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Epiphone and Gibson
Old 22nd January 2013
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Epiphone and Gibson

Went to guitar center today to find a new axe; an SG, specifically. Tried a epiphone g-400 pro 66 reissue and was very impressed. Tried a gibson sg faded and was very disappointed. Tried a epiphone g-400 special and was disgusted. Tried a gibson sg standard and was underwhelmed. Played said sg standard next to the aforementioned 66 reissue pro with all things the same, and found the epiphone ($350) to be far superior to the standard ($1400). It had better resonance unplugged, stayed in tune much better, comparable sustain, and smoother clean tones. The only thing I give the standard was that I liked the neck profile better (being a strat guy primarily), and that it's pups held up better under some crunch. But once I put the 490r/498t that the standard has into the Epi, along with an rs guitar works vintage prewired lot, there's really no contest. Grand total: $660. Don't get me wrong, Epiphones are hit or miss; but apparently so are gibsons nowadays. Anyone else have similar experiences?
Old 22nd January 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
8 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Yup ... ended up buying an Epi Dot 335. But I kinda cheated, I plugged an Epi and Gibson into same amp that I own, then EQ'd the Epi's channel until it matched up with the Gibson's tone, then took a picture of the settings. Could NOT justify the extra dough - it didn't buy a proportionately better guitar. You can dial in some damn good tones with an Epi.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #3
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BOWIE's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowCheetah ➑️
Went to guitar center today to find a new axe; an SG, specifically. Tried a epiphone g-400 pro 66 reissue and was very impressed. Tried a gibson sg faded and was very disappointed. Tried a epiphone g-400 special and was disgusted. Tried a gibson sg standard and was underwhelmed. Played said sg standard next to the aforementioned 66 reissue pro with all things the same, and found the epiphone ($350) to be far superior to the standard ($1400). It had better resonance unplugged, stayed in tune much better, comparable sustain, and smoother clean tones. The only thing I give the standard was that I liked the neck profile better (being a strat guy primarily), and that it's pups held up better under some crunch. But once I put the 490r/498t that the standard has into the Epi, along with an rs guitar works vintage prewired lot, there's really no contest. Grand total: $660. Don't get me wrong, Epiphones are hit or miss; but apparently so are gibsons nowadays. Anyone else have similar experiences?
In terms of sound, no, I haven't. Cosmetically, yes. Epi finishes are usually decent. I've seen some horrid Gibsons though. I'm even having problems with the clear coat on a $2,700 Les Paul. The differences in quality in the Fender lines has been reasonably clear and consistent in the last 15 years. Gibson and Epi, not so much.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #4
GS Community Manager
 
Whitecat's Avatar
Epiphones are also confusing because they do a line of genuine Epiphone reissues as well as bunch of rebranded Gibson designs/models.

But it's like anything - there are good ones and there are dogs.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #5
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31 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I wish Epi would do away with the horrible looking headstock though. The old school headstock on the Dot 335 and Casino is cool. Perhaps that doesn't bother you guys but I can't get over it. It's like when you get a sweater from Grandma that you know you'll never wear except that Christmas day, that's how blase I feel about that short fugly shape. A decent Fender Squire or Korean Gretsch is an easy sell in that regard.
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Guru
 
kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pale Pyramid ➑️
I wish Epi would do away with the horrible looking headstock though. The old school headstock on the Dot 335 and Casino is cool. Perhaps that doesn't bother you guys but I can't get over it. It's like when you get a sweater from Grandma that you know you'll never wear except that Christmas day, that's how blase I feel about that short fugly shape. A decent Fender Squire or Korean Gretsch is an easy sell in that regard.
Yes yes! Horrid headstock design.

I had a similar Epi vs Gib experience. My wife is the bass player and we went searching for a short scale bass for her to play on just a few songs where the finger stretch is uncomfortable for her on long scale.
We tried the Epi and the Gib SG style basses, and the bolt-neck Epi won, pretty much hands down.

-Epi sounded a bit deeper and more full-bodied than the Gibson. Might have been strings, but I doubt it.
-Gibson neck profile much better than the Epi, but the Epi was OK. not bad.
-Finish on Epi was much smoother.
-All controls felt and functioned the same.
-Tuners functioned same.
-Butt ugly giant Epi headstock, bordering on creating neck dive but not quite.
-Fretwork felt the same on both.
-Wood quality appeared very similar overall. Body carve much nicer on Gibson, but felt about the same in hand.
-Gib, $1400 - Epi, $200

We got niether one because we're eyeing a used Lakland Decade shorty, but for 2 bills, it would've been the Epi for sure.
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Head
 
DrewA's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pale Pyramid ➑️
I wish Epi would do away with the horrible looking headstock though. The old school headstock on the Dot 335 and Casino is cool. Perhaps that doesn't bother you guys but I can't get over it. It's like when you get a sweater from Grandma that you know you'll never wear except that Christmas day, that's how blase I feel about that short fugly shape. A decent Fender Squire or Korean Gretsch is an easy sell in that regard.

never been crazy about that headstock either!
Old 22nd January 2013
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowCheetah ➑️
Went to guitar center today to find a new axe; an SG, specifically. Tried a epiphone g-400 pro 66 reissue and was very impressed. Tried a gibson sg faded and was very disappointed. Tried a epiphone g-400 special and was disgusted. Tried a gibson sg standard and was underwhelmed. Played said sg standard next to the aforementioned 66 reissue pro with all things the same, and found the epiphone ($350) to be far superior to the standard ($1400). It had better resonance unplugged, stayed in tune much better, comparable sustain, and smoother clean tones. The only thing I give the standard was that I liked the neck profile better (being a strat guy primarily), and that it's pups held up better under some crunch. But once I put the 490r/498t that the standard has into the Epi, along with an rs guitar works vintage prewired lot, there's really no contest. Grand total: $660. Don't get me wrong, Epiphones are hit or miss; but apparently so are gibsons nowadays. Anyone else have similar experiences?
Almost everything negative you described about the Gibson seems like setup issue's.
Old 23rd January 2013
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Almost everything negative you described about the Gibson seems like setup issue's.

The faded was definitely in need of a set up, but the pups sounded so terrible and the pickup selector was jacked up so I wouldn't have considered it anyway. The guy who was helping me told me the standard was just set up and was his favorite SG. Action was nice, but still didn't have anything on the Epi. I just found out that that model Epi uses 500k pots whereas the standard uses 300k: I could definitely tell without knowing. And again, unplugged, the Epi still sung better than the gibson. That says something about the woods and/or construction. I'm not out to say epiphone is better than gibson. That's stupid. What I'm saying is I think in general they're closer in quality than most people think, and in my specific experience, I found an Epi superior to the gibsons I played.
Old 24th January 2013
  #10
Gear Guru
 
John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
There's a lot of range between the various Epiphone models and the bottom of the line ($99 bolt on neck models) causes many people to dismiss the entire brand, which is unfortunate, since many of their top line models are excellent guitars, often equal to or better than similarly priced Gibsons. There also seems to be a bit more consistency in the better Epiphones than in the mid priced Gibsons, which are all over the map in terms of build quality. For that matter, I've heard of occasional custom shop Gibsons making it to the stores with really embarrassing flaws - finish blemishes, poorly dressed frets, stuff like that that a simple setup won't correct.

My impression is that Gibson often does not take the care with the small details that they used to in the old days when their motto was "Only a Gibson is good enough!" They still make some great guitars but you have to make sure you get a good one.
Old 24th January 2013
  #11
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🎧 10 years
I think the better Epiphones can be really fantastic value for money, particularly the hollowbodies.
Old 24th January 2013
  #12
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I actually wasn't too impressed with the Dot. Went with an Ibanez Artcore instead and love it. Just goes to show you can't pay attention to the names on the headstock, you just have to play em.
Old 24th January 2013 | Show parent
  #13
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kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein ➑️
My impression is that Gibson often does not take the care with the small details that they used to in the old days when their motto was "Only a Gibson is good enough!" They still make some great guitars but you have to make sure you get a good one.
Exactly. Still excellent stuff in there, but you have to spend time finding it now. Internet buys can be a problem. Have to put it in your hands first.
Old 24th January 2013
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I've owned several Epiphones since '85 - gotten to the point now that I just can't stand them, though. Super thick and glossy poly finish (which I hate, but can put up with if it's only a very thin coat), cheap woods (often multipieces with cheesy veneers!) and electronics, cheap metal parts that rattle, bend and break, ugly headstock, and a scarf jointed headstock (the headstock is a separate piece that is glued to the neck! I really hate this). Their Elitist line is decent quality - more like Gibson - but they are too expensive for an Asian import guitar.

The only Epiphone that I will ever buy in the future (if I have the cash!) is a vintage one - their current stuff is cheap junk.
Old 24th January 2013 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by indravayu ➑️
I've owned several Epiphones since '85 - gotten to the point now that I just can't stand them, though. Super thick and glossy poly finish (which I hate, but can put up with if it's only a very thin coat), cheap woods (often multipieces with cheesy veneers!) and electronics, cheap metal parts that rattle, bend and break, ugly headstock, and a scarf jointed headstock (the headstock is a separate piece that is glued to the neck! I really hate this). Their Elitist line is decent quality - more like Gibson - but they are too expensive for an Asian import guitar.

The only Epiphone that I will ever buy in the future (if I have the cash!) is a vintage one - their current stuff is cheap junk.
No metal that rattles, all mahogany and rosewood, and this model actually comes with better electronics than most gibsons (I'm still gutting it and putting in rs electronics and gibson pups; but even on just feel, build quality, and acoustic resonance I took the epiphone). I don't think $350 is too much for a guitar comparable to a gibson no matter where it comes from. I understand epiphone makes some crap, but I just go into the store and play everything, and the best guitar leaves with me regardless of price. I was ready to drop $2000+ on a real gibson, but it wasn't the better guitar.
Old 24th January 2013 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowCheetah ➑️
No metal that rattles, all mahogany and rosewood, and this model actually comes with better electronics than most gibsons (I'm still gutting it and putting in rs electronics and gibson pups; but even on just feel, build quality, and acoustic resonance I took the epiphone). I don't think $350 is too much for a guitar comparable to a gibson no matter where it comes from. I understand epiphone makes some crap, but I just go into the store and play everything, and the best guitar leaves with me regardless of price. I was ready to drop $2000+ on a real gibson, but it wasn't the better guitar.
Sorry, man, but Epiphone is Gibson's budget brand - they purposely keep the quality lower. Epiphone does not use better electronics - they use cheaper electronics except in select models - usually limited runs - in which they use Gibson USA electronics (thus, these not any better than Gibson). The wood may be mahogany and rosewood, but Epiphone gets the worst cuts and their bodies are often multiple pieces - sometimes 4+ pieces, with a thin veneer on top to mask this fact. Like a wooden cutting board. Epiphones are typically way heavier than Gibsons and the poly finish is soo thick, it makes them look and feel like a plastic toy.

No Epiphone outside of the Elitist models of a vintage one is comparable in quality to a $2k+ Gibson. If you do not like the feel of a $2k Gibson in the shop, it could be simply due to the idiots that work their just pulling it out of the box and hanging it on the wall without doing a basic set up. These guitars need the bridge height adjusted to the player's preference, the pickup pole heights adjusted accordingly, based on the bridge height, and - especially if it has been sitting around for a while in variable temperatures and humidity, the truss rod adjusted. They also need the nut lubed and, occasionally, the slots filed a bit to the player's preference. This is all simple stuff, but far too many people overlook it.

Of course, taste is subjective and a lot of people like the sound and feel of dirt cheap guitars - but don't kid yourself into thinking that these are made just as well as Gibsons that cost 3 or 4 times as much.
Old 24th January 2013
  #17
GS Community Manager
 
Whitecat's Avatar
The low end Gibson USA bodies are just as often made out of 4-6 pieces.

In my experience this tends to not matter so much. I have two PRS Stripped 58s - one is a one-piece body, the other looks to be three. The three piece is noticeably lighter and sounds just as good as the onesie.

Not that PRS USA to Epiphone is a great comparison but you get the idea.... some factors matter more than others.
Old 25th January 2013 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Guru
 
John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by indravayu ➑️
Sorry, man, but Epiphone is Gibson's budget brand - they purposely keep the quality lower. Epiphone does not use better electronics - they use cheaper electronics except in select models - usually limited runs - in which they use Gibson USA electronics (thus, these not any better than Gibson). The wood may be mahogany and rosewood, but Epiphone gets the worst cuts and their bodies are often multiple pieces - sometimes 4+ pieces, with a thin veneer on top to mask this fact. Like a wooden cutting board. Epiphones are typically way heavier than Gibsons and the poly finish is soo thick, it makes them look and feel like a plastic toy.
What nonsense.

First, some of the heaviest guitars I've ever played were vintage '50s Les Pauls - some of those are like having a brick around your neck. No, correction, most bricks are lighter.

Ever play a '54 Black Beauty? Or an original '52 Goldtop? They weigh an f-ing TON!

Lots of Gibsons other than the Custom Shops have multiple piece bodies as well. I've seen quite a few 3 piece Gibsons.

Looking at my Epi LP Standards and my '56 gold top reissue I see two piece bodies, just like many Gibsons. I can't tell how many pieces are in the body of my Gibson Les Paul Special because of the crappy opaque finish. However, I will say that the body is so light the guitar won't balance properly, which is pretty annoying since I use it for slide and can't grasp the neck firmly enough to keep it from drooping.

Top of the line Epis are really nice - Jack Casady's signature bass is an Epi product, not a Gibson.

As to the headstock, that's the classic Epiphone design - it dates back to before Gibson bought the company in 1957, when Epiphone made some of the finest jazz guitars in the world, surpassed only by D'Angelico.

I will admit though that I'm not real fond of the poly finish...
Old 25th January 2013 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein ➑️
What nonsense.

First, some of the heaviest guitars I've ever played were vintage '50s Les Pauls - some of those are like having a brick around your neck. No, correction, most bricks are lighter.

Ever play a '54 Black Beauty? Or an original '52 Goldtop? They weigh an f-ing TON!

Lots of Gibsons other than the Custom Shops have multiple piece bodies as well. I've seen quite a few 3 piece Gibsons.

Looking at my Epi LP Standards and my '56 gold top reissue I see two piece bodies, just like many Gibsons. I can't tell how many pieces are in the body of my Gibson Les Paul Special because of the crappy opaque finish. However, I will say that the body is so light the guitar won't balance properly, which is pretty annoying since I use it for slide and can't grasp the neck firmly enough to keep it from drooping.

Top of the line Epis are really nice - Jack Casady's signature bass is an Epi product, not a Gibson.

As to the headstock, that's the classic Epiphone design - it dates back to before Gibson bought the company in 1957, when Epiphone made some of the finest jazz guitars in the world, surpassed only by D'Angelico.

I will admit though that I'm not real fond of the poly finish...

Les Paul bodies are supposed to be one piece mahogany back, two piece maple cap - this is the way they were made (with few exceptions) in the 50's (they shifted to layered, "pancake" bodies in the 70's, during the Norlin years) and this is the way the Custom Shop builds them today. Gibson USA Les Pauls have 2-3 piece backs - only their bottom of the barrel models have more than that and they don't do veneers like Epiphone.

When I mentioned weight, I wasn't singling out Les Pauls - I have played Epi 335's that were boat anchors - and these are semi-hollows! They should light and airy (like my vintage Gibson 335), not heavy. I have seen some Epi LP's that are way heavier than their Gibson counterparts - like 11lbs, where a typical non-chambered Historic is around 8-9lbs and a Gibson USA Traditional around 9-10.
Old 25th January 2013
  #20
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Ragan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowCheetah ➑️
Went to guitar center today to find a new axe; an SG, specifically. Tried a epiphone g-400 pro 66 reissue and was very impressed. Tried a gibson sg faded and was very disappointed. Tried a epiphone g-400 special and was disgusted. Tried a gibson sg standard and was underwhelmed. Played said sg standard next to the aforementioned 66 reissue pro with all things the same, and found the epiphone ($350) to be far superior to the standard ($1400). It had better resonance unplugged, stayed in tune much better, comparable sustain, and smoother clean tones. The only thing I give the standard was that I liked the neck profile better (being a strat guy primarily), and that it's pups held up better under some crunch. But once I put the 490r/498t that the standard has into the Epi, along with an rs guitar works vintage prewired lot, there's really no contest. Grand total: $660. Don't get me wrong, Epiphones are hit or miss; but apparently so are gibsons nowadays. Anyone else have similar experiences?
Good to know. I've found both Gibson and Epi to be hit or miss sometimes.
Old 25th January 2013
  #21
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowCheetah
No metal that rattles, all mahogany and rosewood, and this model actually comes with better electronics than most gibsons (I'm still gutting it and putting in rs electronics and gibson pups; but even on just feel, build quality, and acoustic resonance I took the epiphone). I don't think $350 is too much for a guitar comparable to a gibson no matter where it comes from. I understand epiphone makes some crap, but I just go into the store and play everything, and the best guitar leaves with me regardless of price. I was ready to drop $2000+ on a real gibson, but it wasn't the better guitar.
Sorry, man, but Epiphone is Gibson's budget brand - they purposely keep the quality lower. Epiphone does not use better electronics - they use cheaper electronics except in select models - usually limited runs - in which they use Gibson USA electronics (thus, these not any better than Gibson). The wood may be mahogany and rosewood, but Epiphone gets the worst cuts and their bodies are often multiple pieces - sometimes 4+ pieces, with a thin veneer on top to mask this fact. Like a wooden cutting board. Epiphones are typically way heavier than Gibsons and the poly finish is soo thick, it makes them look and feel like a plastic toy.

No Epiphone outside of the Elitist models of a vintage one is comparable in quality to a $2k+ Gibson. If you do not like the feel of a $2k Gibson in the shop, it could be simply due to the idiots that work their just pulling it out of the box and hanging it on the wall without doing a basic set up. These guitars need the bridge height adjusted to the player's preference, the pickup pole heights adjusted accordingly, based on the bridge height, and - especially if it has been sitting around for a while in variable temperatures and humidity, the truss rod adjusted. They also need the nut lubed and, occasionally, the slots filed a bit to the player's preference. This is all simple stuff, but far too many people overlook it.

Of course, taste is subjective and a lot of people like the sound and feel of dirt cheap guitars - but don't kid yourself into thinking that these are made just as well as Gibsons that cost 3 or 4 times as much.

As far as all of the set up stuff you've mentioned: I know. I'm a guitar player first and foremost. Drummer, singer, songwriter, bassist, recording, mixing engineer... All that stuff comes after guitar, so I know a little about them. This guitar has 500k pots. Gibson doesn't put those in anything not from the custom shop, so so much for cheaper electronics. You say epiphone gets the worst cuts of wood like gibson is sabotaging them or something. My guitar isn't overly heavy or light compared to a gibson sg, it doesn't have a veneer, and the finish is thick, but doesn't seem to affect the tone at all, so it doesn't bug me. I don't like the sound or feel of dirt cheap guitars. I have an American strat with a custom shop one piece birds eye maple neck and Seymour Duncans. The next on the epiphone is too big, but I can adjust to it. It's unfortunate you've had bad experiences with Epiphones, and I'll readily admit they make some garbage like the semi-hollows you mentioned (although I haven't played all of them, so who knows? Maybe there are some good ones out there). But I'm not kidding myself into thinking my guitar is comparable to a gibson; it just is. I felt and played the guitars. I was there, with a bias AGAINST the epiphone models when I walked in. Almost everyone else here seems to be of a similar opinion that both brands are hit or miss and have a bit of overlap in quality between them. To reject that notion almost borders on conspiracy theory to me...
Old 25th January 2013 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowCheetah ➑️
As far as all of the set up stuff you've mentioned: I know. I'm a guitar player first and foremost. Drummer, singer, songwriter, bassist, recording, mixing engineer... All that stuff comes after guitar, so I know a little about them. This guitar has 500k pots. Gibson doesn't put those in anything not from the custom shop, so so much for cheaper electronics. You say epiphone gets the worst cuts of wood like gibson is sabotaging them or something. My guitar isn't overly heavy or light compared to a gibson sg, it doesn't have a veneer, and the finish is thick, but doesn't seem to affect the tone at all, so it doesn't bug me. I don't like the sound or feel of dirt cheap guitars. I have an American strat with a custom shop one piece birds eye maple neck and Seymour Duncans. The next on the epiphone is too big, but I can adjust to it. It's unfortunate you've had bad experiences with Epiphones, and I'll readily admit they make some garbage like the semi-hollows you mentioned (although I haven't played all of them, so who knows? Maybe there are some good ones out there). But I'm not kidding myself into thinking my guitar is comparable to a gibson; it just is. I felt and played the guitars. I was there, with a bias AGAINST the epiphone models when I walked in. Almost everyone else here seems to be of a similar opinion that both brands are hit or miss and have a bit of overlap in quality between them. To reject that notion almost borders on conspiracy theory to me...

It's not "sabotage", but rather simple economics. They charge much less for Epiphones, so the cheaper, less desirable cuts of wood are reserved for them, while the more expensive, desirable cuts are reserved for Gibson (which they are able to charge more for) and the premiere wood for the Gibson Custom Shop (which are the most expensive).

500k pots don't cost any more than 300k pots. Gibson uses 300k pots because some bedroom players complain that Gibson pickups are harsh with 500k pots (the harshness goes away as you crank up your amp to stage levels). Epiphone gets crappier wire and caps. This is just how it is. Epiphones are budget models and Gibsons cuts as many corners as possible on them in order to maximize profits. They are a corporation, after all!

Once again, I have owned a number of Epiphones over the years - in fact, I still currently have a Casino (the recent '61 Anniversay model). I am not saying that you can't make good music with them - of course you can. I am just saying that as a guitar connoisseur, they look and feel cheap and crappy to me - nothing like their vintage ancestors, which were genuinely great guitars.
Old 25th January 2013 | Show parent
  #23
GS Community Manager
 
Whitecat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by indravayu ➑️
It's not "sabotage", but rather simple economics. They charge much less for Epiphones, so the cheaper, less desirable cuts of wood are reserved for them, while the more expensive, desirable cuts are reserved for Gibson (which they are able to charge more for) and the premiere wood for the Gibson Custom Shop (which are the most expensive).
I'm not sure this is completely accurate. It seems to me that they don't buy all their wood from one source and just divvy it up between Gibson and Epiphone. Seems to me that there would be significant cost savings by sourcing wood in the Far East. Some of it will be great, some not so great.

Fender has used native Chinese pine in their pine Squiers, for example. That keeps the price low as it doesn't have to travel very far.

Economies of scale n' that. It's not like PRS or Suhr or Tom Anderson chasing down international wood buyers and getting only the best stuff from all over. A lot of it probably comes from wherever they can legally get it the cheapest nearby, and to the basic standard at minimum.

Yes, the very best stuff probably gets snatched up by other firms, but in these cases it's just as likely to go to another company as it is to Gibson.

Another thing re the wood is that the Epiphone stuff have much thinner maple caps where applicable - more like veneers. PRS does this too with their SE line. So they're using far less maple in the construction of the guitars - there's more mahogany in them. Thus, they can stretch out a piece of flamed maple muc further than the US shops can.

Just my hypothesis anyway.
Old 25th January 2013
  #24
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🎧 10 years
I'm not sure what a guitar connoisseur is. I'm a musician so all I really care about is the sound and I think the best guitars made by Epiphone, when fitted with good pickups, can be very musical, expressive instruments.
Old 25th January 2013
  #25
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Silent Sound's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
In my experience, it seems that the while the bottom of the line Gibson's can cost almost as much as a top of the line Epiphone, the top of the line Epiphone will be a higher quality instrument. Gibson makes some nice guitars, but of all the Gibson's I've played in and below the $1k range, I haven't been impressed with. It just seems like you're paying extra for a headstock. I've got a friend with a Gibson SG studio or something. It's got no real finish, just white paint that wasn't even sanded smooth, and three pickups, none of which I wouldn't consider replacing if I owned it.

I also had a friend with an Epiphone Casino. Man that was a nice a guitar for under a grand!
Old 25th January 2013 | Show parent
  #26
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgruff ➑️
I'm not sure what a guitar connoisseur is. I'm a musician so all I really care about is the sound and I think the best guitars made by Epiphone, when fitted with good pickups, can be very musical, expressive instruments.
Do you not understand the meaning of connoisseur?? Look it up! I am a musician as well (28 years playing guitar, played in several pro bands, written hundreds of songs and produced/released several albums). I love guitars and want the best for my money. Gibsons give me that, not Epiphone.
Old 25th January 2013 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat ➑️
I'm not sure this is completely accurate. It seems to me that they don't buy all their wood from one source and just divvy it up between Gibson and Epiphone. Seems to me that there would be significant cost savings by sourcing wood in the Far East. Some of it will be great, some not so great.

Fender has used native Chinese pine in their pine Squiers, for example. That keeps the price low as it doesn't have to travel very far.

Economies of scale n' that. It's not like PRS or Suhr or Tom Anderson chasing down international wood buyers and getting only the best stuff from all over. A lot of it probably comes from wherever they can legally get it the cheapest nearby, and to the basic standard at minimum.

Yes, the very best stuff probably gets snatched up by other firms, but in these cases it's just as likely to go to another company as it is to Gibson.

Another thing re the wood is that the Epiphone stuff have much thinner maple caps where applicable - more like veneers. PRS does this too with their SE line. So they're using far less maple in the construction of the guitars - there's more mahogany in them. Thus, they can stretch out a piece of flamed maple muc further than the US shops can.

Just my hypothesis anyway.
Most of the wood used by Gibson and Epiphone (Rosewood, Ebony and Mahogany) comes from Asia or South America. Good quality mahogany is getting harder to come by. The porous old growth wood that Gibson used in the '50's (which made for light, super resonant Les Pauls, etc) is long gone (outside of small personal collections - as is Brazilian rosewood) and the current stocks are heavy and very dense (which is why Gibson and Epiphone now chamber or weight relieve certain models that were traditionally solid). When Gibson does source nice looking, light mahogany, that is set aside for the Custom Shop's Historics. The heavier stuff goes to Gibson USA and Epiphone. Also, the definition of "mahogany" is rather fluid - several different species of woods, some cheaper than others - fall into this category and Epiphone gets the cheap Asian stuff (often a wood called Luan).

Epiphone also stretches this mahogany even further, as they uses it as a veneer to mask other woods that they have pieced together for their bodies.
Old 25th January 2013
  #28
Gear Guru
 
Musiclab's Avatar
First let me say the EPI electronics are absolute junk, if you buy one of their guitars, and you like it do yourself a favor and at the least make or get yourself a real harness. I never cared for any of the EPI LP's or SG's or 335's, the Dot in my opinion is not a real guitar. Last year someone gave me a 90's Sheraton, I replaced the harness and pickups and probably I should throw frets on it. It sounds good acoustically and it plays pretty good, but would be better with some big frets.
@ John Eppstein, I own a 69 LP Custom, it's ungodly heavy, but sound great, but I've played 52 goldtop a 58 and 59 LP Customs and none of them are anywhere near as heavy as my 69. A friend of mine who is a collector own a few 59's and say all of his are pretty light for LP.

To The OP the bottom line of guitars is always this, if you play it and it feels good and it sounds good not plugged in, it is good, you might need pickups and electronics but in the grand scheme of things that isn't a big deal and there are lot's of nice options like Fralins out there
Old 25th January 2013
  #29
Gear Guru
If you want to experience the difference, go to NAMM today. What you see are poor quality Gibson instruments on display and some very nice Epi's. If one dismissed the peghead, you would think the Epi's are the Gibsons. It is reversed from the past. Quality is quality no matter where it comes from.

I've owned several Gibsons in the past. All are sold off except my showroom mint 1967 Trini Lopez 335. That includes 5 Les Pauls. I now use an Epiphone Les Paul "custom sweat shop model" you won't see at NAMM or Guitar Center. I paid $550 for it and it is by far the best Les Paul I've owned. You do need to install decent electronics, I used Bourns conductive plastic pots and Gibson Burstbucker pickups, sounds like 1968.
Old 25th January 2013 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
If you want to experience the difference, go to NAMM today. What you see are poor quality Gibson instruments on display and some very nice Epi's. If one dismissed the peghead, you would think the Epi's are the Gibsons. It is reversed from the past. Quality is quality no matter where it comes from.

I've owned several Gibsons in the past. All are sold off except my showroom mint 1967 Trini Lopez 335. That includes 5 Les Pauls. I now use an Epiphone Les Paul "custom sweat shop model" you won't see at NAMM or Guitar Center. I paid $550 for it and it is by far the best Les Paul I've owned. You do need to install decent electronics, I used Bourns conductive plastic pots and Gibson Burstbucker pickups, sounds like 1968.
Dude, come on. Epiphones may look nice - probably because all that poly goop lathered over them maintains that eternal brand new look. You may not like the feel of Gibsons - to each their own - but they are not in general poor quality and they are certainly not inferior to Epiphones, which use cheaper woods, cheaper electronics and wiring, and shady construction techniques (layers and layers of mystery wood with mahogany and maple veneer! Scarf jointed headstocks - something that it were on a Gibson, would cut their value in half, as this is essentially the same as having an expertly repaired severed headstock). I have owned two Epi's where the cheap plastic nut broke into shards during a simple string change! And another one didn't even have the nut or bridge saddle (it was an acoustic) glued in - the strings were holding them in place!! My first Epi - also an acoustic - had the neck separate from the body after a few years! Others of mine had awful fretwork, especially on the upper frets, which caused buzzing while bending, even though the action wasn't that low.
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