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Epiphone vs Gibson

bopplayer

Member
Messages
1,237
Assuming electronics, bridge, tuners, caps and jack need switched, how does Epiphone measure up to Gibson? I own a Gibson Les Paul, but considering an SG and maybe a LP junior. Thanks
 

stormin1155

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,716
The biggest difference by far is what is written on the headstock. That, and how much comes out of your wallet.

Of course Gibsons are generally made of better woods, use a nitro vs. poly finish, nicer overall feel, and as you mentioned better hardware and electronics. All of which contribute to the overall sound and experience of owning a Gibson versus an Epiphone. The differences however are likely to be lost on 99% of your audience.

Epiphones are good solid guitars for people that can't afford a Gibson or for whom the above mentioned differences aren't worth the cost difference.
 

bopplayer

Member
Messages
1,237
Better over all feel? how are the necks compared to Gibson? as in thickness and feel? I wouldn't expect great frets.
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
11,306
The biggest difference by far is what is written on the headstock. That, and how much comes out of your wallet.

Of course Gibsons are generally made of better woods, use a nitro vs. poly finish, nicer overall feel, and as you mentioned better hardware and electronics. All of which contribute to the overall sound and experience of owning a Gibson versus an Epiphone. The differences however are likely to be lost on 99% of your audience.

Epiphones are good solid guitars for people that can't afford a Gibson or for whom the above mentioned differences aren't worth the cost difference.

I used to say that all the time but it's a bit of a fallacy. The audience may not be able to tell the difference tone-wise but the audience is also not playing the guitar, you are. They don't know what it feels like or how responsive it is, how the action feels, whether the frets are annoyingly sharp, how much it weighs, how it responds to your playing, how you like the neck profile, whether it feels solid or like a toy, etc.., and even your own level of satisfaction based on what's written on the headstock. Owning one guitar brand might make someone happier than owning another brand even if it's just psychological. You are the one who has to be happy with the tone and feel of the guitar and if you can tell the difference, that's ultimately what matters. The audience is ignorant of 99% of the factors that go into whether you like your guitar or not.

btw, this doesn't mean that I'm saying gibsons are automatically better than all epis. Just that when it comes to things like tone, feel, and playability, the one who needs to be happy first is the person playing the instrument.
 

lpdeluxe

Member
Messages
1,529
I traded for an Epiphone Sheraton II a couple of years ago. I installed Seymour Duncan Jazz neck and JB bridge pickups in it, and it sounded OK. not great, but OK. What I didn't like was that, at every turn, I was reminded that it was a price-line instrument, with shortcuts taken on electronics, wood quality and craftsmanship. Even though I had only about $350 invested, I felt like I didn't get my money's worth -- that is, a reliably playable and attractive guitar that I could bond with.

So I traded it off and got the real deal, a Gibson 335 Dot: much better woods, construction, and sound, right out of the case. It was a bargain at $1750, and is now my main guitar. The Epi is someone else's darlin', now.

But if you want to mod guitars, don't spend your money on a Gibson: get something cheap, like an Epiphone, that you can tinker with and swap pickups without worrying about affecting its value. Just be aware that, when you sell, any money you put out in upgrades will be lost.
 

nnick

Member
Messages
1,489
I recently played an Epiphone Dot through an AC30. It sounded very muddy in both the neck and bridge pickups. The fret work was excellent and the neck felt great. Installing some '57 Classics and an RS kit would probably bring the guitar to life.

Not bad for a $399 guitar.
 

derekd

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
45,142
I found the Epi Elitist series to rival Gibby, which is probably part of why they discontinued it. That plus, if you are going to pay more than a grand for a guitar, you probably will just buy Gibson.
 

Phoebe

Senior Member
Messages
1,723
Food for thought:

90% of the time when this question arises, the EPI advocates will always be throwing in words to the effect of "for the money...".

I've never heard anyone who actually could afford either say "I started out wanting the Gibson, but after playing the Epi decided it was better..."
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
11,306
Food for thought:

90% of the time when this question arises, the EPI advocates will always be throwing in words to the effect of "for the money...".

I've never heard anyone who actually could afford either say "I started out wanting the Gibson, but after playing the Epi decided it was better..."
I've seen that happen once. Only once.

That said, the epis really are nice for the money. But after having played an epi as my #1 for 20 years, then finally getting a gibson, albeit one of the cheaper ones (studio faded), I can confidently say that the cheaper gibson is indeed better than my epi LP custom, even though I'd be happy gigging with either one.
 

bluegrif

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,100
I've never heard anyone who actually could afford either say "I started out wanting the Gibson, but after playing the Epi decided it was better..."
Actually I have heard that regardling the Elitist series. A number of players have preferred their Epiphone Elitist to it's Gibson counterpart. Personally, I haven't had the opportunity to compare them. But after playing some higher end Japanese guitars, including my Yamaha SA2200, I wouldn't be surprised. I'd love to try an Elitist Sheraton.
 

sleek

Member
Messages
522
Food for thought:

90% of the time when this question arises, the EPI advocates will always be throwing in words to the effect of "for the money...".

I've never heard anyone who actually could afford either say "I started out wanting the Gibson, but after playing the Epi decided it was better..."
I'm in that group, too.

I have sold every Gibby I've ever owned, and pretty much only play Epis now.

...and I won't use the phrase:"for the money". For me, no matter what I get, I am going to do work on it to make it what I want...

I have NEVER played a Gibson that was exactly what I wanted out of the box...but they cost so much, it's not like you can just start wrenching on them.

Some say "You get what you pay for".

I say:"You get what you make".

I also prefer Epiphone aesthetics to Gibson. I *love* the white pickguards and truss rod covers with he big "E"s on them.

...and I love how the Epiphone sunburst follows the contours of the guitar. (whereas the Gibson is just a big retarded teardrop shape. Bleh.)

I also love the sound of mini-humbuckers.

Seriously. Given the choice between a nice '60's Epiphone Riviera/Sheraton or a nice '60's Gibson ES 335, I would take...the ES335.

...then I would sell it IMMEDIATELY and but 4 of the Sheratons and Rivieras...

However, If the price was the same, I would take the Epi over the Gibson every time.
 

sleek

Member
Messages
522
...mind you, I tend towards Epiphone "originals". Rivieras, Sheratons, Granadas, Centurys, Wilshires, Olympics, Casinos...old or new.

I have no interest in their knockoffs of Les Pauls or SGs...but then, I have no interest in Gibson Les Pauls or SGs either...
 
Messages
8,093
The question is too broad based. An Epi Elite LP may be a superior gtr to a Gbsn (f'rinstance) Studio LP. My only Gbsn experience is with either pre-1970 or C/S, and the only Epiphone gtrs that come close are pre-1970.

To compare a Riviera to a 335 is apples/oranges-ish. Comparing a Riv converted to H.Buckers to a 335, or a 335 converted to minis to a Riv might make sense. The gtrs are basically the same carcass, built side by side in the same factory, no?
 

mikem

Senior Member
Messages
2,573
Food for thought:

90% of the time when this question arises, the EPI advocates will always be throwing in words to the effect of "for the money...".

I've never heard anyone who actually could afford either say "I started out wanting the Gibson, but after playing the Epi decided it was better..."
Well, let's just say that I went to several music stores with Gibson money and came home with the Epi. The Epi wasn't as good as the best Gibson I played, but it was about 90% there. I have played many crappy Epis, but the one I picked up sounded and played great. It had none of the cosmetic flaws found on some of the Gibsons I played. YMMV. I'm not a Gibson basher, either. I've played some magical Gibsons. On the particular day I went shopping, the Epi won. I still play the Epi a lot after three years.

Mike
 

Bluesbuff

Member
Messages
545
The question is too broad based. An Epi Elite LP may be a superior gtr to a Gbsn (f'rinstance) Studio LP. My only Gbsn experience is with either pre-1970 or C/S, and the only Epiphone gtrs that come close are pre-1970.

To compare a Riviera to a 335 is apples/oranges-ish. Comparing a Riv converted to H.Buckers to a 335, or a 335 converted to minis to a Riv might make sense. The gtrs are basically the same carcass, built side by side in the same factory, no?
NO, not even built in the same country.
I currently own 3 Gibbys, 2 LP (Deluxe with Lollar P90s, Std with Rolph PAFs) and a 339 and 3 Epis, Dot with all upgraded electronics, a stock 56 GT reissue LP and a 59 Century. I play them all regularly. The fit, finish, feel and playability IMO are not even close. The upgrades make the Epis acceptable instruments but they still fall short in every catagory. Everything about the Gibsons is better. However if you've got $7 - 800 you can pick up a used Epiphone, replace all the electronics/bridge/tuners/nut etc to suit your taste, have the fretwork done and have a decent guitar with tone close to what you're looking for. For me, the first time I had my own Gibson to play at home it made me wonder what took me so long (30 years) to finally buy one.
 
Messages
8,093
NO, not even built in the same country.
.
Er, sorry. I was speaking of pre-1970's Riv/335. Same production line, same factory, same town, same country.

"However if you've got $7 - 800 you can pick up a used Epiphone, replace all the electronics/bridge/tuners/nut etc to suit your taste, have the fretwork done and have a decent guitar with tone close to what you're looking for"

Did you do this with your '59 (built in Kalamazoo) Century?
 

telewacker

Member
Messages
2,331
I have an Epi Casino. It plays great, looks great and sounds better since I put Lollar P90s on it. But compared to a friends mid 60s ES330? Man the tone of the old Gibson is on another level. The Epi plays as well but is dead sounding by comparison.

However the other day I played an Epi Casino Revolution which is a special Elitist model with one coat of nitro...practically bare wood...an it had great tone. I'd like to compare it to the old 330. I think the 330 would still win but the gap would be much closer.
 

stormin1155

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,716
Asking a Gibson owner how an Epiphone compares to a Gibson is like asking a Harley Davidson rider how a Honda Shadow compares to a Harley.
 




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