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Unread 04-02-2010, 04:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

So, this is probably known, but what are the major differences between, say, a Epiphone Plus Top and a Gibson Studio (the $1300 one, not the $800). Tuners, pickups, hardware, I know that's higher quality. But what about the actual wood? The inlays? The construction? Finish? What makes it worth $800 more? The name? Made in USA?

If a Plus top can be had for $500 ($300 if you get used), and can be upgraded to similar hardware as a Gibson for say $300, what are the real differences we're looking at here? What can't you really change without spending more money than it's worth?

Honestly, I'm just curious. I know Gibson LP's are quality, but I wonder how far off an Epi LP is.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 04:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

Quality is the major difference

Gibson (Made in the USA) = Better electronics, better/higher quality wood/finish (lacquer), hardware, etc

Epiphone (MIC) = Lower quality woods/finish (poly/plastic), lower quality electronics, hardware, etc

9x out of 10, if your going to spend the money to upgrade an Epi, you might as well just go ahead save up for/buy a Gibson. Not to mention, in most cases, the flame/plus top on Epis is a veneer (a very thin piece of flamed maple laminate) over a solid maple cap, or in some cases, alder.

I have both an Epi LP Standard Plus and a Gibson LP Classic GT. They are miles apart in overall quality. My Epi isn't that bad, but if I knew then what I know now, I would have held out a little longer, but I was young and it was my first LP, so...leason learned!
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Unread 04-02-2010, 04:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

This question gets asked many times, and it is difficult to answer. But I'll try. Epiphone quality is uneven. For example, many Epis have uneven frets that won't allow an action as low as many want -- but is still within Epis warranty. This requires a fret level and polish by a luthier. The chrome plating on Epis is often poor, and wears through in less than a year of normal use. Ei pups often don't suit the player. While Gibson is less than perfect in this regard, Gibson quality is more even from example to example. Thus, Gibsons have a higher resale value as a percent of original price, and in time, some Gibsons now sell used for many times what they cost new.

On the other hand, I bought my Epi '56 goldtop LP P90 for $474, whereas a new Gibson version would have cost me close to $4000. But, to get the Epi where I wanted it, I had to have a fret level and polish, new bridge, new TP, new nut, new pots, and new caps, which put the total cost of the Epi closer to $800. I knew all this before I bought, so this is not a complaint, and my Epi now plays and sounds great. Better than the REAL '56 Gibson goldtop P 90 I played for a while back in '62. So in my isolated case, Epi was actually the way to go, because I wanted an LP goldtop P 90 that would be the best I could get for the least money.

But for others with different goals, Epi (plus mods) might not be the way to go at all. Basically, you've got to know what you want, realize that an Epi will probably need some mods to get there, and do your own math.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 04:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

Again? How many of these threads!
If you have to ask the difference, you probably wouldn't notice it much, but you'll find all the answers via the search bar.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 04:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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Again? How many of these threads!
If you have to ask the difference, you probably wouldn't notice it much, but you'll find all the answers via the search bar.
ooh someone got out the wrong side of the bed this morning.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 04:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

These questions are kind of embarrassing.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 04:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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These questions are kind of embarrassing.
Not if you dont know the answers.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 05:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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Originally Posted by L60N View Post
These questions are kind of embarrassing.
But I do know these answers for the most part. I'm moreso asking for specific comparisons. Like for instance, Epi's Poly vs Gibson's Nitro. Perloid vs the real deal. I know these.. I want to know what else. Specific construction techniques that make Gibson's superior.

Not too hard right? And hey, if you don't like it, you don't have to post in the first place. There are plenty of helpful people who want to talk.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 05:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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Originally Posted by mgridgaway View Post
But I do know these answers for the most part. I'm moreso asking for specific comparisons. Like for instance, Epi's Poly vs Gibson's Nitro. Perloid vs the real deal. I know these.. I want to know what else. Specific construction techniques that make Gibson's superior.

Not too hard right? And hey, if you don't like it, you don't have to post in the first place. There are plenty of helpful people who want to talk.
Gibson = 2-3 piece high-quality mahogany backs, 2-3 piece, solid maple tops, 1 piece (not including the side "wings" on the headstock) mahogany neck.

Epiphone = Multi-piece (sometimes 3-4) mahogany backs, 2 piece alder (plain) tops, or thin maple veneers over a multi-piece alder or maple top, 2 piece (scarf jointed) neck.


Poly finish = Tough as a tank, inhibits the guitars ability to resonate, doesn't "age".

Nitro finish = Softer, and being more porous, it allows the wood to resonate/"breath" better which gives the guitar a more "woody" tone.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 05:24 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgridgaway View Post
But I do know these answers for the most part. I'm moreso asking for specific comparisons. Like for instance, Epi's Poly vs Gibson's Nitro. Perloid vs the real deal. I know these.. I want to know what else. Specific construction techniques that make Gibson's superior.

Not too hard right? And hey, if you don't like it, you don't have to post in the first place. There are plenty of helpful people who want to talk.
Im not having a pop, weve seen it soo many times before is all.

Your right, Its not too hard, but I think you need to be more specific thats all. Its a pretty massive question otherwise. Kinda like the "Why is Gibson better" To which the short answer would be quality of construction and choice of materials and parts, which as you stated, you already know.

Im sure a lot of it comes down to the name on the Headstock too, it carries a premium whether we like it or not.

If you wanna know more intricate details, then I think you need to ask the more specific question thats all.

If your deciding on which to buy, but are having trouble deciding, then why not think about what is most important to you, if its about the quality of the finish, then ask about the differences etc. These questions will be mroe replies I would think.

If the name on the headstock is most important, then you dont need us to justify it to you, you need to do that yourself.

Again, sorry if I came across shitty, not my intention and I'll be honest, I only glanced your OP and went .

Have a nice day.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 06:38 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?



Don't even post an answer.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 07:52 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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Originally Posted by rockstar232007 View Post
Gibson = 2-3 piece high-quality mahogany backs, 2-3 piece, solid maple tops, 1 piece (not including the side "wings" on the headstock) mahogany neck.
C'mon, your not serious, are you?
If Gibson would use high quality mahogany, their guitars wouldn't have to have half of the body wood routed out to not break the players back.
The only Gibsons getting high quality mahogany are the Historics.
Even the non-Historic Custom Shop guitars are weight relieved.

Well, granted, they use better woods than Epiphone...you can never be sure what an Epi is made of.

IMO, Gibson is stupid to limit themselves to Honduran mahogany. That's the real reason why they had to start to weight relief their guitars, in 1982, an furthermore chamber them since the end of 2006.

My Tokais are made out of African mahogany. Sounds great and no need for any kind of weight relief.
If they were chambered, I bet they'd come out at 5-6 lbs.
Chambered Gibson weigh around 9 lbs.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 09:20 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

Only one comment.

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Unread 04-02-2010, 02:05 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

So how much research has actually been done on the whole nitro vs poly issue? I'd imagine it'd be sorta hard to test such a thing unless you used two very similar guitars.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 02:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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Originally Posted by mgridgaway View Post
So how much research has actually been done on the whole nitro vs poly issue? I'd imagine it'd be sorta hard to test such a thing unless you used two very similar guitars.
Think no real need for so much "research" - it's just down to the nature and behaviour of poly and nitro when you put one of them onto wood no matter if it's onto the same guitar or not. It is like rockstar232007 posted earlier in the thread.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 02:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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So how much research has actually been done on the whole nitro vs poly issue? I'd imagine it'd be sorta hard to test such a thing unless you used two very similar guitars.
you mean like two strats,one MIM standard and one 57 AVRI? having owned these guitars for 3 years i can tell you the finish doesnt make that much of a difference.pickups do,and tuners that stay in tune are very handy too.if you can find an epi les paul like the boneyard (joe perry sig) or slash sig these came with the gibby pickups and the tuners wouldnt be hard to change out if you felt the need.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 02:55 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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This question gets asked many times, and it is difficult to answer. But I'll try. Epiphone quality is uneven. For example, many Epis have uneven frets that won't allow an action as low as many want -- but is still within Epis warranty. This requires a fret level and polish by a luthier. The chrome plating on Epis is often poor, and wears through in less than a year of normal use. Ei pups often don't suit the player. While Gibson is less than perfect in this regard, Gibson quality is more even from example to example. Thus, Gibsons have a higher resale value as a percent of original price, and in time, some Gibsons now sell used for many times what they cost new.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 02:58 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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So how much research has actually been done on the whole nitro vs poly issue? I'd imagine it'd be sorta hard to test such a thing unless you used two very similar guitars.
"Tone" impact aside... the feel isn't even similar. I'll take Nitro every time.

And, the better question is "is there anything similar about Gibson and Epiphone other than body shape?" The general answer is... NO!



That doesn't make an Epiphone a bad guitar - but they are not nearly as close to their Gibson cousins by any objective measure as many like to "think" they are.

Basically, they are NOT "the same guitar" built overseas - they are their own unique lower quality on all levels beast.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 03:01 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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you mean like two strats,one MIM standard and one 57 AVRI? having owned these guitars for 3 years i can tell you the finish doesnt make that much of a difference.pickups do,and tuners that stay in tune are very handy too.if you can find an epi les paul like the boneyard (joe perry sig) or slash sig these came with the gibby pickups and the tuners wouldnt be hard to change out if you felt the need.
See, this is the sorta answer I'm looking for. There are so many real factors that attribute toward a guitar that measuring poly vs nitro is a bit difficult. It's easy to assume that nitro is better because it's on a more expensive guitar, but I'd really like to see the evidence that supports it.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 03:06 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

There is nothing difficult about deciding which is the better instrument finish between Poly and Nitro! 9/10 honest players will tell you that they prefer the feel of Nitro. There are a slew of "experts" who have determined that the average Nitro finish detracts from the natural tone of the instrument less than the average Poly finish.

MOST Poly finishes - Epi included - are put on super thick. This is part of the problem.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 03:12 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

I own 06 standard plus in vintage burst (upgraded pots caps and pups) and an 09 56 goldtop (stock) I have played 4 or 5 gibsons. If you up grade the epi's with pups and electronics and have the set up done by someone who kows what they are doing, They will play better for the money than the gibsons however, this side of 15 hundred you can't beat the epi. I would love to have a gibson standard or a vos 59 but for now I get a lot of les paul satisfaction from my epis
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Unread 04-02-2010, 03:50 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

As with everything, the law of Diminishing Marginal Returns does apply to guitars.

A properly setup Epiphone WILL play just as well as a properly set up Gibson. (in terms of action, intonation, etc.).

That is only one factor to be considered - but I'd never take that away from a nice Epiphone.

Diminishing returns - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And, for the record, I'm FAR from an anti-Epi snob. This is one of my favorite guitars, and I've played the hell out of it.






As for the Epiphone tuner complaints... give me a break! I defy any of you to find me a set of asian Grovers which have any functional issues. They might be the highest quality part of the entire frigging guitar!


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Unread 04-02-2010, 04:03 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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They will play better for the money than the gibsons however, this side of 15 hundred you can't beat the epi.
Oh, sure you can.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 04:06 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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Oh, sure you can.
Aside from Tokai, Burny, Edwards, Greco, Orville, Orville by Gibson, MIJ Epi, and possibly Agile, I can't think of any.

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Unread 04-02-2010, 04:44 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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C'mon, your not serious, are you?
If Gibson would use high quality mahogany, their guitars wouldn't have to have half of the body wood routed out to not break the players back.
The only Gibsons getting high quality mahogany are the Historics.
Even the non-Historic Custom Shop guitars are weight relieved.

Well, granted, they use better woods than Epiphone...you can never be sure what an Epi is made of.

IMO, Gibson is stupid to limit themselves to Honduran mahogany. That's the real reason why they had to start to weight relief their guitars, in 1982, an furthermore chamber them since the end of 2006.

My Tokais are made out of African mahogany. Sounds great and no need for any kind of weight relief.
If they were chambered, I bet they'd come out at 5-6 lbs.
Chambered Gibson weigh around 9 lbs.
Sorry, I wasn't very specific. I meant to say "higher quality mahogany".
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Unread 04-02-2010, 04:58 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

On CD, there is no difference.

Nobody can tell what was recorded with an Epi, or Gibson. Nobody.

It's a matter of personal ego. If you really need a Gibson headstock, and feel like spending the extra money. Go for it. If you just want to play guitar, buy what you want.

I'm not trying to be a jerk on this...I just think this whole over-analysis of Gibson v Epiphone is silly.

I again invoke the motorcycle analogy. The Asian manufacturers make a far superior product mechanically...If you can live with the plastic mirrors and generic accessories. If all you want to do is ride...buy a Honda VTX.

That being said..I ride Harleys. It's heavy, and bulky, and slow and expensive, and overall...a lot of money for the satisfaction of ego.

Same analogy. The Epiphone is a great guitar. It gets ALL the same tones as a Gibson. Some say even fatter mids & lows. If all you want to do is buy a great guitar that IS a Les Paul. The choice is clear.

Guitar is an extremely personal instrument. People feel a connection, and like they're defined by what they play almost as much as how they play.

Gibson/Fender/Ibanez/ EVERY manufacturer knows that emotional connection is a prime facet of marketing. One of the major facets actually. It can dictate 80% of your buying choice. People here in this forum influence so many people to spend so much more than they need to.

If all you want to do is play a Les Paul...buy the Epi. Most people wouldn't even consider the upgrades. They're ego satisfying more than anything. If you're at the point where you need to change all the guts, you shouldn't be buying off the rack anyway. Have a true Custom built for you.

My opinion. Comfortable being "wrong." Don't care. I can't play well enough to sniff cork. I may never be able to. In fact, I haven't touched ANY 6 string guitar in almost 6 months. I find myself playing Bass more often than not. It "speaks" to me these days, and perhaps it's time to pare down my guitars and focus on what I'm doing more. Who knows?
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Unread 04-02-2010, 05:12 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

Well, let's see. Aside from woods used, methods of construction, country of manufacture, glues employed, shape of the neck, shape of the headstock, carve of the top, size and quality of fretwork, type of material used for the nut, inlays, and binding, size and quality of pots, switches, and jacks, pickups used AND placement of strap buttons, no difference at all, why?

Just kidding. The fact is a Gibson is a Gibson, and an Epiphone is an Epiphone, because much of the above is true, but there is NO reason an Epiphone can't be an amazing guitar differences aside. I have a couple myself, and I love them and play them both on a regular basis.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 05:12 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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On CD, there is no difference.

Nobody can tell what was recorded with an Epi, or Gibson. Nobody.

It's a matter of personal ego. If you really need a Gibson headstock, and feel like spending the extra money. Go for it. If you just want to play guitar, buy what you want.

I'm not trying to be a jerk on this...I just think this whole over-analysis of Gibson v Epiphone is silly.

I again invoke the motorcycle analogy. The Asian manufacturers make a far superior product mechanically...If you can live with the plastic mirrors and generic accessories. If all you want to do is ride...buy a Honda VTX.

That being said..I ride Harleys. It's heavy, and bulky, and slow and expensive, and overall...a lot of money for the satisfaction of ego.

Same analogy. The Epiphone is a great guitar. It gets ALL the same tones as a Gibson. Some say even fatter mids & lows. If all you want to do is buy a great guitar that IS a Les Paul. The choice is clear.

Guitar is an extremely personal instrument. People feel a connection, and like they're defined by what they play almost as much as how they play.

Gibson/Fender/Ibanez/ EVERY manufacturer knows that emotional connection is a prime facet of marketing. One of the major facets actually. It can dictate 80% of your buying choice. People here in this forum influence so many people to spend so much more than they need to.

If all you want to do is play a Les Paul...buy the Epi. Most people wouldn't even consider the upgrades. They're ego satisfying more than anything. If you're at the point where you need to change all the guts, you shouldn't be buying off the rack anyway. Have a true Custom built for you.

My opinion. Comfortable being "wrong." Don't care. I can't play well enough to sniff cork. I may never be able to. In fact, I haven't touched ANY 6 string guitar in almost 6 months. I find myself playing Bass more often than not. It "speaks" to me these days, and perhaps it's time to pare down my guitars and focus on what I'm doing more. Who knows?
For some people, it's about monetary appreciation. Most Gibsons (with or without upgrades) will either appreciate, or at least, hold their value. Epis on the other hand, will not...no matter what you put into them. It's not necessarily what they're made from, it's where/how they're made.

IMHO:
A Gibson is like an old Sports car...that just happens to make beautiful music.

An Epiphone is like the loner car you drive, when you Gibson/Courvette is in the shop.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 05:38 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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Originally Posted by rockstar232007 View Post
For some people, it's about monetary appreciation. Most Gibsons (with or without upgrades) will either appreciate, or at least, hold their value. Epis on the other hand, will not...no matter what you put into them. It's not necessarily what they're made from, it's where/how they're made.

IMHO:
A Gibson is like an old Sports car...that just happens to make beautiful music.

An Epiphone is like the loner car you drive, when you Gibson/Courvette is in the shop.
Who makes those Courvettes? Would love to see one sometime.
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Unread 04-02-2010, 05:39 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

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Originally Posted by diceman View Post
...

As for the Epiphone tuner complaints... give me a break! I defy any of you to find me a set of asian Grovers which have any functional issues. They might be the highest quality part of the entire frigging guitar!


Sheesh! We had Asian Grovers - took 3 exterminators to finally get rid of them.
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