Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul

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Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul

Postby dave1021 » Mon May 12, 2008 7:30 pm

Hey gang, Dave here
I've been playing strat style guitars most of my life ( since I've been playing anyway ) and I've been giving some thought to trying a "Paul". The problem is most of the Gibsons are way out of my price range. I've always been one to change and modify my guitars to suite my needs, so changeing the pickups on an Epi really wouldn't bother me. My questions for you guys is what are your opinions about both/either guitars. Please feel free to be a technical as you want, I understand guitar tech pretty well.
Thanks
Dave
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Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul

Postby jefnel1 » Mon May 12, 2008 8:06 pm

I've owned both and there is really no comparison. Some will argue that Epiphone Les Pauls are great, but having owned Gibsons first, and an Epiphone second, I noticed the difference right away. I can sum up the differences in 3 key points:

1. The wood type is the same, but Epiphone uses sub-par wood selections to keep the cost down. It is still Mahogany, but not as consistent or stable as the wood used on real Gibsons.

2. The electronics on the Epiphone suck. Not just the pickups, but the pots, wiring, switch, ground, etc. is really cheap quality.

3. Intonation is a problem. The nut is plastic, the tuners are cheap quality and since the neck wood is not consistent or stable, it is subject to warpage.

My advice would be to go for a used Gibson Les Paul Studio. They are every bit as good as the $3000-$5000 Les Pauls, but are stripped down to the basics while retaining their tonal quality and playability. You can find one on eBay for about $600, which is less than what you'd end up paying to upgrade an Epiphone.
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Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul

Postby MrScary1971 » Mon May 12, 2008 10:52 pm

I have had my Epi for 13 years and i have had none of the problems Jefnel described. My friend also bought one and loves it. I guess it all depends on the guitar you buy. I do agree about the Studio being better than most of the Epis. If you can find one for about $600 or $700 don't hesitate. Also check out an ESP/LTD Eclipse. You may also like that model.

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Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul

Postby rice_pudding » Tue May 13, 2008 4:58 am

epiphones are a bit of a mystery to me, the only thing you can expect is lack of consistency. I've owned an Epi LP custom for 3 years, overal i would say it is a good guitar, but maybe i got lucky?!. the main problem i would find with epiphone is that they seem to keep changing specs on the instruments all the time. They make the bodys from whatever combination of wood is about at the time. so it could be alder/mahogany, maple/mahogany or just mahogany. The pickups on mine were crap, way too muddy so i changed them. But epiphone use alnico V magnets at the moment i think so that might have solved the problem.

Mine came with grover tuners and they work pretty good, but the nut is the worst ive ever seen on a guitar so that would probably need replacing. Also keep in mind Epi's are made in china now, which could be a bad thing.

All that said if you look arond you can get a good guitar. But the bottom line is the guitar industry is changing and epiphone has lost ground IMO. There are much better value for money LP's about these days.

Having said that you could say the same thing for gibson

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Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul

Postby CharvelSuperStrat » Tue May 13, 2008 8:09 am

i have an Epiphone SG which is great. i have had no problems with it except stays in tune for long periods of time but at random times goes right out of tune by just playing a chord. apart from that its great and i was surprised by the wiring on mine which was really good! better than my Gibson Flying V which was incredibly bad!!. but i don't know if LP are any different? iv'e played a few and they seem ok. the Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II is supposed to be really good and the new Slash Signature looks pretty good.
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Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul

Postby mrmetal » Wed May 14, 2008 8:51 am

I have played a cusom LP and compared it to my Epi Custom limited edition. They both played the same to me, both have really good sound.

I spent close to $1000 for my epi. They only made about 1200 of these guitars in 2001. It is a quilt maple top and set neck with the big inlays. I haven't seen another epi like it anywhere. I know it also came equipped with the LP wax-dipped pickups. I don't play it much these days, mainly because I want to keep it it's pristine condition and give it to my son when he is old enough to really appreciate it. He already enjoys playing it when I let him.

Now, would I rather have the real deal? Of course, but with a family and other $$$$ obligations, I couldn't justify the extra $2000 for a similar guitar. Everyone that has played is floored by the sound and playability of this guitar.

So in short, my EPI is great and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

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Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul

Postby _will_ » Wed May 14, 2008 10:37 am

From what I have seen, they have bad nuts and shit wiring, but as someone else has said, the woods are odd. I think my 2006 custom has an alder top, which gives a bit more resonance than my Gibson, and a slightly different sound.
I do intend to get the nut changed, and rewired completely within the next 6 months though. I have played worse ones though, try a few first.

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Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul

Postby Charvelised » Thu May 15, 2008 3:34 am

Good Question!..My friend, who owned a Music shop in late 80's early 90's, Said it was Hit and Miss...Some Eipiphone were fantastic.. some sub standard I guess It's about Trying a Few...Although, I've had a Few guitars over 20 years (although I don't class myself as a Guitarist) I find Consistency within the Branded Names poles apart...
In the 80's I bought Kramers Some were Laminate some were solid wood although the model was the same..
Try a few guitars before you purchase!!

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Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul

Postby rice_pudding » Sun May 18, 2008 12:40 pm

just thought of something worth adding to this whole debate. Most people bash Epiphones because they compare them to gibson and are unhappy when they dont sound like a gibson.

This is sort of daft really, epiphones are made by a different roster of staff in a different factory, out of woods most likely from a different country/region, they also use different hardware and pickups and a different finnish, not to mention there a minor discrepancies in design.

Its no surprise that they dont sound like a gibson. When you look at them as guitars in their own right rather than immitations maybe they come off a bit better???

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Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul

Postby Nikki_Saixx » Thu May 29, 2008 3:28 pm

jefnel1 wrote: The electronics on the Epiphone suck. Not just the pickups, but the pots, wiring, switch, ground, etc. is really cheap quality.



Agree with you completely! I have Les Paul one and one day I've tasted the "features" of Epiphone electronics... Switch goes off sometimes, when I turn it on the neck pick-up. I also think, that pick ups are quite weak, but the wood is good ( :) ). Maybe, I'll go on with changing electronics, but I think about some Strat guitar, not Fender, but Charvel - it's my dream :)
Anyway, Epi - my first guitar will stay with me, I won't sell it.

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Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul

Postby JR97 » Thu May 29, 2008 4:22 pm

My experience with Epi's is mixed. I tried an Epi Paul which played ok, but sounded like @ss. And then an Epi Dot which played like @ss and sounded ok. So how's that for mixed? lol

Anywho, a quick fix is GFS pickups from www.guitarfetish.com. I"ve heard they'll do wonders for an epi. If you're really motivated, maybe dip the stock pickups in wax. Nut replacement (that sounds painful, eh) is cheap and easy.

But keep in mind, even Gibson's are inconsistent. I've played a few Les Pauls, but they were all different enough to tell. Only one of them was different bad but I think it needed a tune-up.

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