#1
So Gibson has their "cheaper" guitars that are in the 1,000$ dollar price range. I've heard that they are horrible, bad tone, and cheaply made compared to guitars in the price range. But I've also heard that they are a workhorse of a guitar with passable tone. Anyone care to shed some light on this?
Last edited by samclayton19 at Jul 30, 2015,
#2
Quote by samclayton19
So Gibson has their "cheaper" guitars that are in the 1,000$ dollar price range. I've heard that they are horrible, bad tone, and cheaply made compared to guitars in the price range. But I've also heard that they are a workhorse of a guitar with passable tone. Anyone care to shed some light on this?


depends on which ones you are looking at. i wouldn't classify any of them as horrible just not as nice as their higher priced brethern. the Les Paul Studio is considered by many to be a solid guitar that plays well and sounds great. some of the recent J model guitars were kinda on the cheaply made side but again not horrible.
#3
I like the matte finishes of the cheaper Gibsons, like the SJs. Infact, I much prefer it to the gloss. I just can't get past the dot inlays. If they had proper inlays, I'd definitely buy one or a few.

Same goes for the Studios. I don't mind Gibson putting matte finishes on or skimping on things I can upgrade like the hardware and electronics, but I would never buy one of the Studios without binding or proper inlays. It's a stupid business plan IMO. As is calling a £400 guitar a melody maker. As if that will sell.
#4
Quote by samclayton19
So Gibson has their "cheaper" guitars that are in the 1,000$ dollar price range. I've heard that they are horrible, bad tone, and cheaply made compared to guitars in the price range. But I've also heard that they are a workhorse of a guitar with passable tone. Anyone care to shed some light on this?


You need to make your own experiences....

opinions based on hear-say are worthless, IMO

#5
I have one of the 60's Tribute Sg's and they are terrible. The fretwork rips your skin off, the sound is pretty meh and it's noisy as hell. It's extremely light though, you barely notice it hanging on your shoulder.
This guitar is in fact so sh*tty it somehow becomes that super ugly yucky thing you love because it's so ugly and yucky and it's yours..like a child you wanted but that lil sh*t didn't turn out as you wanted.
It did withstand a big load of stage rape, I really gave this guitar a hard time and it still works. Still..get a good Epiphone instead. The Epiphone Prophecy SG I have is better than most Gibsons I have ever played - same goes for the Prophecy Les Paul - just get rid of the EMG's and there you go.
I've always been a Gibson dude and a SG dude, but the fact that even my ''cheap'' Epiphone is better than the Standard I own makes me sad. And my 60's tribute is not even close to the my Standard.
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#6
When you get into any brand's lower end you may find the quality varies more. Doesn't mean you can't find a jem or an absolute dog, it means you may need access to several of the same model to increase your chances of finding a good one.
Moving on.....
#7
Quote by Oh_My_Goth at #33524957
I have one of the 60's Tribute Sg's and they are terrible. The fretwork rips your skin off, the sound is pretty meh and it's noisy as hell. It's extremely light though, you barely notice it hanging on your shoulder.
This guitar is in fact so sh*tty it somehow becomes that super ugly yucky thing you love because it's so ugly and yucky and it's yours..like a child you wanted but that lil sh*t didn't turn out as you wanted.
It did withstand a big load of stage rape, I really gave this guitar a hard time and it still works. Still..get a good Epiphone instead. The Epiphone Prophecy SG I have is better than most Gibsons I have ever played - same goes for the Prophecy Les Paul - just get rid of the EMG's and there you go.
I've always been a Gibson dude and a SG dude, but the fact that even my ''cheap'' Epiphone is better than the Standard I own makes me sad. And my 60's tribute is not even close to the my Standard.

I own a Prophecy guitar as well. A Futura EX.



It's a very good guitar for what it is, but there's a reason it stays in the attic these days. My Gibson V just feels so much better to play. Even after I gave the Prophecy a full refret as the old frets wore out. After playing it a few weeks, I found myself putting it back in the attic again.

I'm thinking about selling it as my Gibson makes it more or less redundant.
Quote by KenG at #33525040
When you get into any brand's lower end you may find the quality varies more. Doesn't mean you can't find a jem or an absolute dog, it means you may need access to several of the same model to increase your chances of finding a good one.

This.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Jul 30, 2015,
#8
I like my SG special and Les Paul Studio quite a bit. I can't really find anything about them that I dislike. Both of them are more than "passable" when it comes to tone. And I'm primarily a Fender guy on top of that. As with anything in the guitar world, sometimes you get gems and sometimes you get duds. I think it would be absurd to say that all "cheap Gibson guitars" are bad quality in construction and tone. I'm sure there are some dud standards and above floating around out there too. When it comes to guitars - you don't always get what you pay for, no matter how expensive the item is. The few "faded/satin" Gibson guitars that I have played all seemed quite nice. Try a few out and try not to judge them by their price tag.
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#9
I have had a ton of gibsons lower end to high end. One person said it best and it is more about refinement as you go up the model lines. A lot more pro's tour with mid-> low level gibsons vs. super high end 59's or so.

Passable tone you say. Well the Gibson Studio LP has the same pickups as the Gibson Custom so I am not sure truly how much tone difference there really is (yes I know woods, body, etc, but stop being a cork sniffer)
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#10
Low-end Gibsons range from awful to good. The biggest problem is poor fretwork-it's common for sub-$1000 Gibson fret ends to be worse than $99 Chinese guitars. The nut slots are usually too shallow and narrow. The finishes tend to have visible flaws and wear rapidly. They're not good guitars compared to similarly priced Asian models. IMHO Epiphone LPs and SGs are often better than Gibsons costing two or three times more.

But if you can get one used they can be a great deal. Especially if the previous owner has already paid to have the nut and frets cleaned up. I have three sub-$1000 Gibsons right now, and I love them. But none of them are worth more than the ~$400 I paid.
#11
Imo, if you plan on playing the shit out of it, and you're not a touring rockstar, a good, used, LP Studio or Special is one of the most efficient, effective, options available to a serious guitarist. (Alternatively, virtually all Fenders, MIM and up, as well.) Leave the gaudy LP for retirement.


I'm the type that, even with plenty of money, I wouldn't pay more than a couple grand for an electric guitar that didn't have some historical significance. But I feel a good Studio or Special has a pretty fair price tag. A few are duds, and disturbingly horrible, but most are quite nice compared to cheaper guitars.
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#12
Quote by jpnyc
Low-end Gibsons range from awful to good.

So do High-end Gibsons

The best guitar I ever played is my £600 Les Paul Studio Faded Satin. I played literally 100s of guitars, not just Gibson, but I was shopping with a £2k budget and tried everything from Studios to Customs from the Gibson range.

The best guitar I found was one of the cheapest. Some of the worst were the most expensive.
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#13
I have to say I'm not a big fan of most of the under-$1000 Gibson stuff.
In particular, the SGJ and LPJ (which are not "Juniors") are, IMHO, Junque. Especially compared to what the asian imports provide for less money. Besides the sad finishes and poor fretwork, the initial pickups provided were evidently an exercise in seeing how cheaply you could build a pickup and still have it hold together. Pretty much nothing about them upheld the Gibson reputation for quality, and in fact Gibson Marketing realized that they weren't gaining entry-level guitarists (as was the intention), but cannibalizing higher-end Gibson sales (most were going to people who couldn't afford a "real Gibson" and who were just buying for the headstock logo).

The OP stated that he heard they were a "workhorse of a guitar". I'm not sure that's NOT damning with faint praise. It's a chunk of wood with strings and pickups. I have $200 Agiles with better fretwork and a finish that will protect the guitar over time. Hardware is at least comparable (if not skewed in favor of the Agiles) and pickup quality, while always subjective, is at least as good. I have enough Gibsons that I don't need to buy for the logo, and I can afford to be objective about what they are as guitars.
#14
Quote by dspellman
I have $200 Agiles with better fretwork and a finish that will protect the guitar over time.


I've got a 20 odd year old $50 Jackson Performer that is better in most attributes than most low end Gibsons of all sorts, not just LP's. Its the same as buying $100 Nike shoes or a Porsche Boxsters, you get the label but not much else. Gibson starts at the Studio generally, you might find a gem in the rough in the lower end of town but don't bet the house on it.
#15
A guitar is only as good as it is. Stickers don't make guitars. Decades later I find the reliable instruments I kept after years of band work are all made in Japan.
#16
i personally would have to try it before i bought it. i have found the lower end studios or the cheap SGs, the 799 models - the fit and finish out of the store in guitar center was bad or straight up a faulty or damaged guitar.

some are very nice. les paul studio my friend had sounded great.
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#17
If you're looking at the LP style, check out other makers too like ESP or PRS. Not to say they are better than Gibsons or not, but I just see many people stick with Gibson for LP's just because it's the standard
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#18
Just picked up an Edwards LP-98LTS for $800 AUD. Very happy. In Oz the cheapest Gibson is $1200 for a 2014 LPJ. Played a couple of them and Epiphones didn't really do it for me.
#19
Aren't "cheap Gibsons" known as Epiphones?

Just kidding. I've heard that "high end" Epiphones blow low/mid level Gibsons away despite the lower price. Don't know how much stock I put into that, probably 50/50.
#20
Quote by TobusRex
Aren't "cheap Gibsons" known as Epiphones?

Just kidding. I've heard that "high end" Epiphones blow low/mid level Gibsons away despite the lower price. Don't know how much stock I put into that, probably 50/50.
Gibson is forcing their "Mini-E tune" , or whatever they call it on all electric buyers. (2015 models).

Epiphone's "Tommy Iommi Signature SG", is priced at close to $900.00. So, the boundary between high end Eppy, and low end Gibby, is closing.

With that said, I believe all Gibson electrics have cryo treated frets, along with "PLECK" treatment, and other buying enticements added to them

Gibson also effected a fairly substantial, across the board, price increase.

However, it looks to me as that was done, to allow a lower profit margins on their entry level, "gonna get you addicted to buying Gibson guitars", models.

It is possible on the low end guitars, Gibson might be working on profit margins close to, "loss leader" status, intending to make their money back on Les Paul Customs and the like.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 10, 2015,
#21
Quote by Captaincranky

With that said, I believe all Gibson electrics have cryo treated frets, along with "PLECK" treatment, and other buying enticements added to them


First, "all Gibson electric guitars" are not PLEK'd. A lot of them have PLEK-cut nuts and that's it.

And for those who actually have their frets milled on a PLEK machine, understand that Gibson's use of a PLEK machine has little in common with an actual PLEK job as done by a competent tech. And that's why I have an over-$4K Axcess Custom that needed a PLEK job at Gary Brawer's shop in San Francisco to alleviate a Gibson Hump. Gibson puts their unfinished guitars (often with no hardware) on a fixture that *simulates* string tension by bending the neck, does a general fret mill on the PLEK machine and then sends the guitars off to be painted and assembled.

"Cryo" frets may or may not reduce fretwear, but they've reduced the height of their frets by 27%, so you're actually more likely to need a fret job sooner rather than later. Other manufacturers offer normal height stainless frets (Agile offers them on $400 guitars!), which DO reduce fretwear.

Quote by Captaincranky

It is possible on the low end guitars, Gibson might be working on profit margins close to, "loss leader" status, intending to make their money back on Les Paul Customs and the like.


Nah. They've simply cut out almost everything that makes it a Gibson guitar (fit, finish, fretwork, appointments, quality). They use the same materials that other manufacturers use on guitars that sell for $225, but that have full body and fretboard binding, better fretwork and better finishes. Fact is, Gibson has cut back drastically on making these guitars this year because they were reflecting badly on Gibson's reputation for producing high-end quality.
#22
Quote by dspellman
First, "all Gibson electric guitars" are not PLEK'd. A lot of them have PLEK-cut nuts and that's it.

And for those who actually have their frets milled on a PLEK machine, understand that Gibson's use of a PLEK machine has little in common with an actual PLEK job as done by a competent tech. And that's why I have an over-$4K Axcess Custom that needed a PLEK job at Gary Brawer's shop in San Francisco to alleviate a Gibson Hump. Gibson puts their unfinished guitars (often with no hardware) on a fixture that *simulates* string tension by bending the neck, does a general fret mill on the PLEK machine and then sends the guitars off to be painted and assembled.

"Cryo" frets may or may not reduce fretwear, but they've reduced the height of their frets by 27%, so you're actually more likely to need a fret job sooner rather than later. Other manufacturers offer normal height stainless frets (Agile offers them on $400 guitars!), which DO reduce fretwear.
I know right. Every time I get a new guitar, I wish it had stainless steel frets... I've been lusting after a Carvin custom 12 string with those frets like forever. But true enough, if I ever buy a Les Paul, it will be from Agile. They even offer Agiles left handed, which doesn't seem to have bothered with this year.


Quote by dspellman
Nah. They've simply cut out almost everything that makes it a Gibson guitar (fit, finish, fretwork, appointments, quality). They use the same materials that other manufacturers use on guitars that sell for $225, but that have full body and fretboard binding, better fretwork and better finishes. Fact is, Gibson has cut back drastically on making these guitars this year because they were reflecting badly on Gibson's reputation for producing high-end quality.
As soon as I learn to actually play the guitar, I'm going to buy a "Teje" anyway. (You have to be a superb musician to pull one of these out of the case in public):



See now, you don't know whether I'm kidding or not, do ya?


PS: Have you talked to someone yet about this pent up hostility toward Gibson guitars...
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 11, 2015,
#23
Teyes are impressive instruments, not only in appearance, but in all other aspects as well.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Log off and play yer guitar!

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#24
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Teyes are impressive instruments, not only in appearance, but in all other aspects as well.
I've never played one. I will freely admit to be a closet admirer of, and awestruck by, their artwork for years.

I do think however, no one with any personal shame, or sense of decorum, should pull one out of its case, and start wanking on "Wild Thing, or even, "Get off my Cloud" with it....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 11, 2015,
#25
"Twinkle, twinkle, little star..."
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!
#26
Quote by Captaincranky
I know right. Every time I get a new guitar, I wish it had stainless steel frets... I've been lusting after a Carvin custom 12 string with those frets like forever. But true enough, if I ever buy a Les Paul, it will be from Agile. They even offer Agiles left handed, which doesn't seem to have bothered with this year.

As soon as I learn to actually play the guitar, I'm going to buy a "Teje" anyway. (You have to be a superb musician to pull one of these out of the case in public):

PS: Have you talked to someone yet about this pent up hostility toward Gibson guitars...


Sam Ashe in Las Vegas has, I believe, four Teye guitars on the wall for $1999 each. I've seen these guitars going for far more, so I think these are probably some production versions that are being put out at prices that are lower than his artisan level guitars. Nonetheless, you'll no doubt be seeing people who are NOT superb musicians pulling these out of cases in the not-distant future.

As for hostility... I own exactly one Fender guitar and a whole stack of Gibsons. The Fender was a $100 used bass. I don't dislike Fenders, BTW; I've just always *happened* to have bought some other brand every time I needed a guitar that did what Fenders do. And since modern Gibsons really don't do anything better or different from their predecessors, I've mostly hunted down really nice survivor Gibsons when I wanted something specific. All but one of my guitars are pre-1980, but they do what new ones do. There might be exceptions that will bring me kicking and screaming past that 1980 barrier and into the early '90's: on my short list are an M III (and an M III LP), and a Nighthawk Custom (like the $400 Epiphone, but the original Gibson version). On the "maybe" list is a 335S Professional, but I'm actually talking to someone at Gibson about building that guitar brand new, but as a Custom, with MOP inlays, ebony fretboard, the fancy Custom Headstock and maybe a few other mods (why NOT a neck-through version?)...

I'd consider a Lifeson Axcess Custom, but I'd much rather have a Neal Schon Sig in neck-through, with a spalted top done up in antique violin "burst."

I tried to like the newer Trad Pro II with the Floyd and the Studio Shred (with Floyd), but the neck-through Agile AL-3200 semi-custom with jumbo stainless frets is a MUCH better guitar than the Trad Pro (standard clunky set-neck, standard frets) and under a grand, and the AL-3100 Floyd I already have was $200 used and is a much better guitar by any measure than the Studio Shred at $1200-1800.
#27
Quote by dannyalcatraz
"Twinkle, twinkle, little star..."
Often misheard lyrics, "tinkle, tinkle, then a fart"
#28
Quote by dspellman
First, "all Gibson electric guitars" are not PLEK'd. A lot of them have PLEK-cut nuts and that's it.


Gibson may have switched to all-PLEK fretwork with the 2015 lineup. The crappy marketing copy makes it hard to be sure what Gibson meant when they claimed that “All guitars receive a professional set up with accurate intonation, and a new PLEK program with 27% lower fret wire.”
#29
Quote by bobcom52
A guitar is only as good as it is. Stickers don't make guitars. Decades later I find the reliable instruments I kept after years of band work are all made in Japan.

And they are still doing it, if you can live without the label then there are great guitars out there from Japan.

Jock
#30
My current favorite guitar is my 2010 Gibson SG Faded that cost me $400 used. It's just great in all respects. I am old and I have owned many Gibsons, starting with a '66 non reverse Firebird which was also great. I have owned tons in between, many more expensive but while they may have been prettier, they were not better.
#31
Quote by Captaincranky
I've never played one. I will freely admit to be a closet admirer of, and awestruck by, their artwork for years.

I do think however, no one with any personal shame, or sense of decorum, should pull one out of its case, and start wanking on "Wild Thing, or even, "Get off my Cloud" with it....


I really, really don't like most fancy guitars (fancy timber, carved top, MOP etc) but I've always wanted one of those original Zemaitis guitars with an engraved metal pickguard. I'd have to sell the house to get one, and have a lot of cojones to play it it public. No accounting for taste though, eh?

And FWIW, I love "Wild Thing". It even sounds good on uke, and that ocarina solo is a much-underrated masterpiece.