#1
Hello everyone,

first post, hope it's in the right place. I'm after a little bit of advice about what to do with my Epiphone Les Paul, apologies that its so long!

bit of background on me, skip this if you don't give a monkeys - started learning about 12 years ago on a pacifica and after a couple of years I was kindly given the epiphone by a family friend who found it lying in the loft. I was 17 and well chuffed to have a 'les paul' and soon after sold the yamaha. practice died a death at university and it gathered dust for a few years but now i'm getting back into playing in a big way and really want to step things up. I love playing classic rock, little bit of blues and a tiny bit of metal.

so, the guitar... i've never known a lot about it, looking up the serial number online its apparently made by samick in korea in 1994. body is heavy, i think it could be mahogany with a plain maple top. It sounds pretty good i think (i'm not experienced enough to really tell the difference) but perhaps lacks a bit of range to the tones it can manage. It also has a dent in frets 5 and 6 which can be a bit of a mid-riff-mood-killer and causes some buzz on the bottom strings. slightly lesser concerns include some minor issues with tuning and i always seem to be tinkering with the action.

so firstly does anyone know anything about the Epi LP models from this era? worth investing in? the way i see it, i could do any of the following:
- get the frets fixed, upgrade the pickups and get myself a bad ass LP with good variable tones (but still an Epi)
- get the frets fixed but stop there, save the cash and get a strat for tone variation
- sell as is and buy something more versatile (chapman ml-2/LPJ for example, although haven't tried either yet)

all thoughts welcome, especially any info on the guitar, thanks for reading!
#2
Anything that involves not playing an Epi Les Paul is a good idea to me, but I'm bias.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#3
If it has a set neck, keep it and get the frets levelled. At least in my experience getting the frets redressed isn't as expensive as one would think. If it's a bolt-on, sell it.

How much money you're willing to put into it is a pretty major factor though.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Feb 20, 2014,
#4
yeah it's a set neck i think (no screws in the back so has to be right?).

I'm happy to sink up to £250 into it if its going to get me a nice guitar, something i'll be happy with for a couple of years. more than that though and i spose i'd prefer to start checking out some new mid range stuff like the aforementioned chapman.

Would you say its better to dress the frets or just replace the two dodgy ones? the rest are in decent nick as despite its age, its only been played as much a regular 2/3 year old guitar.
#5
What would you replace it with? It probably wont be worth replacing unless you get a Gibson traditional or something. If its a studio model you have in mind just upgrade yours to more suit what you play and get the frets leveled. Epi's can be great guitars with a little work. Some of the best guitars you can get for your $.
#6
If you like playing it and want to improve it go for it. Personally I'll upgrade anything I like regardless of how much it's worth (I don't sell anything). I'm well versed though, so I do everything myself which does save me money.

However if you hate it and want to upgrade it to play better/increase it's value don't bother. From what I've seen the upgrades won't increase it's value and if you hate it new pickups won't change that. As you said it's "still an Epi" and that's how people will see it.

It'll be different for everyone. There will be someone, somewhere who swears by their Squier that they bought and upgraded 20 years ago and there will be people who will flat out refuse to play an Epi because it's an Epi.
Last edited by MegadethFan18 at Feb 20, 2014,
#7
Pictures, please.

My suggestion is to get a really good setup done (including fixing the frets) and make sure that your frets are level (this has become my mantra with all guitars these days), crowned and polished.

I put one very cheap....er....inexpensive guitar (a B-stock -- finish issues -- Agile AL-2000 Floyd) on the PLEK and had the frets superglued by Gary Brawer in San Francisco. He's done this to my expensive guitars for a while now, but I was curious what it would do to an under-$200 purchase. He set it up for very low action and the results were spectacular. It plays easily as well as any of the high-priced spread, and the ceramic-magnet humbuckers that I expected to have to replace sound great. It's become one of my two go-to bar guitars.

If the pickups are four-wire already, you can have a push-pull put in and set it up for coil split. If the pickups are fairly high output now, they'll probably do well split. If they're low output, not so much (IMHO, of course).

I'm unfamiliar with the Chapman ML-2, but it looks to be a fairly basic and well-designed Asian guitar with modern leanings. My personal preference runs toward larger frets, flatter radii, 24-frets, smooth neck heels, thinner necks, ebony fretboards, so this one would catch my eye. I'm not too thrilled about the pickup selector location. It's guaranteed to be switched incorrectly. The same information about setup applies to it as equally as it does to your older Epi, by the way. I'm convinced that nearly every guitar manufacturer puts out a "kit" guitar that needs to be completed by the purchaser, and that includes Gibson, Fender and PRS. Carvins come direct from the factory with great fretwork, and set to your action preferences (and usually in tune when you pull them out of the case), but there you're getting a semi-custom guitar built to your personal laundry list.

The LPJ -- I think the "J" stands for "Junque." I know that sounds trollish, and I apologize to current owners, but the truth is that Gibson set out to produce the cheapest guitar they could by eliminating labor and quality. The finish has been wearing to bare wood in spots within a few months, there's been no effort at grain fill, the flat finish shows shiny "old tuxedo pants" spots fairly quickly where it *doesn't* wear through and in general it's a guitar that, if it did NOT have the Gibson logo and instead said "Shun Fat" on the headstock, you'd leave in the CostCo Christmas Grab Bin if the pricetag were $150. It's a guitar for folks who could never before afford something with Gibson on the headstock other than the game controller. Gibson management has suddenly realized they need entry-level bodies because they don't have any. This was a bad effort. There are frets on the guitar and there are pickups on the guitar. Tuners, too. There, I've said something nice about it. IMHO, YMMV, etc., etc.
Last edited by dspellman at Feb 20, 2014,
#8
Quote by MegadethFan18
If you like playing it and want to improve it go for it. Personally I'll upgrade anything I like regardless of how much it's worth (I don't sell anything). I'm well versed though, so I do everything myself which does save me money.

However if you hate it and want to upgrade it to play better/increase it's value don't bother. From what I've seen the upgrades won't increase it's value and if you hate it new pickups won't change that. As you said it's "still an Epi" and that's how people will see it.

It'll be different for everyone. There will be someone, somewhere who swears by their Squier that they bought and upgraded 20 years ago and there will be people who will flat out refuse to play an Epi because it's an Epi.

Pretty much this.

I know of pros who play Epis and Squiers, and you probably wouldn't know with your eyes closed. They're the exeption though, and arguably got very lucky. Anyone can make a good (or bad) guitar, some are just more likely than others.

I could suggest replacement guitars. Anyone here could.

But it might be to your advantage to go try out some guitars in stores to find out if YOU think you need to replace your guitar. Pay attention to the way the other guitars FEEL as much as how they sound.
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 Feb 20, 2014,
#10
thanks for all the replies everyone, appreciate you taking the time, I will be back with some photos in a bit.

to answer a couple of the questions, i'm less bothered about resale value, just want to have a guitar i'm excited about until i can justify investing in an american standard spec of some sort.

i love the les paul, of course i'd prefer the word Gibson on the headstock, but its still a beautiful instrument. I'm not sure i can quantify whether its hard to play or it's just my deficiencies, i only have one guitar after all, how are you meant to evaluate this without prolonged access to another instrument? that said, i'd like to try a prs custom, they seem to be a nice middle ground.

interested in this PLEK treatment, i've not seen it before but looks pretty comprehensive plus i apparently have a store nearby (in sweden) which offers it. what sort of price should i expect to pay for this kind of service? will the repairs be seperate or will it cover things like a dinged fret in the treatment? i'm guessing pics may help answer this, so will upload asap.

thanks again!
#11
Quote by JustRooster



*********************

yeah i've looked at the esp's but i keep getting stuck in the loop of thinking that a Ltd is basically an epiphone anyway and the esp costs the same as some american built classics. plus they seem a little more focussed on the metal genre.
#12
i agree with dannyalcatraz. if you are going to get a new guitar you need to go and try it yourself. there is nothing wrong with getting some info here first, but if it is at all possible go and try them yourself. they all feel slightly different and you need to find the one that is most comfortable for you.
#13
More importantly, its about him learning whether or not he feels the guitar in his hands ACTUALLY needs replacing or if it would be worth upgrading.

I have a Dean EVO- one of the first two electrics I ever bought. I own guitars worth 7x what I paid for it, but I'm actually considering a pickup upgrade because- as far as I can tell- that's the guitar's only real problem. It holds tune well, and feels good in my hands. The pickups are just too noisy & muddy.

So, even though I know it will never be better than or even half as good as my best guitars, upgrading it is something I have to consider.
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!
#14
I'd say keep it and upgrade. I've had my LP for over 10 years and only recently got a better PRS SE. This means my LP hasn't really been played for a few weeks but I wouldn't get rid of it. For the £350 I paid for it, I won't be able to find a nicer playing one for the price. I upgraded the bridge pickup but except that, it was all stock. The only thing is with the higher frets being not so great on it with lower action but I'm not a big solo person so it doesn't bother me so much.

In the end, it comes down to what you personally want to do. I'm very fond of my Epi so I will be kind of biased but considering when yours was made, this was when they were best (from what I've heard).
MY METALZ YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Quote by angusfan16
Okay UG where's my refund and free xbox. I need It for my 80 yr old grandma. She needs a new flower pot
#15
I'd say upgrade it. Your main issue will be getting the frets fixed.

I bought a second Epi Les Paul Custom for €200 that sounded like ass. I swapped in new pickups and electronics and it plays and sounds as good as a Gibson. Don't worry about the cork sniffers who'll tell you it's and inferior guitar just because it doesn't say Gibson on the headstock.
#16
Quote by irishman
I'd say upgrade it. Your main issue will be getting the frets fixed.

I bought a second Epi Les Paul Custom for €200 that sounded like ass. I swapped in new pickups and electronics and it plays and sounds as good as a Gibson. Don't worry about the cork sniffers who'll tell you it's and inferior guitar just because it doesn't say Gibson on the headstock.


This kind of ignorance shouldn't exist... Plays as good as Gibson.. What Gibson exactly? The newest ones on the lowest budget? Definitely. But not at least better than the Standards and Traditionals I've played... Of course it's a shame that brand like Gibson can offer really bad examples these days, but when you get the good ones, you get the good ones and you get the sound you look for, with a Marshall Plexi/JCM800.

However, I do agree with you lower budget guitars being not inferior. I've played bad Gibsons (a really bad brand new LPJ, fret edges were far too out and sharp, it was right out of the factory and not that old either).
Gear pics

Quote by Cathbard
Bugera cloning Blackstar is a scandal cloaked in a tragedy making love to a nightmare.

#17
a few pics as promised ******link to better pics in next post*******. the last should hopefully show the fret damage.

thanks for all the advice re next guitars, of course if i was going to go that route then i'll get down to a shop a find one that i love, was just using the examples to show what i'll be happy spending (about 750 GBP, just don't think my playing warrants anymore than that yet).

What i was after was some advice on whether the epiphone is worth upgrading or if its just wasted cash. Sounds like the answer so far is very much, if you like it - it keep it. just need to get a quote for the repair first then scope some humbuckers, any advice on those? max 200 GBP i reckon.

Cheers!
Attachments:
IMG_0071.jpg
IMG_0073.jpg
IMG_0072.jpg
IMG_0074.jpg
Last edited by jecooper86 at Feb 20, 2014,
#19
Yeah those frets are totally salvageable. Go to your local guitar store for a quote.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
#20
Quote by jecooper86
*********************

yeah i've looked at the esp's but i keep getting stuck in the loop of thinking that a Ltd is basically an epiphone anyway and the esp costs the same as some american built classics. plus they seem a little more focussed on the metal genre.



LTD is to Epiphone as the Tribute Series is to Fender Mexico.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#21
Looks a nice guitar to me but then I've just bought an Epiphone Les Paul and I'm happy with it. Looks like your frets need a bit of a dress but that's not a too major job. The only thing I would say on that is that it's worth paying a little bit extra and getting someone who really knows their stuff. I have taken guitars to shops before to have work done and when I got the guitar back it was obvious that whoever had done the work didn't really know what they were doing. I took a strat to a shop once and asked for a new nut, when it came back it had the most enormous nut I had ever seen on a guitar and the strings rattled about in the groves because they were about four times bigger than they needed to be. I had never seen such an awful job. Since then I only go to places with a really good reputation. I would rather pay more and know the job is being done properly than scrimp and have a shoddy job. The overall value of the guitar doesn't enter into it for me, if I like the guitar I don't mind spending out on a decent amount on proper maintenance, to me it's just a necessary expense, a bit like having your car serviced.