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Another Joe Bonamassa Epi LP question


RickinVirginia

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First, let me say that I'm a new member of the Gibson forums as well as a novice player who started taking the guitar "seriously" about 18 months ago. I must also ADMIT that I have little familiarity with Gibson & Epiphone instruments as I started out and still play Fender Stratocaster.

 

I've seen the Gibson/Epiphone instruments at my local Music and Arts store (Epi only) and Guitar Center (both) and have

messed around" with them a little bit. I have been VERY IMPRESSED with the Epiphone instruments (Gibsons too, of course, but one would expect that of a top name brand). I guess in my mind I've come to think of the Gibson - Ephphone relationship as the same as the Fender - Squier relationship; i.e. Epi's and Squier's are a "step down" from their parent brands (although I know Epi was an ongoing brand purchased by Gibson while Squier was started by Fender as a more affordable line).

 

I should also say that I'm a big Stevie Ray Vaughn and Buddy Guy fan (Strat men) and, like lots of other folks, discovered Joe Bonomassa about 4 years ago. Joe is, IMHO, and amazing guitarist and my favorite contemporary artist.

 

Now to my question: I know that Joe often plays (mostly?) Gibson instruments, so I was surprised when the company came out with a Bonomassa signature instrument under the Epiphone line. Wouldn't that be considered a kind of slap in the face at it not being a Gibson instrument: PLEASE excuse the expression and I CERTAINLY mean no disrespect at all to Epiphone or Epi owners). I mean the Buddy Guy and SRV Signature Strats are top of the line ($$$) Fender products - not Squier!

 

Please understand that I'm simply trying to learn about the Gibson line of products and how its signature line of instruments is structured. Certainly, from what all I have read, the Joe Bonamassa Epiphone is an exceptional guitar and quite likely will be my next purchase (that is if anyone will sell me one after they've read my post).

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I was surprised when the company came out with a Bonomassa signature instrument under the Epiphone line. Wouldn't that be considered a kind of slap in the face at it not being a Gibson instrument: PLEASE excuse the expression and I CERTAINLY mean no disrespect at all to Epiphone or Epi owners).

 

Since Gibson owns Epiphone, by having signature products in both lines, they allow more players to own them, who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford them. I think it's a great idea, which is why I bought an Epi 'Lucille.' What good does it do to have a signature model priced out of reach of most players and fans of that artist?

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Since Gibson owns Epiphone, by having signature products in both lines, they allow more players to own them, who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford them. I think it's a great idea, which is why I bought an Epi 'Lucille.' What good does it do to have a signature model priced out of reach of most players and fans of that artist?

Agree, even Slash (no, I'm not a big Slash fan)has said that he wanted an Epi Signature version, so that it could be affordable to those without a lot of disposable income. Of course, he gets a cut of the sales, but I like that he was thinking about price point.

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Welcome to the forum Rick, just one thing, Fender didn't start the Squier name up, it was a string maker in it's own right when Fender bought it up in the '60s.

 

The Bonamassa is a tremendous guitar for the money, if only it didn't look so ugly it'd be a real winner.

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The Epi Bonamassa Signature Goldtop is a killer guitar and value. So good in fact that Epi has now released it's closed-end run 3 times...

 

+1 I agree completely. I own the Epi JB model and a Gibson Les Paul Traditional Plus. I won't tell you that the Epi JB is better quality than the Gibson, but if I had purchased the Epi JB first, I doubt I would have found a need to buy the Gibson. I will never sell my Gibson, but it's been spending a lot of time in the case lately.

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Welcome to the forum Rick, just one thing, Fender didn't start the Squier name up, it was a string maker in it's own right when Fender bought it up in the '60s.

 

The Bonamassa is a tremendous guitar for the money, if only it didn't look so ugly it'd be a real winner.

 

So very true, I wish they offered it in a regular burst finish along with a light back instead of a dark back.

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Wouldn't that be considered a kind of slap in the face at it not being a Gibson instrument?

 

No manufacturer can legally sell an instrument that uses a player's name without the express, legally contracted permission of that player (or the player's estate, if the player is no longer living). So, no, it's not a slap in the face, because Joe himself had to agree to it and approve the design and specifications of the Epi model as well as the Gibson one. As Joe mentions in the clip, most players understand the market as well as their fan base, so they often approve lower-budgeted models that still retain the essential features of their signature model in order to reach their desired markets. B.B. King, Carlos Santana, Slash, Ace Frehley, Elliot Easton, Noel Gallagher and Zakk Wylde are among the well-known players that have authorized lower-cost versions of their signature instruments as well as the pricey ones. And Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady have had signature models ONLY with Epiphone, with no Gibson counterparts. They both perform with their Epi models and claim they are completely stock, with no modifications other than a set-up.

 

Although the Epi versions may not be 100% the quality of their Gibson relatives, they are perfectly functional quality instruments. And by upgrading pickups, electronics and hardware, even a very fussy player can end up with an instrument that comes VERY close to the sound and feel of the original instrument at a significantly lower cost.

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Some of your confusion might be addressed to know that Gibson ALSO has the Bonamossa signature models in the Gibson version as well as the Epi version.

 

Obviously, given a choice, you would go for the Gibson over the Epi. NOT playing the Epi when you have the Gibson does not automatically mean you don't like or don't approve of the Epi version.

 

Different 'artist' may have different reasons for wanting an Epi signature, and I can't speak for a lot of them. I can't speak for any, but I feel that the Epi version that Mr. Bonamossa has out is a great guitar for the money, and meant to be as per The man. I feel as though he spec'ed it to be a great player for the guy who buys it, as opposed to something someone would buy because they are a fan who wants the signature because they like the artist.

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I certainly would not have asked the question had I known that there is also Gibson Bonomassa signature model. Frankly, I guess I just overlooked it on the Gibson page; dummy me! Knowing that, it makes perfect sense for there to be an Epiphone model that is more affordable for "the rest of us."

 

And, I must say, I am blown away at the number and kindness of the responses that my question received. You Epiphone/Gibson guys may be OK after all [thumbup] Strat players, it seems, sometimes get a little ... how should I say this ... "abrupt." Might have to get that EpiBona sooner that I thought (donations certainly appreciated...).

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Hello Rick, I joined this forum to gain information about Epi quality after getting a hankering for a Les Paul and although I ended up getting a PRS SE Tremonti, a bit more comfy to play, I can honestly say that I'm glad I bought a "budget" guitar. They have to do a good job, otherwise they wouldn't sell them.

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My freind bought a JB Epi and brought it over.

 

I was impressed. I got Gibsons, and a few others. I have to say, if I owned it, I would play it. I liked it that much. It was FUN, and sounded great.

 

Just a thought: A lot of the reason it sounds so good is the genuine Gibson pups, and the spec of the build. It does add to the price when comparing to other Epi and Gibson offerings.

 

A lot of Gibsons use the same pups, so it might be good to compare to other Gibsons when shopping, comparing features and price.

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