Epiphone says "Graduate to a Gibson"

jb_abides

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2007
Messages
4,790
Reaction score
9,595
I just got an email from Epiphone. There was zero Epiphone content contained within...

Instead, it was SUBJ: "Graduate to a Gibson," advertising entry-level Gibson Modern Collection Les Paul Special Tributes for $999.

Ended with "Made in America."

So they're giving Epis away while simultaneously advertising low-cost USA :hmm:

Gibson was always meant to be an aspirational ladder-up from Epiphone, historically. But this is targeted cannibalization given such a price point overlap, no?

I wonder if this is temporarily playing to the 'temperature of the room' WRT marketing in the new era of China Covid sentiment, or a new vector they will continue to pursue?

There's a lot of machining-- and more importantly training -- investment in China. Plus sourcing parts and wood. With the new glut of labor in the US would it be worth bringing Epi back to the USA?
 

karaterick

Senior Member
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
1,069
Reaction score
216
I just sold all of my mid-level gear. Two Epi LP Tributes and a MIM Charvel Pro Mod San Dimas.
Bought a Gibson LP Standard.
The Epiphones and Charvel were pretty decent guitars, but really I don’t want a bunch a Made in China stuff.
Still playing in Chinese amps I’m guessing, but one step at a time.
 

jbash

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2014
Messages
1,117
Reaction score
1,411
My pipe dream?

Eliminate any Gibson under $1500. Start the SG Standards/Les Paul Specials/JRs. there like they are now and go up.

Epiphone production goes to Japan. Prices start around $700 - $900 (Jrs, specials, SG standards, 67 Vs, etc) and move up to around 1300 (Les Paul Standards/Customs).

More realistic scenario- Move production back to S. Korea and Indonesia- these builders are putting out far better products in the PRS SE line, Schecter, LTD, B.C. Rich,D'Angelico etc than Epiphone China is. The only way to get the quality out of China is to pay them big bux. Like the Eastman models- but they are as much as a MIJ guitar. No thanks. I'd rather give my money to a democracy.
 

shupe13

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
2,489
Reaction score
2,056
Just my thought. I spent 23 years in the military. Four in the Marine Corps and 19 in the Army. I'm American. Proud, but not to the point of arrogance. I'm not always happy with my government's decisions but at least I can vote for my leadership.

Corporate greed is the reason a lot of once American made products are now made overseas. It's that simple. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I have to feel for the Chinese workers though. I'm sure they're trying to make ends meet, just like many Americans. I'd be willing to bet that a good amount of those workers wish they could have a democratic government like mine.

I'll keep buying Epiphone guitars because I like them. I'll keep buying Gibson when I find a hella deal. I despise the "Graduate to a Gibson" mentality because it puts people into classes. With this, you'll only be this... With this you can be this..." Bullshit.
 
Last edited:

Spiteface

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2011
Messages
1,958
Reaction score
2,561
I'll keep buying Epiphone guitars because I like them. I'll keep buying Gibson when I find a hella deal. I despise the "Graduate to a Gibson" mentality because it puts people in classes. With this, you'll only be this... With this you can be this..." Bullshit.
They've always played mind games with people buying Epiphone, even back in the Henry J days.

That's why they will likely NEVER make Epiphones with a true "open book" headstock. It's to remind you, that you got the cheap one.

You can give it a good setup, mod it to within an inch if its life, pickups, pots, the works. You may be able to narrow that gap but you'll never truly close it. So you aspire to own a Gibson.

But then there are people who will buy an Epiphone Casino before they even look at an ES-330, because that's one of the iconic Beatles guitars. Other guitarists made their names with Epiphones as well.

Honestly, I don't see why they don't just make Gibsons outside of America, with the headstock. Fender does it. and people will STILL buy American Fenders over Chinese or Mexican-made Fenders.
 

karaterick

Senior Member
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
1,069
Reaction score
216
Just my thought. I spent 23 years in the military. Four in the Marine Corps and 19 in the Army. I'm American. Proud, but not to the point of arrogance. I'm not always happy with my government's decisions but at least I can vote for my leadership.

Corporate greed is the reason a lot of once American made products are now made overseas. It's that simple. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I have to feel for the Chinese workers though. I'm sure they're trying to make ends meet, just like many Americans. I'd be willing to bet that a good amount of those workers wish they could have a democratic government like mine.

I'll keep buying Epiphone guitars because I like them. I'll keep buying Gibson when I find a hella deal. I despise the "Graduate to a Gibson" mentality because it puts people into classes. With this, you'll only be this... With this you can be this..." Bullshit.
Corporate greed is not all there is to it. Regulations that the US has to follow an China doesn’t and the pay and treatment of workers are heavily in play.
And if you’re as against the class system as you claim how in the world could you buy anything from China?
 

gball

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
770
Reaction score
815
I'm totally good with this and think it's a smart move on their part to reinforce the heirarchy that they (Gibson) intentionally established when they bought Epiphone, which was always intended to be a stepping-stone brand for them. And now that the economy here is in stasis it's the smart move to push lower-cost, high volume Gibson models to keep the pipeline moving. Push comes to shove they will save the core brand first and worry about what is, in their system, the entry-level one later.

From a broader perspective, I don't like the fact that they are making Epiphones in China at all and will not buy one that was made there (had a wonderful one that was Korean-made before). I avoid Chinese-made products whenever possible, which is obviously hard to do in this era and I surely pay more for a lot of the things I buy, but I do try really hard not to support their system
 
Last edited:

jb_abides

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2007
Messages
4,790
Reaction score
9,595
I stopped buying Epiphone in China, although I acknowledge Gibson has done things "right" there in terms of training and quality, it's not just subcontracted out, they own and exert leadership...

That said, one of my Casinos is MIK. The other, Nashville made.

I think the best future for Epiphone is to return to making a full line Epi-classic models that are not just chep LPs or SG with a different headstock. Make the equivalent range, but unique models. Casino to ES-330, and so on. Bring a unique mystique to Epiphone, as a strong brand.

Find another place, maybe more than one? Vietnam, Indonesia... even the US. There's a lot of people who are highly trainable and will be job hunting.
 

paruwi

Kraut-Rocker
Joined
Dec 24, 2009
Messages
22,222
Reaction score
32,278
Hell, I might even buy one them thar' Epis thats is made in 'Merica.
Waiting for your NGD thread....

 

jb_abides

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2007
Messages
4,790
Reaction score
9,595
Waiting for your NGD thread....
Irony: no lefties on the one Insta-Buy Epi for me. :facepalm:

There was the McCartney one, priced very high.
 

Seven

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2009
Messages
5,630
Reaction score
17,215
Waiting for your NGD thread....

I'm jonesin' for one of those! :dude:
 

BadPenguin

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
1,218
Reaction score
1,092
Ok, here we go again with that old "China is bad, Chinese guitars are worse, but not mine" knee jerk reaction to something done by Gibson. (Good marketing ploy by Gibby, keeps them in the news.)

Gibby's "Graduate.." marketing ploy may just bite them in the ass. The average person who is a little guitar knowledgeable will look at the advert and think to themselves..."Hmmm, I already buy your products, and they aren't good enough? Screw you Gibson." It's actually insulting their own product line and the buyers. That's definitely a Henry J move if I ever saw one!

And yet, Gibson will STILL make their Epiphone brand in China to keep the pricing down, since Japan is almost as pricey as the states for production costs, and Korea is moving upwards. Yes, they could go to India, but they would be spending the same amount as they did in building in China, PLUS training new slaves workers to work there.
 

gball

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
770
Reaction score
815
Ok, here we go again with that old "China is bad, Chinese guitars are worse, but not mine" knee jerk reaction to something done by Gibson. (Good marketing ploy by Gibby, keeps them in the news.)

Gibby's "Graduate.." marketing ploy may just bite them in the ass. The average person who is a little guitar knowledgeable will look at the advert and think to themselves..."Hmmm, I already buy your products, and they aren't good enough? Screw you Gibson." It's actually insulting their own product line and the buyers. That's definitely a Henry J move if I ever saw one!

And yet, Gibson will STILL make their Epiphone brand in China to keep the pricing down, since Japan is almost as pricey as the states for production costs, and Korea is moving upwards. Yes, they could go to India, but they would be spending the same amount as they did in building in China, PLUS training new slaves workers to work there.
I'm a pretty average guitar buyer, and have been around pretty average/knowledgeable guitar buyers for over 40 years now, and I don't think in all that time anyone has confused the strata of Epihone to Gibson. Most people are fine knowing that Epiphone is a gateway to Gibson, a handful like to make the argument they they are just as good but I have always perceived that argument as protesting to much if you know what mean. Along the way plenty of people find that they are perfectly happy with Epi's and choose to play them instead of Gibsons but I don't believe that to be out of confusion regarding where the products stand in the greater Gibson universe. Just as I don't think the average person in a Camry confuses what they have with a Lexus. In my own experience the overwhelming majority of Epiphone players wish they had a Gibson instead and aspire to one day have one, and that's what Gibson is playing to here.
 

lespaulfreak93

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2012
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
9,777
Don't forget that it wasn't the poor Chinese who chose to fire American workers years ago and move the factories there...

I'll buy a quality product. Where it's made doesn't matter to me.
What I'd like Epiphone to do is drastically step up QC. The new lineup is nice. Some things are always there that make me feel like they really are just looking for a way to make you know you have the cheaper option.
I'm all for a deal.
Never had an Epiphone that was great, I currently own 3 and had a 4th which was the only bass/guitar I ever sold.
They're... well they'll do. Not the best sounding, not the best playing, but they look the part for some instruments I could never buy like a J200, a 70's LP Signature bass or a 335.
I'm thinking about one of the new ones just to see if they change what I think about them.
I like where they're heading.
Would I stop buying Gibson USA if there were Gibsons made outside of the USA?
Probably. If they were as good as MiM Fenders, I wouldn't hesitate.
But for now, the beautiful experience of buying a new Gibson is just too much of an experience I'm not willing to give up on.
Having said that, I'll buy European when possible. Just never got around to it in terms of guitar gear.
A lot of great companies here.
 

lespaulfreak93

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2012
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
9,777
Let's not forget what LP Juniors which everyone would kill for now were originally made for...

And the Kalamazoo brand, USA made chapos (though they have not aged well... at least the one I played) was a much worse deal than a good Epiphone IMHO.
 


Latest Threads



Top