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Posted: 8/11/2017 11:50:33 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/11/2017 3:24:59 PM EST by brandyspaw]
Is there a big difference on how a Gibson Les Paul and and an Epiphone plays if the hardware and pickups are similar/equal? I never thought so as I never attached any magical type of mojo to the USA made Gibsons.

I had owned a top of the line Epiphone Les Paul for a while. It was an Epi Les Paul with the Gibson USA 57 Classic pick ups, Grover locking tuners and upgraded electronics and hardware above the cheaper Epi's. But I never really bonded it with it so I sold it off. However, a few weeks later, on a whim, I decided to try a Gibson Les Paul Tribute. Now I wasn't expecting much but I was amazed at how much better it played as well as how much better it sounded both plugged in and unplugged. I wound up buying it and now I'm wondering what made the difference.

My old high end Epi Les Paul wasn't an inexpensive guitar as it was close to the street price of the cheap Gibson Les Paul I bought. And the cheap Gibson Les Paul isn't finished as nice with its thin coat lacquer but is the wood that much of a difference on the USA Gibsons? The construction uses the same CNC machines so I've come to the conclusion that it was likely just the luck of the draw of normal differences from guitar to guitar. Or is it the neck angle or some other reason? What do you all think?
Link Posted: 8/12/2017 9:52:34 PM EST
I doubt if they are made on the same machines in China as they are in Nashville. I never played an import epiphone that impressed me..with that being said it is hard for me to find a Gibson that has that mojo. I lucked out when I got my 2013 traditional Les Paul..I have been searching for the last 10 or so years for a Gibson acoustic I feel is worth the money to add to my collection but no luck so far. Glad you got one that trips your trigger.Gibson  LP's have no equal when you get a good one.
Link Posted: 8/13/2017 12:47:23 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/13/2017 2:10:39 PM EST by Gone_Shootin]
I used to have an '82 Les Paul Standard, and currently have an early '00s Korean built Epiphone Les Paul Custom, and a '16 Gibson Les Paul Standard.

Overall, there really isn't too many major differences. It's the little details that are the difference. The Epi has a more modern type of lacquer finish, doesn't have binding covering the ends of the frets, ect. The Gibsons both had binding over the fret ends, the '16 has a nitro finish (can't remember if the '82 did or not). There are other details too. I would say that the Gibsons both have a different feel that I like a little better, but only slightly. The Epi is still a good solid well built guitar that sounds good and plays well.

The electronics? I don't know what the '82 had. I was too young and dumb to know the difference. The Epi came with really crappy stock pups. I've swapped out several different Duncans (Dimebucker, Pearly Gates neck, Screamin' Demon, Black Winter set, and Custom) mostly out of curiosity. From that, I've discovered that pickups make a bigger difference than some think. Pickups can make or break the elusive "mojo" that guys look for. If a guitar sounds good, and is relatively loud unplugged, that's half the battle. Most of the rest lies in the pickups, imho. Right now the Epi has the Custom in the bridge. It's no that the others didn't sound good to me. The Dimebucker was the only one other than the stockers that I didn't really like in that guitar. But the Custom has a really gnarly midrange grind, so it's stayed put. The PG is in the neck right now too. One of my all time favorite neck pickups, but I feel that a Duncan Jazz is a better match for the Custom, so I'll be changing it out eventually.

And the stock Burstbucker Pros in the '16 Gibson? They're good for clean to mid gain stuff to classic hard rock, but they suck for metal. The guitar sounds great unplugged, so I know it has potential. It's just being held back by it's pickups. I'll probably go with a Custom and a Jazz for it too.
Link Posted: 8/14/2017 6:48:35 PM EST
I have a Gibson standard LP and a Custom Epi. I like the fret feel on the Epi better. I replaced the humbuckers with Gibson 57 classics and that really made me happy.
Link Posted: 8/14/2017 8:03:50 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/14/2017 8:06:27 PM EST by Valkyrie]
I have a small stable of Gibsons.

Three Les Paul Traditionals, an ES-335 and a 1959 reissue. I just bought the R9.

Of the crew, the R9 is hands down the top of the heap. Tone, playability, fit and finish and mojo. The other guitars are excellent and all play wonderful and have their own mojo too but the R9 has better resonance and "feel". It's hard to describe but with the action on all but one of them the same it still feels better.

What I'm trying to say is that the more money you pay, generally, the finer the instrument. Now I know that is a Pandora's box argument but the Epi's I have played were not very good. I had a late 90s LP Studio that was fucking epic. It was a one piece body. Gorgeous flame in the wine red color and it sounded like an acoustic guitar unplugged. I had to sell it when I was broke and needed money. I wish I would have kept that guitar.

If I were on a budget and wanted a Les Paul. I would find a good sounding Studio and drop a set of good pickups in her and rock on.
Link Posted: 8/14/2017 10:11:23 PM EST
Originally Posted By brandyspaw:
Is there a big difference on how a Gibson Les Paul and and an Epiphone plays if the hardware and pickups are similar/equal? I never thought so as I never attached any magical type of mojo to the USA made Gibsons.

I had owned a top of the line Epiphone Les Paul for a while. It was an Epi Les Paul with the Gibson USA 57 Classic pick ups, Grover locking tuners and upgraded electronics and hardware above the cheaper Epi's. But I never really bonded it with it so I sold it off. However, a few weeks later, on a whim, I decided to try a Gibson Les Paul Tribute. Now I wasn't expecting much but I was amazed at how much better it played as well as how much better it sounded both plugged in and unplugged. I wound up buying it and now I'm wondering what made the difference.

My old high end Epi Les Paul wasn't an inexpensive guitar as it was close to the street price of the cheap Gibson Les Paul I bought. And the cheap Gibson Les Paul isn't finished as nice with its thin coat lacquer but is the wood that much of a difference on the USA Gibsons? The construction uses the same CNC machines so I've come to the conclusion that it was likely just the luck of the draw of normal differences from guitar to guitar. Or is it the neck angle or some other reason? What do you all think?
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Thin coat of lacquer is worth more than the finest Asian plastic. Look at resale, the shittiest Gibson has value, the best Ibanez/ESP/Epi is just another Asian guitar, no matter what you paid for it. I am not saying the American guitar sounds or plays better but it is the real thing.
Link Posted: 8/16/2017 10:13:01 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/16/2017 10:16:31 AM EST by brandyspaw]
Well, since I started this thread I've been doing more comparisons between Epiphone and Gibson Les Pauls. I've been doing this by checking as many Epi and Gibson Les Pauls I can get my hands on both at friends/neighbors and at many of the shops up in the metro area.

I've been using the standard of how well the guitar resonates when its played unplugged. While some of the Epi Les Pauls are good it seems to me that the Gibsons I've tried just had more resonance. So while I still don't know what makes the difference I'm guessing its a combination of the thin nitro finish, the more acute neck angle and perhaps some differences in the construction techniques and the woods that make the Gibsons sound better. Whatever it is, I'm now a believer that Gibsons are worth the additional tariff. That's something I never believed before.
Link Posted: 8/19/2017 11:09:37 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/19/2017 11:09:53 AM EST by OiRogers]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By brandyspaw:
Well, since I started this thread I've been doing more comparisons between Epiphone and Gibson Les Pauls. I've been doing this by checking as many Epi and Gibson Les Pauls I can get my hands on both at friends/neighbors and at many of the shops up in the metro area.

I've been using the standard of how well the guitar resonates when its played unplugged. While some of the Epi Les Pauls are good it seems to me that the Gibsons I've tried just had more resonance. So while I still don't know what makes the difference I'm guessing its a combination of the thin nitro finish, the more acute neck angle and perhaps some differences in the construction techniques and the woods that make the Gibsons sound better. Whatever it is, I'm now a believer that Gibsons are worth the additional tariff. That's something I never believed before.
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If you're judging by unplugged resonance alone, Gibson likely will sound better as they tend to use fewer pieces in the body and that should resonate a bit better. Some of the Epi's do have 2 piece bodies (not counting maple tops), but many have multi piece backs... or at least used to. Plugged in, that difference isn't really audible. My best sounding unplugged guitars are both Gibsons... an SG and a Melody Maker, both old... both single piece bodies that ring for days. My older LP has a single piece back and it absolutely sings unplugged. My newer guitars (both Epi and Gibson) with two piece bodies don't resonate quite so well unplugged, but sound just as nice plugged in.

Epi's electronics and hardware has gotten much better in recent years. Those used to be two areas that Gibson was clearly superior... not so much anymore. In the lower end, Epi's electronics still need upgrading and their hardware isn't up to snuff... but in the 'better' Epi's, they're very close to being the equal of Gibson.

These days the quality of a good Epi is very close to Gibson. It's the little things that make Gibson worth the money for me... I prefer Nitro finishes, especially on the neck. I also like the nibs on the bound Gibson neck... for some reason they feel better under finger to me.

I picked up an Epiphone Brent Hinds Flying V not too long ago... It is a great instrument.. easily as good as my Gibsons. After scrubbing and waxing the neck a bit (I tend to stick to poly for some reason), it is easily the equal of my Gibson Vs. If only it had nibs and nitro... even without em, it's rapidly become my favorite Flying V.

End of the day, is the price difference worth it? For most players?... honestly, not really. It is really into that 'splitting hairs' / 'diminished returns' area. I tend to buy Gibsons because of personal preference (and I can afford to). But if money were tight, I'd be served almost as well with a good Epi.
Link Posted: 8/19/2017 5:53:23 PM EST
I'm a Les Paul guy.

I've never met an Epiphone Les Paul (except for Japanese made) I'd buy.

Ymmv
Link Posted: 8/20/2017 2:23:17 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/20/2017 2:24:13 PM EST by Fairplay]
I guess everyone knows that Epiphone is a Gibson brand. It is cheaper for a reason and will always be cheaper as long as it sits under Gibson control. It is not in Gibson's best interest to have them built to the same level as a USA built LP.. to the best of my knowledge epiphone LP's only have a thin maple veneer top .not a thick maple cap. They are intended to be Gibson's entry level line and are built to a price point.

That is not saying they are junk by any means. You get a lot for the money but I think you get more for the money if you buy a lower end Gibson studio with a gloss finish..All the fancy bindings and flame tops look nice but they add nothing to the mojo.
Link Posted: 8/20/2017 9:24:41 PM EST
I used to own a Gibson ES-339 Figured Top.
Beautiful. Sustain out the ass. Build quality was top notch.

I'm not a rich guy. Everytime I picked up that guitar there was a voice in my head screaming $3500. $3500. Don't scratch it. $3500. Belt buckle rash. $3500. etc.
Took all the fun out of playing.
Sold it and bought a Epi ES-339 Royale. Added Gibson 57 humbuckers and premium electronics.
Gives 90% of what the Gibson did.

But that last 10%. That sets it apart. A Gibson handmade in Nashville vs a ChiCom machine assembled Epi.
I figure once my first record goes gold I'll get another Gibson.

TYCOM
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 11:06:35 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2017 11:10:33 AM EST by brandyspaw]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By brandyspaw:
Well, since I started this thread I've been doing more comparisons between Epiphone and Gibson Les Pauls. I've been doing this by checking as many Epi and Gibson Les Pauls I can get my hands on both at friends/neighbors and at many of the shops up in the metro area.

I've been using the standard of how well the guitar resonates when its played unplugged. While some of the Epi Les Pauls are good it seems to me that the Gibsons I've tried just had more resonance. So while I still don't know what makes the difference I'm guessing its a combination of the thin nitro finish, the more acute neck angle and perhaps some differences in the construction techniques and the woods that make the Gibsons sound better. Whatever it is, I'm now a believer that Gibsons are worth the additional tariff. That's something I never believed before.
View Quote
Well, I'm now thinking I may have been wrong in my initial assumptions as stated above. That's because I'm still trying out more and more Gibsons and I'm now finding some Gibson duds and I've also found a couple of really stellar Epi Les Pauls. So I guess my initial sample size was just too damn small to draw good conclusions from. I guess its really just the luck of the draw as to why one guitar is great and another (same brand and model) is a dud.

It does, however, seem to me that the odds are much better that the Gibson Les Pauls will be a better guitar so as long as the Gibson workers build and finish them as they're supposed to. Bottom line, I guess every guitar is just like a person---an individual on to itself.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 10:22:35 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2017 10:25:18 PM EST by Kevyn]
I wish I were a good enough musician to play an Epiphone guitar to its limit and actually need a Gibson to display my stellar musical skills.

I have an Epiphone Les Paul and an old Gibson Studio. The fit and finish on the Epiphone is better. The Gibson is plain looking, almost industrial. However, the Gibson has that unique vintage PAF sound and is easier to play. So, to me the Gibson is just the way to go.

I have a newer Epi Dot and an old Korean built Sheraton. Freakin' awesom guitars! The older Sheraton is nearly flawless fit and finish. A comparable Gibson would be several thousand dollars more expensive. In this life time, I'll never be able to wring out the Epi enough to justify a comparable Gibson 335. But I still want one because it's a Gibson guitar.

Just picked up a used 2013 Epi es339 because I did not know how I would like the size and handling characteristics. It's awesome! Massive sustain, beautiful finish work, super comfortabe neck, finished frets and enough tone control to keep me busy for the next decade. Love it. Love it enough to secretly lust after its Gibson counterpart because I know from experience that the Gibson guitars are simply a better quality instrument in nuances that aren't always readily apparent.

The 339 will improve with a better quality nut and bridge set up. That's all I can see that needs to be done to enhance tone and playability. I'm not convinced the TOM bridge Epiphone is using isn't a drawback for the instrument. For my needs, another $200 bucks or so and the Epi 339 will take me anywhere I can possibly go in this life time.

If the price is right, I'll buy a Gibson guitar without hesitation. They are fine musical instruments. However, for my musical skills and needs, Epiphone guitars are a joy. Yes, Epiphone guitars usually NEED more set up work than a Gibson out of the box but the epi guitars respond well to individual attention and you end up with a really decent playing and sounding instrument.

If you can easily afford a Gibson, by all means buy one. If you can play competently enough to command a paying audience, get the Gibson! If you want to entertain yourself, improve your skills or just play for fun, a discriminately selected Epiphone guitar will give you that you ask.
Link Posted: 8/23/2017 11:03:32 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By brandyspaw:
Well, I'm now thinking I may have been wrong in my initial assumptions as stated above. That's because I'm still trying out more and more Gibsons and I'm now finding some Gibson duds and I've also found a couple of really stellar Epi Les Pauls. So I guess my initial sample size was just too damn small to draw good conclusions from. I guess its really just the luck of the draw as to why one guitar is great and another (same brand and model) is a dud.

It does, however, seem to me that the odds are much better that the Gibson Les Pauls will be a better guitar so as long as the Gibson workers build and finish them as they're supposed to. Bottom line, I guess every guitar is just like a person---an individual on to itself.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By brandyspaw:
Originally Posted By brandyspaw:
Well, since I started this thread I've been doing more comparisons between Epiphone and Gibson Les Pauls. I've been doing this by checking as many Epi and Gibson Les Pauls I can get my hands on both at friends/neighbors and at many of the shops up in the metro area.

I've been using the standard of how well the guitar resonates when its played unplugged. While some of the Epi Les Pauls are good it seems to me that the Gibsons I've tried just had more resonance. So while I still don't know what makes the difference I'm guessing its a combination of the thin nitro finish, the more acute neck angle and perhaps some differences in the construction techniques and the woods that make the Gibsons sound better. Whatever it is, I'm now a believer that Gibsons are worth the additional tariff. That's something I never believed before.
Well, I'm now thinking I may have been wrong in my initial assumptions as stated above. That's because I'm still trying out more and more Gibsons and I'm now finding some Gibson duds and I've also found a couple of really stellar Epi Les Pauls. So I guess my initial sample size was just too damn small to draw good conclusions from. I guess its really just the luck of the draw as to why one guitar is great and another (same brand and model) is a dud.

It does, however, seem to me that the odds are much better that the Gibson Les Pauls will be a better guitar so as long as the Gibson workers build and finish them as they're supposed to. Bottom line, I guess every guitar is just like a person---an individual on to itself.
Gibson is notorious for putting out some duds. Ya just gotta try them out before you buy, or roll the dice online. I bought my '16 online. But it was new, so if there were issues, I could've returned it right away.
Link Posted: 8/23/2017 12:21:06 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Gone_Shootin:
Gibson is notorious for putting out some duds. Ya just gotta try them out before you buy, or roll the dice online. I bought my '16 online. But it was new, so if there were issues, I could've returned it right away.
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I bought my 13 on line from Sweetwater. I won the jackpot..I always swore I would never buy a Gibson without holding it in my hands first. Lots of great pictures to look at and what I saw was nice so I pulled the trigger and got really lucky..
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 8:13:16 AM EST
Hi, I don't know if I'll help or add to the confusion. First, let me say I never wanted anything Gibson, I liked Fender, Kramer and Jackson, but mostly Jackson. I actually own 6 Jacksons, clearly my favorite.

One day I wanted a Les Paul, mostly just to have one but also to experiment with as far as tone, sound etc etc. I checked out an 2000 Epiphone made at the Incheon factory and bought it, all original hardware.

First thing I did was tear all the guts out and replaced them, 500k CTS pots, Switchcraft P/U selector and input jack and a pair of DiMarzio 36th Anniversary PAF pickups, and Orange drop caps.

I bought an All Parts 1950s' rewire kit and went to work. The guitar doesn't even sound the same, clearly my favorite for some types of music. I then bought another one, a black one this time.

The person put Nickle covers on the stock pickups and it had the worst possible sound, you can't just solder covers on pickups, it doesn't work worth a damn and the harmonic feedback was awful.

I had a set of Seymour Duncan Dave Mustaine Live Wire pickups laying around so I ripped out the crappy guts and rewired it with this pickup set. Holy shit, this guitar screams, the band loves it lol.

These 2 are my go to guitars at home and for certain songs we cover, it just screams but is very clean on the clean channel, great for metal, grunge, you name it.

I can't attest to the differences, I was told it's better to buy a high end Epiphone than a cheap Gibson. Each guitar was $300 used so I don't have too much invested in them.

Would I like a Gibson Les Paul? Probably, but I think I would prefer a 70s era Custom over anything made today, things were just made much better back in the day.

The white one is a 2000 Custom and the black one is a 2014 Custom Pro, the black one is a bit heavier and the neck is slimmer than the 2000 Custom.

Oh and for some reason, the previous owner of the black Custom Pro took all the gold hardware off and put chrome hardware on it, so one day I'll have to make it right again and put gold hardware back on it.

At the end of the day my personal opinion, it just boils down to what you like and how it feels in your hands, the latter being the most important, again, my personal opinion.



Good luck in your quest, and rock on!
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 8:28:19 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Fairplay:
I guess everyone knows that Epiphone is a Gibson brand. It is cheaper for a reason and will always be cheaper as long as it sits under Gibson control. It is not in Gibson's best interest to have them built to the same level as a USA built LP.. to the best of my knowledge epiphone LP's only have a thin maple veneer top .not a thick maple cap. They are intended to be Gibson's entry level line and are built to a price point.

That is not saying they are junk by any means. You get a lot for the money but I think you get more for the money if you buy a lower end Gibson studio with a gloss finish..All the fancy bindings and flame tops look nice but they add nothing to the mojo.
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I believe Gibson bought Kramer a while back, I don't know if they still own the Kramer brand or not. This was made at an Epiphone factory, not sure which one, it had Epiphone branded guts.

This thing is a tone monster, TB4 in the bridge and SH2 in the neck, CTS 500k pots, Orange Drop cap, Switchcraft selector and input jack, Kramer branded tremolo, may one day put an FRS on it.

Link Posted: 8/25/2017 11:37:20 PM EST
Nitro finish on Gibson makes it an easy call for me. Plus Gibson will use better selections of wood.

That being said, I've played some TERRIBLE Gibsons and some good epiphones.

I almost always try before I buy when it comes to Gibsons because you never know what you're getting. My newest acquisition I didn't get to try first so I guess I'll see.
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 11:48:51 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Valkyrie:

What I'm trying to say is that the more money you pay, generally, the finer the instrument. Now I know that is a Pandora's box argument but the Epi's I have played were not very good. I had a late 90s LP Studio that was fucking epic. It was a one piece body. Gorgeous flame in the wine red color and it sounded like an acoustic guitar unplugged. I had to sell it when I was broke and needed money. I wish I would have kept that guitar.
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I think we had the same series studio, mine was in pearl white though. Was the first guitar I purchased with my own money, and I think I had it on layaway for like 6 months. Unfortunately, like you, I sold it when I was out of work and needed money. I loved that guitar, and would pay three times what it's worth now if I could somehow find mine and buy it back.
Link Posted: 9/10/2017 7:38:01 PM EST
I have had a couple of Epis that were really nice. I had a chinese LP that I never could get a buzz out of so I sold it. Bad truss rod I think. I currently have a 2012 Indonesian Epi Standard Plus Top Pro that is absolutely gorgeous figured blue and plays great. It's probably as good as an Epi can be, incredible fit and finish.The original owner had SD Slash pups installed and of course they scream. It has locking Grovers and came with a case and I got it for $270 and the original Burst-buckers pups came with it. I still want a Gibson, just waiting for the right deal. I am always looking on Craigslist and Offerup for deals.
Link Posted: 9/13/2017 5:30:13 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Valkyrie:
I have a small stable of Gibsons.

Three Les Paul Traditionals, an ES-335 and a 1959 reissue. I just bought the R9.

Of the crew, the R9 is hands down the top of the heap. Tone, playability, fit and finish and mojo. The other guitars are excellent and all play wonderful and have their own mojo too but the R9 has better resonance and "feel". It's hard to describe but with the action on all but one of them the same it still feels better.

What I'm trying to say is that the more money you pay, generally, the finer the instrument. Now I know that is a Pandora's box argument but the Epi's I have played were not very good. I had a late 90s LP Studio that was fucking epic. It was a one piece body. Gorgeous flame in the wine red color and it sounded like an acoustic guitar unplugged. I had to sell it when I was broke and needed money. I wish I would have kept that guitar.

If I were on a budget and wanted a Les Paul. I would find a good sounding Studio and drop a set of good pickups in her and rock on.
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Yeah, my R0 absolutely slays all of the Epi LPs that I've had, as well as my Gibby Studios and Standard. No comparison. But it's also the best Reissue that the store who sold it to me has ever had come through there (and they've had several dozen very nice ones in the past couple of years). It's a keeper (which is saying a lot for me).
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