "cork sniffers" will never understand, so there's no point in debating it with them. They'll just be ever more convinced of your ignorance or stupidity at this point in the debate...

 

DSCF0335.jpg

 

Learn to disregard whatever it is other "musicians" have to say about your instrument, unless it's objective, constructive advice. I'd argue that these so-called "cork-sniffers", who simply denigrate another guitarist's choice of guitar, are not real musicians at all (at least, not ones I'd ever wish to play with). Music, by definition, is a collaborative exercise, not a combative one. If someone is more interested in ridiculing the brand of guitar you own, rather than listening to you play...then that probably tells you all you need to know about that individual.

 

Some people buy very expensive wine to keep it in a dusty bottle and stare at it. Other people nip down to the grocery store, buy a case of Merlot, and have a party. I know which side of the fence I belong on...

 

P.S. I agree with Antwhi2001's excellent analysis (above) - and I agree that it's nice to see some objective input as regards this repetitive question.

 

So I guess the reality is, yes, Gibsons have higher specifications than Epiphones. If, after playing both instruments, you feel that you need those additional accoutrements (and are willing to pay for them), then by all means do so. But just because a higher-specification guitar exists does not mean that a lower-specification guitar is, per se, bad or useless, or will not appeal to another player...

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I am pretty new here and a beginning guitarist with a recent model Epi G400 SG in ebony.

 

To repeat something I saw in another thread, a player there mentioned he is in a band with some crazy talented musicians and he pointed out they don't talk about insturments and brand names -- they talk about MUSIC. That impressed me.

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I would also suggest that, once pro guitarists reach a certain level of fame/income, the cost of the guitar becomes irrelevant to them and it simply becomes a tool. In which case if the Epi gives them the sound then they'll use it but unlike us mortals they have absolutely no incentive to do the upgrades that most Epi's require. It's simply cheaper and simpler for them to shell out for a Gibson. Hence the paucity of big name Epi players vs large numbers of big name Gibson players and, as a consequence, Gibson becomes the name to have on the aspiring rock star's headstock.

 

Fender is a different scenario as the budget range still has the Fender logo so there's less reluctance to wield one from the budget range cos it still looks like the guy on the poster's guitar.

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I have a variety of guitars, ranging from $300 to $3000, sometimes you are pleasantly surprised with a cheap guitar, disappointed with a expensive one.

 

For example, I have a 96 Epi LP Sparkle finish (MIK) that I think has great pickups. while my Elitist LP , well I think the pickups are a bit shrill sounding.

 

I have a $1500 Gibson RD with "dirty fingers" pickups that I think doesn't sound that great, but I love the pickups on my Hagstrom Swede that I only paid $400 for.

 

So really, price isn't everything.

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Want to try a neat experiment? Not that anyone in their right mind would ever do this ... but take your favorite Gibson Les Paul, cut the corners off the headstock and replace the Gibby logo with an Epiphone one. Then play it for your gear-snobbish friends. I garan-DAMN-tee you that they will tell you it doesn't sound anything like, or as good as a "real" Gibson.

 

Facts, figures, computer printouts of scientific data regarding tone woods, discussions of QC and the amount of care given to the manufacture of a particular instrument ... all meaningless, unfortunately. When it comes to the advocacy of something as "emotion-driven" as a musical instrument, there will never be a way to convince a "true believer" otherwise!

 

This is a great thread and I congratulate all of you on the way you've calmly and rationaly conducted yourselves. I am going to continue to stick to my guns and love my Epiphones just as much as I love my Fenders, and Danos and, yes ... my Gibson. I'll only stop when they stop producing the great sounds that cause me to be a guitar player in the first place!

 

Jim

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First off I am really pleased with the thread and there was no juvenile inputs, this was my only 2nd post so I didn't know what to expect. Secondly all the arguments are very valid and you also validate my feelings towards the Epiphone guitars. I am trying to upload photos of my guitars to share but I just can't figure this one out yet. My Epiphone Special II is probably the best playing guitar I have ever tried and it is all about who is on the guitar and not the guitar. Have to take my son rafting so again this has really given me faith in forums that topics can be discussed without mindless arguments and that Epiphones are as good as I thought but who cares what anyone else thinks

Thanks

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Hi! I have an interesting story to share about the whole epi hating thing...

 

at a new year eve party at one of my friend apartment(His appartment is in the basement of a house) i had brought my Dot for a little jam. Later, his landlord came over to join us(cool guy, mid 40's, teacher and play music in a bar once a week.He's a great guitar player) So he see my guitar and he's like '' that's a cool guitar but you can't gig with that''

But what's so funny is that he began to jam around and he can't let go of my guitar for the rest of the night! I think he liked it! and what's so ironic is that he said you can't gig with it, but the next week he invited me to come with my dot at the bar he play to jam a couple of tune!

 

proof: that's me and my dot and Dany with his American Strat!

 

 

img2754i.jpg

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One other aspect that may or may not have been covered ( I confess I didn't read all the posts)

 

Even though there have been numerous debates about the variable quality of Gibson guitars through the years, and there certainly are examples of that debate out there, most Gibson guitars have been made exclusively in the US in one of two locations since their inception.

 

When Gibson decided to "outsource" the Epiphone line, the manufacturing was contracted to multiple guitar manufacturers through the years in Japan, Korea, Indonesia and even the Chec Republic. You would have to take your shoes off to count how many different factories Epiphones have been made in. Consequently there is no consistency in the Epiphone serial format. Some of the early models used paper label serial numbers which fall off with age.

 

Obviously the availability of components and the differences in manufacturing methods created alot of fluctuation in the final quality of the Epiphones of that era. Also the erratic changes in model launches and discontinuations generated the criticism that Gibson was using the Epiphone brand to chase the market trend and race to the bottom on price.

 

The Elite/Elitist line stand out in terms of build qulity as do the US made Epiphones that were built in Kalamazoo and Nashville. But this further ads to brand image dilution. I often see Epiphone guitars for sale mis-identified as Elitist models.

 

Having rambled on about all that, I have owned several US made guitars through the years, and I still do but I proudly play several Epiphones (standards, Elitist, bolt on, etc.) and Squires as my regular gigging guitars. I have found them to be more than satisfactory for the needs of the weekend gigging musician. If I were a Gibson endorsee I would prolly play Gibby's but since I'm not and since I have to pay for braces and college for my kids, I play what I can afford and what meets my needs. I do my own set ups so that helps to tweak each guitar to my liking.

My current favorite is an Epi SG junior with one P 90 dogear that absolutely roars through a tube amp.

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As Notes said, leave the Gibby at home, and take the Epi to the gig. If I were a pro, I'd buy some nice kits and build my own. Finish would be tung oil, or something that only needs an occasional touch of oil. Gigging/traveling is tough on instruments and cases...just the nature of the beast. And I agree, I wouldn't take any nice instrument on travel...they deserve better. [lol]

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