#1
I've got an Epi SG and LP, both with Seymour Duncans and upgraded pots. They both sound good, but as shallow as it sounds, I'm still gassing for a real Gibson. I know their pups are supposed to be good, but not as good as Duncans, and the pots are pretty poor quality. I'm guessing anything Standard and Custom would have much better craftsmanship and playability, but do you guys think a stock Gibson would sound better or worse than an upgraded Epi?
#2
Better or Worse, depending on the person playing, and the guitar.

Everyone knows gibson's quality control is non existent, so there are great ones and bollocks ones too.
#3
its more in the wood than the electronics. you could throw the electronics from a gibby into an epi and still they would sound different. thats what makes them different: better quality wood.
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#4
There is no shame in wanting a real Gibson SG-
at the end of the day the Epiphone has a cheaper cut of wood, and cheaper craftsmanship, and that impacts not only the quality of the sound, but the quality of the playing experience.
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#5
I've owned both... and lost both in divorces.
Anyway, The Gibson had a different feel to it, but tone wise they were pretty close.

Had a Silverburst Limited Epiphone, and a Les Paul standard.

FWIW, I put duncans in both.
#6
Generally the Gibson wil be of higher quality,but you really need to find a guitar that plays just 'right'.
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#7
well... my stock gibson would sound better than an upgraded epi i think just because i love the pickups it came with. a burstbucker III and a gibson p90. perfect

but you could get pretty damn nice tone from an upgraded epi. i'd take the stock gibson every time though. there's just something about them. i've owned 2, never had an epiphone. love my gibsons
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#9
Gibson's QC is pretty bad, we all know that; but Epiphone's QC is EVEN worse, so chances of getting a bad guitar are much higher with an Epi than with Gibson.

And comparing a good one from both, the stock Gibson still beats a modded Epi.
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#10
Quote by Mahoru
Gibson's QC is pretty bad, we all know that; but Epiphone's QC is EVEN worse, so chances of getting a bad guitar are much higher with an Epi than with Gibson.

And comparing a good one from both, the stock Gibson still beats a modded Epi.


It's not their quality control, it's their inconsistancy in shaping their necks, shaping their bodies, painting etc.

A guitar that fit's one person really well, won't fit another and vice versa.

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#11
Quote by Chrisiphone
It's not their quality control, it's their inconsistancy in shaping their necks, shaping their bodies, painting etc.

A guitar that fit's one person really well, won't fit another and vice versa.


That's not so true with Gibson (the inconsistancy, I mean); I've played many of them that left much to be desired, but nothing as bad as most people say here, and it's not difficult to find a good one. But the inconsistancy with Epiphone is overwhelming: believe me when I tell you that I've played about 50 different Epiphones and 49 of them were awful, and the only decent one wasn't much better than one of the "bad" Gibsons.

What I agree with is your last statement, it's true that how a guitar feels on somebody is something completely personal.
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#12
Go for a used Gibson instead!
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#13
Quote by cutslikedrugsx
I've got an Epi SG and LP, both with Seymour Duncans and upgraded pots. They both sound good, but as shallow as it sounds, I'm still gassing for a real Gibson. I know their pups are supposed to be good, but not as good as Duncans, and the pots are pretty poor quality. I'm guessing anything Standard and Custom would have much better craftsmanship and playability, but do you guys think a stock Gibson would sound better or worse than an upgraded Epi?
I don't get it, why not just switch over the pickups and pots over the Gibson? (I'm assuming you upgraded to CTS pots or RS GW pots?)
#14
Why switch when I could just buy new electronics? Then the Gibson would be better in both regards. But this is hypothetical, I don't own a Gibson or plan on buying one anytime soon, but someday. If I do get one, I'd rather keep it stock, at least for awhile. I mod/upgrade all my cheap guitars, but I'd rather not do that to something I've shelled out major fundage for.

I guess it equates to whether crappy electronics + superior craftsmanship and wood is better or worse than good electronics + crappy craftsmanship and poorer wood.
#15
Then it's very simple...

If a Gibson sounds better to you and plays better to you, then for you, it's better than the upgraded Epi.

If it doesn't sound better or play better to you, then it's very simple, don't bother buying it. "Sound's better" is very vague, the fact that it has "Seymour Duncans" mean very little, with all due respect to Seymour, he's a pickup legend, but some of his pickups suck. Gibson pickups are "not better than Duncans?" I tend to agree mostly, but which pickups exactly?

WHAT upgrades matters, Epiphone w/ a set of blackouts or something compared to a Gibson w/ Burstbuckers is uncomparable. They're not going to sound anywhere close to the same.

I will always go towards better guitar over better electronics, for these reasons...

1) its not a short term buy, it's something you will be using for the long term
2) an Epiphone w/ upgraded electronics may (or may not depending on what you upgraded with) is the best it will ever be
3) w/ the same upgrades, a Gibson has the potential to be far better than the Epiphone which leads me back to number 1, you will have the guitar for a long time and to think that you'd never play around with your guitar's electronics is a little bit unrealistic.
Last edited by al112987 at Aug 18, 2009,
#16
I sell guitars. many gibsons and epi's come through the store every day. I can honestly say that some $1200 gibsons really scream. and some $1800 gibsons have fret work worse than most epi's. its just happens like 1 out of 10 times. the epi's are consistently student grade. I will say that when gibson makes a really bad one they just put it in a box and sell it but epi has NEVER done that. I can only comment to the 2009 gibson/epiphones
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#17
A lot of the Epi/Gibson quality issue has a lot to do with what country you're in too. The Epiphones that are sold in America and Canada go through different (and apparently worse) QC than the ones that are sent to the European market; Epis bound for American and Canada get the bare minimum check-over with only up to five minutes spent fixing wiring problems (and no time spent on fret problems, routing issues, etc), while Epis bound for Europe go through much longer QC in Finland, where half an hour is spent with each instrument.
On the other hand, all Gibsons go through the same QC no matter what market they're going to be shipped to. With Gibson, everyone suffers the same quick check-over and minimal fixing. With Epiphone, some people suffer shallow QC, others of us an confidently buy an Epi without too much worry as the QC we have is much better.


So, if someone in America has to decide whether to buy an Epi and upgrade it or get a Gibson, they might as well just go for the Gibson. Equal chance of getting a lemon and if they do get a good Gibson it'll be much better than if they did manage to get a good Epi, regardless of upgrades.
On the other hand in European countries, we can either risk buying the Gibson or we can go with the much safer and smarter bet of the almost guaranteed to be fine Epiphone and upgrade that, resulting in much the same sound with far less risk and hassle.


Either way and overall though, an upgraded Epi can only hope to sound as good as an average Gibson, at best. The fact is no matter how much you do to the electronics, the Epi's always going to be made of lower grade wood, it's always going to have a thick poly finish dampening the tone, etc.
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#18
Quote by MrFlibble



Either way and overall though, an upgraded Epi can only hope to sound as good as an average Gibson, at best. The fact is no matter how much you do to the electronics, the Epi's always going to be made of lower grade wood, it's always going to have a thick poly finish dampening the tone, etc.


Very well said - the wood makes the gibson a gibson- even if the QC is a bit shoddy
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#19
It's preference, to which one you want. You might find a Gibson that feels better than an Epiphone, and vice versa. Keep in mind that tone is easier to change than feel, and is reversible if the result is unsatisfactory. (a pickup swap is much easier than shaving a neck or whatnot, and can be changed back, where you can't really put the wood back on the necck or body)
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#20
Quote by Chrisiphone
It's not their quality control, it's their inconsistancy in shaping their necks, shaping their bodies, painting etc.

A guitar that fit's one person really well, won't fit another and vice versa.
Part is their QC but this is very true as well and is something that leads to a huge variation in Gibson guitars. Especially in neck thickness.

I honestly have no idea what "rounded '50s profile" and "slim tapered 60s profile" mean on these guitars.

I bought my les paul studio several years ago when they had a "rounded '50s profile" and yet, it is thinner than any Gibson neck I have ever played. In fact, it makes a friend's les paul classic with a "slim tapered '60s" neck feel like a baseball bat, and the neck on an R9 feel like a telephone pole. The ONLY Gibson guitar that I have felt that had the same kind of thin neck is the 2005 CA Jimmy Page model, which has that weird neck that is thin in the middle and fatter near the top and neck heel. My guitar is just a tad fatter than the Page at it's thinnest.
#21
Also, I might like to point out that it completely depends on which Epi you're talking about. Certain guitars sound just as good as Gibsons (I'm personally a huge fan of Sheraton's and Riviera's).

However, Mr Flibble's post pretty much sums it up.
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#22
Quote by MrFlibble

Either way and overall though, an upgraded Epi can only hope to sound as good as an average Gibson, at best. The fact is no matter how much you do to the electronics, the Epi's always going to be made of lower grade wood, it's always going to have a thick poly finish dampening the tone, etc.


So, all other things being equal, the tone suck from the cheap electronics will be more than made up for by the quality of the wood and overall craftsmanship of the instrument as it relates to the instrument's ability to resonate well, whereas no matter how high quality the electronics the an epi are, the tonal properties of the instrument will be below sum of the tonal quality of a Gibson minus the cheap electronics?

I've heard a lot Gibson quality control issues, and since this is hypothetical, I'm assuming a certain amount of consistent quality. Say, a decent Epiphone, not the best, but by no means below average, compared to a decent Gibson, also not the best, but not below average. From all the Epis I've played, I feel like I got lucky.

Comparing them side by side in the store doesn't really work. I've tried plugging my guitars into the closest thing GC had to my amp which was a JCM800 reissue (sounded pretty thin and brittle compared to my 2210), and since I was in the store, I could only get obnoxiously loud, which isn't loud enough for a JCM800 to sound good. The Gibsons that they had were all set up terribly, and at best played as well as my guitar, which was worlds above the other Epis, but that makes sense given that I've had time to tweak it's set up at home. Given the situation, all the guitars sounded fairly similar, even the stock Epiphones they had in the store.

My SG is an Elitist, which is supposed to be about Gibson Standard quality from what I've read. It's playability is notably better than the regular Epi LP, though the sound isn't too far off with both guitars having a '59 in the neck and a Duncan Custom in the bridge. The SG is a little clearer overall, but it lacks some of the the beef that the LP has, which I guess is normal. Al I have to do to get them to sound almost the same is to boost the bass and low mids a little. It certainly has a different feel to it than any Gibson SG I've ever played, but again I've never had a chance to compare through a decent amp at volumes that matter. I suppose I could buy a few Gibsons, compare them at home through my own rig, and then return them... but shelling out that much money is a little unnerving, even for it's just for a few hours.
#23
My problem with Epi's isn't the sound but the feel and weight. No it probably won't sound that much different if the electronics were the same but the Gibson would most likely be lighter and feel better.
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#24
depends, cause both companies are a hit or miss, you really need to play around with alot of gibsons whilst looking for one to buy, but i had an epi goth explorer FR with emgs and the thing kicked so much ass... i regret selling it so bad, i liked it more than my gibson for sure... hindsight is 20/20
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Last edited by LPstudioWRz28 at Aug 19, 2009,
#25
Quote by cutslikedrugsx
So, all other things being equal, the tone suck from the cheap electronics will be more than made up for by the quality of the wood and overall craftsmanship of the instrument as it relates to the instrument's ability to resonate well, whereas no matter how high quality the electronics the an epi are, the tonal properties of the instrument will be below sum of the tonal quality of a Gibson minus the cheap electronics?
Yes. People put too much value in electronics and hardware anyway. By far the biggest contributor to your tone is of course your amp, but second to that is your guitar's woods, it's construction type and it's dimensions. Different pickups, control pot values, different jacks, the materials your bridges is made from, the material the nut is made of - none of those things make anywhere near the difference to your tone that a bolt-on neck vs set neck does, or having a one piece body instead of a two piece body, or having a solid AAA maple cap instead of a B maple cap with a AA flame maple veneer.

Put it this way: My Gibson and my main Epi both have Gibson BurstBucker pickups, they both have 500k CTS pots for all their controls, the same jacks, the same Bumblebee capacitors, bone nuts, aluminium bridges, their necks are both mahogany with rosewood fretboards set into the bodies which are both mahogany with maple caps. The only 'spec sheet' differences are the tuners they have, the Gibson's neck is marginally thicker, the type of finish they have and the name on the headstock. Tonally though, they're completely and utterly different. The Gibson sounds light, airy and bittersweet, like a beautiful opera singer crying. The Epi sounds thick, dark and sleazy, like Danny DeVito singing along to Girls Girls Girls at a second-rate strip club.

I can't believe I just managed to work Danny DeVito into an analogy about guitar tone and everyone will probably skip it.



My SG is an Elitist, which is supposed to be about Gibson Standard quality from what I've read.
Absolutely correct with one major difference, the Gibson version will have a thinner nitro finish compared to the thick poly finish of the Epi.

There's a lot of confusion over the nitro/poly thing and how much it effects tone, in my experience the finishing material doesn't make much difference but the thickness of the finish certainly does, and it does tend to be poly-finished guitars that have the thickest finishes (not to mention nitro finishes simply wear down much faster even if they start off thicker anyway).
I happen to be a big fan of the Elitist series of guitars, but they are always going to have that dampened 'thick poly' tone, which in many cases can make them sound cheaper than they deserve.

Quote by al112987

I honestly have no idea what "rounded '50s profile" and "slim tapered 60s profile" mean on these guitars.
I've mentioned it several times, but it's worth repeating: my Gibson's '59' neck is thinner than some of their 'slim taper 60's necks' that I've tried. Gibson's neck names mean ****ing nothing. They might as well just call them all "traditional modern thin thick straight taper". The idea that they have any 'standard' for their necks is a joke. The only one of their neck profiles that has any consistency is the new 2008-onwards LP Standard neck, and that's ****e anyway.


Quote by Gibshall
My problem with Epi's isn't the sound but the feel and weight. No it probably won't sound that much different if the electronics were the same but the Gibson would most likely be lighter and feel better.
Feel, yes. Weight? No. I've picked up some Gibson LP Customs and almost dropped them because the weight was such a shock, then I've picked up another and it's been lighter than most SGs. I've tried a few of those LP Axcess models and the models finished in Gunmetal Grey weighed a tonne and the ones finished in Iced Tea were all really light. Epiphones seem to remain consistently in the middle, weight-wise.
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Last edited by MrFlibble at Aug 19, 2009,
#26
Quote by al112987
Part is their QC but this is very true as well and is something that leads to a huge variation in Gibson guitars. Especially in neck thickness.

I honestly have no idea what "rounded '50s profile" and "slim tapered 60s profile" mean on these guitars.

I bought my les paul studio several years ago when they had a "rounded '50s profile" and yet, it is thinner than any Gibson neck I have ever played. In fact, it makes a friend's les paul classic with a "slim tapered '60s" neck feel like a baseball bat, and the neck on an R9 feel like a telephone pole. The ONLY Gibson guitar that I have felt that had the same kind of thin neck is the 2005 CA Jimmy Page model, which has that weird neck that is thin in the middle and fatter near the top and neck heel. My guitar is just a tad fatter than the Page at it's thinnest.


what you're talking about is not necessarily quality control - quality control checks for flaws in the guitar - the bad quality control is things like loose fitted pots, blemished finishes, poor fretwork etc. blemished finishes and poor fretwork do get through gibsons quality control, but often the situation is made to look worse by gibsons very very vague specs because obviously you'll like some and hate others, and someone else will like a different selection. aspects of the quality control like making sure the neck angle is decent, making sure the bridge is placed well enough for accurate intonation to be achieved, etc, are better than ever (in 1964 there was an entire shipment of firebirds with the bass-side bridge stud positioned so much closer to the neck than it should be so accurate intonation was simply impossible, and many also had the neck set at too much of a forward angle so whenever they had wrapover bridges and the maestro tremolo, if you used the trem, the bridge would slip out of place due to not enough pressure holding it in place).

the telephone pole neck is the correct profile, if you're talking about a '53 - i've played an actual '53 les paul and the profile was just like a recent R8 that i played in a shop. the studio neck profile is basically meaningless, since i've played studios with baseball bat necks like the classic junior profile, with slim taper necks, with thinned down junior profile necks, with thinned down '53 style necks etc etc.. so i think the '60s and '50s profiles mean more on the VOS models than they do on the standard/studio/specials which are pretty random. on the site specs they give everything with a "+/-" measurement of approximately how varied it can be for those particular models anyway. The necks have been erratic and unpredictable since the norlin era though - i guess people learnt to live with it until online shopping came in.

However, i think that an upgraded epiphone, if upgraded enough, can sound better than a stock gibson depending on the model. but by upgrading i mean swapping out the pickups and the nut, and possibly the tune-o-matic should you happen to have a dodgy one which rattles un-intonates itself (a common problem with G-400s, so i'm told, and have experienced), and refinishing with a thinner finish. however, if you put the same pickups you put in the epiphone, in a stock gibson, i think no matter what you do to the epi, the gibson is gonna sound better - it's all in the wood.
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#28
Quote by dcooper830
Ugraded Epi...... Stock Gibson..... stock Epi......... upgraded Gibson......

It's all gonna sound awesome if you're plugged into a good amp.

My stock Epi sounds just about as good as my stock Gibson:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lqxsm6w7m5o&feature=channel_page

.

Cool video, but I'm not going to lie to you, even with the youtube audio compression, there is a noticeable difference between the two.

The guitars with the neck pickup selected, it's just no contest. Though the Epi does more than a commendable job despite being about $2000 cheaper. I'd love to hear the comparison w/ the 2203.
Last edited by al112987 at Aug 19, 2009,
#29
I have a Gibson Les Paul Classic and a fake . They both play/sound pretty close. But if you want a real Gibson, nothing else will do. I love the Gibson even though its not miles better then my fake.