I wish Epiphone would do.....

The_Sentry

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Between all the damned polls, this forum is starting to smell like a fish tank. :slash::slash::slash:

Last week I wrote a post that put forth the argument that Epiphone was dropping the ball. To be fair about it, and to be constructive, I thought I'd follow it up with what I think Epiphone should do...

1. Don't forget what "Epiphone" means historically...

Even though I know Epiphone makes a mint with their Les Paul and other solid body knockoffs...IMHO that's not the heart and soul of Epiphone. I said it in another thread, but what Epiphone stood for was top of the line archtops and hollow bodied guitars that had lots of bling and great tone. I think with this marketing move to cater to the metal crowd, Epiphone's getting away from that, and I am of the impression that this unto itself was a disastrous marketing move.

It's also true that Epiphone makes copies. Well, which product do they offer the best copies of? Here's a clip by DB Cooper that offers an argument towards this assertion:

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7o7iv0veTk&feature=channel_page]YouTube - Gibson 335 vs. Epiphone DOT[/ame]

Does anyone hear 2000 dollars worth of tone difference? I don't. And, by and large the best feedback Epiphone has gotten on their products from consumers (no, not guitar mags that are biased due to advertising revenues) ARE towards these archtops and hollow body electric guitars. I'd go so far as to state that the Casino probably has a higher profile these days vs. many of Gibson's ES models because of associations with groups like the Beatles.

If Epiphone is going to R&D, THAT IS WHAT IT SHOULD have went for. Innovations on an archtop. I have nothing against a Les Paul Ultra II, or the Prophecy line, but at the same time....that isn't what Epiphone, as a brand, represents. For the money that they R&D'd into that Ultra, they could have introduced a killer archtop guitar that might have offered an ever broader variety of sounds.

So...as cool as the LP and SG copies are, ARCHTOPS and HOLLOW BODIES are what got Epiphone to the dance, and what brought them back to the dance. It seems like they are really, really forgetting that. :mad:

Moving on...

2. If you're going take something away, then give something back.

Needless to say, and I won't waste too many words on this...but cutting the Elitist line was NOT a very popular move...at all. For whatever reason, it's done. No one believes it was associated due to poor sales (the backorder time should have been a clear indicator of this.) But whatever the reason, Epiphone DOES need to offer something "Elite". I'd go right back to that archtop argument for that if Gibson is worried about Epiphone cutting into their market of Les Pauls and SG solid body guitars.

And on Les Pauls...now that they're done with Elitists, how about bringing the Custom Plus back online? It's not like it's lost in the shuffle now is it?

Gibson/Epiphone: Let's have some standards...please!!!

This is about the dumbest marketing move ever. First, you have your Gibsons..top of the line, great guitars. Then you have your Epiphones...cheaper models, but can be upgraded to rival the more expensive Gibsons...with some modifications. Now...question: Has anyone ever tried to find parts for their Epiphone, like a pickguard as an example? How much of this was done via stabbing in the dark vs getting it right? What about those "Gibson/Pure" parts?

This just irks me to no end..if you're going to make a damned copy, then please make the parts interchangeable. There shouldn't be any difference at all between a ring for an Epiphone vs. one for a Gibson. The backplates should measure out the same. The tuner holes should always be the same..and preferably, the pot holes in the body should be the same. (I'm a bit torn on this, but if the manufacturer just went ahead and drilled 3/8" holes for the pots they'd save a lot of people some massive headaches, even if they had to use washers to hold the cheap pots in there.)

I also know there's been a lot of hoopla over Gibson putting a PCB board in their guitars. Should Epiphone follow suit on their solid body guitars? Hell, I don't know...but on these guitars (and I think Gibson should do this anyway), they really should develop a quick connect system so that pickups, as an upgrade, can be completed in a manner of minutes.

On some Epiphones, I'd like to see them instantly upgradable to active EMG pickups if they are already using the passive versions. Maybe that would hurt All Parts business ever so slightly, but at the same time it would probably drive up demand for Gibson aftermarket pickups...especially if it was as easy to replacing as simply unplugging the old pickup, and plugging the new one in. Purists will balk at that, but I suspect the sales for the aftermarket pups would go up if upgrades could be finished in a matter of minutes (with some guitarists even acquiring multiple sets for one guitar.)

Furthermore...Epiphone should put out a list of parts that are compatible with their guitars. If they wanted to make even more money, they should introduce their own aftermarket parts, just like Gibson has. One or the other...but right now? They have NOTHING whatsoever. This is doubly foolish in light of how they're putting really cheap electronics in the guitars in the first place. Arrggghhh....

3. Signature models

This one is probably a bit tougher to call...there's two issues here. You either get the really high profile artist who endorses Gibson to release an Epiphone version, or you find up-and-comers, roll the dice, and hope they make it to the promised land. I have no illusions about the benefits of endorsements. But could we have ONE signature model at a time? I don't see the benefit of offering an ENTIRE LINE of Zakk Wydle signatures when the man doesn't even play the damned guitars in the first place. Same goes for Slash. I can understand the artists designing a model, and trying to give people a good guitar for their money...but at this point it seems like it's coming at the expense of other product lines. One signature model per artist...please...

4. Soapbar pickups

It hasn't escaped my attention that Epiphone MD'd ALL of their guitars which had the P-90 soapbars in 'em. I think this is a serious mistake. If it's a question of giving customers the option of putting in humbuckers, then introduce a size that will work for everyone. But the soapbar, as a single coil pickup, has its place, and when put into a solid body guitar gives it a crisper, punchier sound that offers comparison (or at least a role) against other guitars that exclusively employ these, ie Fender. I also wouldn't mind seeing the '56 Goldtop brought back, or better yet limited edition runs with guitars that are running combinations ala humbuckers in the bridge and soapbars in the neck. A quick connector system on these would also save a lot of people headaches (that, and gearing them for maximum tone against a 500K pot.)

5. Left handed guitars

A final pet peeve. Right now Gibson does not offer a Les Paul model for under 3,800 dollars. :mad: What does that leave most people who haven't hit the lotto?

That's right...Epiphone, if they are going to stick with Gibson.

I don't know where this assertion goes towards cutting more and more left handed guitars. More times often than not these models are on back order..this was certainly the case with my Custom. I also do not know why Gibson (or Epiphone, or whoever is making these decisions) only ships 2-3 left handed models, which are typically the LP 100, the Standard, or the Standard Plus. I've never seen a Dot in any of the Guitar Centers (and I travelled across the United States last year), I think I saw ONE G-400 that whole time, and I never saw an Iommi signature....anywhere.

I'd beg for them to bring back the Iommi signature at least....otherwise? Well, modern studies have shown that the amount of actual left handed people in the world might be as high as 20%. Now, if Epiphone wants to write these people off? Maybe it's just me, but it seems stupid to write off that many potential consumers.

Well, that's about all I can think of. I try to make it a habit of at least offering something in return if I'm going to offer harsh criticism...so there it is.

2 cents.
 

LEFTY LES

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OK Sen, first of I've seen that clip (and all of DC's) about 5 times and thanks for bringing it back. I really enjoy listening to DC play, he's the man. Oh and most all of his stuff is stock to so that makes it A LOT BETTER.

About your thread, I wont even try to answer eveything but I will say that your pretty much right on man for sure. I agree with it all. I would personally love if Epi went back to there roots and put out a whole bunch of Hollow Bodies man. Thats my next guitar 100%. SO thats about all I have to say about that.

Also as I was typing this I had DC's vid on and had the screen rollled down to where I couldnt see him playing. I lost track of which guitar was which. So $2000 difference???? Are you kidding me???

Great post Sen!!!!
 

Horse

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hey bro, go get those blood pressure tabs!!

i appreciate the time you have taken to write your points, most of us get too cynical to even bother getting upset these days......

I went into a guitar store today and saw cheap vintage V100s up that looked great, played ok( bit of modding, setting up and good to go) and oh!!! they have maple caps, not friggin plywood and a veneer!!!

And THAT is why im going off Epiphone, their 'copies' of LPs are just too penny pinching in materials, there is NO WAY to get the 3D middy sound of a Gibby - that you can get even on low notes and the bridge pup - by using an EPi.....its down to the maple cap and Mahog combo. and a guitar that costs half as much is made more accuratley to a Gibby in terms of materials, ridiculous!!! i love my new honeyburst but i know it will never sound like a gibby - end of.

sorry, my 2pennies worth there.......

ps Sentry, why you think this forum stinks?!

peace bro

Dan
 

The_Sentry

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hey bro, go get those blood pressure tabs!!

i appreciate the time you have taken to write your points, most of us get too cynical to even bother getting upset these days......

I went into a guitar store today and saw cheap vintage V100s up that looked great, played ok( bit of modding, setting up and good to go) and oh!!! they have maple caps, not friggin plywood and a veneer!!!

And THAT is why im going off Epiphone, their 'copies' of LPs are just too penny pinching in materials, there is NO WAY to get the 3D middy sound of a Gibby - that you can get even on low notes and the bridge pup - by using an EPi.....its down to the maple cap and Mahog combo. and a guitar that costs half as much is made more accuratley to a Gibby in terms of materials, ridiculous!!! i love my new honeyburst but i know it will never sound like a gibby - end of.

sorry, my 2pennies worth there.......

ps Sentry, why you think this forum stinks?!

peace bro

Dan

Oh, I hear ya on that as far as the wood. Dan, you're right...after a while it becomes very, very noticeable that there is no maple cap in the Les Paul models. It's gotten to the point where I'd even beg for cap made of pine or something like that. ANYTHING besides the veneer, you know? :p

(this really hit home for me when I started putting active pickups in a couple of my guitars....on the Les Paul, that maple cap just gives that guitar endless sustain....with stock hardware. On the Epiphone? I've got every single sustaining-increasing piece of hardware available, and a set of EMG's...and it just cannot keep up.)

It's yet another moan over the loss of the Elitist line. I really think they need to bring back that Custom Plus...at least offer ONE guitar that is as good as it gets for a Les Paul copy. (I mean...if Gibson is going to make the Les Pauls, shouldn't their daughter company make the best Les Paul copy?)

As for the smell? Well, this is actually one of my favorite forums on MLP. I just think all of the polls are stinkin' up the place. It makes me wonder if there's some trollin' goin' on that isn't all on the up and up....

(So in essence, it's akin to my apartment if I hadn't flushed the toilet for a few days...something would probably start to get a bit rank.....:lol: )

PS: Maybe someone can answer this....why are the archtops in actuality so much better clones? Less wood is required? Acoustics do the job? I'd love to hear some discourse on this...
 

Horse

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with you on the Custom Plus bro.......

There has been so many detrimental changes recently to EPi and Gibby, like some master plan to pee us all off!

i feel like selling my two Epiphones and getting a Gibby Studio lp.....maybe i will!

(that brings up a REAL niggle for me, they do a cherryburst Studio in the states but not in Europe WTF??!! i dont want friggin black white or wine red!.)

anywhooo.... its a shame, but hey, if they do rocking hollowbodies that show up a Gibby for a fraction of the cost theres one winner!

me? i will prob get a Vintage V100, mod it, set it up, give the fretboard some love, and have something to Shite all over an Epi standard tone wise....
 

djwilbanks

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PS: Maybe someone can answer this....why are the archtops in actuality so much better clones? Less wood is required? Acoustics do the job? I'd love to hear some discourse on this...

IMO, its the fact that the woods are laminate regardless of Gibson or Epiphone. The Gibson just uses like 5 + plies and the Epis are 3 plies on the standard lines. I've heard an Elitist 335 and a Gibby 335 at the same store, with the same amp, same settings, and I could not tell a difference.

Of course, worrying about Epiphone's pedigree went out the window when they started making guitars outside of the USA.... :cool:
 

samsnead

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I agree with you on the polls, in the short time that I have been on MLP I see the same polls over and over; I think its due to a younger demographic on Epi. I spent more time here initailly, but got tired of some of the insulting people here. Plus it seems as if every second thread is about how Epis are just as good as Gibs, and how gibson owners are stupid for paying all that extra money.
 

djwilbanks

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I agree with you on the polls, in the short time that I have been on MLP I see the same polls over and over; I think its due to a younger demographic on Epi. I spent more time here initailly, but got tired of some of the insulting people here. Plus it seems as if every second thread is about how Epis are just as good as Gibs, and how gibson owners are stupid for paying all that extra money.

You didn't know that?








:laugh2::laugh2:
 

InfiniteeZ

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Again, Great post dude! Very Interesting and logical read.

Thanks for the post :)
 

The_Sentry

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IMO, its the fact that the woods are laminate regardless of Gibson or Epiphone. The Gibson just uses like 5 + plies and the Epis are 3 plies on the standard lines. I've heard an Elitist 335 and a Gibby 335 at the same store, with the same amp, same settings, and I could not tell a difference.

Of course, worrying about Epiphone's pedigree went out the window when they started making guitars outside of the USA.... :cool:

Oh, there is that. But at the same time do you see Gretsch making efforts to break into the metal market at the expense of what they are identified with? Clones aside, that is my impression in regards to Epiphone's latest overtures...
 

djwilbanks

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Oh, there is that. But at the same time do you see Gretsch making efforts to break into the metal market at the expense of what they are identified with? Clones aside, that is my impression in regards to Epiphone's latest overtures...

Nah, Fender owns the controlling interest in Gretsch, and Fender has Jackson for their pointy, metal-y guitars. :laugh2:
 

The_Sentry

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Nah, Fender owns the controlling interest in Gretsch, and Fender has Jackson for their pointy, metal-y guitars. :laugh2:

Well, what can be said there?

Fender actually makes...really smart marketing decisions. :naughty:

Take a look at rural markets as an example or any mom and pop shop...it's instantly noticeable who's the smarter once you see what's on the walls in guitar stores great and small all over the world.

I live in a rural area, and I moved from a rural area...Fenders are everywhere, as are their subsidiaries. They don't require a shop owner to sell majority Gibson/Epiphone, so they can carry other brands. It's actually a concerted effort to get outside of the Fender products in these areas outside of ordering online.

You certainly cannot test an Epiphone, or a Gibson, in most of the shops across the United States with the exception of maybe finding a used one at a pawn shop, or a new one at a major chain outlet.

Anyways....

Regarding the metal guitars and the "direction" Epiphone is going: I wouldn't mind the endless signature models played by no one (but endorsed, mind you) and all of the metal guitars if they weren't cutting some classic models and product lines along the way.

Goldtop aside...the Zephyr? That's an actual Epiphone model. WTF is going on?

(But, another thread....hahahaha....or maybe not....)
 

djwilbanks

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Economy... they make what sells. :rolleyes: Sucks, but true.

You can thank guitar hero.
 

The_Sentry

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Economy... they make what sells. :rolleyes: Sucks, but true.

You can thank guitar hero.

Well, if that's the case...then it's still fail.

Guitar Hero and Rock Band....classic rock. With classic guitars. ;)
 

monkeyboy

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Great post man! Epiphone was actually Gibson's biggest rival/threat in the 30's and 40's way back in the day in regards to their archtop guitars. Thats why Gibson bought the Epiphone upright bass business when they had the chance.

I wish they would go back to making top notch archtops, but it seems that will never happen considering Gibson would be ruining their own names sales. I would like to see a re-issue line from Epi much like the Gibson line, that would be cool.
 

lp_junkie

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Epi back in the days before Gibson bought them out, made guitars that rivaled and were superior at times to what Gibson was making at the time.

Now the line as we know it is used to produce lower priced versions of Gibsons top designs, here's the problem with Epi going back to their roots and producing archtops and their own designs again........... you would end up with EPIs priced just as high as Gibson guitars and less players especially younger kids being able to afford any of them.

I for one do not like archtops or jazz boxes to start with so it doesn't bother me that they aren't making more of them but I can see your point.

The idea of having everything to one standard is a great idea, in theory they are using the Gibson plans for the guitars so why not use imperial standards for all of them so parts are interchangeable?
 

djwilbanks

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Well, if that's the case...then it's still fail.

Guitar Hero and Rock Band....classic rock. With classic guitars. ;)

Oh yeah? The new Futura is the Sig of the main Guitar Hero Guitarist for the games. Who else is really big in those games? Slash? Zakk?

Its kind of like Fast and the Furious. After that movie, every 16 year old kid with a Honda thought they could toss on a "MoTeC System Exhaust" and some flashing lights and hang with real racers. :rolleyes:

Just because someone famous uses EMGs or uses that "cool gold guitar with the black pickups!" means that to be a cool kid you have to play a Zakk or a Slash sig and either murder spme Black Label Society or butcher Sweet Child's intro on Youtube.

It'll work... until the next big thing comes around.
 

Akahito

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I agree with you on the polls, in the short time that I have been on MLP I see the same polls over and over; I think its due to a younger demographic on Epi. I spent more time here initailly, but got tired of some of the insulting people here. Plus it seems as if every second thread is about how Epis are just as good as Gibs, and how gibson owners are stupid for paying all that extra money.
This forum has gained a lot of popularity very quickly, and not all so little thanks to the Epiphone board. The more people there are, the more stupid & ignorant people there are, and as Epiphone obviously draws the forum newbies most, all that's to be expected.

All growing Internet forums experience the same phenomenon. If you really want to see this forum kept clean of misinformation and the atmosphere as likeable as it's been 'til now, post more, not less. More of the informative, friendly and smart posts like the many in this thread including the OP. :thumb: The young ones will learn with time. If all the example they have of posting is the poll-per-day rampage and pickguard/topwrapping debates, it's no wonder that's all we see lately.

As to what comes to Sen's arguments, I agree mostly. I do see the point of discontinuing the Elitists, as the Les Pauls and SG's were snagging a fair bit of Gibson sales due to their up-to-par construction and unbeatable price. However, with the undeniable decline in construction design and craftmanship overall, and the shift to boasting with materials and big-name endorsees alone, there is a serious quality hole between Epiphone and Gibson. Pricewise, it's covered with the overpriced Slash and Zakk Wylde models, but qualitywise the difference between a Slash LP and a Gibby Studio is backwards. Not to mention the Slash models' numbers are limited. As much as I love my '07 MIC Custom - after all, it's my guitar - I can't help but wish it felt as good as my friend's '97 MIK Custom does. I'm quite certain cutting the long tenon neck short doesn't save Epiphone much materials overall, even if the tops are now solid instead of plywood; The Studios have no top, but are all-mahogany, Epi and Gibson alike, and they sound fantastic.

Copy brands are needed. They bring more and younger customers toward the mother company, increasing their savvy and experience in their kind of instruments. Les Pauls and SG's are among the most coveted types of guitar and body shape, and it would be pure foolishness not to offer them to the popular market at a lower price point. But I agree that Epiphone does not have gain in the metal market. Never has, never will. Whilst Epiphone is most associated with preserving tradition and Gibson on the other hand with pursuing innovation, "progress for the sake of progress should be discouraged."

Me, I'd like to see Epiphone make a Les Paul Deluxe. That sweet look and the biting tone of those mini-humbuckers, just pure bliss. :D
 

The_Sentry

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Epi back in the days before Gibson bought them out, made guitars that rivaled and were superior at times to what Gibson was making at the time.

Now the line as we know it is used to produce lower priced versions of Gibsons top designs, here's the problem with Epi going back to their roots and producing archtops and their own designs again........... you would end up with EPIs priced just as high as Gibson guitars and less players especially younger kids being able to afford any of them.

I for one do not like archtops or jazz boxes to start with so it doesn't bother me that they aren't making more of them but I can see your point.

The idea of having everything to one standard is a great idea, in theory they are using the Gibson plans for the guitars so why not use imperial standards for all of them so parts are interchangeable?

Ah, I was waiting for your response, Junkie.

All I can say is this regarding the archtops: I know they're not everyone's thing, but it seems to me that as far as collector's items go, a 5000 dollar 1952 Zephyr replica would have been a hotter ticket than that Wilshire. ;)
 

Sinster

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Personally I think the Gibson sounds warmer in that video.. I don't own or ever owned a Gibson.. I own two Epi's and Agile Les Paul.. but that fix that damn humming get a better ground.
 

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