*Gibson vs Epiphone*

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deMelo

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First off, this ain't a funny thread. At least, it is not meant to be. If possible, take it seriously: :naughty:



Ok, we all know that Epiphone has been increasing the quality control, and they are making some damn good guitars. Gibson, on the other hand, seems to be disfiguring many of its models year after year...

I say this because that's what I read all around. I've become a Fender player in the last couple of years, and am completely satisfied with what they make in Corona and Ensenada, and I have no contact with Gibsons/Epis these days.

So, how does a higher end Epi (i.e. a Casino or a Les Paul Standard) compare to a similar ranked Gibson TODAY?
 

drpietrzak

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Sigh. This is a really old discussion so it is something that could be searched on. Second the topic draws flame wars like few other things most of the time. I have and love both.

The construction is different. Some say quality of wood differs, though the "upper end" Epi I have seen, does not major flaws in wood used. The Epis are all laminate topped. The Gibsons don't do that. Finnish is different and hardware is generally different (though not so on all Epi's). The lower end Gibsons are also multipiece. As I suspect is my 2014 SG Standard.

I sold a 2005 LP Standard as I just never bonded with it. It was always sticky - after years. I have a Epi 1960 V3 tribute that I love. I have a 2011 1960 P90 Gibson Tribute I love, I have a 2013 LP Studio I love, I have a 2014 SG Standard I love.

Many of the current "upper end" Epis come with decent wiring and Gibson pickups. My Epi for example has BB1 and BB2 pickups (which I really like) and decent wiring.

The sound and playability of my Epi is on par with any Gibson I have played. It does have a poly finish and multipiece body. The fretwire on Epi is smaller so I had it refretted with taller wire for $200. I do not expect to get that back ever, but I do not intend to sell it.

if you are looking for a player, and the poly finish and other aspects do not bother you they are great. I do not feel I would be lacking as a player walking out with my Epi.

This said note I own 3 Gibsons (2 LPs) and one Epi. The solid top and other aspects has a psychological appeal to me. I guess in that sense the "lifestyle" brand Gibson does make a difference for me.
 

deMelo

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There are many threads about it, indeed, but my question here is about the latest Epiphones, which are quite a bit better made than the ones manufactured a couple of years ago...

And Gibson guitars have been through their own bit of changes as well...

No point in ressurecting old threads to discuss this...
 

tzd

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my question here is about the latest Epiphones, which are quite a bit better made than the ones manufactured a couple of years ago...

I like the recent ones that are Made in Indonesia - for example the Les Paul Florentine and SOME of the Les Paul Standard Plustop Pros. They have a neck profile that feels very good to me, unlike most of the other Epis made in China or Korea.
 

deMelo

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DrPietrzak, your post is a fine example. We can open a thread about these subjects and be perfectly civil, I liked your observations about the Epis.

When I open such a thread, I KNOW there will be the necessary jumpers who will shout "do a search" before even reading what the topic is about, and there WILL be trolling and flaming... Not my fault.

So far, the thread is doing perfectly well. :)

tzd, the florentine is quite an interesting guitar, I wonder how the probuckers sound on a hollow body. Compared to most Gibsons I've played, I always found the Epi pups quite fat, but a bit muddy, less bright.
 

ScottMarlowe

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Another vote for the Indonesian made Epis. My Sorrento is a top notch guitar, easily a match build quality wise with my 2013 '70s Trib SG. But so is the Pelham Blue Les Paul Custom SG that was made in China.

OTOH, my other Epis all had varying degrees of meh-ness in terms of fit and finish, primarily poorly finished frets. Too many high frets, no polishing or leveling of any kind done etc. Electronics were ok, not great (currently ripping out the electronics and pickups in one of my 1961 SG Special P-90s for replacement).

I think the neck to body joints, fretboard to neck connections, etc are all fine on them. Tuners on all of mine are ok, not great, not bad. A lot of good guitar for the money.

OTOH, it feels like Gibson is wandering away from plain old fashioned quality guitars. Some of the examples to leave the factory are in fact much worse than any epiphone I've seen. Big flat spots on the frets where it looks like they were leveled with a belt sander, etc.

My verdict: Epiphones are consistently decent to great, mostly good. Gibsons are all over the freaking place, from GREAT to dear lord who was working QA that day and how did this leave the factory? Which is sad. At the price point of Gibsons I expect better. At the price point if Epiphones I'm getting exactly what I expect. A decent mod platform.
 

paruwi

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....
So, how does a higher end Epi (i.e. a Casino or a Les Paul Standard) compare to a similar ranked Gibson TODAY?

I don't think a Casino or a LP standard actually are 'Higher End' Epis :hmm:

Personally I'd consider models with 'factory upgrades' like Gibson US pickups
or the ones with better electronics or long neck tenons as the 'Higher End' Epis

for example
LP Tribute Plus, Joe B sign, ES-175 Premium, Tak Matsumoto DC, Gary Clark Blak'n'Blu Casino,
just to name a few

The biggest ' + ' on the current Epi line is...........
we still have 43mm nut width :lol:
and NO G-Farce :lol: (except 2 models)
and NO Z-Fan :lol:
we never had baked maple or any other substitute as fretboard :lol:
 

deMelo

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You certainly got a point there, Herr PeteR.

But when I mentioned the Casino and the Les Paul Standard as higher end guitars from the Epi lineup I was meaning the ones that were "100%" Epiphone.

For instance, when you pick up a Tribute + Les Paul, it's an Epi, all right, but the pickups and many specs are Gibson, so they're kind of a hybrid guitar... And yes, you're right: they will stand righ there, in the middle of the two brands above the other Epis...
 

Mexicanbreed

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Many people upgrade instruments. Not just the cheaper ones, either. Are you saying that the discussion should be restricted to out-of-the-factory instruments? In that case, as in all, one should look at the individual guitars. However, if we consider the value-to-money ratio, I think that the Epis likely come out ahead.
 

Tomsmenace

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First off, this ain't a funny thread.

really?

OK, 2 blues lawyers walk into a jam...one has an epiphone.

now it's funny.

If possible, take it seriously: :naughty:

i can't.


Ok, we all know that Epiphone has been increasing the quality control, and they are making some damn good guitars. Gibson, on the other hand, seems to be disfiguring many of its models year after year...

So, how does a higher end Epi (i.e. a Casino or a Les Paul Standard) compare to a similar ranked Gibson TODAY?

bottom line for me is most epi's I've played were fine and about half the gibson's I've played were also fine. i'll play whatever anymore, i don't even care. country of origin and quality are not a direct correlation these days. cnc and other more modern manufacturing techniques closed that gap.
 

Sinster

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Wow, you really love policing the threads don't you? Don't be so crusty, is it really that big of a deal to you? :rolleyes:

I do when people who have been here for awhile ask a question that's already been beat like a dead horse hundred times over. :yesway:

Originally Posted by deMelo View Post
....
So, how does a higher end Epi (i.e. a Casino or a Les Paul Standard) compare to a similar ranked Gibson TODAY?

Well I think YESTERDAYS Gibson's weren't as good as TODAY Epiphone, but TOMORROW's Gibsons might be better.
 

paruwi

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I do when people who have been here for awhile ask a question that's already been beat like a dead horse hundred times over. :yesway:

You're a Mod ?
If not, sorry, it's not your business

Well, there is no need to post in a thread you think it's beating a dead horse....

If you don't have anything useful to contribute - then don't :dude:
 

old mark

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I have at least 8 Gibsons, and have had several going back to the 1960's until 2011 and I have about about 5 Epiphones ranging '70's Japanese - made to 2012 from China and Indonesia.
Gibsons ARE all over the place, at least more than Epi's, but several of the best I have ever played are those from 2010 and newer.
Epiphones...From the MIK era till the last 4 or 5 years, have been very good or better and improving, and that goes for the Chinese made models, the one I have from Indonesia and the one Elitist that seems to have been made in Japan from US parts or something.
( My 2012 Elitist Casino is a gem and I would not care WHO made it.)

My 2011 Gibson Les Paul Trad Pro is the best regular production Gibson I have played...Gibson's assembly quality even in it's low end guitars - MM's and Juniors - is amazing and the "good" ones - my '54 BB Re Issue - are worth every dime.

It is Gibson's corporate goofiness that is it's biggest problem, IMO, not it's guitar builds, and Epiphone seems to be chugging along and making some fine ones now.

I KNOW somebody gets a "bad" one from time to time, but the good ones are outstanding.

Play a few different guitars and buy what you like.
 

Donal

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I don't like Epi's as they don't come with robot tuners :iough:














:D
 

cybermgk

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I don't think a Casino or a LP standard actually are 'Higher End' Epis :hmm:

Personally I'd consider models with 'factory upgrades' like Gibson US pickups
or the ones with better electronics or long neck tenons as the 'Higher End' Epis

for example
LP Tribute Plus, Joe B sign, ES-175 Premium, Tak Matsumoto DC, Gary Clark Blak'Blu Casino,
just to name a few

The biggest ' + ' on the current Epi line is...........
we still have 43mm nut width :lol:
and NO G-Farce :lol: (except 2 models)
and NO Z-Fan :lol:
we never had baked maple or any other substitute as fretboard :lol:

Beat me too it on the bold. And I'll add the Lee Malia Sig to the italicized red list, cuase you keep leaving my baby off on thesese threads :naughty:

And said Lee Malia, imho is as good, and in most ways better than my 2 60s Tribute Gibson LPs. But that would be comparing higher end Epi, to lower end Gibson. I don't have any higher end Gibsons, but have played a few briefly. BEYOND the poly vs nitro preference, my Lee Malia, as an instrument, and as far as quality of fit and finish, pickups (well they are Gibson pups) hangs, imho with a standard or trad Gibson LP. Bridge, nut, jack might not be quite as high quality, but they are top level import quality parts. Fret work was good from factory, but that is one area, by two Tributes, were steller at OOB. But it was also an easy polish fix.
 

mamm7215

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My "Inspired By John Lennon" Casino (China) flips back and forth as my favorite player with my Gibson Les Paul Studio Deluxe. The action is low and buttery. Very nice. That said, I've played some chinese casinos that felt like toys. Couldn't give one to me. I've played LP customs and standards that were great too. Never really "loved" the epi LP's I've tried but did like a few of the epi sg's.
 

1allspub

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Two of my three Epi LPs are great freakin’ guitars (my third one is a beater ’98 Korean LP that I got basically free in a deal for an amp and hardshell case off CL… it’s electronics are all jacked up and it’s pretty cosmetically beat too… planning on repairing it eventually). Anyway, my Epi Trib+ (MIC) with its 57C/57C+ pup combo is awesome. Honestly, it hangs in there in the 90+ percentile with my Gib Trad with the same pups. I’m sure the slight diifference is the quality of mahogany/tonewood used. The Epi is a 4-piece body and 3-piece neck (which may also contribute to it’s not quite being as good as the Gib), but who cares… it’s well built and a plays great… and costs 1/3 the price of my Gib Trad. And its fit & finish are excellent. Pretty amazing guitar for the money frankly. Honestly, from a player’s perspective, I call it the best value/bargain in the entire LP lineup (Gib or Epi).

My Epi Standard (MIC), when equipped with the stock Epi pups wasn’t that great. It wasn’t terrible, but clearly there are economics at work here that make the Epi pups not the best. That, said the rest of the guitar is very well built. I just love it! So I put some DiMarzios in it (Super Distortion in the bridge and 36th Anny PAF in the neck) and it’s a sonic sledgehammer! So freakin’ fun to play. Best of all, I got it used with a RoadRunner hardshell case for $200! All told with the DiMarzios and a luthier’s setup (and a new bone nut) I have less than $400 in it ($500 if you include the case in the price). Dayum! Hard to argue unless you just can’t stand to look at an Epi headstock. As a player’s guitar, it’s simply a blast to play.

All that said… is my Gib Trad better?… umm… yeah… it is. Is it better looking?... yes (though my Epis are fine looking too… I do not have any problem with Epi’s poly finishes… they are well done, look great & I love how durable they are), does it have better tone?... yep again. Is it all around better constructed?... yes, but not by all that much really, both of my Epis (MIC) are well made… and not just price considered… they’re both just objectively well made guitars. Clearly the Gib looks more “handmade”… there are just little things about it that are better. Nicer binding, better neck (I’ve become a 50s neck fan lately), better tonewoods, better construction (2-piece body, 1-piece neck, etc). It’s just all around “nicer’ with clear signs of a carefully made, finely crafted instrument. But, the Epis are not poorly made at all! They may make them faster and with a few necessary shortcuts imposed by the economics involved in their market segment… but they are just plain old dang fine guitars anymore (frankly my ’98 Korean—its present beaten state notwithstanding—isn’t nearly the guitar my two MIC Epis are when it comes to materials and construction… just sayin’).

All that said (and sorry to be so long-winded)… I do have to say that in my hunt for a Gib LP I found a lot of variation in quality of the various ones that I looked at. When I've bought Epis, there seemed to be less variation. Like I was more likely to grab a random one off the wall that was ok than I was with a random Gib. But, also my expectations for the Gib are/were exponentially higher. So that needs to be figured into the equation too.

All in all I own both, and love both, Gib & Epi LPs.
 

Roshy Boy

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I just bought a Casino Coupe instead of the Gibson 390 version. I played both. The Gibson was lighter in weight and more acoustic unplugged. It's neck was more narrow and thinner too. I like my guitar neck to be fuller. The jack is also placed like an LP on the Coupe too. I liked that too. The Casino Coupe at 20% of the cost of the 390 became an easy choice for me. It's a great couch guitar and sounds great. My guitar teacher can't get over it and he has a 335. Yet he plays his Casino more.

Epi's definitely have a place in most of our collections, and for various reasons. They don't need to the "top of the line" ones either. Everyone I've picked up over the past couple years have been great guitars. It would be easy to start collecting them. They have great styles and the prices are almost too good.
 
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