Major differences of Epiphone vs Gibson?

Discussion in 'Epiphone Les Pauls' started by mgridgaway, Apr 2, 2010.

  1. mgridgaway

    mgridgaway Senior Member

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    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.
     
  2. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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    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.:thumb: 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!
     
  3. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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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.

    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.
     
  4. Lurcher

    Lurcher Senior Member

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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.
     
  5. lazz

    lazz Senior Member

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    ooh someone got out the wrong side of the bed this morning. :laugh2:
     
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  6. L60N

    L60N Senior Member

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    These questions are kind of embarrassing. :(
     
  7. lazz

    lazz Senior Member

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    Not if you dont know the answers.
     
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  8. mgridgaway

    mgridgaway Senior Member

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    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.
     
  9. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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    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.:thumb:


    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.
     
  10. L60N

    L60N Senior Member

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    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. :thumb:

    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 :rolleyes:.

    Have a nice day. :thumb:
     
  11. dennistruckdriver

    dennistruckdriver V.I.P. Member

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    [​IMG]

    Don't even post an answer.:rolleyes:
     
  12. -=[Shifty]=-

    -=[Shifty]=- Epi Verification Expert V.I.P. Member

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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.
     
  13. KP

    KP Senior Member

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    Only one comment.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. mgridgaway

    mgridgaway Senior Member

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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.
     
  15. planks

    planks Senior Member

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    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. :thumb:
     
  16. redcoats1976

    redcoats1976 Senior Member

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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.
     
  17. 07LPStandard

    07LPStandard Senior Member

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    :shock::shock::shock:
     
  18. diceman

    diceman V.I.P. Member

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    "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!

    :laugh2:

    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.
     
  19. mgridgaway

    mgridgaway Senior Member

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    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.
     
  20. diceman

    diceman V.I.P. Member

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    There is nothing difficult about deciding which is the better instrument finish between Poly and Nitro! :laugh2: 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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