#1
Have any of you noticed a wide spread kind of anti-bias against Epiphone guitars. Like it is committing some kind of disservice to guitar players everywhere to say anything good about an Epiphone guitar. I was watching a youtube video where a very famous guitarist was talking about his guitars, one of which was an Epiphone, which he loved and said so. The interviewer went way out of his way, almost to the point of lecturing to him, that at the time Gibson was making all the Epiphones so it wasn't "really" an Epiphone, but in fact a Gibson that just happened to say Epiphone on the headstock. I just thought that was a little bit of an odd thing to do. I don't own an Epiphone and in fact do own a Gibson, but I wouldn't lecture somebody for saying he liked his Epiphone more than a Gibson. That reporters credibility took a nose dive with me after that.
#2
Epiphone's good models are still ultimately low end guitars, and they get the bad rep from the cheaper stuff, the bolt-ons, but I think most of the people on here who know what they're talking about recommend Epiphone when it's the right price range and the right style. In the wider world, though, people who own expensive guitars will always tend against cheaper ones, be it confirmation bias or completely justified, I couldn't say.

Also worth pointing out that a few years ago nobody besides Chappers would ever question that a Gibson would always be pretty categorically better than its Epiphone equivalent, and that this was reflected (if invariably excessively) in the price. Nowadays I'm sure some people would question that.

My experience with actual Gibsons is very limited, but I've played a good dozen or two Epis and I've owned one for the last three and a half years and I seriously doubt that it could compete with a (good) Gibson, but in its own right it's a very solid instrument and I can definitely see Epiphone's nicer stuff (especially the archtops) giving Gibsons a run for their money. The Emperor Swingster I had a go on a few weeks ago (imitation Gretsch) was a wonderfully fun instrument to play and full of little details that, while perhaps not at "Gibson quality", really did give it that gorgeous lush vibe.

All that notwithstanding, it being somewhat disjointed and not wholly relevant, I think it's somewhat fair to say that Gibsons are, almost invariably, nicer than Epiphones, just as you can say that tube amps are almost invariably better than solid states. But I agree that if you take away that "almost" and try to force the world to conform to that mould, it's ignorant and it's snobbish.
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#3
I think it's to do with the fact that Epiphone will always be overshadowed by Gibson, and many guitarists will compare Epiphones to Gibsons when it's totally an unfair comparison, personally I've not played an Epiphone I've liked, but then again I've not played a Gibson so I can't say what the differences are, but compared to similarly priced guitars of the Les Paul shape, the Vintage V100 I have I prefer to any Epi LP I've played
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#4
The irony is that you used words like "widespread" and "guitarists everywhere" based on the video of 1 very famous guitarist.

That's bias for ya right there

Not hating btw.

In my personal experience I did see quite a lot of flawed low ranged epi's. Notably in the electronics (1 pup not working, faulty switch, faulty pot etc.)

I've also seen some not holding tune very well, perhaps bad tuners, but this could also be because of the les paul design.

I feel for example Ibanez in the lower range is a more stable brand construction wise. Disregarding the sound, they seem very solid.

The epihpone les paul elites (around the 800 - 1200 range)looked and played amazing though. Felt like a different brand.

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#5
Epiphones made nowadays will always be inferior to Gibsons. Gibson wouldn't be selling nearly as many Gibsons if they were comparable. That isn't to say that Epiphones are bad guitars though.

I think there is a rather unfair stigma being put against the brand. I think their higher end stuff is really, really good and their value proposition is very competitive with other brands. They don't feel at all like the cheap, shitty planks that people tend to associate Epiphone with. And that stigma is something that a company can almost never get out of.

I think that given what the brand is constrained to doing, they do a really great job, especially when everybody is demanding so much for such little money. And unfortunately the same cannot be said for Gibson themselves these days.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Jul 19, 2015,
#6
Not here on UG where folks think that unless it looks like an Epiphone or a Squier it's not a guitar. Or those who think that the universe of guitar manufacturing is limited to those two.
#7
Quote by Sunfist
Have any of you noticed a wide spread kind of anti-bias against Epiphone guitars.


Nope. They seem to be doing very well.
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#8
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Epiphones made nowadays will always be inferior to Gibsons.


Unless they get sneaky.

There's a reason that Epiphones will remain "inferior" to Gibsons.
In the 30's, Epiphone and Gibson were fierce competitors. When the founder died and his sons sold the name to Gibson there was rejoicing in Kalamazoo. And in the same way that the Romans, upon finally conquering their hated rival, are said to have plowed the city under and salted the ground (legend, probably not fact), so Gibson's internal management culture has a mandate to keep Epiphone from ever regaining prominence as a high-quality guitar.

Epiphone has had some interesting management people with more than a little pride in their product, and they've breached these "walls" a time or two. The Japanese-made Epis were very good, and Gibson subsequently moved production to Korea. When Korean production got a bit *too* good, it was moved to China and Indonesia.
#9
Quote by dthmtl3
Not here on UG where folks think that unless it looks like an Epiphone or a Squier it's not a guitar. Or those who think that the universe of guitar manufacturing is limited to those two.


That's mostly in Yurp. Here in the You Ess there are more choices.
#10
Quote by dspellman at #33508536
Unless they get sneaky.

There's a reason that Epiphones will remain "inferior" to Gibsons.
In the 30's, Epiphone and Gibson were fierce competitors. When the founder died and his sons sold the name to Gibson there was rejoicing in Kalamazoo. And in the same way that the Romans, upon finally conquering their hated rival, are said to have plowed the city under and salted the ground (legend, probably not fact), so Gibson's internal management culture has a mandate to keep Epiphone from ever regaining prominence as a high-quality guitar.

Epiphone has had some interesting management people with more than a little pride in their product, and they've breached these "walls" a time or two. The Japanese-made Epis were very good, and Gibson subsequently moved production to Korea. When Korean production got a bit *too* good, it was moved to China and Indonesia.

I've heard a lot more terrible things about the old Korean-made Epiphones than the Chinese ones, tbh.

But the fact that Gibson discontinued the Epiphone Elitist guitars (apart from the Casino) sort of proves the point.
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#11
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
I've heard a lot more terrible things about the old Korean-made Epiphones than the Chinese ones, tbh.

But the fact that Gibson discontinued the Epiphone Elitist guitars (apart from the Casino) sort of proves the point.


I agree -- the Chinese-made guitars have been pretty consistent. It would be cool if Gibson's own factory could come up to that level of consistency.
#12
Bias is created by the brands, both from the manufacturer and consumer. I don't think Epiphone gets it any worse than the others. Squire used to have a terrible reputation, especially with $99 starter packs in the late 1990s, but they make some decent models. I believe certain brands try harder to not degrade the lower cost brands, like ESP/LTD. Some don't care and have cheap models all the way up to expensive (eg. Jackson, etc).

I have played some Epiphones (years ago and they sounded fine), not my style but they didn't feel cheap.
#13
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Epiphones made nowadays will always be inferior to Gibsons. Gibson wouldn't be selling nearly as many Gibsons if they were comparable. That isn't to say that Epiphones are bad guitars though.

I think there is a rather unfair stigma being put against the brand. I think their higher end stuff is really, really good and their value proposition is very competitive with other brands. They don't feel at all like the cheap, shitty planks that people tend to associate Epiphone with. And that stigma is something that a company can almost never get out of.

I think that given what the brand is constrained to doing, they do a really great job, especially when everybody is demanding so much for such little money. And unfortunately the same cannot be said for Gibson themselves these days.


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#14
You’re probably too young to remember when Epiphone was cranking out abject shīt. Epiphone today makes much better stuff than they used to. In the 1980s and 1990s much of Epiphone’s output was better suited to firewood than music. The world is full of people whose first guitar was an awful Epiphone and they’ll never forget it.

While Epi today is significantly better than it used to be, it still cuts corners where it shouldn’t. Half the bad feelings players have toward Epi probably come from the cheap switches used to shave a little off the cost of the guitars. This goes back to Henry J., Gibson’s subhuman scumbag CEO, who can’t just be happy making decent guitars. He’s constantly trying to reinvent his companies, and all too often his idea of reinventing is to slip in cheap materials to try and squeeze out another five cents out of a Les Paul.
#15
Quote by dthmtl3
Not here on UG where folks think that unless it looks like an Epiphone or a Squier it's not a guitar. Or those who think that the universe of guitar manufacturing is limited to those two.

Waaat. I've seen plenty of dumb "everything that's not Fender or Gibson is for 13-year olds" elitists elsewhere on the internets, but I honestly have trouble remembering a thread on UG when someone asked for a guitar recommendation and the majority of the answers were not other brands. And there was a large thread about Gibson some time ago where the general consensus was hardly favourable for Gibson.

Either way, on topic, I have not had that much experience with either (just completely not my thing, I'm a superstrat guy mostly), but I've generally encountered neutral-to-positive opinions about Epiphones. I don't think I've ever seen anyone go fanboy over them, but they seem to be considered fairly decent budget guitars overall. (Whereas Gibson's reputation seems to slowly become horrible and for good reason.)
#16
Quote by dspellman
Unless they get sneaky.

There's a reason that Epiphones will remain "inferior" to Gibsons.
In the 30's, Epiphone and Gibson were fierce competitors. When the founder died and his sons sold the name to Gibson there was rejoicing in Kalamazoo. And in the same way that the Romans, upon finally conquering their hated rival, are said to have plowed the city under and salted the ground (legend, probably not fact), so Gibson's internal management culture has a mandate to keep Epiphone from ever regaining prominence as a high-quality guitar.

Epiphone has had some interesting management people with more than a little pride in their product, and they've breached these "walls" a time or two. The Japanese-made Epis were very good, and Gibson subsequently moved production to Korea. When Korean production got a bit *too* good, it was moved to China and Indonesia.


Actually the founder's son died and the family couldn't be bothered to run the business. It was already shut down when Gibson offered something like 20K for their Bass production stuff and were surprised to see they got all of Epi. Back their day the Epiphones has some very high end appointments and were dolled up quite nicely.


The Japanese Epis (Elites/ Elitists) were made under contract by Fugijen (I owned 2) and simply labels as Epiphones. The Korean ones were also basically made under contract by a Korean company that also made other guitars. The Chinese factory represented a pure Epiphone Factory dedicated to making their product. The biggest reason for moving from Korea was likely the increased production costs reflected by increased standard of living. I think the average minimum wage in Korea was something like 4X what China's was.
When you're selling a guitar for 500-600 retails and the guitar has to be shipped halfway round the world, sold to a distributor who then sells it to a vendor and all them wanting to make some money in the process wages can make a difference.
Moving on.....
#17
As the owner of an Epiphone Standard LP that after a pro setup and fret leveling still has buzzing problems - I can say the guitar I own is not built to the standards I would expect from a higher-end instrument. That said if the neck is good on an Epiphone and you replace the pickups, there shouldn't be much of a sound or playability difference. I probably got unlucky l, but I have heard of many unlucky Epiphone owners too..
#18
don't see much bashing here or even on other boards these days. the nicer epi's are solid guitars that play and sound really good. now of course they won't match the qualty of a US Gibson but that shouldn't be a suprise. they are made to a price point so there is only so much room for improvement. now the idea that Gibson is somehow worried is kinda silly. they make money either way as all the money from epiphone goes to them anyway. my gues is that the epi's may have a higher profit margin as it is.

seems like epi has started to come out with some higher end models. the have a couple of LPs that have full maple caps and US made pickups. you can bet that the wood used is not even close to the same us a US model and of course no nitro finish.
#19
Quote by dthmtl3
Not here on UG where folks think that unless it looks like an Epiphone or a Squier it's not a guitar. Or those who think that the universe of guitar manufacturing is limited to those two.

They get recommended because most beginners are only willing to dish out 100-300 for a guitar. There are ALOT of beginners that come here. Rather than reassure them that a cheap bottom line B.C. Rich or Dean is what they need (thats usually what they want), most of the regulars will recommend "good solid learning tool" like a squire or epiphone. The guys and/or gals on here do a very fine job at steering folks in the right direction away from "crap" gear. Ive yet to see any die hard epiphone fan boys on here. Just saying....
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#20
I'm wondering what Gibson's intentions are regarding the low end market.

The LBJ and SGJ were pretty spectacularly bad (this isn't meant to upset any current owners), for example. While the intention was to lure entry-level guitar players to the Gibson brand, Gibson found that they damaged the reputation of the brand as a premium guitar builder and cannibalized sales that might have gone to more expensive guitars. Folks who were already enamored of the Gibson brand name but who couldn't afford them were able to make purchases and boast that they had a "real Gibson." But the entry level guitarists who were buying on the basis of quality rather than logo largely ignored them.

2015's models and pricing were largely a reflection of that realization, and prices went up and bottom end guitars largely eliminated. It means that the emphasis on entry level now falls on the Epiphone brand. Gibson will probably try to use Epiphone as its "gateway drug." And to do so, it's going to have to allow Epiphone to produce better guitars in the $1000 "just under the Studio" range.
#21
Quote by dspellman
I'm wondering what Gibson's intentions are regarding the low end market.

The LBJ and SGJ were pretty spectacularly bad (this isn't meant to upset any current owners), for example. While the intention was to lure entry-level guitar players to the Gibson brand, Gibson found that they damaged the reputation of the brand as a premium guitar builder and cannibalized sales that might have gone to more expensive guitars. Folks who were already enamored of the Gibson brand name but who couldn't afford them were able to make purchases and boast that they had a "real Gibson." But the entry level guitarists who were buying on the basis of quality rather than logo largely ignored them.

2015's models and pricing were largely a reflection of that realization, and prices went up and bottom end guitars largely eliminated. It means that the emphasis on entry level now falls on the Epiphone brand. Gibson will probably try to use Epiphone as its "gateway drug." And to do so, it's going to have to allow Epiphone to produce better guitars in the $1000 "just under the Studio" range.


sure that much like PRS they found that the low end guitars had to tight of a profit margin to remain profitable for them. won't be shocked if some of the lower end Gibson's stop using nitro finish in the near future. also sure that the cheaper guitars did take away from sales of the next tier up which are most likely more profitable.

no doubt that at this point Epiphone will be the gateway to Gibson and be used a a hedge against falling sales for Gibson. guessing they realize that thre are only so many customers for $4000 guitars but there are still a decent number in the under a $1000 level.
#22
Quote by dspellman
I'm wondering what Gibson's intentions are regarding the low end market.


Gibson seems to be retreating to junior, special, and Melody Maker models for the low end. Industry gossip was that most of the low end models from the last decade were cranked out to fill space in big box stores. Now that the big box instrument market has tanked Gibson, and to a lesser extent Fender, are focusing on the higher and and leaving low-end stuff to their subsidiaries, Epiphone and Squier.
#23
Quote by dspellman
I'm wondering what Gibson's intentions are regarding the low end market.


Gibson is retreating to traditional junior and Melody Maker models for the low end. Industry gossip was that most of the low end models from the last decade were cranked out to fill space in big box stores. Now that the big box instrument market has tanked Gibson, and to a lesser extent Fender, are focusing on the higher and and leaving low-end stuff to their subsidiaries, Epiphone and Squier.