#1
Looking at three different Les Paul style guitars and am wondering about the quality comparison. There is the Gibson LPJ14, the higher end Epiphones, and the LTD EC1000 with the Duncans that I am looking at. In general, are you going to get a better guitar with a low end Gibson than with a high end Epi or a passive LTD?
#2
I'd go with the LTD. Gibson's quality has gone down the shitter lately.
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#3
The low end Gibsons are rather hit and miss, and I think once you get to the EC1000 you're past Epiphone quality. I'd pick the EC1000 over pretty much anything else in that price range, but play one to make sure you want it, it's got a few departures from the usual LP formula.
#4
Of those, I'd probably go with the LTD, too.

Are those the ones you've narrowed it down to, or are you still looking around?
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#5
An EC-1000 is an excellent Korean guitar that rivals American guitars that cost several times more. A low-end Gibson is just a cheap guitar that costs a lot because America dumps health care costs on employers.
#6
Another vote for the ltd. The lpjs that I tried while guitar shopping in that price range felt and sounded no better than a middle of the road epi, kinda broke my reverance for Gibson. I kinda liked the eclipse, it gave me a positive impression of LTD. Very slick guitars
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#7
Gibson really isn't competitive in the Under-$1000 category unless what you really need is a Gibson logo -- and this is coming from a long-time Gibson owner and fan.

Their sweet spot, honestly, is in the $3K and up range; if you're looking for a very traditional guitar and well done, the money an R9 costs is probably well spent. The Trads and Trad Pros are good enough, and if you're careful, you can find good gear there. I'm not a big fan of the Studios, but there are those who love them (in large part because it gives them a reasonable guitar with a Gibson headstock). In the Studio price range and up beyond the Trads, the Carvins are much better guitars. The SGs are all over the place, but you have to be careful that you don't get something that's too neck-heavy; the design is prone to that.

The Gibson "J" series guitars that I've seen are far below the quality of the Korean guitars in the same price range. Happy owners of those will claim that they really like the "no frills" approach and will call anything like a finish or binding or any other labor-intensive step (like finishing the fret ends) "extra bling."

I would instead look at the LTD, the upper-echelon Epiphones and the surprising Agiles (if you live in the states). The hardware is going to be higher quality than on the Gibsons and the other appointments as well (Agiles, for example, have ebony fretboards real MOP and abalone block inlays, Graphtech "tusq" style nuts, Graphtech bridges with String Saver saddles, multilayer binding on body and headstock, binding on the fretboards, hand-filed frets (and some models come stock with stainless frets!) and more, all in the under-$500 range).
#8
Besides the options listed so far, I'd add these good options in your price range:

Malden Karma or Bad Karma
http://www.maldenguitars.com/karma.htm
www.maldenguitars.com/badkarma.htm
www.maldenguitars.com/store.htm

Electra Omega or Omega Prime
www.southernfriedguitars.com/collections/electra-guitars

DBZ Bolero
www.southernfriedguitars.com/collections/dbz-bolero-guitar

Hagstrom Swedes or Super Swedes
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/hagstrom-swede-electric-guitar
www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/hagstrom-super-swede-tremar-electric-guitar

Dean Zelinsky private Label Zenyatta
http://deanzelinsky.com/collections/zenyatta

The Fernandes Monterey or the Ravelle (a mutation of the LP design), especially since they are currently on clearance.
http://www.fernandesguitarshop.com

Full disclosure: I own 2 Fernandes Ravelles, 1 Malden Bad Karma, and an Electra Omega Prime. The Zenyatta is on my shopping list, as are Hagstrom and DBZ guitars other than the ones I listed- I like those brands, but even my funds & storage space are finite.
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 Aug 8, 2014,
#9
Gibson = try before you buy. Not just the same model, the actual guitar. Sometimes the cheap models can be awesome, sometimes the expensive models can be crap.

Comparison of Epiphone to lower end Gibson depends on the above. Epiphone are probably more consistent, but don't reach the top end of quality that you can get if you find the right Gibson. Find the wrong Gibson and Epiphone wins.

If ordering online & you can't try first, go with the LTD.
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#10
Quote by GaryBillington
Gibson = try before you buy. Not just the same model, the actual guitar. Sometimes the cheap models can be awesome, sometimes the expensive models can be crap.

Comparison of Epiphone to lower end Gibson depends on the above. Epiphone are probably more consistent, but don't reach the top end of quality that you can get if you find the right Gibson. Find the wrong Gibson and Epiphone wins.

If ordering online & you can't try first, go with the LTD.

This is true. I bought a LP classic not so long ago. The store had 3, so I had a bash with all of them. I thought they all sounded good, but only one of them felt right.


TS, any reason you've ruled out the PRS SE singlecuts?
#11
Quote by slapsymcdougal
This is true. I bought a LP classic not so long ago. The store had 3, so I had a bash with all of them. I thought they all sounded good, but only one of them felt right.

Yeah, when I bought my LP Studio Satin (probably the cheapest model from the 2012 range), I picked it over some Standards & Customs despite having the budget for the more expensive model. I'd tried literally 100s of guitars before eventually finding the right one.

Gibsons can be great, but buying one can be a bit of a lottery.
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#12
I just wouldn't buy a Gibson. You can get the same quality for less money or a lot more quality/features for the same money with other brands.
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#13
Quote by slapsymcdougal

...the PRS SE singlecuts?

Good guitars.
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!
#15
Gibsons are very much a try-before-you-buy brand. If for some reason you cannot get access to any Gibsons for whatever reason, then buy the LTD online. I'm not a massive fan of them stylistically, but they're good guitars.
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#16
Thanks to all. Lots of great advise. There is no question that it would be cool to have the Gibson name on the head stock but I think I'll be a lot better off with a higher end ltd. I just don't hear anything bad about them. If I go ltd, which I'm sure I will, I'm going to look at the actives too. The hetfield iron cross looks sweet but I'm not that in to signature models. Anyway, I'll have fun looking.
#17
I'm going to give another vote for LTD. I've played a Gibson SGJ and just really didn't like it that much. In my opinion, the SGJ's tone wasn't nearly as good as the LTD's. Since the SGJ and LPJ use the same pickups, their tones should be about the same. If you can't try before you buy, go wit the LTD. You won't go wrong.
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#18
I have an esp eclipse ii std which is just a notch up from an ltd and its an excellent guitar. I do prefer passive pickups though. I have sds on my eclipse i and they sound fantastic. Super smooth. I've owned 4 Gibson Les Pauls. My studio was before they started using the plek machine and it was a disaster. All three standards that I've owned have had great fret work. I love my 2008 standard even if it is a bit of an oddball. In terms of finish my esps are visually superior to my gibsons in every aspect. As far as sound goes it's subjective. I like gibson burstbuckers because they scream but I also like SDs. I know a lot of people like prs guitars but I hate their pickups. I owned one briefly and the feel and finish was great. Except when I was getting electrocuted from a bad ground in the guitar.
#19
You know, one guitar I failed to use in my comparison is the Agile custom option. This would be in the $700 or less price range, right in there with the other brands mentioned. Honestly, if I can get past the Agile name on the headstock, they look like pretty good values.
#20
Uh... Agile custom for less than $700? Pics or it didn't happen. I mean, it;s possible, but something I just did with not a lot of options is almost $900.
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#21
Quote by Roc8995
The low end Gibsons are rather hit and miss, and I think once you get to the EC1000 you're past Epiphone quality. I'd pick the EC1000 over pretty much anything else in that price range, but play one to make sure you want it, it's got a few departures from the usual LP formula.



Agreed completely.
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#22
Quote by TheStig1214
Uh... Agile custom for less than $700? Pics or it didn't happen. I mean, it;s possible, but something I just did with not a lot of options is almost $900.

just priced it using the online calculator on the rhondo site.
#23
Quote by columbiar
just priced it using the online calculator on the rhondo site.


That's the final price AND the $300 deposit due before shipping?
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#24
Quote by TheStig1214
That's the final price AND the $300 deposit due before shipping?


Oh, I get it now. I thought the $300 deposits was part of the total not in addition too.
#25
i'd get the EC1000.

who am i kidding, i'd get a tokai or bacchus.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#26
Quote by columbiar
Oh, I get it now. I thought the $300 deposits was part of the total not in addition too.


Two things about Agile "customs."

One is that the power you have in building a custom will also allow you to build something unwonderful. Make sure you have a *really* good idea what your final result will be prior to hitting the "buy" button. There have been a couple of atrocities to Guitardom perpetrated by what must have been inebriated brains...

Two is that this is a great way to get something that not even Gibson will do. I popped for $1160 (with case, delivered) for a neck-through guitar with a shaved neck heel that's actually a better player than my Axcess Custom (over $4K) and easily as well built. Not only do I NOT have any regrets, but I've got another one planned.
#27
Even as a Gibson lover, among those choices I'd have to say go with the LTD.

Epiphones may look more like your typical Les Paul, but IMHO they feel plastic-like and sound muffled. Even a low end Gibson and most LTD's blow them out of the water in terms of build quality.

LJP's aren't bad, but they don't feel like your typical Gibson Les Paul. They feel like a dirty, sanded guitar that is the basic shape of a Les Paul. But depending the kind of music you play, that may be fitting. I think it would go along great with a grunge/punk look. But it certainly won't feel like a Les Paul.

I think LTD makes some of the best guitars to come out of Asia. I had an EC1000T CTM for a while and it held up against most Gibsons I've ever played. Just like all the other LTD's I checked out, the binding, the fretboard, the electronics, were all flawless. I only traded it out because I decided that active pickups just weren't for me.

I know many EC1000 models have thinner bodies, but if I'm not mistaken doesn't the Seymour Duncan model have a thicker body? If that is the case, you may ironically have a guitar that feels more like a Les Paul than the Gibson or Epiphone.
#28
Quote by The Judist
I just wouldn't buy a Gibson. You can get the same quality for less money or a lot more quality/features for the same money with other brands.


Pretty much. Gibsons just aren't that great unless you want (and have the money for) a really high end gorgeous Les Paul. I also just dislike Gibson as a company because of the way they absolutely shit on small independently owned shops.

Another vote for the "try everything that has the look you want, and buy the actual guitar you try" method. Lots of companies have Korean made LP-shaped guitars that are great for the money. Besides the others mentioned here, I'll suggest that you try a couple of Schecter's Solo models, just because I'm a huge fan of Schecter. They have a shape that's like an LP with a slight offset to the curves, and a new model this year that's pretty much a straight LP shape. Here's a few sexy ones I'd look at.

http://www.schecterguitars.com/guitars/blackjack-atx/blackjack-atx-solo-ii-detail

http://www.schecterguitars.com/guitars/custom/solo-6-custom-2013-12-04-detail

http://www.schecterguitars.com/guitars/hellraiser-extreme/hellraiser-extreme-solo-6-e-detail

http://www.schecterguitars.com/guitars/hellraiser/h-1-2013-11-21-detail

http://www.schecterguitars.com/guitars/retro/solo-6-custom-iii-detail

Particularly that Solo-6 Custom, if you want something that'll sound more like a LP, besides just looking like it. Seymour Duncan pickups and a traditional look with that offset LP shape. I really like that one. The Hellraiser Extreme is neck-thru, which is awesome, but the EMG 81/89 are probably not what someone is looking for when they want an LP, unless they just want the look, and intend to play very heavy stuff.
#29
Quote by slapsymcdougal
This is true. I bought a LP classic not so long ago. The store had 3, so I had a bash with all of them. I thought they all sounded good, but only one of them felt right.


TS, any reason you've ruled out the PRS SE singlecuts?

Me too with my LP STD.The one i liked the look of felt nowhere near as good as the one i chose.
#30
Sounds like from the responses that the LTD is tough to beat. It is a bit different than your standard Les Paul though. Can you get Les Paul tone out of an EC especially if using passives?
#31
without a problem.

i got a nice les paul tone out of one of these today. was surprised how nice it sounded.

I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#33
it was really nice, there wasn't much about it i didn't like. the pups were kinda dark sounding but i can see where that would be a good thing. so many bright lesters out there anyway.

the back of the neck was satin-y feeling. had a nice neck profile not real thin. full shaped.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#34
Quote by columbiar
Sounds like from the responses that the LTD is tough to beat. It is a bit different than your standard Les Paul though. Can you get Les Paul tone out of an EC especially if using passives?


Of the guitars offered, and in the area where the OP lives, and given what's available at that price range as a new piece, it's a good guitar.

Given that there are well over 100 different LP models from Gibson over the past 30 years or so, and that they've varied pickups, materials, body thickness, interior density, neck carve and more, I'd say there is no specific "Les Paul tone," but a wide variety of them.
#35
Quote by dspellman
Of the guitars offered, and in the area where the OP lives, and given what's available at that price range as a new piece, it's a good guitar.

Given that there are well over 100 different LP models from Gibson over the past 30 years or so, and that they've varied pickups, materials, body thickness, interior density, neck carve and more, I'd say there is no specific "Les Paul tone," but a wide variety of them.


So, true. But when I think of the classic Les Paul, I think of that warm clear crunch coming from a les paul.
#36
Quote by columbiar
So, true. But when I think of the classic Les Paul, I think of that warm clear crunch coming from a les paul.


Whatever that means <G>. Up through about 1980, that could have been P90's or any of several runs at PAF pickups. It was after about 1980 that the factory started putting two *different* pickups in a guitar. Prior to that everything had two of the same pickup ("balanced" pickups weren't a thing).

Honestly, one of the very best Les Paul warm clear crunches I have comes from an early '80's Ibanez AR300.