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#1
Hi there!

Coming back to my gtr choice qs.... right now I have two main candidates: the Epiphone Les Paul Custom and the ESP LTD EC 401 VF.

If I choose the Epi, I definitely want to change the pickups, probably would go for Seymour Duncan JB or Jazz or 59 combination, in either case the 4-connector version, so that I can make use of the push-pull pots of the Epi.

If I choose the LTD, I don´t need to change the PUs, there already is a great combination of a SD JB + 59 - here I would just change the pots for push-pull ones, I have already recived a confirmation, that both SD PUs in that guitar are 4-connector ones.

Both these combinations are about the same expensive here where I am, both guitar designs please my eye equally, so the decisive factor should be QUALITY. Now I guess the LTD is made in China or Indonesia.... is that correct? And the Epi Custom should be made in Korea - or is it already China, recently?

Could you please share your personal experience with these two gtrs, in terms of build quality, playability.... not pickups, because those could be easily replaced....

THANX A LOT IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR REPLIES!!!!
Last edited by Airfish at Apr 26, 2013,
#2
Get a used LTD EC1000 or a Gibson LP Studio instead.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Apr 26, 2013,
#3
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Get a used LTD EC1000 instead.


Thanx for your advice. But sorry, that´s not the option for me. My country is small, the used-gtrs offer is small too, also in the nearby countries within my travelling radius the used market is very limited, and I definitely don´t want to buy anything from ebay or amazon without the chance to try it out first.... That´s why my main option is a new guitar.

PLEASE DON´T ADVISE ME TO BUY A USED GUITAR, IT´S A WASTE OF TIME IN MY CASE....
#4
In that case get the 401. What's the point in buying the Epiphone when you have everything you want in the LTD by default?

Then again, the Epiphone and the LTD are very different-feeling guitars. They have very different neck profiles, fingerboard radii and fretwire size and body thickness. Those small differences all add up to make a significantly different-feeling guitar to play. You need to take that into account before you buy either guitar.

And try before you buy if at all possible. The QC of the LTD 400's (the new ones at least) and the Epiphones can be a bit iffy.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Apr 26, 2013,
#5
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
In that case get the 401. What's the point in buying the Epiphone when you have everything you want in the LTD by default?

Then again, the Epiphone and the LTD are very different-feeling guitars. They have very different neck profiles, fingerboard radii and fretwire size and body thickness. Those small differences all add up to make a significantly different-feeling guitar to play. You need to take that into account before you buy either guitar.



....and could you please be more specific particularly about the necks? which one is thinner/thicker? And as for the body/weight: which of these two is heavier/more robust/massive?
#6
Quote by Airfish
....and could you please be more specific particularly about the necks? which one is thinner/thicker? And as for the body/weight: which of these two is heavier/more robust/massive?

Well, you can do the research yourself through Google, but okay.

The Epiphone's neck is essentially a Gibson slim 60's. Quite a typical neck thickness and 'C' shaped. The LTD is a slightly thinner 'U' shape.

The Epiphone is likely to be a heavier guitar as the body is a lot thicker, which will give you more sustain than the LTD but the heavier weight can be uncomfortable for some players. I say those people are wimps.

It's all down to whatever works for you.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Apr 26, 2013,
#7
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Well, you can do the research yourself through Google, but okay.

The Epiphone's neck is essentially a Gibson slim 60's. Quite a typical neck thickness and 'C' shaped. The LTD is a slightly thinner 'U' shape.

The Epiphone is likely to be a heavier guitar as the body is a lot thicker, which will give you more sustain than the LTD but the heavier weight can be uncomfortable for some players. I say those people are wimps.

It's all down to whatever works for you.


....well, you proved to be much faster than google, so cheers, mate!

In that case I start liking the Epi a bit more, I´m really into the heavy axes.... Last year I bought a USA Gib LP Studio but the chambered body of that thing was so annoyingly light, that i sold it very fast....

So thanx again for your views, man!
#8
If you think it's worth going to the trouble of buying new pickups when you already have the pickups in the alternative by default then sure thing.

I would probably get the LTD in your position, it just makes more sense, but if you do want a heavier guitar then by all means get the Epi
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#9
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
If you think it's worth going to the trouble of buying new pickups when you already have the pickups in the alternative by default then sure thing.

I would probably get the LTD in your position, it just makes more sense, but if you do want a heavier guitar then by all means get the Epi



Well, if the Epi is really heavier, than yes, I would definitely invest some effort to changing the PUs....

My other guitar is an Ibanez Darkstone DN-520 and man that´s a hell of a weighty beast.... it´s not mahogany, but sapele, even harder and heavier.... and dude you should hear the sustain of that thing.... combined with active EMG....

I want this second guitar to be a bit more on the classic/vintage side, passive PUs, but still need it to be heavy, that´s about it...
#10
....and what about that country of manufacturing? Anybody has an idea where the Epi LP Customs are produced nowadays? I heard it was Korea, previously, but is it still Korea? I tried to google it out, but no success yet.... And the guitar shops round here don´t tend to tell you the truth....
#11
They're made in China these days, as are the LTD 400's.

Not that it really matters all that much. It's more about the particular guitar and not where it is made that makes a difference.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Apr 26, 2013,
#12
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
They're made in China these days, as are the LTD 400's.

Not that it really matters all that much. It's more about the particular guitar and not where it is made that makes a difference.


....well, that´s probably true: my Ibanez I mentioned before si MIC too and the quality is really awsome, for the price....
#13
My vote is for ESP

I ordered a Silverburst Epi Custom once (2008) and sent it back the next day... felt and sounded like crap (stock Epi pups absolutely suck, completely lifeless, Duncan "Designed" pups are way better and even they aren't great).

After I sent the Epi back, I got my EC 400vf with the 59'/JB Combo and it's still my favorite guitar.

If you really want Epi, take a look a the prophecy series, my understanding is that they are made with a high standard of quality and come stock with good electronics...

This one may be another option for you as well...
http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Les-Paul/Tribute-Les-Paul-Standard.aspx
not sure about construction, but at least is got a great classic look with Genuine Gibons 57' classic pups.
#14
The LTD 401vf uses the traditional eclipse body shape, it is thicker than the normal eclipses and doesn't have the belly cut out either, the VF will be just as heavy, if not heavier than the lp custom, due to the actual flamed maple top. Epi bodies are just mahogany with a maple veneer on trans finishes.

Get the LTD.
#15
Quote by RedJamaX
My vote is for ESP


ESP =/= LTD. Its like saying Gibson = Epiphone.

TS, unless you have played the Epi yourself, I wouldn't even think of planning on changing out the pickups. Its possible they may work for you. Your amp has a larger influence on overall tone anyways, imho.

You should buy the one that feels best in your hands. You can fairly easily change the sound of the guitar, but its a lot harder changing the feel of how a guitar plays. If trying them out isn't possible, then I would suggest getting the LTD, as that seems to have everything you want.
Caution:
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#16
Firstly, the stock SD pickups in LTDs are not 4-conductor. So if you insist on having coil splits then you'll be changing pickups regardless. Considering the cost of either of these guitars new plus a set of pickups, you might as well just buy the next level of guitar (e.g. Epiphone Custom PRO, LTD EC-1000). If there aren't such guitars in stock near you, any shop that sells Epiphones and LTDs can order one in for you. Getting these better guitars outright is a much smarter choice than buying a middle-level guitar and putting new pickups in it and the cost is, for almost every country, the same. Hell, even if you have to wait and save up a little more, it's worth it, especially in the case of the EC-1000.

Secondly, they're the same guitar in terms of quality and very different guitars in terms of sound and feel. ECs are thinner, both in body and neck, and have a tone more like an SG then an LP. Since they sound different and feel completely different, you can't just blindly pick like this. You need to go try them out. That is the one and only way you will know which guitar is better for you. Just because two guitars may have a similar outline does not mean they are comparable.

Thirdly, no 'vs' thread. Read the rules.
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#17
Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma
The LTD 401vf uses the traditional eclipse body shape, it is thicker than the normal eclipses and doesn't have the belly cut out either, the VF will be just as heavy, if not heavier than the lp custom, due to the actual flamed maple top. Epi bodies are just mahogany with a maple veneer on trans finishes.

Get the LTD.

The 401 uses a veneer...
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#18
It sais top on the ESP website, guess we need to complain to them to stop lying, it is false advertising!
My point about the body thickness still stands though on the VF model, and with MrFlibble mentioning a pickup change being required on both for the coil split, the choice is with whichever neck you prefer
If it was my money I would get the EC1000T CTM and swap the stock EMG's for their X series.
#19
ESP always try to make their guitars seem better than they really are, it's called marketing. It isn't technically wrong to call it a maple 'top', as it is the top of the guitar is where the maple is glued on.

That's also not to say that a veneer is a bad thing either.
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#20
I always thought a company could only call it a "top" if the piece of maple was actually thick enough to have a significant impact on tone/weight, or is that a cap?

Wait isn't a veneer more like paper with the flame/quilt effect just printed on rather than figured into the wood like a top?
I can see the advantage of a veneer being perfect bookmatching and you get the whole look without flavoring your tone with maple or adding weight to the guitar if that kind of thing is your bag.
#21
Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma
I always thought a company could only call it a "top" if the piece of maple was actually thick enough to have a significant impact on tone/weight, or is that a cap?

That is a 'cap'
Wait isn't a veneer more like paper with the flame/quilt effect just printed on rather than figured into the wood like a top?

No. A veneer is not usually a strip of paper. It is actually maple, just a thin slice of it (usually about 1 or 2mm thick). You're thinking of those fotoflame guitars that Fender made in the early 90's.

Sometimes a thick maple cap is not desirable on a guitar. On a large guitar such as an explorer, having a 1/2" maple cap around the guitar would significantly affect the sound of it, making the guitar too bright.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Apr 26, 2013,
#22
Quote by MrFlibble
Firstly, the stock SD pickups in LTDs are not 4-conductor. So if you insist on having coil splits then you'll be changing pickups regardless. Considering the cost of either of these guitars new plus a set of pickups, you might as well just buy the next level of guitar (e.g. Epiphone Custom PRO, LTD EC-1000). If there aren't such guitars in stock near you, any shop that sells Epiphones and LTDs can order one in for you. Getting these better guitars outright is a much smarter choice than buying a middle-level guitar and putting new pickups in it and the cost is, for almost every country, the same. Hell, even if you have to wait and save up a little more, it's worth it, especially in the case of the EC-1000.

Secondly, they're the same guitar in terms of quality and very different guitars in terms of sound and feel. ECs are thinner, both in body and neck, and have a tone more like an SG then an LP. Since they sound different and feel completely different, you can't just blindly pick like this. You need to go try them out. That is the one and only way you will know which guitar is better for you. Just because two guitars may have a similar outline does not mean they are comparable.

Thirdly, no 'vs' thread. Read the rules.


Are you completely sure about those PUs not being 4-conductor? Because everybody from the beginning told me that the JB is hell certain a 4-conductor PU. And after a few "I don´t know" answers I also found a source, that informed me about the 59 being a 4-conductor PU too, in that guitar. Where does your information come from?
#23
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
That is a 'cap'

No. A veneer is not usually a strip of paper. It is actually maple, just a thin slice of it (usually about 1 or 2mm thick). You're thinking of those fotoflame guitars that Fender made in the early 90's.

Sometimes a thick maple cap is not desirable on a guitar. On a large guitar such as an explorer, having a 1/2" maple cap around the guitar would significantly affect the sound of it, making the guitar too bright.



Ok thankyou for clearing up all the confusion for me buddy
#24
Quote by Airfish
Are you completely sure about those PUs not being 4-conductor? Because everybody from the beginning told me that the JB is hell certain a 4-conductor PU. And after a few "I don´t know" answers I also found a source, that informed me about the 59 being a 4-conductor PU too, in that guitar. Where does your information come from?
From having opened up so many guitars I've lost count, including LTD ECs and Epi LPs.

LTD and Epiphone guitars (as well as any other brand you want to mention) only have 4-conductor wiring if they come with coil split, phase or series/parallel wiring as stock. Even if they have pickups by Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio, Gibson, EMG, or whoever. Those guitars are made to be put together as quickly and simply as possible, hundreds each day, so they don't bother with needless things like 4-conductor wire when it's not being used.

When you buy these pickups yourself, the JB and '59 are always 4-conductor unless you order them with single-conductor wire (which is a 'shop floor custom' option, though some shops do keep these in stock too). When they're stock, they're single-conductor.
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#25
Quote by Airfish
Are you completely sure about those PUs not being 4-conductor? Because everybody from the beginning told me that the JB is hell certain a 4-conductor PU. And after a few "I don´t know" answers I also found a source, that informed me about the 59 being a 4-conductor PU too, in that guitar. Where does your information come from?


My 2008 model ec400vf had a 4-condutor JB and a single wire 59' (w/ground shield).
#26
Quote by AWACS
ESP =/= LTD. Its like saying Gibson = Epiphone.

Quote by MrFlibble

Secondly, they're the same guitar in terms of quality


I disagree...

LTD is not the same as ESP, but they are way better than Epiphone (from my experience). And I think it's more like a PRS to PRS SE comparison.... the drop in quality from Gibson to Epiphone is immense.
#27
Quote by RedJamaX
My 2008 model ec400vf had a 4-condutor JB and a single wire 59' (w/ground shield).



Dammit.... looks like they are really not 4-c, at least the 59.... I could still buy that guitar, open it up, look at the PUs to find out and if it´s really so in the 2013 model too, then return it, within the warranty.... But I´m a bit concerned that I could maybe brake some sort of a manufacturer´s seal by opening it and looking at the PUs and subsequently lose the warranty and the right to return it.... well, I´m afraid I have to drop the LTD from my list because of this....
Last edited by Airfish at Apr 27, 2013,
#28
Dropping a guitar because of something as trivial as how many wires its stock pick ups have is really, really silly OP.

Who keeps the pickups on their guitars stock anyway? :p.
Last edited by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma at Apr 27, 2013,
#29
Quote by RedJamaX
I disagree...

LTD is not the same as ESP, but they are way better than Epiphone (from my experience). And I think it's more like a PRS to PRS SE comparison.... the drop in quality from Gibson to Epiphone is immense.

Epiphone Elitist will have a word with you.

The fact is, the LP Custom and the 401 are objectively about the same in quality. Whatever you might convince yourself to believe.
Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma

Who keeps the pickups on their guitars stock anyway? :p.

Guitars that have good stock pickups.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Apr 27, 2013,
#30
Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma
Dropping a guitar because of something as trivial as how many wires its stock pick ups have is really, really silly OP.

Who keeps the pickups on their guitars stock anyway? :p.


You´re absolutely right. But I´m not about to drop it "by principle". It´s just that if I had to change the PUs in that LTD, it would get above my budget.... And why should I buy a guitar with top-quality Seymour Duncans and change them right after the purchase? Now that would be silly, imo.... Buying a gtr with "cheap" or "ordinary" stock PUs and throwing them out is OK, I´ve done it with all my previous gtrs, but this is not the case....
Last edited by Airfish at Apr 28, 2013,
#31
You could purchase the guitar then save up again for the pickups, in the mean time you could really look into exactly what pickups you want.

Also the new 2013 epi lp custom pros come with coil tap as stock. So would you prefer worse epi stock pickups with coil tap, or better SD pickups without coil tap in the meantime?
They also have different necks, whichever one you prefer is the best for you.
I personally prefer the necks on LTDs to Epiphones
#32
The Epi Probuckers are actually very good for stock pickups btw.
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#33
Yes they are actually, I should have probobly been clearer with how much the difference was between the pups. Been thinking of picking up one of the 2013 customs since I can get one for 400 quid brand new. But I also want that Sterling JP100 and a Liquifire/Crunchlab set haha.
Last edited by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma at Apr 28, 2013,
#34
Quote by MrFlibble
From having opened up so many guitars I've lost count, including LTD ECs and Epi LPs.

LTD and Epiphone guitars (as well as any other brand you want to mention) only have 4-conductor wiring if they come with coil split, phase or series/parallel wiring as stock. Even if they have pickups by Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio, Gibson, EMG, or whoever. Those guitars are made to be put together as quickly and simply as possible, hundreds each day, so they don't bother with needless things like 4-conductor wire when it's not being used.

When you buy these pickups yourself, the JB and '59 are always 4-conductor unless you order them with single-conductor wire (which is a 'shop floor custom' option, though some shops do keep these in stock too). When they're stock, they're single-conductor.

I know this statement is false. I have some stock Ibanez pickups that are 3 wire, the guitar WAS NOT A SET UP WITH A TAP but those pups could be that way, I had a Schecter Omen 6 with stock pups that were the same, again no tap, 4wire pups. I would be very surprised if they are not 4 wire. At any rate stock EPI pups are total crap, howl like a mofo if you play at anything over bedroom volume. LTD is way better quality and more consistant than Epiphone any day. A $600 LTD IS BETTER than a $600 Epi. A Gibson under $2000 is junk. So get the LTD. Even if they happen to be 2wire pups its gonna be a better guitar.period.
What the hell!!!
Last edited by danvwman at Apr 28, 2013,
#35
I also have a Yamaha RG620s with 2 stock hums....no tap...4wire
AND if 90% of what SD makes is 4wire and a custom shop order is 2 wire, I doubt there is enough 2 wires laying around to buy in bulk. And wouldn't a custom shop pup cost more????

Now cheap azz stock hum pups like EPis or Boohungs I can see being 2wire.

But still I could be wrong...but with Seymore Duncans I doubt it.
What the hell!!!
#36
lol....another one. My Hamer with Duncan designed pups had a single coil and a HB102.....no tap. Guess what??? ITS A 4 WIRE HA HA!!!!
What the hell!!!
#37
Quote by Airfish
You´re absolutely right. But I´m not about to drop it "by principle". It´s just that if I had to change the PUs in that LTD, it would get above my budget.... And why should I buy a guitar with top-quality Seymour Duncans and change them right after the purchase? Now that would be silly, imo.... Buying a gtr with "cheap" or "ordinary" stock PUs and throwing them out is OK, I´ve done it with all my previous gtrs, but this is not the case....



Regarding pickups...

You've probably got an equal chance of getting 4-condutor or single-conductor pups... This is the way assembly line manufacturing works.... They order parts in bulk and they take the deal that's going to be least expensive per unit... In my job I have seen, time and time again, the product with the "better" option, or revision, end up less expensive when purchased in bulk than the standard product even when purchasing the same count. It's all a numbers game depending which supplier they happened to order from that month.

So, which ever you choose, if it doesn't have the 4-wire pups, then order them soon and sell your originals on ebay or something. I've done this twice this year already and after it was all said and done, the extra cost was around $30 that I didn't get back on the resale of my stock pups.

Also, The 59'/JB combo is very very nice... My LTD sounded EXACTLY like a Gibson LP with BurstBucker Pros (Studio Model maybe?)
#38
Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma
The LTD 401vf uses the traditional eclipse body shape, it is thicker than the normal eclipses and doesn't have the belly cut out either, the VF will be just as heavy, if not heavier than the lp custom, due to the actual flamed maple top. Epi bodies are just mahogany with a maple veneer on trans finishes.

Get the LTD.



My LTD 400vf Eclipse is heavier than any Epi I've ever tried... also resonates better.

The Epi Custom I had sent back was made of some kind of whitewood... It was light and felt very cheap all around. I see that according to the specs on their website they have made some changes since then, hopefully for the better.

A serious consideration...

I have to agree with some of the other posts which warn about the feel of the guitar. I love ESP's LTD line, but they feel much much different from an Epi... Epi LP's are going to have a thick rounded neck with a very classic feel. The 401 will have a Thin-U, this is kind of a middle ground between fat-rounded, and thin profile necks. I used to have an LTD M-255 that I gave away because the neck was so thin, I didn't like the way it felt... If you like thin neck guitars, the LTD will be great, I find the thin-U to be much more comfortable. but if you already love a fat profile neck, the thin-U may be a little uncomfortable...
#39
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE

Guitars that have good stock pickups.


98% Agree with this... If you are considering buying a $3000-$4000 Gibson or PRS, but it doesn't "sound" the way you want it to.... then keep looking till you find the one that "does" sound the way you want it... at this point you've already gotten past the hard part.... MONEY!!!
#40
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
The 401 uses a veneer...



I contacted ESP and PRS to ask them abuot their LTD and SE lines, respectively. More specifically, whether or not they put an actual maple "cap" on their guitars, or is it just a mahogany body with a very thin maple veneer...

Both ESP and PRS responded with basically the same answer...

If the model indicates a Maple "Top" or "Cap", then there is a substantial piece of less expensive maple on top of the mahogany back. For models that have a flamed, or decorative maple top... those have the less expensive cut of maple for the "cap", and then a thin veneer for the asthetics.

So you still get the benefits of the woods for the tone, although, both the mahogany and the maple wood selection will not be as good (beneficial to effect on tone) as the wood selection used by their flagship USA counterparts.

I posed the same question to Epiphone, but have not heard back yet.
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