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Could someone in the "know" clear this up for me?


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The literature on the Gibson website says this about the Epiphone LP Tribute model (please note the bold text):

 

Authentic Features

The Tribute Les Paul Standard begins with the same successful recipe as the classic Les Paul Standard, the most desirable guitar on the planet, but Epiphone significantly "steps it up" on this tribute model. The guitar features historically accurate details such as the wider and more bend-friendly frets that arrived in 1959, an authentic non-chambered solid mahogany back and carved maple top, and a one-piece mahogany neck with tone-enhancing long neck tenon. Beyond the superior construction, however, Epiphone knows that players’ tastes vary, so the Tribute Les Paul Standard is available with two different neck profiles to suit individual preferences, a traditional "1960's" SlimTaper™ neck profile or an Asymmetrical neck profile. The "1960's" SlimTaper™ is a comfortable "D" shaped neck that was used and made famous on many 1960's era, Kalamazoo-made guitars from Gibson and Epiphone. The newer Asymmetrical neck has multiple radii and combines a more rounded "D" shape on the bass side of the neck with a flatter "C" shape on the treble side, resulting in an extremely comfortable neck that is more ergonomically contoured to fit the hands of most players. Both profiles are available on the Tributes in two different finishes: either Faded Cherry Sunburst or Translucent Black, and the choice is yours!

 

I've noticed that the headstock portion of my LP Tribute is actually several pieces. I had the chance to compare a Gibson LP to my Tribute LP and the "strips" of wood running along the outer edges of the headstock were present in both guitars.

 

5740212110_789079a711_m.jpg

 

However...

aside from the strips of wood running along the outside edge of the headstock, the neck and the major portion of the GIbson headstock were indeed one piece. The Epi LP Tribute that I own appears to be a headstock assembly attached to the neck via a glued "U" shaped joint.

5740212528_9a82445d91_m.jpg

 

I just wonder if the headstock is considered by Gibson and Epiphone to be part of the neck. Because if so, my Epi LP Tribute appears to not be equipped with a one piece neck.

 

I have two major concerns here.

The first and foremost is the potential of the headstock to snap off of the neck.

The second is the possibility of Epiphone advertising a one piece neck when in fact, it doesn't appear to be a one piece neck.

 

I understand that some who read this might accuse me of nitpicking or expecting a Gibson quality product at an Epiphone price...but the bottom line here is that I bought the guitar based on every single aspect described in the write up.

 

So please...if I'm wrong in this, I will gladly accept enlightenment on this matter from someone who knows.

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You are correct, the headstock is considered separate from the neck. A scarf joint is typical in this price range, and if the headstock were to break it would not be at the glued locations as they are stronger than surrounding wood.

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The literature on the Gibson website says this about the Epiphone LP Tribute model (please note the bold text):

 

Authentic Features

The Tribute Les Paul Standard begins with the same successful recipe as the classic Les Paul Standard, the most desirable guitar on the planet, but Epiphone significantly "steps it up" on this tribute model. The guitar features historically accurate details such as the wider and more bend-friendly frets that arrived in 1959, an authentic non-chambered solid mahogany back and carved maple top, and a one-piece mahogany neck with tone-enhancing long neck tenon. Beyond the superior construction, however, Epiphone knows that players' tastes vary, so the Tribute Les Paul Standard is available with two different neck profiles to suit individual preferences, a traditional "1960's" SlimTaper™ neck profile or an Asymmetrical neck profile. The "1960's" SlimTaper™ is a comfortable "D" shaped neck that was used and made famous on many 1960's era, Kalamazoo-made guitars from Gibson and Epiphone. The newer Asymmetrical neck has multiple radii and combines a more rounded "D" shape on the bass side of the neck with a flatter "C" shape on the treble side, resulting in an extremely comfortable neck that is more ergonomically contoured to fit the hands of most players. Both profiles are available on the Tributes in two different finishes: either Faded Cherry Sunburst or Translucent Black, and the choice is yours!

 

I've noticed that the headstock portion of my LP Tribute is actually several pieces. I had the chance to compare a Gibson LP to my Tribute LP and the "strips" of wood running along the outer edges of the headstock were present in both guitars.

 

5740212110_789079a711_m.jpg

 

However...

aside from the strips of wood running along the outside edge of the headstock, the neck and the major portion of the GIbson headstock were indeed one piece. The Epi LP Tribute that I own appears to be a headstock assembly attached to the neck via a glued "U" shaped joint.

5740212528_9a82445d91_m.jpg

 

I just wonder if the headstock is considered by Gibson and Epiphone to be part of the neck. Because if so, my Epi LP Tribute appears to not be equipped with a one piece neck.

 

I have two major concerns here.

The first and foremost is the potential of the headstock to snap off of the neck.

The second is the possibility of Epiphone advertising a one piece neck when in fact, it doesn't appear to be a one piece neck.

 

I understand that some who read this might accuse me of nitpicking or expecting a Gibson quality product at an Epiphone price...but the bottom line here is that I bought the guitar based on every single aspect described in the write up.

 

So please...if I'm wrong in this, I will gladly accept enlightenment on this matter from someone who knows.

 

The wings on the headstock are not considered part of the neck.

 

Just for the sake of properly defining the terms, a one piece neck is just that, one piece of wood. A three (or five) piece neck is when you split the wood laterally and insert a strip(s) of different wood between the two halves like this:

 

3%20piece.jpg

 

 

In this case, you have a mahogany neck with a maple stripe down the middle. Since maple is a different density than mahogany, it reacts differently to climate and helps prevent the neck from warping. It's a good thing.

 

Unlike maple which is rock hard, mahogany is an open grain wood. When you angle the headstock back like Les Pauls, you're cutting across the grain creating a weak point that's prone to break. So grafting on the headstock might actually be stronger than one piece. BUT...

 

A one piece neck should not have a grafted on headstock. If the Tribute is advertised as having a one piece neck, it should be ONE piece. I hate to bring this up, but did you purchase this guitar from a legitimate Epiphone dealer??? If it was my guitar, I would remove the neck pickup, it should be a real Gibson '57 Classic pickup with the Patent Applied For sticker. Also, it should have a long tenon.

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Don't know that I'm an expert, but I'll weigh in here anyway. Firstly, I wouldn't be concerned about breakage at all. But a "one-piece neck" traditionally includes the headstock without a scarf joint (or multiple pieces at the heel). The small strips on both sides of the headstock are called wings, and almost every Gibson or Epiphone will have these. Wings are generally not considered a big deal except to some fans of Martin guitars. Martins never had wings under fairly recently (mid-2000s I believe). For some hardcore folks, this was seen as a downgrading of specs. But back to your guitar: the literature implies that there would not be a scarf joint at the headstock, and I would consider this inaccurate advertising since your guitar has one. I recently purchased a Valensi Riviera, also advertised as a one-piece neck. Indeed, there is no scarf joint on the Valensi. The Elitist Casino does not have a scarf joint, while the "Inspired By" Casino does, so this can actually be a rather tricky subject. Epi's published specs are sometimes wrong, as in the recent case of the Chinese production necks on Sheratons, which are scarfed rather than a multi-piece laminate. I associate a one piece neck with a higher degree of build quality, as do many people, and I consider this an important issue where the advertising should truly reflect reality.

 

Edit: Jerry, you zipped in here just ahead of me. Thanks for covering laminated necks, which I thought about getting into on the Sheraton but passed. They can often be a very stable neck design.

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The wings on the headstock are not considered part of the neck.

 

Just for the sake of properly defining the terms, a one piece neck is just that, one piece of wood. A three (or five) piece neck is when you split the wood laterally and insert a strip(s) of different wood between the two halves like this:

 

3%20piece.jpg

 

 

In this case, you have a mahogany neck with a maple stripe down the middle. Since maple is a different density than mahogany, it reacts differently to climate and helps prevent the neck from warping. It's a good thing.

 

Unlike maple which is rock hard, mahogany is an open grain wood. When you angle the headstock back like Les Pauls, you're cutting across the grain creating a weak point that's prone to break. So grafting on the headstock might actually be stronger than one piece. BUT...

 

A one piece neck should not have a grafted on headstock. If the Tribute is advertised as having a one piece neck, it should be ONE piece. I hate to bring this up, but did you purchase this guitar from a legitimate Epiphone dealer??? If it was my guitar, I would remove the neck pickup, it should be a real Gibson '57 Classic pickup with the Patent Applied For sticker. Also, it should have a long tenon.

I purchased it from Musician's Friend. It DOES have the glued neck joint and it DOES have the PAF sticker on the back of the pups. I removed the pickups when changing the strings when I first got it to see if they really had the PAF sticker on the back. :)

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After doing some research, it does appear that the headstocks are grafted on like yours. I would be disappointed, not because it's no good, just because they advertise it as being one piece and faithful to to the construction of the originals. I notice that the current Epi web page doesn't claim one piece:

 

At the heart of the "Tribute" Les Paul is construction. Tribute LP's feature a solid Mahogany back with a solid, carved hard Maple cap to create the ultimate combination of warmth and bite. Everyone knows that set-neck guitars provide the best rock tone and sustain and the "Tributes" take that to the next level featuring the original "deep set" neck joint. The solid Mahogany neck with hand-fitted, glued-in joint extends well into the neck pickup cavity creating maximum neck-to-body contact and acting almost like one continuous piece of wood. Combined with the Mahogany/Maple body, the result is a tribute to Les' timeless guitar design with the sound that you can only get from a Les Paul.

 

 

Les_Paul_Tribute_60s_Faded_Cherry_Sunburst_F303575_c.jpg

 

 

They make a point of the "deep set" neck joint, but no mention of one piece. I wonder if they changed specs or if people complained...

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I purchased it from Musician's Friend. It DOES have the glued neck joint and it DOES have the PAF sticker on the back of the pups. I removed the pickups when changing the strings when I first got it to see if they really had the PAF sticker on the back. :)

Since you purchased the guitar from MF, it would be worth your while to give them a call to negotiate a better price due the the false advertising (especially if it was listed as "one-piece" on their website). I've successfully done this with them in the past. Of course, this is assuming you would like to keep the instrument.

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but surely one pice neck just means that it doesn't have a skunk stripe or a seam all the way up the middle.

Not quite. The key point being made is that a "one-piece-neck" means a single piece of wood for the whole neck, except for the two thin "wings" on the headstock where the tuners mount. If there is a scarfed joint where the headstock joins the body of the neck, or a secondary piece of wood at the heel of the neck, the guitar does not have what has historically been referred to as a one-piece-neck. A laminated neck, with the laminations running the length of the neck, is a whole different ball game, and this design is generally as desireable as a one-piece-neck. Note: Mahogany is traditionally preferred for a one-piece-neck, and maple for laminated necks. One piece maple necks are thought to be more susceptible to twisting compared to one piece mahogany necks.

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Not quite. The key point being made is that a "one-piece-neck" means a single piece of wood for the whole neck, except for the two thin "wings" on the headstock where the tuners mount. If there is a scarfed joint where the headstock joins the body of the neck, or a secondary piece of wood at the heel of the neck, the guitar does not have what has historically been referred to as a one-piece-neck. A laminated neck, with the laminations running the length of the neck, is a whole different ball game, and this design is generally as desireable as a one-piece-neck. Note: Mahogany is traditionally preferred for a one-piece-neck, and maple for laminated necks. One piece maple necks are thought to be more susceptible to twisting compared to one piece mahogany necks.

 

So a one piece neck tradionally means, one piece for the neck and headstock excluding headstock wings.

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O.P., remember that ALL angled headstocks are prone to snapping when too much pressure is applied to them for any reason...

 

As such, be careful.............................

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