How much better is a Gibson vs my Epi 1960s Tribute Plus?

Dan18

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A couple years ago, I bought a mint used 60s tribute plus Epi as my first guitar. I always felt that I got a great bargain (based on specs) for $500. To review, this has Gibson USA 57 Classic/Classic Plus pickups, switchcraft switches, Mallory 150 caps, Rosewood/MOP fingerboard, AAA top, Grover locking tuners etc. I think it’s a gem, although heavy. So if I got a Gibson LP, given my limited experience (2 years), would I likely see much difference beside maybe weight? I have an SG with 61s and my Epi with 57s. Maybe for variety next get some Burstbuckers? I play mostly rhythm.
 

redcoats1976

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its basically a crapshoot with variances in each guitar.best to try a few and see if any float your boat.the gibby tribute series is slighly thinner,i have one that weighs 8 pounds.the newer epi specials(2020) are pretty nice,come with p-90s and would bring something new to the table at less than half the price of a new gibby tribute.
 

Roxy13

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Exactly. You might try one Gibson and feel that your Epi is the better guitar, and then have the opposite experience with a different Gibson.

I wouldn't upgrade just because of the name on the headstock. If your Epi is doing what you need it to do, then keep playing it.
 

rjwilson37

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I helped my co-worker purchase that exact guitar, a 2016 Tribute Plus in Wine Red with the Classic 57 pups. I played it and assisted adjusting the setup for him since he was just starting out playing guitar and It was a nice guitar, but it still did not feel/play like my Gibsons. I was definitely a Gibson snob back then, because I had quite a few different Epiphones over the past 10 years and they just did not compare. Like someone above stated, you can find a sweet older Epiphone that feels/plays good, but I don't think the older Epiphones will match up to a nicely setup Gibson Les Paul.

That being said... The newer inspired by Gibson Epiphones for 2020-2021 are a different story. When Gibson went under new management, there were some changes to both Gibson and Epiphone guitars that made a huge difference for all of us. The new Epiphone Standard 50's, 60's, 59 Outfit, Modern and Custom guitars are top notch and they now feel/play and sound just like there Gibson Counter parts. I purchased the Joe Bonamassa Les Paul Custom Black Beauty last year around this time and it was fantastic with the Ebony Fretboard and Probucker 2/3 pickups. I thought maybe all the hype about the new Epiphone inspired by Gibson models is true. I then purchased an Epiphone Les Paul Modern that came with an Ebony Fretboard, Grover Locking tuners, slim taper 60's neck profile as well as weight relieved for a nice lighter weight. I did have my Luthier give it a nice setup with fret leveling for $180 and it came back totally sweet, what a fantastic feeling/playing guitar. The Probucker 2/3 pickups sound great and the lighter weight does not affect the tone at all. The one thing I did not like about my Joe Bonamassa Custom BB, was it was based on Joe's Gibson 58 with a medium C neck and it was a little bit bigger than I like after playing my new Modern a lot. So... I ordered an Epiphone Les Paul Custom which has a Slim Taper 60's neck profile from Sweetwater and paid the extra $250 to have it Plek'd and setup with a medium/medium low action as well as using my favorite strings. When it came, it was perfectly setup and it is fantastic, just a killer guitar that feels/plays and sounds just a nice as any one of my Gibson Les Pauls.

You very well may find that the Gibson Les Paul's you try are nicer than your new used Epiphone, but you should also try the Epiphone inspired by Gibson guitars. Your guitar has a Slim Taper neck, so try the Epiphone Les Paul Modern, Les Paul Custom and Les Paul Standard 60's.
 

bum

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I guarantee you two things:
There are a lot of Gibsons out there that are better than your Epi
There are a lot of Gibsons out there that are worse than your Epi

Go forth and try as many as you can, it's the only way to know for sure.
 

joe_cpwe

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This is not aimed at the OP, at all.

....sometimes I long for the days when there was no internet and you went to the damn store and played guitars,..and just maybe brought home one you liked.
I've even taken on of my best guitars into the store so I could do head to head comparisons. It's not out of the realm for people to still do that. I do. I go to stores and play guitars.
 

Jeremiah

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are you asking:

1. is a stock Gibson objectively "better" than your upgraded Epiphone?
2. is a stock Gibson worth 4 times the price of an upgraded Epiphone?
3. is a stock Gibson objectively better than a stock Epiphone?
4. is a stock Gibson worth 4 times the price of a stock Epiphone?

all of the above, though presented as objective questions, are completely subjective. Even if you were talking about cost of materials, it wouldn't be clear cut, as Gibson doesn't pay what you pay for their materials to create a Les Paul., but they don''t with an Epiphone, either.

As was said above, go out and test. Everything is worth exactly what you're willing to spend. Good luck
 

rjwilson37

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One more thing... in relation to my post above. Gibson sources it's wood from Fiji I believe which is where Europe had worked with Fiji quite a few years ago planting a lot of nice Mahogany trees. There are a lot of different trees now around the world that are considered Mahogany which produce good wood for making instruments. Some Mahogany wood is supposed to be better than other Mahogany wood, and China Mahogany wood is not supposed to be as nice as the Fiji stuff. Who really knows for sure, I just know I have been playing guitar for over 40 years and my Epiphone Guitars sound just as nice as my Gibson guitars. It is all subjective to what your ears can hear and if they can even hear a difference. I do know from a feel/playability standpoint, that Epiphone has stepped up their game and the new Epiphone inspired by Gibson models have a really nice feel to them and stand up right next to my Gibson guitars every day of the week.

Sure a Gibson Murphy Lab 59 is going to be sweet and be a lot closer to that 59 Burst tone that everyone talks about, but my Epiphone 59 Burst is sweet, looks fantastic as well as feels/plays and sounds great. It is not as nice at the Gibson Murphy Lab for sure, but it also cost 7k less and suits me just fine.

Play a lot of guitars both Gibson and the new Epiphone inspired by Gibson Models, you will eventually find the one that is right for you and connects with you.
 
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darkvoice

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A better guitar makes you want to play it.

It doesn't matter what it is - Gibson, Epiphone, smaller brand, no name guitar - as long as it feels and looks appealing to you and motivates you to pick it up and practice - THAT is a better guitar. There are tons of professional musicians using Epiphone guitars on stage and in studio, there are also scores of people who got Gibsons, but can't play.

Good thing is that today you have unlimited options and many modern guitars are built on advanced machines, with high quality which is better than quality of mass produced Gibsons from few decades ago.
 

rjwilson37

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You got that right, a lot of people have Gibson's create Youtube videos and can't play. haha
 

moreles

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Lots. Of course there are individual outliers (which, like Holy Grails, many people delude themselves into thinking they somehow have found) but most of the time, it's lots and lots.
 

Phillycheez402

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I had an Epiphone standard that an ex sold after a breakup.

I truly miss that guitar and had been able to find one as good in terms of playability until I recently purchased slash standard. Both would be co #1s for me. It was that good.
 

Pop1655

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My answer is affected by the fact that you've got a T+. I have extremely high regard for those. Don't let it get away regardless. They sort of have a cult following.

There is a difference. It's easy to see and feel. Lots of little things. They're both tools. Which one do you need? Which one do you want? "Want" is an OK answer to the question. No justification needed.

I have one of the new Epi 59's and love everything about it. Similar thoughts on a T+. I don't consider an old plus top pro to be in the same league at all. I also have a new Gibby 60's standard. A true thing of beauty. Side by side it's easy to see the differences. I get so tired of the "just as good as" thing. It's not.

Still, next to each other in the closet, I seem to grab the Epi more. I just like it.
 

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