#1
Reading through the forums lately, I'm seeing a lot of grumbling about Gibson's standards falling, that they don't make as many quality instruments as they used to. Could this be because now that they have the reputation of making great guitars, they can get away with jipping the customer a little? Or maybe with the increasing popularity of brands like ESP and Schecter the standards of consumers have changed?

I recently purchased an Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plustop Pro, because the majority of reviews rated it better than Gibson Les Pauls close to that price range. Do you think Epiphone is closing the gap with Gibson now, making it a more viable alternative to the multi-thousand dollar Gibsons?
#2
Personally and this is just me personally, I have a limit on how much I'll ever spend on a guitar. Unless I really really want a one of kind instrument. I'll usually take budget friendly options. That being said I love the SG and even though Gibson created my favorite guitar. I can't justify the price. When I can get a Epiphone G-400 Pro for a lot cheaper and put a little time into cleaning and getting it set-up it will play just as well. I can live without binding, a name on the headstock, and all that other pointless stuff.

All but the exception of two of my guitars have been Epiphone, they make quality instruments. I'm a big proponent of the Epiphone brand.
#3
IMHO the 300+ Epis have better fretwork than any Gibson I've played. But the hardware still needs to be better. The Wilkinson tuners are crap. The switches used in most Epi guitars are the same unreliable junk they always were. Epi pickups are better sounding than the old mudbuckers, but they halfass the potting process so they tend to go a microphonic. But for the price they're still good instruments, especially if you know how to solder.
#4
Quote by guitargirlsings


I recently purchased an Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plustop Pro, because the majority of reviews rated it better than Gibson Les Pauls close to that price range. Do you think Epiphone is closing the gap with Gibson now, making it a more viable alternative to the multi-thousand dollar Gibsons?


This is a frequent question from purchasers of less expensive guitars who seem to need to be assured that they have a guitar equivalent to a more expensive brand. It's like asking if the KMart version of something is equivalent to the couture version -- totally beside the point. Whether it is or not, the folks who have the money to spend want the brand name.
#5
I'm a big fan of Epiphone guitars. A lot of the hollows and semi-hollows that I've played feel better and sound better (to me, for what I play) than the Gibson semi-hollows and hollows.

But for SGs and Les Pauls, they're not even close to the Gibsons.
#6
Quote by jpnyc
IMHO the 300+ Epis have better fretwork than any Gibson I've played. But the hardware still needs to be better. The Wilkinson tuners are crap. The switches used in most Epi guitars are the same unreliable junk they always were. Epi pickups are better sounding than the old mudbuckers, but they halfass the potting process so they tend to go a microphonic. But for the price they're still good instruments, especially if you know how to solder.

When did they change from Grover?
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#7
Quote by slapsymcdougal
When did they change from Grover?

I think it happened in the last year or two. Several models (especially archtops) still have the Grovers.
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#8
I don't even think Wilkinson tuners are bad at all. Poor tuners are very rarely the cause of poor tuning stability.

And regarding the waxing process they use, they wax pot the pickups beyond belief. They completely fill the pickup cover cavity with wax, not just the coils themselves where they actually need to be potted. Rather have other pickups than the Epiphone ones of course though.
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#9
Quote by slapsymcdougal
When did they change from Grover?


Never !

It is just one (or two) model, that's fitted with the wilkinson tuners

#10
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
I don't even think Wilkinson tuners are bad at all. Poor tuners are very rarely the cause of poor tuning stability.

And regarding the waxing process they use, they wax pot the pickups beyond belief. They completely fill the pickup cover cavity with wax, not just the coils themselves where they actually need to be potted. Rather have other pickups than the Epiphone ones of course though.


I've seen both the completely-filled-covers and nicely-done potted exposed-bobbin pickups from Epiphone. I haven't really seen the completely-filled ones recently (last time was about 10 years ago).
#11
Quote by jpnyc
Epi pickups are better sounding than the old mudbuckers, but they halfass the potting process so they tend to go a microphonic.


Worth noting that some Gibson pickups are potted, some not. Very often the aftermarket pickups are not, while the ones that actually go into the guitars usually are (there are exceptions in both cases). Lack of potting does not mean that a pickup is microphonic, and I usually prefer that pickups are NOT potted unless they *are* microphonic (and more than slightly so).
#12
I honestly don't think I'll ever get a Gibson when Epiphones are a cheaper alternative.

I love some of the guitars Gibson has, but with the bad recent quality and how much they charge for their guitars, it's just not reasonable, even if I had a lot of money to throw around.
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#13
They have definitely gotten better. Still don't think I'd buy one, though - they feel kinda cheap compared to Gibsons (though, the Gibsons I'm comparing them to are often 4-5x or more of the cost!) Then again, I'm used to ESPs, and an Eclipse II T/CTM is always going to be a better value than any Gibson Les Paul, because you're pretty much guaranteed a good one.
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Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#14
Quote by jpnyc
IMHO the 300+ Epis have better fretwork than any Gibson I've played.


Your opinions have been and continue to be among the worst on this website.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#15
Quote by JustRooster
Your opinions have been and continue to be among the worst on this website.


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#16
another one of these things.
you know they are the same company right.
would you make your overseas budget products as good as your domestic prestige products?
not saying it isn't possible. it's just not going to happen. someone at gibson will make sure it doesn't happen.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#17
Quote by AcousticMirror
another one of these things.
you know they are the same company right.
would you make your overseas budget products as good as your domestic prestige products?
not saying it isn't possible. it's just not going to happen. someone at gibson will make sure it doesn't happen.

Well in terms of parts it's no comparison for the most part, but it's in terms of QC that Gibson's having trouble. Does that put them on the same level as Epiphone? I wouldn't presume to comment. What I can say is:
(1) From what I've seen written by members of this forum I'm inclined to believe, Gibson has attempted to handicap Epi's QC in the past to keep the ranges nice and separate.
(2) Ultimately, Epi's affordability almost certainly makes it a large chunk of Gibson's revenue. I suspect that it would be increasingly impractical to try (1) again for anything but spite.
(3) Epiphone make nice guitars.
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#18
Quote by JustRooster
Your opinions have been and continue to be among the worst on this website.


posts like yours are #1 in this category....IMO of course

He said "IMHO" - You did NOT
Last edited by paruwi at Nov 15, 2015,
#19
Their not rival brands as Gibson own Epiphone so they will keep them under control.
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#20
The Epiphones are great for the price, pretty consistent, and you get some gems in there. You might pay an extra 1k or 2k for very little difference, mostly just a name on the headstock. A Plustop Pro, a Custom, or best, an Elitist with some hardware upgrades is as close as damn-it to a Gibson. As for the current Gibsons, I wouldn't bother, just get a nice used one if you want one.
#21
Gibson's quality controls are basically fine despite a bunch of uninformed repetition from young members here who have rarely seen little lone held a real Gibson, unless or was at Guitar Denter & whose allowance from mommy and daddy, or money earned on their jobs flipping burgers, preclude them buying anything approaching 2K or more guitars. There's two forums with memberships equal to or larger than this forum that dedicated to the love of the Gibson Les Paul by people who own many of them and happily. Do some guitars slip out with minor issues? Sure they do but considering the thousands of Gibsons produced and sold every year the percentage is not abnormally high or Gibson wouldn't be in business.
Moving on.....
#22
Quote by dragonzrmetal
The Epiphones are great for the price, pretty consistent, and you get some gems in there. You might pay an extra 1k or 2k for very little difference, mostly just a name on the headstock. A Plustop Pro, a Custom, or best, an Elitist with some hardware upgrades is as close as damn-it to a Gibson. As for the current Gibsons, I wouldn't bother, just get a nice used one if you want one.

Unfortunately Elitists haven't been made for years because of how much they were cutting into Gibson USA sales, because they were as good as the $2500 LP Standards if not better at half the cost.

Quote by KenG
Gibson's quality controls are basically fine despite a bunch of uninformed repetition from young members here who have rarely seen little lone held a real Gibson, unless or was at Guitar Denter & whose allowance from mommy and daddy, or money earned on their jobs flipping burgers, preclude them buying anything approaching 2K or more guitars. There's two forums with memberships equal to or larger than this forum that dedicated to the love of the Gibson Les Paul by people who own many of them and happily. Do some guitars slip out with minor issues? Sure they do but considering the thousands of Gibsons produced and sold every year the percentage is not abnormally high or Gibson wouldn't be in business.


I can't ENTIRELY agree with this because I've played quite a few really crappy Gibsons, most of which were LPJs/SGJs, but with the occasional higher end model being absolutely sucktastic.

Seriously, I don't understand how Gibson managed to misalign the fingerboard on literally every single LPJ and SGJ that I've ever picked up, but they did.
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Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
Last edited by oneblackened at Nov 15, 2015,
#23
Quote by oneblackened
Unfortunately Elitists haven't been made for years because of how much they were cutting into Gibson USA sales, because they were as good as the $2500 LP Standards if not better at half the cost.



That's not true:

The Elite/Elitists didn't sell well when they were available, the hype started when most of the models got discontinued

Yes, they were great guitars, though back then not many liked to pay the price for it, 'cause the name on the headstock wasn't the correct one

They still produce Elitists.....

http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Elitist.aspx
Last edited by paruwi at Nov 15, 2015,
#24
Quote by paruwi
That's not true:

The Elite/Elitists didn't sell well when they were available, the hype started when most of the models got discontinued

Yes, they were great guitars, though back then not many liked to pay the price for it, 'cause the name on the headstock wasn't the correct one

They still produce Elitists.....

http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Elitist.aspx

No LPs though, which sucks.
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Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#25
Quote by paruwi
posts like yours are #1 in this category....IMO of course

He said "IMHO" - You did NOT



His posts are wildly off-base and would lead those who aren't as knowledgeable to actually think that the fretwork of Epiphone is actually better than Gibson.

Much of the stuff he says is just plain wrong. Just because you say it's an opinion doesn't make it magically untouchable from reproach. It may be an opinion, but it's a really, really bad one. If someone would rather not have their views challenged, they probably shouldn't post them publicly.

I would echo Ken G's sentiment. I find that most people who are worried about Gibson's QC are people that don't terribly often deal with Gibsons.
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Last edited by JustRooster at Nov 15, 2015,
#26
Quote by JustRooster
His posts are wildly off-base and would lead those who aren't as knowledgeable to actually think that the fretwork of Epiphone is actually better than Gibson.

Much of the stuff he says is just plain wrong. Just because you say it's an opinion doesn't make it magically untouchable from reproach. It may be an opinion, but it's a really, really bad one. If someone would rather not have their views challenged, they probably shouldn't post them publicly.


Yours is just an opinion, too

and thankfully you're not the judge for other posters.

BTW, the 15-20 sub 1000€ Gibsons I had played all had sharp fretends - which none of my Epis had, not even the sub 100€ SG-junior,

edit:
I did not play them in a row, I played them at different shops in different cities on different days - but how should you know this


though this is my opinion, based on my experience.

Your expierience might be different,
though it's not your job to call somebody out for having other experiences or opinions.
Last edited by paruwi at Nov 15, 2015,
#27
I'm a guitar tech, so actually, it kind of is. Especially if it's info that is wrongly defaming a guitar company and would shape the opinions of the people that are coming here for info.

Also, the claim that 15-20 Gibsons (albeit you're picking the bottom tier of Gibson, but let's fly with it) all had a problem that not even a cheapo beginner pack Epiphone had is incredibly, incredibly suspect.

Especially suspect since you're talking to someone who works with those guitars daily. You work on the Wikipedia page for Epiphone. Are you sure you're not bias?


EDIT: Let me remind you all that I am about the furthest thing from a Gibson apologist. I generally try and sway people to PRS when considering Les Pauls. However, claims that a $300ish Epiphone is "closing the gap" on a Traditional LP is just crazy.

This is entirely and all a mental exercise of the fox and the grapes.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
Last edited by JustRooster at Nov 15, 2015,
#28
Quote by JustRooster
I'm a guitar tech, so actually, it kind of is. Especially if it's info that is wrongly defaming a guitar company and would shape the opinions of the people that are coming here for info.

Also, the claim that 15-20 Gibsons (albeit you're picking the bottom tier of Gibson, but let's fly with it) all had a problem that not even a cheapo beginner pack Epiphone had is incredibly, incredibly suspect.

Especially suspect since you're talking to someone who works with those guitars daily. You work on the Wikipedia page for Epiphone. Are you sure you're not bias?


I'm not a guitar tech, though I'm a guitarplayer for 40+ years
and my hands can feel shitty fretends

BTW I picked the bottom line from Epi, too

Working on the Epiwiki page has nothing to do with shitty work from Gibson

maybe you are the one with a bias.....

I just can't tell if you're a good tech or not,

'cause Self-praise is no recommendation in my eyes

#29
Quote by KenG
Gibson's quality controls are basically fine despite a bunch of uninformed repetition from young members here who have rarely seen little lone held a real Gibson, unless or was at Guitar Denter & whose allowance from mommy and daddy, or money earned on their jobs flipping burgers, preclude them buying anything approaching 2K or more guitars. There's two forums with memberships equal to or larger than this forum that dedicated to the love of the Gibson Les Paul by people who own many of them and happily. Do some guitars slip out with minor issues? Sure they do but considering the thousands of Gibsons produced and sold every year the percentage is not abnormally high or Gibson wouldn't be in business.


Honestly, the percentage of complaints is fairly high, and some customers ignore the issues, believing that they're due to "hand finishing" or somesuch fairy dust. The greatest number of customer complaints regard finish, and can be directly tied to the issues with nitrocellulose lacquer. After that, fretwork is frequently decried, and Gibson bought PLEK machines largely to use PLEK's reputation to bolster their own. Unfortunately, Gibson's non-standard use of the PLEK machines has led to a number of complaints from PLEK techs who believe that Gibson is actually bringing the reputation of the PLEK process itself down (thus affecting the techs' businesses and their investments in PLEK machines). Meanwhile, the actual fretwork that Gibson pushes out the door is largely unimproved.

Gibson has recognized that overproduction and management issues have resulted in quality control being de-emphasized in deference to "getting units out the door" and that production of cheap guitars like the LPJ and SGJ has led to cannibalization of more expensive guitar sales, and has damaged the image of Gibson as a luxury "lifestyle" brand. Gibson wants very much to find a balance of traditionalism while attempting to differentiate themselves from the duplicates, but upper management decisions have been ineffective. Some folks in Gibson management realize that their best customer, the Baby Boomer who grew up with a sound track of Gibson guitars everywhere, is retiring and directing his wealth elsewhere. But the people who arrived in 1984 and who have enjoyed the boom that Slash ushered in, are very narrow minded in their beliefs of what works and what doesn't, and they're afraid to make course corrections or change 30-year-old patterns of behavior and marketing.

Epiphone has been tasked with intercepting entry-level customers lately, but Gibson has hamstrung their efforts by forcing them to produce traditional designs and NOT allowing them to compete with newer designs on the market. Nonetheless, Epiphone has managed to sneak in a "sort of" Axcess clone (the Heafy guitars). It is not, however, a player in the extended range marketplace at all, and other than a very occasional guitar with active pickups and a flat black finish, it has no business in metal. Epiphone is fully capable of producing very high-level instruments, but Gibson's corporate culture remembers Epiphone's old ability to compete far too well. Even though no one from the old company remains, the culture still seeps from Gibson walls and affects their thinking.
Last edited by dspellman at Nov 15, 2015,
#30
Very interesting thread. Once again, I'd just like to state that any Epiphone I've ever played was perfectly fine. I mean c'mon people compare it to a Squier Affinity or something like that and suddenly an Epiphone feels almost as good as Gibson. Entry level Squiers really have bad fret ends. I'd proudly play a Gibson if I had the money, but still after seeing a video tour of the factory and how they're mass-produced like that. You really think a Gibson SG or LP is worth $1K-2K? Not me.
#31
Quote by paruwi
I'm not a guitar tech, though I'm a guitarplayer for 40+ years
and my hands can feel shitty fretends

BTW I picked the bottom line from Epi, too

Working on the Epiwiki page has nothing to do with shitty work from Gibson

maybe you are the one with a bias.....

I just can't tell if you're a good tech or not,

'cause Self-praise is no recommendation in my eyes



My Grandma's been driving for 40+ years and I definitely wouldn't trust her word over a mechanic. I also made no claim to my tech abilities, so your accusation is pretty much just a slander attempt. And I dunno how you can claim I have bias when I said in the previous post that I'd recommend most PRS over any Gibson LP anyway.

Are you even reading my posts?
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
Last edited by JustRooster at Nov 15, 2015,
#32
Quote by JustRooster


Are you even reading my posts?


Now i don't read them anymore




edit:

And I dunno how you can claim I have bias when I said in the previous post that I'd recommend most PRS over any Gibson LP anyway.


Why should I believe what you're writing here ?

You're questioning my posts, so am I not allowed to question yours?
Last edited by paruwi at Nov 15, 2015,
#33
Quote by dspellman
Honestly, the percentage of complaints is fairly high, and some customers ignore the issues, believing that they're due to "hand finishing" or somesuch fairy dust. The greatest number of customer complaints regard finish, and can be directly tied to the issues with nitrocellulose lacquer. After that, fretwork is frequently decried, and Gibson bought PLEK machines largely to use PLEK's reputation to bolster their own. Unfortunately, Gibson's non-standard use of the PLEK machines has led to a number of complaints from PLEK techs who believe that Gibson is actually bringing the reputation of the PLEK process itself down (thus affecting the techs' businesses and their investments in PLEK machines). Meanwhile, the actual fretwork that Gibson pushes out the door is largely unimproved.

Gibson has recognized that overproduction and management issues have resulted in quality control being de-emphasized in deference to "getting units out the door" and that production of cheap guitars like the LPJ and SGJ has led to cannibalization of more expensive guitar sales, and has damaged the image of Gibson as a luxury "lifestyle" brand. Gibson wants very much to find a balance of traditionalism while attempting to differentiate themselves from the duplicates, but upper management decisions have been ineffective. Some folks in Gibson management realize that their best customer, the Baby Boomer who grew up with a sound track of Gibson guitars everywhere, is retiring and directing his wealth elsewhere. But the people who arrived in 1984 and who have enjoyed the boom that Slash ushered in, are very narrow minded in their beliefs of what works and what doesn't, and they're afraid to make course corrections or change 30-year-old patterns of behavior and marketing.

Epiphone has been tasked with intercepting entry-level customers lately, but Gibson has hamstrung their efforts by forcing them to produce traditional designs and NOT allowing them to compete with newer designs on the market. Nonetheless, Epiphone has managed to sneak in a "sort of" Axcess clone (the Heafy guitars). It is not, however, a player in the extended range marketplace at all, and other than a very occasional guitar with active pickups and a flat black finish, it has no business in metal. Epiphone is fully capable of producing very high-level instruments, but Gibson's corporate culture remembers Epiphone's old ability to compete far too well. Even though no one from the old company remains, the culture still seeps from Gibson walls and affects their thinking.


Your distaste for modern day Gibsons and particularly Nitro is at least consistent if not a little tiring as it is on the other forum. You don't like Nitro fine but don't pretend poly isn't toxic or is somehow 'more environmentally friendly because its not, most off shore manufacturers aren't using water based poly to begin with.
Any "minor" finish issues are the result of hand spraying, not the material itself. Yes its more time consuming but Gibson isn't the only company to use this but it is rarer in today's market. They have a customer base that likes and appreciates it, and is willing to accept it's fragility. They are not all old baby boomers despite your wishing it was so. The day Gibson falls into irrelevance (along with Fender, Gretch, Martin etc) they will close their doors and then, maybe then someone else will come along and revive the name if not the guitar. Seen it happen enough already with Epiphone, VOX, Hagstrom, Dean, Kramer, BC Rich etc all companies that failed and closed their doors only to have the name purchased with rights & a cheaper offshore version of their original products resurface some time later.
The point of my post was it's apparently OK to bash Gibson all day long, despite their having a more than decent market share and continuing to do so after the 2015 fiasco, but it's apparently not kosher to say any of the utter crap posted here on Gibsons about any other guitar without getting flack for it.
Sorry but opinions, like assholes, vary and everyone's got one.
And Epiphone belongs to Gibson, the company that it was is long gone with the family that sold it to them. It was revived specifically to offer more affordable Gibson like products and has continued to do while also offering some things Gibson doesn't but they aren't there to compete with Gibson, you don't own two companies and pit them against one another unless you're some sort of mental defective.
Moving on.....
Last edited by KenG at Nov 15, 2015,
#34
Quote by paruwi
Now i don't read them anymore



In the future, you should probably make an attempt to substantiate your claims beyond insults and saying "I'm old therefore I'm right." Otherwise, I'm afraid, you're destined to just run into these arguments over and over again.

I can't reciprocate your sentiments. Odds are I'll read and respond to your posts in the future if you continue to say obviously untrue things such as 20ish Gibsons all have fret end issues in a row.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
Last edited by JustRooster at Nov 15, 2015,
#35
I own an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro and I love the guitar, it's very solidly built and sounds great. I am also very interested in a Florentine model and a Plustop Pro/Tribute model.

For the price Gibson are asking you can generally get a superior guitar from the likes of PRS, EBMM, Ibanez or ESP, hell you can even get a custom build from a luthier for that much money.

However I will also say that a Gibson SG I played once but sadly lacked the funds to buy was probobly the nicest feeling guitar I have ever played, that guitar just had something about it I noticed as soon as I picked it up.

When I had the money to pay for it a month or 2 later though it had been sold and I have yet to find a Gibson that gave me that feeling again.

My point being, that while consistency may not be their strong suit, they have some absolute beasts that pop up every now and then.

Epiphones are just consistently good with some great guitars in my oppinion.
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Peavey Vypyr 30.

Boss CH-1 Super Chorus
Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
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#36
I have always liked the Epiphone guitars, their pro and custom level models are very affordable and give a great guitar for the buck. Are they better than a Gibson? Some might be but most wouldn't be. Nothing to be upset about one way or the other. I really wished Gibsons were a bit more affordable but that is the way of the world. Gibson doesn't want their high end guitars in everyone hands, they want them to be an object of desire that up and comers GAS for. It keeps their Gibson name high end. If they instantly dropped their prices by 50% and everyone in the world went out and bought a Gibson Les Paul the short lived huge boost in sales would result in a brutal cheapening of their brand. Factories would close, musicians and guitar techs alike would walk the earth seeking odd jobs for food just to live. Sad world indeed...

I have a few higher end guitars that are really wonderful guitars, but i like playing my Gretsch and my Epiphone guitars too. They all have their place in life, and thankfully I get to play some of them.
Quote by BlackVoid
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#37
seems to me that Gibson has wised up at least a little. the high end Epi's have indeed improved in the last couple of years. Gibson tried to make low end guitars and it didn't work out well for them. to many cut corners and i did find more than a few QC issues with the ones i played (not a reflection on the higher end models which are usually excellent). Epiphone now has a couple of lp models that have an actual full maple cap and as mentioned the pickups have improved (or are US made). pretty sure this is to rope in new players and have them go up the ladder thus insuring some degree of brand loyalty. fender does this as well. since they make the money either way it's all good. be assured that the wood and other material used for epi's isn't as good as those expensive gibsons peole grumble about. the "mahognay" used is pretty suspect in terms of whther it's truly mahogany or something that kinda sorta is mahogany. already mentioned is the not as nice hardware used. no nitro finishes. epiphone makes some really nice guitar and often are a bargain at their price point. as good as the higher end gibsons well no but certainly good enough to satisfy a great many players.