#1
Hi guys, I have never owned a Les Paul, well not unless you count the absolutely dreadful Les Paul copy made by Jedson that I had when I first started many moons ago - and if I'm honest that really didn't even qualify for the status of electric guitar never mind a Les Paul. So for the first time I am tempted to give one a try. As we all know the Gibson Les Paul is a costly instrument to say the least, very costly indeed, way out of my price range. This has left me wondering about the Epiphone Les Paul, I know opinion is sometimes divided on these but many people do say they are fine instruments in their own right. I was wondering first off if anyone can tell me which is the top of the range model? There is quite a bewildering range of models and I'm really interested in getting one of the higher end models they do. I know they used to do a model called the Elite which then went onto to become the Elitist and these models were very well thought of. There are quite a few different models currently.

First off I should point out that I have already eliminated the Ultra from my search, I understand it is one of the higher end models but it is a bit of a strange best, it appears to be a semi that is made to look like a standard Les Paul with the interior of the body routed out. The sales pitch is a bit confused as well because on the one hand it says it's done to save weight and on the other hand it's stated it was done so it gives the instrument a semi like tonal character. I'm not following this but maybe I have misunderstood, first off Gibson/Epiphone already has a plentiful range of semi's, they are famous for them as we all know, I can understand a bit more the weight saving claims because the LP is a notoriously heavy guitar but it's whole sound is derived form the fact that it is a solid body electric. I personally think they may have been better to route the sections out as they have done but then to save weight fill in those sections with a much lighter wood such as Ash or Basswood, it may not have saved quite as much weight but at least it would have kept it a solid body guitar which is what the LP is all about. And maybe the interaction between the Mahogany and lighter inner sections may have created an interesting resonation but still keeping the identity of a true solid body. Anyway, I digress, I have eliminated the LP Ultra from my search.

The options seem to be the Les Paul Tribute and the Les Paul Custom Pro, there are also signature models which I have not yet had a chance to look at. Am I right in saying these are the top of the Epiphone Les Paul range? Is there a model or two I am missing? I really am not bothered at all about the fact it says Epiphone rather than Gibson on the headstock but I am interested in getting the highest quality model they do in terms of build quality and quality of pickups etc. I believe the higher end models have the USA pickups as well. Obviously never having had experience of Gibson Les Pauls I would not be continually comparing the Epiphone LP in an unfavourable light, provided it is a nice instrument in it's own right then I think I should be very happy with it.

If anyone can steer me to the top models then I can go off and check them out and see if one of them is for me. Much appreciated guys.
#2
The top of the line Epiphone that's being made currently is the Elitist Casino. But in terms of Les Pauls, the best ones are the tribute models as they have the nicest hardware. They're good guitars for the money, as are most of the better Epiphones.

But honestly, for the price of a Tribute, you can easily get a nice Gibson LP studio used. So unless you can only buy new, you may as well get something like that.

You may want to consider the Tokai Love Rock guitars as well if you're willing to go used.
Quote by richards-keith
The sales pitch is a bit confused as well because on the one hand it says it's done to save weight and on the other hand it's stated it was done so it gives the instrument a semi like tonal character. I'm not following this but maybe I have misunderstood, first off Gibson/Epiphone already has a plentiful range of semi's, they are famous for them as we all know, I can understand a bit more the weight saving claims because the LP is a notoriously heavy guitar but it's whole sound is derived form the fact that it is a solid body electric. I personally think they may have been better to route the sections out as they have done but then to save weight fill in those sections with a much lighter wood such as Ash or Basswood, it may not have saved quite as much weight but at least it would have kept it a solid body guitar which is what the LP is all about. And maybe the interaction between the Mahogany and lighter inner sections may have created an interesting resonation but still keeping the identity of a true solid body. Anyway, I digress, I have eliminated the LP Ultra from my search.

The reason they've routed the body out on the ultras is actually for both reasons. To make it lighter, AND to make it more acoustically resonant, since it has a piezo. The reason they made the guitar in the first place is simply because people want Les Pauls that do psuedo-acoustic sounds. Who knew? Its a really nice concept and its been well-executed imo.

But the idea that they could just make the guitar lighter by putting holes in the guitar and filling them in with a lighter wood is a self-defeating exercise. Nobody is going to buy an Epiphone or a Gibson Les Paul with pieces of basswood in it. At least I certainly wouldn't. The modern chambering that some of the Gibson LP's have do make the guitar more acoustically resonant and they do deliver a slight difference in tone. But I don't necessarily see that additional option as a bad thing. If you want a traditional LP, get a Traditional LP.
Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Jan 28, 2014,
#3
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
The top of the line Epiphone that's being made currently is the Elitist Casino. But in terms of Les Pauls, the best ones are the tribute models as they have the nicest hardware.

But honestly, for the price of a Tribute, you can easily get a nice Gibson LP studio used. So unless you can only buy new, you may as well get something like that.

The reason they've routed the body out on the ultras is actually for both reasons. To make it lighter, AND to make it more acoustically resonant, since it has a piezo. The reason they made the guitar in the first place is simply because people want Les Pauls that do psuedo-acoustic sounds. Who knew? I think its a really nice concept and its been well-executed.

But the idea that they could just make the guitar lighter by putting holes in the guitar and filling them in with a lighter wood is a self-defeating exercise. Nobody is going to buy an Epiphone or a Gibson Les Paul with pieces of basswood in it. At least I certainly wouldn't. It wouldn't even make the guitar very much lighter.


Yes I have just been looking at the tribute and it looks very nice. There is also the Standard Plustop Pro that looks nice, have you had your hands of one of these at all?

Clearly I didn't really know what I was talking about with the Ultra, forgive my ignorance. I am really learning from scratch with LPs.

My good friend did have a Gibson Les Paul Studio a few years back and it was a fine instrument, I hadn't really thought of that so that it another option to explore.

The Elitist Casino is a completely new model to me that I was not aware of, i'll add that one to the list to at least check out.

Thank you very much indeed.
#4
bear in mind the casino is a completely different style of guitar and if you want a les paul you'll likely be disappointed.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#5
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
............
The reason they've routed the body out on the ultras is actually for both reasons. To make it lighter, AND to make it more acoustically resonant, since it has a piezo . The reason they made the guitar in the first place is simply because people want Les Pauls that do psuedo-acoustic sounds. Who knew? Its a really nice concept and its been well-executed imo.

.....


Why do you think the acoustic pickup at the end of the fretboard is called 'NanoMag'

and not NanoPiezo.........

BTW a Piezo pickup would never work at this place....
#6
Quote by paruwi
Why do you think the acoustic pickup at the end of the fretboard is called 'NanoMag'

and not NanoPiezo.........

BTW a Piezo pickup would never work at this place....

Maybe your post would be significant to the conversation if an Epiphone Les Paul Ultra III is what TS is actually intending to buy.


Which it isn't.


...........................................
Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Jan 28, 2014,
#7
I am second the above advice and say look for a used Gibson as opposed to a new Epiphone.

I am not the biggest Gibson fan. I am a Fender fan-boy. But I recently played a 2014 Melody Maker in my local shop. It was that ugly-awesome TV Yellow color. Through a Blues Jr it really worked for me sonically. I think the neck is too chunky for me though, but it is honestly the first Gibson I have taken off the wall in quite some time that I could see myself owning. It was really well built.

Now I am hoping my local shop gets a new LP JR in soon. If it has the same mojo going I could be picking one up. Hell with the neck, I'll just have to get used to it.
Ibanez SR1200E
#8
Quote by pachap
I am second the above advice and say look for a used Gibson as opposed to a new Epiphone.

I am not the biggest Gibson fan. I am a Fender fan-boy. But I recently played a 2014 Melody Maker in my local shop. It was that ugly-awesome TV Yellow color. Through a Blues Jr it really worked for me sonically. I think the neck is too chunky for me though, but it is honestly the first Gibson I have taken off the wall in quite some time that I could see myself owning. It was really well built.

Now I am hoping my local shop gets a new LP JR in soon. If it has the same mojo going I could be picking one up. Hell with the neck, I'll just have to get used to it.


Did you ever play any Epiphone ?

Why do you give advice on things you obiously don't know about ?
#9
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Maybe your post would be significant to the conversation if an Epiphone Les Paul Ultra III is what TS is actually intending to buy.


Which it isn't.

...........................................


Giving wrong information isn't helpful at all.........
#10
Here we go. I have (and have had many other) Gibson and Epiphone Les pauls in various models. If you are intending to spend a fair amount and buy a new Epiphone along the lines of a Custom or similar (higher range is what I mean) then I would say to you to keep your money in your pocket. A Gibson Studio can be had for around $500 second hand and often in very good condition. These things eat Epiphones alive and spit out the neck... If you can afford to buy and expensive epi, then buy a second hand or lower spec Gibson. You wont regret it.
#11
Hi guys, I have been doing as some of you suggested and just checking out the Gibson range to see what's out there. There's is the LP Melody Maker which does look a very entry level model. But then I did also see that Gibson themselves do a Tribute Model, well several of them, 50s Tribute, 60s, 70s, and Future Tribute. It was difficult to see how this model differed from the more expensive LP Studio model. It looked quite nice. Maybe worth a look but slightly confused as it really looked very similar to the Studio but was a good £180 GBP cheaper which is a fair wack so the must be some differences somewhere. It did look pretty decent though.
#12
If you want a Gibson LP, get a Gibson. An Epiphone will not satisfy your need for a Gibson. Be it name or a certain something, only a Gibson will satisfy you. Epiphones are great guitars, I don't know much because I'm not an LP fan. The only one I've played is the Special II. If you just want an LP, the highest end one will probably a Custom/ Tribute /Elite.
#13
The Tribute+ is probably the best value Epiphone you can get new right now. Mostly Gibson parts, just the Epi headstock and finish (which I prefer over nitro anyhow).

A Custom Pro or Standard Pro would be a good choice also. Epiphones today are just as good as the Gibson Studios and can look a fair bit better in some cases (depending on what you like of course).

I own both lower end Gibsons and Epiphones. I feel that the Epis are at least as good as the Gibsons, especially the Tribute+. The higher end Gibsons might be a different story (but not from what I could tell in playing them at GC), but then you're talking twice as much money to get even a used one over a new Epiphone.
#14
Quote by darrenram1
An Epiphone will not satisfy your need for a Gibson.


I don't know much because I'm not an LP fan.


Second remark disqualifies the first in my point of view.

I've owned 3 Epi Les Pauls, starting in the 90's on through today. Bought my latest last week. I've played Gibsons over the years as well, never owned one though. IMHO, the price difference isn't justified. Unless you're staring at the name on the headstock constantly, you probably wouldn't tell much difference.
Epiphone Les Paul Standard Pearl & Ebony • Les Paul PlusTop Pro Honeyburst • AJ220VS • Squier Standard Stratocaster CAR
Marshall Class 5 Combo • Digitech HT-2 • Vox V847 • MXR M68 Uni-Vibe • Soul Food • BOSS SD-1 • Digitech RV-7
#15
Quote by darrenram1
If you want a Gibson LP, get a Gibson. An Epiphone will not satisfy your need for a Gibson. Be it name or a certain something, only a Gibson will satisfy you. Epiphones are great guitars, I don't know much because I'm not an LP fan. The only one I've played is the Special II. If you just want an LP, the highest end one will probably a Custom/ Tribute /Elite.


Yeah I'd agree you either die with an Epi or live long enough to regret not getting a Gibson.

Watch out though all Gibson LP's have chambering. I've been looking into some LPs myself (severe Gibson envy since my Sister got one) and they are all chambered apart from the Traditionals.

With Tonewood being such a main selling point I think the whole thing makes about as much sense as a restaurants throwing away half your steak, "Sir it's the finest 'taste steak' and we've cut out 40% of it so it's easier for you to eat!"
#16
Quote by darrenram1
If you want a Gibson LP, get a Gibson. An Epiphone will not satisfy your need for a Gibson. Be it name or a certain something, only a Gibson will satisfy you. Epiphones are great guitars, I don't know much because I'm not an LP fan. The only one I've played is the Special II. If you just want an LP, the highest end one will probably a Custom/ Tribute /Elite.


Well this is the thing, I don't really have my heart set on a Gibson at all, I would just like to get myself a fairly nice LP as this will be my first one. I will be more than happy with an Epiphone if it is a nice guitar in it's own right. I can see why the Gibson is considerably more expensive, made in the USA, a lot more of it made by hand by skilled crafts men. This all adds up. But if the Epiphone is essentially the same construction using the same woods (albeit maybe not quite such select cuts) and the major difference is that is manufactured in the far east using more automation but the finished product is essentially very similar then that will be ok for me. I like the look off the tribute because it does have the higher quality pickups which is often one of the areas where cheaper guitars differ from their more expensive counterparts. I really don't want to start a whole Gibson v Epiphone argument - I understand both have their fans - the Epiphone Tribute LP does look a nice model, I suppose I need to try a few different models and get a feel for myself.
#17
Quote by MegadethFan18
Yeah I'd agree you either die with an Epi or live long enough to regret not getting a Gibson.

Watch out though all Gibson LP's have chambering. I've been looking into some LPs myself (severe Gibson envy since my Sister got one) and they are all chambered apart from the Traditionals.

With Tonewood being such a main selling point I think the whole thing makes about as much sense as a restaurants throwing away half your steak, "Sir it's the finest 'taste steak' and we've cut out 40% of it so it's easier for you to eat!"

Sometimes more isn't always better. Gibson has been chambering their Les Pauls since the 80's, so it isn't like this has been a recent change. A lot of the time, they make the guitars sound better acoustically while the sustain they all have has hardly changed at all. The fact that they're lighter is just an added bonus in my eyes.
Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Jan 29, 2014,
#18
Quote by richards-keith
Well this is the thing, I don't really have my heart set on a Gibson at all, I would just like to get myself a fairly nice LP as this will be my first one. I will be more than happy with an Epiphone if it is a nice guitar in it's own right. I can see why the Gibson is considerably more expensive, made in the USA, a lot more of it made by hand by skilled crafts men. This all adds up. But if the Epiphone is essentially the same construction using the same woods (albeit maybe not quite such select cuts) and the major difference is that is manufactured in the far east using more automation but the finished product is essentially very similar then that will be ok for me. I like the look off the tribute because it does have the higher quality pickups which is often one of the areas where cheaper guitars differ from their more expensive counterparts. I really don't want to start a whole Gibson v Epiphone argument - I understand both have their fans - the Epiphone Tribute LP does look a nice model, I suppose I need to try a few different models and get a feel for myself.


Gibson uses automation as well everybody does, if they didn't the Epis would be better. The machines have an accuracy of within less than a mm, I mean humans can't even see that kind of measurement.

A lot of the main companies have factory tours on YouTube. They're really cool and some of the machines they use are really, really nice, I certainly wouldn't mind having a CNC router.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Sometimes more isn't always better. Gibson has been chambering their guitars since the 80's, so it isn't like this has been a recent change. A lot of the time, they make the guitars sound better acoustically while the sustain they all have has hardly changed at all. The fact that they're lighter is just an added bonus in my eyes.


To me there is just something off putting with cutting out a bunch of the wood. Not really to do with sound or anything though, more the feel.
#19
Quote by MegadethFan18

To me there is just something off putting with cutting out a bunch of the wood. Not really to do with sound or anything though, more the feel.

Can you post a video of yourself 'feeling' the chambering of a Les Paul?
Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
#20
...I don't really have my heart set on a Gibson at all, I would just like to get myself a fairly nice LP as this will be my first one.


OK, well that's progress! If you're not settled on a particular brand, there's lots of companies making good LPs at all kinds of prices. I own 3 LPclones, and none were made by Gibson or Epiphone.

What kind of budget do you have, and what do you want to play on the LP?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#21
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Can you post a video of yourself 'feeling' the chambering of a Les Paul?


How did you...wait...what? You already said them being lighter was a bonus to you, are you saying they don't feel lighter? So the weight relief doesn't actually work? They cut out a bunch of wood and it feels like its exactly the same weight? What's the point then and why did you say it was lighter?


Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
The fact that they're lighter is just an added bonus in my eyes.
Last edited by MegadethFan18 at Jan 29, 2014,
#22
I didn't mean it in the way you're describing, I meant it in the context of how a guitar feels to play, as in, fretting notes and picking strings and hearing the sound of the guitar, sort of feel.

Either way, I don't see a lighter Les Paul as being a bad thing.
Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Jan 29, 2014,
#23
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Because I don't see a lighter Les Paul as being a bad thing.


OK but I don't get why requested a video of me saying I liked the feeling of a heavier guitar better? If you already know the difference exists why would you need me to confirm it?
#24
Quote by richards-keith
Well this is the thing, I don't really have my heart set on a Gibson at all, I would just like to get myself a fairly nice LP as this will be my first one. I will be more than happy with an Epiphone if it is a nice guitar in it's own right. I can see why the Gibson is considerably more expensive, made in the USA, a lot more of it made by hand by skilled crafts men. This all adds up. But if the Epiphone is essentially the same construction using the same woods (albeit maybe not quite such select cuts) and the major difference is that is manufactured in the far east using more automation but the finished product is essentially very similar then that will be ok for me. I like the look off the tribute because it does have the higher quality pickups which is often one of the areas where cheaper guitars differ from their more expensive counterparts. I really don't want to start a whole Gibson v Epiphone argument - I understand both have their fans - the Epiphone Tribute LP does look a nice model, I suppose I need to try a few different models and get a feel for myself.

as said earlier, you can usually find a nice used gibson LP studio used for the cost of a higher end epiphone. but i agree that most of the higher end epiphones are nice guitars in their own right.

opening up more options as you look at some decent MIJ guitars. tokai, burny, greco, bacchus, orville, edwards etc. good stuff there too.

good luck.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#25
Quote by MegadethFan18
OK but I don't get why requested a video of me saying I liked the feeling of a heavier guitar better? If you already know the difference exists why would you need me to confirm it?

You said it was a 'feel' thing, when the term 'feel' is used in guitar in a less literal way but more in the strict context of how the guitar reacts to your playing.

You said that it makes no difference to the sound, but you said it makes a difference to the feel. The feel of a guitar has an influence on he way you play, therefore the sound changes. So I don't see how that is possible.
Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
#26
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
You said it was a 'feel' thing, when the term 'feel' is used in guitar in a less literal way but more in the strict context of how the guitar reacts to your playing.

You said that it makes no difference to the sound, but you said it makes a difference to the feel. The feel of a guitar has an influence on he way you play, therefore the sound changes. So I don't see how that is possible.


Gotcha I simply meant feel as in it feels heavier and I like that, "not it has better playability" etc...I didn't say there was no difference in sound, what effect it has on sound I wouldn't care about, especially acoustically.

I don't think there is a huge negative difference in the sound or they wouldn't do it.
Last edited by MegadethFan18 at Jan 29, 2014,
#28
I suppose I'm in the minority here, but I'd take a high end Epi over a Gibson any day. The electronics aren't quite as good, but to me they feel better. They look a good bit better too, IMO
Gibson SG Standard
Gibson Les Paul Traditional
Cort Explorer
Squire Standard Strat rebuilt with Fender USA parts
Squire Tele
Krank 1980
Orange Tiny Terror
Traynor YCV 50 Blue
Peavey Vypyr 75

Will fly for food. Call me Dylan
#29
I've got almost every current model of Epi Les Paul in my shop right now. Set all of them up myself. The Tribute model is the only one I'd put money on.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#30
Ibanez Artcore and ESP/LTD Ec. I have heard very good things about these guitars.
#31
Quote by dannyalcatraz
I own 3 LPclones, and none were made by Gibson or Epiphone.

What kind of budget do you have, and what do you want to play on the LP?

I meant 4!* Namely, a 2003 Dean Special Sselect EVO, a 2006 Reverend Roundhouse, a 2012 Malden Bad Karma, and a 2013 Electra Omega Prime.

No 2 sound, feel or play alike.


* I'm going to blame my brain fart on the weather.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jan 29, 2014,
#32
Quote by dannyalcatraz
* I'm going to blame my brain fart on the weather.

i accept that.

i'd kill someone to be able to grill steaks while wearing shorts and a t-shirt right now. this winter sucks.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#33
Buy an indoor grill or a BIG kitchen vent. Or maybe move into an abandoned commercial restaurant space.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#34
Another note, since you're between the Tribute and the Custom Pro: Which neck contour do you like?


I was actually just showing a guy in my shop this the other day. The Custom Pro has a flatter back, like the old 60's style, whereas the tribute is slim with a rounded feel. The Custom Pro feels like an SG neck to me, whereas the Tribute actually had the feel of an older LP. Plus, the coil-tap on the Pro sounded pretty meh.

What do you want to know about these guitars specifically? I'm going into work today, I can check them out for you.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#36
I bought my epi custom pro last summer, and love it. I picked up and played a lot of lower priced gibsons, and every epi the retailer had on the racks. Not saying buying the gibson studio is a bad idea, more or less saying play what you can find, and then buy the one you fall in love with. If you are a diverse player, or a tone junkie, the coil tapping feature on the pro series is a must have.
#37
Another note, since you're between the Tribute and the Custom Pro: Which neck contour do you like?


I was actually just showing a guy in my shop this the other day. The Custom Pro has a flatter back, like the old 60's style, whereas the tribute is slim with a rounded feel. The Custom Pro feels like an SG neck to me, whereas the Tribute actually had the feel of an older LP. Plus, the coil-tap on the Pro sounded pretty meh.

What do you want to know about these guitars specifically? I'm going into work today, I can check them out for you.




They both have the same neck profile, '60s slim taper D-profile'

they vary due to the different sanding skills of the single employees doing the job

http://epiphonewiki.com/index.php/Les_Paul_Tribute_%26_Anniversary_Models#1960_Les_Paul_Tribute_Plus

http://epiphonewiki.com/index.php/Les_Paul_Custom#Les_Paul_Custom_PRO

What is this shop you work? a pawn-shop or a real (authorized Epi) shop ?