Completely shocked by Epiphone!!!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jimmyohio75, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. jimmyohio75

    jimmyohio75 Member

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    I just returned from a time killing trip to Sam Ash. I have been toying with getting a Les Paul so I decided to start there. I played several Les Paul Classics (all used). Great sound but not so great playability. On a whim I decided to try out an Epiphone Les Paul Standard to see how much "better" the Gibson was than the Epi.
    Holy shnikees!! The Epi played a LOT better than all 3 Gibsons that I played. Granted the pickups in the Epi were not quite as "thick" as the Gibson but I figure a pickup change can take care of that. Just to make sure this wasn't a fluke I picked up another Epi and gave it a test run. Once again, much better playability than the Gibby. Now I'm convinced that if I buy one of the Epis and put some WCR Darkbursts or some '57 pickups in it I will have a great guitar for gigs and I won't need to worry about it getting banged up. Granted the resale value of the Epi will be nothing like the Gibby but that's OK, I will just plan on keeping it.

    There's a lesson here. Don't write off a certain brand of guitar because you perceive them to be of "less quality" than another brand.

    Now I have to pick a color.
     
  2. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    It is a tough balance; I kinda dislike endorsing a label by buying a couple, when only a few of their models are worthy. Some poor smuck sees my guitar or hears about it, assumes the coast is clear for any example of that brand, and buys a worthless piece of rubbish. Which becomes "my fault".

    NO doubt, some Epiphones are battle worthy. But just think how many aren't and how many you might look at finding the good ones. It is just easier for me to suggest: "Buy an Elitist" as I know the odds are so much better. Plus you can sell the Elitist quickly for decent money. The travails you put into finding a really extraordinary regular Epiphone are basically up in smoke if you ever need to sell.
     
  3. neastguy

    neastguy Supporting Member

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    ive come to the conclusion that I sound just about the same on any guitar I pick up.. unless of course its a total POS.. once you get up into the $300-$400 range and above.. I sound the same.. therefore, if you dont need the name and dont care about that extra 5% of tone the others bring yah.(whether its really there or not)... I say rock on.. I can basically setup up most guitars in that range to play pretty good and good enough for the type of gigs I play......IMO.. heck I have a pink bolt on LP douglas shadow that plays great... $130.. sounds great and stays in tune.. what else do yah need...:)
     
  4. daphil

    daphil Member

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    Exactly my experience.
     
  5. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon

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    Epi LPs and MIM Fenders are solid guitars. But you have to play them. A few years ago I went with a buddy to the majors to find a Epi LP. We played about 40 of them, and found *1* with the fit, finish, weight, tone and playability that we were looking for. It's a great Epi, for sure.
     
  6. SigXer

    SigXer Member

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    This has been my experience as well. Most of the Gibson LP's I've played at music shops have a high action, and a stiff feel compared to the Epiphones that I've played (including the one I own). I think a big part of it is the factory standard setup. I bet you could have one of those Gibsons setup to play like the Epiphones do. Another part of the equation is the neck shape. The Epiphones have a thinner neck, which feels better to me. However, the Epiphones have cheap electronics, their wood isn't as high quality (laminate tops instead of genuine carved tops and multi-piece mahogany bodies and necks v. one piece body and a one piece neck.), and the overall workmanship isn't as good. Take a close look at the inlays (which are plastic) and you'll see lots of black filler on the edges. Many of them have paint that has bled onto the binding in some places. Also, the stock bridge / tailpiece are cheaply made. If you're willing to put up with some cosmetic issues, gut the electronics, and put a new bridge and tailpiece on there you're out about as much money as it would take to buy an Elitist series guitar and you still don't have the high quality wood. These are my observations as an Epiphone LP owner and may not apply in every case as they do tend to vary (another issue with them). Bottom line; buy an Elitist or Gibson USA LP and get it set up. You'll be happier in the end.
     
  7. mike80

    mike80 Member

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    At the same time, I've found Gibson's consistency very lacking. For their price to quality ratio, I would rather buy an Epi.

    I have a Limited Edition Epi LP, and I don't have any of those issues. It's a 2 piece bookmatched body and I haven't had any problems with the hardware or electronics, save for having to install a new switch. No filler on the inlays, no paint bleed. It does have a multi-piece neck...the headstock is made seperate from the neck. Overall, I'm very happy with it.
     
  8. Rob Sharer

    Rob Sharer Muso-Luthier

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    Regarding the bookmatching, I'm pretty sure that everything in an Epi Les Paul, South of the Elitist line, has an MDF top with a bookmatched veneer. That was the case at one point, anyway. Cheers,

    Rob
     
  9. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Seems wacky, but i've always had better luck tone wise with cheaper guitars. Especially epi's and MIM/MIJ fenders.
     
  10. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

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    I've come to the conclusion that the Big Box stores get the junky stuff that Gibson knows they can't ship to their more discerning independent dealers. It's like they say, "Hey, save that batch for Guitar Center. They're not very good."

    On the other hand, after having owned several Epi LPs, I have decided that generally they feel and play like what they really are; cheap crap. You have to play a lot of them to find one or two good ones. I don't think I've ever owned an Epiphone guitar that has stayed in tune properly, even after setups. I've never had an Epi LP that has intonated properly. That's why I get rid of them quickly.
     
  11. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

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    For one thing, I'd never buy a new Gibson and especially a Classic. I'd look around for a clean older Standard or Custom. You'll have a better guitar to start with and you'll probably come out ahead money wise when it's time to move on.

    I just bought this 84 Custom for $1,200 2 weeks ago from a co worker. It's an amazing guitar for the money ( yeah, it was an exceptional deal, but they are out there ). I wouldn't buy the Epiphone. They are cheaper wood, cheaper hardware..... it's all about tone and .... well, it's up to you.

    [​IMG]

    I'm in Akron too, don't make me have to come over there and crack this guitar over your head. Take your time and look around! :knitting
     
  12. Waxhead

    Waxhead Member

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    Many Epi's are excellent value guitars.
    The LP, SG and ES-335 copies in particular.
    Stick in top gear PUP's, graphtec saddles and bone nut and you won't hear a diff between these Epi's and a real Gibson.
     
  13. mike80

    mike80 Member

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    This one isn't MDF. This may have been the predecessor to the Elitist line.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Rob Sharer

    Rob Sharer Muso-Luthier

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    Well, that's the back, there. I was talking about the top. Cheers,

    Rob

     
  15. shane8

    shane8 Member

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    i've played epis that were flat out better than gibsons even b4 price came into it > enjoy :)
     
  16. mike80

    mike80 Member

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    My mistake. I read top, but was thinking body instead.

    Out of curiosity after reading that, I pulled the pup from mine. Still doesn't appear to be MDF to me, though it does have a veneer (which I've long suspected).

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

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    :bong



    I did have one crappy sounding LP classic, so I suppose it's possible. :dunno .... but not likely.
     
  18. Rob Sharer

    Rob Sharer Muso-Luthier

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    Dunno, Mike, looks kinda like what I usually see in those. Try looking under the switch or the pots, where the manufacturing process usually leaves some rough spots which reveal more clearly what's under the veneer. Not trying to dis, by the way; I just bought one of these for myself, in a tasteful transparent black. MDF 4 ever! Cheers,

    Rob

    p.s. I see now what you meant earlier...it does look like they book-matched the back. Nice job, Epi!
     
  19. mike80

    mike80 Member

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    I'm not really sure Rob. I took the switch out, and I still couldn't tell. Looks like grain to me, not what I would expect routed MDF to look like.

    Nonetheless, it still plays good and sounds good, so I'm happy.
     
  20. uOpt

    uOpt Member

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    You cannot blindly assume that the sound probably you are already hearing all all caused by the pickups. The thing might fundamentally suck. Also, some of the hardware will need replacement before the thing tightens up.

    As a general rule, a proper setup and a fretlevel/dress/polish and proper nut slots will make the Gibsons play as well as the Epis at a much higher probability than that the Epi will sound the same as a Gibson that already sounds better to your ears.

    The Asian maker just have the manpower to set the things up decently and the nuts are machine-made to "good enough" specs.

    In Gibson U.S. land you get a hand-cut nut except most workers don't seem to know how to do it or aren't given the time and if the thing gets a fret level at all you can be sure it's not dressed but shipped with flat frets. (now some are PleKed but I bet that Gibson is lying about details of that, too)

    But the playability problems with the Gibson have a very direct approach to fixing them. A bad sounding guitar can be screwed by an combination of factors, easy or difficult to fix.
     

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