Considering stepping into the world of Gibsons, is it worth it?

redcoats1976

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i would consider looking at used gibbies.sooner or later you will find one that just perfect for yoy,and half the joy is in the hunt.
 

mjross

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Just get one and try it out! Several of the dealers allow a test period. Words and discussion are not going to answer your question. Les Paul Studio is a great place to start, wonderful guitars!
 

efstop

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Among my Gibsons, three are Les Pauls, but nothing fancy - Tribute, Melody Maker (2014) and Junior Tribute DC. All cheap by Gibson standards but good players nonetheless. None are available now at the prices I paid then, but still worth what you pay if you can get any kind of discount IMO.
 

01GT Eibach

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My advice, if you want a Gibson save up for a Classic or Standard ... Huge step up? No, not huge. Noticeable, yes. Not huge. And with a Studio or Tribute even less noticeable.
I agree with this post. It is time to stop compromising, and get a Standard or a Classic. Your only regret will be not doing it sooner. There are definite differences between Epi and Gibson that are very noticeable.
 

cybermgk

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I’ve been there, it’s an itch you have to scratch now.

Those are good guitars. It’s a very small step up from an Epi Modern/Prophecy to a Gibson Studio.

I’d save up some more for a used Standard/Classic/Traditional. Like either save for longer or sell a couple of those to help finance the Gibson. You won’t be disappointed.

My advice, if you want a Gibson save up for a Classic or Standard. I’d rather have an Epiphone LP Standard than a Gibson Studio or Tribute. But that’s just me.

Huge step up? No not huge. Noticeable, yes. Not huge. And with a Studio or Tribute even less noticeable.
Agree with the above, if for no other reason than the Classic or Standard will have imho better pickups than the Studio. Also if you find a good one for you (ie like the neck taper, feel et al), it will be the perfect stereotypical Les Paul for life, imho. I am partial to binding on a full arch top LP.

I've had 5 - 7 Epiphone LPs over the years. Some, were top tier for Epiphones. They were all great guitars. I won't buy a China made Epiphone new, any more, but that is purely due to political choice.

I have kept my 4 Gibson Les Pauls, a Classic, a Tribute I had a full nitro gloss added, and 2 Specials. Granted I got excellent deals on all 4. But, I find, for me, for a gloss finish, I prefer Nitro over Epiphone's Poly. It just feels better in my hands, particularly the neck.

Also, the greater break angle of the head on Gibsons, does feel different on the strings, and it's a difference I like and prefer.

I won't get into whether the above to preferences make the tone better or worse, let's not go down that rabbit hole. Let's leave it at, I like them for how they affect my playing.

The 4 gibsons do sound fantastic, are very resonant (particularly the classic). Not all the Epiphones were like that. CAVEAT, every Gibson I have, I tried before I bought, except the Classic (and that one I had my Sweetwater Personal Sales Rep, try 4 out for me, filming each and giving me his response. God knows I've spent a ton there). Only the one used Epi did I do that with. And my Classic is one of the better Les Pauls I;ve personally tried (Have never tried a custom shop, in case I fell in love, and I know I can't afford).

And, I will admit, if 100% honest, a small part of me likes the Gibson name on the headstock, so sue me.

And this will possibly ruffle some feathers. An Epiphone Les Paul, will never imho sound the SAME as a Gibson. Oh, they can sound as GOOD (even better on aa case by case basis), but they will always sound a little different. The Poly, headstock angle, and potentially different sourced woods all add to this. Just imho, ymmv.

So ultimately you have to ask yourself, why do you want that Gibson? What matters to you?

With what you have "Epiphone Modern, an Epiphone Prophecy, also a PRS SE singlecut and a LTD EC." IMHO a Studio isn't going to provide you more than that Modern (a heck of a bang for buck LP). It will be Nitro, and it will be Gibson, but how much is that worth to you?
 

Leee

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Pots and switches on an Epiphone are sub-par.
Always have been.
In my experience, the pickups were reliable - if you’re OK with the way they sound.

When the electronics give you trouble, stripping them out and upgrading to the good stuff will equal a big chunk of the price difference of getting into a Gibson to start with.

I owned some Korean Epiphones from the nineties, and worked on several for friends back then.
They usually played decently, but there’s definitely a difference.

However, if you can’t tell the difference then there’s no reason to PAY the difference.

Me?
After owning cheapo guitars all through the 80s, I finally decided to spend the money to step it up in 1993.
I’m never going back.
 

gball

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Pots and switches on an Epiphone are sub-par.
Always have been.
In my experience, the pickups were reliable - if you’re OK with the way they sound.

When the electronics give you trouble, stripping them out and upgrading to the good stuff will equal a big chunk of the price difference of getting into a Gibson to start with.

I owned some Korean Epiphones from the nineties, and worked on several for friends back then.
They usually played decently, but there’s definitely a difference.

However, if you can’t tell the difference then there’s no reason to PAY the difference.

Me?
After owning cheapo guitars all through the 80s, I finally decided to spend the money to step it up in 1993.
I’m never going back.

For me, just the difference between the nitro finish on a Gibson and the horrible plastic on an Epiphone makes the cost of a Gibson more than tolerable in comparison. That feel costs money but like pretty much everything in life you get what you pay for no matter how much you rationalize and no matter how many times someone has said to me "this Epi is as good as any Gibson" when I pick it up the fraudlence of that statement is felt immediately.

This is before we even get to all the other factors that make the Gibson, in reality, quite a bargain actually.
 

dspelman

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I've been a Les Paul fan for a long time but I've only purchased low to mid-tier guitars, namely an Epiphone Modern, an Epiphone Prophecy, also a PRS SE singlecut and a LTD EC.

Though I'm happy I've always wondered if I should get a Gibson. Is there gonna be a noticeable or even better, huge difference?
My experience is the opposite. I started with a Gibson ES-335 long ago (like. really long ago), and these days they don't really hold much mystique for me. I have a bunch of them and they're mostly just old and familiar.

Over time, I discovered Carvins (in the late '80s, early 90's) and noted that they were using better woods and their build quality was actually better, at half to three quarters the price. So I've got several of those.

About a decade ago, I had a bandleader who wanted me to have, specifically, a Gibson Les Paul for a project, so I bought an Axcess Custom. Around the same time, I'd discovered Agile guitars and tried one of their customs at the same time. Both got the same hardware, pickups and wiring, but as it turned out, the Agile was a bit easier to play and sounded better. No claims, here for all of Agile guitars or all of Gibson. Both got PLEK'd, but the Agile had slightly larger frets and a slightly wider fretboard; the Agile was a full-thickness solid mahogany body while the Axcess was chambered with a slightly thinner body, and both have carved neck heels.

My read on all of this is that offshore guitars have come *way* up in quality and playability and depending on the specific guitars in question, there's no guarantee that the more expensive guitar is the better guitar.

One example, I suppose, is the comparison between a Studio Shred (black Studio, no binding, standard frets, Floyd Rose, standard 12" radius fretboard, etc.) and an Agile AL-3100MCC with Floyd. New the Gibson Studio Shred was $1800 at the time with a gig bag. The Agile was $399 plus $25 shipping (this was about 10 years ago). The Agile has custom-style binding on the body and headstock, single-layer binding on the fretboard, an ebony fretboard, jumbo frets, 14" radius and real MOP trap inlays with some pretty good AlnicoV pickups and a Korean Floyd from one of the same two production lines that were making OFRs at the time.

There's a slight cheat here: I actually picked up the Agile used for $200 and it needed fretwork. Gary Brawer in Berkeley superglued the frets and PLEK'd the guitar for low action. Playability is now spectacular, but the work was $315, so my total outlay was $515, and I found a hard shell case (used, again), branded Epiphone, in an inventory clearance at my local GC for $9.99. Total outlay (not counting strings) $525 for a guitar that plays spectacularly well and sounds great.

A friend of mine bought the Studio Shred. He tried the Agile and is going to have the same done to that guitar.

I'm not sure that either of us is convinced that (again, these are two specific guitars and not meant to carry the brand banner for either) there's a huge difference between the two. And if there's a difference at all, it's slightly in favor of the Agile. I still like and respect Gibsons, but I'm not (and probably have never been) very convinced that the logo makes the guitar.
 

Restonmachaan

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Do it!
IMG_20220729_221522954_2.jpg
 

redking

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Yes with the caveat that a Les Paul carve top is a completely different instrument than every other solid body electric made by Gibson due to the way it's weight is distributed. You may love an LP Junior or Special and hate an LP Standard or Studio. You have to try them out to see for yourself.
 

Standard

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I've been a Les Paul fan for a long time but I've only purchased low to mid-tier guitars, namely an Epiphone Modern, an Epiphone Prophecy, also a PRS SE singlecut and a LTD EC.

Though I'm happy I've always wondered if I should get a Gibson. Is there gonna be a noticeable or even better, huge difference? Does anyone have similar experience? I'm looking at Gibson Studios 'cause that's the best I can afford at the moment. There're no guitar shop near me so I'd have to take a leap of faith and order it online.
I would say that definitely yes there is a difference, whether that's a positive difference is subjective and will vary based on every guitar and every player. Gibson uses better materials so on average they will be better quality but I have played some fantastic cheap guitars and some really shitty Gibson's. They are also built to slightly different specs, so they feel different because they are, again subjective as to which is better.

Definitely try to check out things like online classifieds around your area, don't just go tire kicking every guitar in the area but just because you go to check out a guitar doesn't mean you have to buy it. If you're looking to spend a sizeable chunk of money having hands on it or a very good return policy is key, it usually only takes a few minutes to know if you'll like it.
 

AJK1

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It's personal preference. For me I always loved the way they looked and sounded in the hands of guys like Jimmy Paige and Jeff Beck. They were also cost prohibitive and I rarely saw a lefty. Once Ibanez came around to making lefties I used those, but always had an eye out for an LP. Now that I'm somewhat solvent I was able to snag a very clean '90/59 reissue that I'll be buried with.

All that said, play as many as you can lay hands on and see if it suits you. Some folks take to them and some find other styles like Strats more to their liking. Also note that depending on model and year they can vary wildly, so play what you're going to buy, and / or make sure there's a good return policy. YMMV :)
Paige lol
 

AJK1

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I've been a Les Paul fan for a long time but I've only purchased low to mid-tier guitars, namely an Epiphone Modern, an Epiphone Prophecy, also a PRS SE singlecut and a LTD EC.

Though I'm happy I've always wondered if I should get a Gibson. Is there gonna be a noticeable or even better, huge difference? Does anyone have similar experience? I'm looking at Gibson Studios 'cause that's the best I can afford at the moment. There're no guitar shop near me so I'd have to take a leap of faith and order it online.
Sell all those bloody Epi planks and save up even more and buy a Gibby CUSTOM and Rock the Fuck on !
 

Leee

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angeldeville

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I have “cheaper” geetars that are amazing…

They still aren’t a Gibson.

I’m not the biggest Lester Paulson fan and my most expensive one is a BFG, if I ran across a carve top DC, I’d probably take a deep dive.
 

BadPenguin

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Ok, get your grubby little mitts on every Gibson Paul you can find, and play it. Doesn't matter the model, play it. Then as you play it, ask yourself "Does this feel better/worse/equal to what I have now? Does this give me that sound I hear in my head? Do my hands like it?" Maybe it will be better enough to spend the extra coin, perhaps not. That's YOUR decision, not ours. (Personally, I prefer my 81 Ibanez Artist over any of the Pauls I had. Operative word there, had.)
 

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