LP question, Gibby/Epi

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by guitarfish, Jan 16, 2008.


  1. guitarfish

    guitarfish Member

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    I have an Epi LP, it has GFS Fat PAFs in it, sounds nice. I've never actually played a Gibson LP, so there's always been a curiosity of the unknown for me. I know a Gibson is a nice chunk of mahogany with a maple cap, where the Epi is lesser woods, veneer, etc.

    My question is, how different, or how much better, is a Gibson going to sound? QC issues aside, assuming it's a "good" LP, what are they like compared to the Epi's?

    I know I can play some at a store, but I don't think I'll really be able to tell much in a store, compared to home on my own rig.
     
  2. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    You just have to find one and play it and decide for yourself. It really is a perspective thing. It's so subjective there's no way to depend on members of a forum to give you your opinion.

    Epis Have a veneer top on the flametops. I haven't yet seen and Epi LP that didn't have a spliced on headstock (that really irks me, but they say it's even stronger than solid wood). Probably Gibbys have better pups and electronics, but I swapped out the pots and caps on my LP Standard for an RS Kit.

    Check them both out and make up your own mind. I wish an Epi LP was good enough for me :) Sadly, it is not. But I have not yet felt the need to go Custom Shop or Historic. My 03 Standard does it for me just like I needed it to.
     
  3. studiodunn

    studiodunn Member

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    Usually the electronics are the shortcomings for lesser models.

    I've played good and bad from both camps, so playing them for yourself is really the only real way to make up your own mind.
     
  4. Number8

    Number8 Member

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    I really don't know why people insist on comparing apples and oranges.My Epi Les Paul is more real than a Gibson? Is there really a point to this kind of discussion? Nobody would buy a Gibson if the Epi's were the same guitars. This is what a number8 is. :rotflmao:rotflmaoNo you can't get a real Les Paul for 300 dollars.It just isn't that simple.
     
  5. guitarfish

    guitarfish Member

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    Wow, Number8, maybe you should re-read my question, because you missed it. The Epi LP is meant to be a copy of the real thing, so how can one NOT compare them? It's not like I am asking about a Gibson vs. a Strat or something.

    Since I haven't been fortunate enough to play a Gibby, my question is what differences would I notice? e.g. more sustain? Better tone? Better feeling neck? Just looking for people's opinions.

    It's a given they aren't the same, I never expected my $450 to be on par with the $2,000+ guitar it's copying.
     
  6. skyblue

    skyblue Member

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    What I'd like to know is:

    What would the retail price be for an Epi LP if it was manufactured completely in the United States, using the exact same materials and electronics that it currently comes loaded with?

    I believe that we can make a fairer assessment between whether one brand is deservedly more expensive than the other if we can factor in the cost of good old American labor into the mix.
     
  7. Number8

    Number8 Member

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    :)
    There are hundreds of copies out there. Edwards, Agiles, etc. The Gibson should have a better finish, better detail, frets and binding, better electronics, better hardware, better set-up, Etc, and should be made of wood. :D
    Superstrats are no different. I took a Floyd Rose Discovery series apart. It was a typical Superstrat copy. Basswood body, Maple neck, rosewood board. The similarities to a real guitar ended there except for the Floyd bridge. Poorly finished fretwork, Cheap pups and pots,and a bad set-up. What do you want for $125.00 from Musicians Friend? I threw away the entire electronics package and installed an EMG S, S, 81 kit. Routed out the body so that the new 5 way and tone controls would fit. Installed a low battery circuit. Added Dunlop straplocks. Primed the wood where I routed it out. Put it back together and it sounds pretty cool. The fret edges need to be addressed. they are pretty sharp. Nothing an emery board can't cure, but it all comes down to parts used and labor. Sure I made it a playable guitar that sounded good , but my investment was pretty sizeable. It was a fun project but for the six hundred dollars spent overall I could have bought a blem of a real guitar from Musicians Friend.:) I did have lots of fun putting it together though. Maybe stainless steel frets next.:dude
     
  8. BadAssBill

    BadAssBill southofnash.com Silver Supporting Member

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    I played an Epi Custom for a long time. Gigged with it...etc. It sounded nearly as good as my LP's...but the difference is really in the playability. IMHO...swapping out pickups, etc will get you very close to a Gibson. However, the real difference is playability. The frets are usually taken care of better, the sustain is better, the feel and strings bend easier. If you're looking for a great LP at a good price...read the reviews on the Studio's...and the Mahogany Studios. All at very reasonable prices. Used Studios can be had for a song and dance comparably and just have some great attitude in their tone.
     
  9. echale3

    echale3 Member

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    I had an Epi LP, and it was a nice guitar, without a doubt. It was one of the Standards with a nicely figured veneer on the top. The neck felt good as it came, although it would choke out slightly when playing well above the 12th fret, it was nice and weighty (I like heavy LPs), the build quality was good, etc. The pickups were not that great, so I did replace them with GFS Mean 90s, and since I basically ran it flat out, I never bothered replacing the pots or the switch. It worked out fine for me and sounded great, too.

    Then, I played a used Gibson Vintage Mahogany Studio, and it was like a light bulb went on... The neck was nice and fat, felt perfect in my hands, the Burstbucker Pros were fantastic sounding, it was heavy (it's not one of the weight-relieved ones), the all-mahogany construction gave it a nice dark tonal quality, it was just a nicer guitar all the way around. It certainly wasn't as visually pretty as the Epi, what with it's stunning curly maple grain, nice binding on the body and neck, and bright, glossy cherryburst finish, but beauty is as beauty does, IMO... Playing qualities and tonal characteristics were what made me purchase the Gibson and eventually trade the Epi in on a Faded SG (a stellar guitar it its own right)...

    Here's a side by side of the two. Having a side by side shot shows that there are very subtle dimensional differences between the two... Playing both really bring those differences to light...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. guitarfish

    guitarfish Member

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    I'm starting to "get it" now, thanks guys. I never really considered the playability factor, but now that you mention it, it makes sense. My USA Strats have a great feel that I don't get from many of the MIM's/Squier's I've picked up. I don't think I'll ever be able to swing a flamed LP, but the Studio's aren't bad at all.
     
  11. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    It's going to sound, play and feel alot better. I have nothing against Epi LPs. I've got plenty of friends who prefer imports because of the value. I mean, you could walk into Guitar Center with $2k and come out with a MIM strat, MIM tele, Epi LP, PRS SE and a Hot Rod Deluxe. Or one Gibson.
     
  12. bonchie123

    bonchie123 Supporting Member

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    I've owned both. If your a rhythm player and your wanting a guitar to gig with, you could get buy with a 300 dollar Epi LP with about 200 bucks worth of upgrades on it. As long as you have a good amp noone is going to know the difference just banging out chords.

    If your a lead player, the playability just wasn't there for me when I had one (this was years ago). The necks aren't comfortable, the fret work is subpar, bends are not fluid, and the pickups and electronics suck. If your a big looks guy, the tops look cheap IMO too.

    For what you pay for an Epi and upgrade it, you can buy a used studio. So thats what I would do if I was short on funds.
     
  13. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    I own all epiphones and have played both.
    I would go with a vintage mahogony before an ep and upgrades
    epis are great guitars but for the price you cant beat a gibby vintage mahogony...imho the studios suck, I would go with an upgraded epi ver them...but thats just me...

    playability and tone an upgraded epi and a gibby are very close, unless your recording with it...what counts is the VM will retain its value better over the years...so for the same money as an upgraded epi the VM is a great bet. My first gibby will be a VM!!
     
  14. Number8

    Number8 Member

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    Resale value really shouldn't be a consideration when discussing guitars. It's almost as if one expects to sell it off. Are you buying it to play it or is this some kind of weird speculation thing like stocks?:D
     
  15. guitarfish

    guitarfish Member

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    A quick peek at eBay or the Buy and Sell pages here shows that resale value is definately a factor one should consider. I don't buy a guitar with the intention to sell, but I have sold a few that just didn't turn out to be good choices for me.

    FWIW, I'll lose a few hundred if I sell my Epi LP. But for now anyway, a Gibby seems to hold it's value quite well.
     
  16. guitarfish

    guitarfish Member

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    OK, so I stopped in the local store tonight, they have a nice selection of Gibbys. For the first time, I actually plugged in and played a couple.

    First I played an LP Classic, heritage cherry, which I like. Then I played a Standard in honeyburst which was REALLY nice, but I have to admit, I was disappointed in the top. A couple small knots, not a whole lot of flame. The sales guy said it's a AA top, they can be hit and miss. Jeez.

    The had some reissues & historics with some AMAZING tops on them - WAY out of my league.

    There was NO MISTAKING the difference in feel, materials, and sound between the Gibby's and my Epi though. I'm not in any hurry, since I don't have two grand, but at least I'm starting to envision what I want...someday.
     
  17. rdnzl

    rdnzl Member

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    Epis are better than Gibsons.

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    Wait.....it's the other way around!

    :)
     
  18. guitarfish

    guitarfish Member

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    My what a difference a month makes! I resurrected this thread because I did it - I went out and got a Gibson LP. Originally looked at Studios, but I was fortunate enough to get a Standard. WOW! :eek:

    For years, and I mean YEARS, I've read threads here and elsewhere about Gibson/Edwards/Epi/Agile/Tokai, is Gibson worth it, etc. I can only speak from my personal experience.

    I started with an Epi LP with a nice top. It was nice. I upgraded to GFS Fat PAFs. Now it was very nice. Then I got a Gibson. GAME OVER.

    When it comes to playability - the ease of moving up & down the neck - the Gibson is masterful. Tonally, the Gibson is on a whole different plateau. The whole instrument just feels superior. I managed to get one with a one piece mahogany back, nice flame top. The neck, fretwork, electronics, hardware - all incredible.

    As amazed as I am by all this, the guy I bought it from sold it for a Historic. HE says the Historic blows away the Standard. OK, I can't even think about what that's like.

    So if anyone stumbles across here wondering about Epi's, I would say that it's a great place to start. If you don't have the bread for a Gibson, you can get a nice LP for around five hundred bucks. But I would also say that if you really like LPs, you owe it to yourself to someday get your hands on a Gibson.

    Here's the new baby...
    [​IMG]
     
  19. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    Congrats and welcome to the club. I always thought that Epi felt like a toy after I picked up a Gibson. Impossible to convince anyone of that until they experience it for themselves.
     
  20. TD_Madden

    TD_Madden Gold Supporting Member

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    Nice.

    Personally, though, I think my my '94 Guild Bluesbird (made on the east coast) puts them both to shame.
     

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