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Epiphone Elitest <fill in the blank> vs. Gibson Studio entry level <fill in the blank> is an easy one. I prefer Gibsons, but there is no denieing that some Epis are top notch. Take this Epi Les Paul 1960 Tribute Plus with standard Gibson USA 57 Classics.
Well, the cheap Gibsons are the Melody Makers. It didn't like any I encuntered. Those and the current LPJ and SGJ are the only price-comparable models. The "J" models are lacking in the looks department, but come with nice pickups.
Older Faded models (which are just as good as a Studio, let's be honest here) also have better pickups, but they cost more than the Epis. Nicer than Epis? Yes to me, because of the pickups.
So to sum it up, yes the Gibsons are nicer, with the exception of the Melody Makers, which always seemed to be lousy to me. They were about the same quality as whatever starter package you might find, but cost more without including the rest of the starter pack essentials.
Epiphone guitars are still nice, good values, etc. and come with nice pickups in their own right.
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Here's a pic. I believe this Epiphone (LP pro +) is as good as any Gibson LP I've played (I've played, maybe 25-30 over the years...at stores, friends, other "groups").... Simply put, with a Gibson, you pay for the name. With an Epiphone you get a well made, playable instrument (Same with Gibson, so, what's the difference ?) Made in USA vs China/Indonesia. I do have a couple LP's. They aren't "high end" ones, but I did pay for "the name". I dig this Epiphone as much as any guitar I've ever played. That's why I still have it. The recent Epiphone's (well..the several I've played), coming from the "dedicated" Chinese Epiphone factory, are wicked nice guitars. Just as "playable" as any Gibson, and sound ...great (fabulous is such a fabulous description)...lol. Ya, I dig Epiphone guitars. I'd get them all if I had the resources.
Heritage cherry sunburst (clownburst) Epiphone, Yup, I do like this guitar
Here are a couple Pelham blues, a Gibson Les Paul Special Humbucker and an Epiphone ES-355. I love both and really can't find anything wrong or to complain about on either one. I do like the Epiphone LP better than the Gibson...just personal preferance as there is really not much on either one to critisize (except the person who is attempting to play them) lol
You do want to compare apples to apples and that means both the Epi and Gibson will have a mahogany body and maple top, mahogany neck with a rosewood finger board.
If you changed all of the hardware and pickups on the Epi to what is on the Les Paul Standard the Gibson will still sound better and play better.
Why? Because the wood will be better and the fret work will be better.
<div class="signaturecontainer"><font face="Comic Sans MS">Disclaimer: My threads and posts are created to allow forum members to discuss interesting subject matter. </font><br />
<font size="1">I reserve the right to change my decisions at anytime.</font></div>
Mr.scary96 wrote: I'm not saying this to be rude but seriously there are 400 other threads on this forum and 5 million more on other ones with the same tired out Epi Vs. Gibson discussion.
Thanks for that; where would we be without your helpful observation?
Visconti, you were once correct, but I think since the late 00's, things have changed. Here is how I'd restate it: * the Epi may or may not have fretwork nearly as good or as good as most lower-priced Gibson models; and * the wood is almost certain to be superior with the Gibby, but as there is less quality control with Epi, that pendulum occasionally swings in favor of the consumer.
I've got a Chinese Squier that has ridiculously nice fretwork, and a US Gibson that has ok (certainly not bad) fretwork.
What many of us are trying to say is that yes, the original "rules" still generally apply, but the number of exceptions is increasing, and since the guitars are so good and the price different so great, those exceptions are worth looking for.
They tend to be different animals. Something like an Epiphone Elitist LP Standard is built more like a traditional Gibson LP Standard; whereas entry level Gibsons like the Studios are more heavily chambered and create a bit of a different tone. I'm generally pretty pleased with my Epi Elite LP Standard. It's not as good sounding as my higher end Gibsons, but I'd say its tone is a bit more in the pocket of the fabled "Les Paul" than a Studio is. However, I happen to like entry level Gibsons. I think the chambering they do these days is a nice modern improvement to the design since uber-select rain forest mahogany is rarer than hen's teeth. Lightening the instrument was also a positive practical development for the player IMO. The tone gets a bit more nasally and bluesy, a tad more semi-hollowish sounding, and a bit less depth to the tone (a bit more "toppy") but I like it.
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Is a high quality Epiphone as good as a "cheap" Gibson?
I'd say generally "NO!"
I have a number of Epiphones and Gibsons.
About the only recent Epiphones I've bought that pleasantly pleased me are the Korina models (but they need p'up upgrades - except the stock bridge p'up sounds good in the V - the dull/somewhat muddy tone of the Epi p'ups helps add phat to the bridge tone on the V) and the Worn '66 Wilshire. Doesn't need a thing - except mine is now put aside until the jack input gets repaired. But in general I notice far more problems with p'up selector switches and input jacks on Epi's. But those are fairly minor.
Now I've also bought 3 Epi Elitists but I would not compare my Epi Elite LP Standard with an entry level Gibson LPs because they are not the same guitar. The Epiphone Elite LP Standard is designed like a traditional Gibson LP Standard, i.e. solid and deep. Entry level Gibson LPs like the Studio and VMs, etc. are lighter, more heavily chambered, and really have different tonal characteristics than the traditional LP Standards.
In that respect, I'd say go Epi Elitist Standard if you want a traditional LP Standard [tone] on more of a budget price. Go entry level Gibson LP if you want that lighter, blusier (somewhat semi-hollow-ish) tone from a Les Paul.
I've run into more problems with the finish and component on Epiphones, but more importantly I often don't hear the same level of coupling of strings to wood being picked up by the electronics on an Epi that I do on a Gibson. I believe the difference is mostly the quality of the major ingredients (although I'll never convince the "wood doesn't matter" crowd) I tend to evaluate my guitars based on their clean tones and a lot of what I'm referring to diminishes with the addtion of some overdrive/distortion, so your style of play also needs to be factored in. Last night I was playing my Epiphone AFD/Slash Les Paul. It's not that great sounding clean, but with overdrive the tone does indeed come together. It's a beautiful looking guitar and it can nail that "Sweet Child O'Mine" tone with the OD cranked, neck p'up, tone rolled off; plus it was a way for me to get to try out the Duncan Slash Alnico II Pros.
Summary - I've bought both, I've kept the Epi's I've bought, but after my last Epiphone Ultra, I'm done with the Chinese made Epi's for the forseeable future.
But that Wilshire '66 is a nice sounding guitar and it's my number 1 surprise Epi pleaser. I also bought the Wilshire Pro on a "Deal Of The Day" but althought it's shinier than the worn '66, it does not shine in the tone department like the worn '66 with the mini-hums.
Fender IMO does a better job on its import versions than the folks at Gibson. Gibson has worked more to maintain the distinction, Fender lets the distinction blur more without worrying about buidling in "the real deal" factor for their MIA models as much as Gibson does. But OTOH, I do get the Epi's PR statement on their boxes/literature that Epi's are "built to play". If you want to avoid the "case candy" phenomena (preserving rather than playing) then you may get better utility from an Epiphone. But again on the other other hand, I like the tone of the entry level chambered Gibsons as well. My best sounding LP is a Gibson RI '59, but with that one, I'm like Nigel Tufnel in Spinal Tap.
Well said sir. My sentiments exactly with regard to the Fender / Gibson comparison. That being said, I'd sure like to get my hands on a used Elite on the cheap.