#1
Hey all,

So, the thread title pretty much sums it up, but I've been eyeballing the idea of adding a LP type guitar to my rig at some point (No plans to buy anything anytime soon, but just doing some research). Specifically though, I've been eyeballing the many Japanese versions of LP copies out there (Edwards, Burny, Greco, Oriville, Tokai, etc.)

Many people seem to really love these guitars, based on what I've heard. Some go as far as calling them "Gibson killers", but some people also say the same things about Agiles, and I disagree (But would say that Agile is definitely a great value). However, the particular LP's I've mentioned seem to be exact copes of the Gibson design, spec for spec, and the overall shape/profile (I'm more of a fan of the Gibson profile, vs something like an LTD/ESP Eclipse design, based on playing both).

Who here has experience with these brands, and can share details? Are they truly on par with the real deal/even better? Or is it another case of being a good bang for the buck, but not exactly like the real deal? Do any of them offer nitro finishes, or neck profiles between a 50's and 60's design in thickness?

Much thanks in advance!
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#2
Quite a few of the brands mentioned have virtual duplicates of the Gibson versions and are cheaper (some not!). And yes, some have nitrocellulose lacquer finishes and duplicates of the Gibson necks. Do the research yourself, though, because you're talking about nearly half a dozen brands with wide product ranges and a LOT of years of models and model changes. Most will have Japanese-made models, though a lot of current guitars are, these days, made FOR the Japanese companies in the usual offshore manufacturing locations. Some of the top-of-the-line guitars are, indeed, better than comparable Gibsons in initial quality.
#3
Very difficult to say. It really depends on what specific model you're talking about. But many of them are directly equivalent of (and arguably better than) Gibson yet are significantly cheaper as they do not come with anywhere near the same level of headstock tax.

If its worth anything to mention, I have not heard a single bad word from anyone who owns any of the Japanese Tokai's, Grecos, Burny's, FGN's, Navigator's or Orvilles.
Quote by Axelfox
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#4
The first name that comes to mind among modern ones is Tokai. The others in dspellman's opening para are also the ones I would be looking at in 80s models, along with Westone and Aria II. Don't know about the modern ones though.
#5
Get one of these:




Most feel like the "real deal," whatever that is. Depending on the model and the associated desirability, the pricing can range from $500 to Gibson CS-level pricing. The neck and features range from what most associate with the '50s to '60s types.

Greg will surely chime in later and rave about the Bacchus Mango LP and other MIJ Bacchus LPs.
#6
There are plenty of MIJ guitars that are fantastic quality. Companies like Navigator and Momose make top of the line LP style guitars that compare very favorably to Gibson CS guitars at a cheaper price point new. You get 1 piece backs, solid flame tops, vintage style appointments and sometimes even Braz boards on some of the nicer examples (Something that Gibson very very rarely uses on guitars nowadays). If having a headstock that doesn't say Gibson on it doesn't bug you then you have a great chance and grabbing a really nice CS style guitar for quite a bit cheaper (especially with how crazy CS LPs go for now)


Other companies like Tokai, Greco, FGN, History, Burny etc... offer a bit of a wider range. You can find lower end models that might have a veneer top and multi-piece backs, all the way up to limited run guitars like the Greco Super Reals that offer pretty similar specs to something like a Navigator. The sweet spot for those guitars is probably something like a Tokai LS-80. They were solid plain tops, really nice fretboards, 1 piece backs and nitro finish IIRC so the bang for your buck is pretty good on them. The pickups aren't terrible either. You can obviously score nice playing guitars for cheaper if you don't mind a veneer or multi piece backs.


Personally I've played a few different kinds of MIJ stuff. I've played a few older Tokais, some Burny LPCs and a single History LP so I haven't really played the crazier ones but the ones I've played were really nice and I would probably take them over a standard Gibson USA axe any day.


FWIW I own an Edwards now along with my LPR8 and my Gibby USA LP and it holds more than its own. I'm very happy with it.
Quote by Axelfox
my mom and i went to a furry con and on the second day she said she didn't come and pay money to go see dumb shit.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#7
The term Gibson Killers come from the era in which they were produced. At the time Gibson was owned by Norlin, Think of CBS era Fenders but different, and if not aware, Yes some of these things were real turds, So it really wasn't hard for the Japanese to kick they're asses at the time, In which case Norlin watched sales decline and decided something needed to be done to stay relevant, Enter the Gibson Ibanez lawsuit, In which Gibson won but it only resulted in the Japanese having to change they're headstock designs, Meaning they couldn't look exactly like a Gibson, And it mattered very little to Ibanez as they already had they're own designs on the table anyway, By the time all was settled the Ibanez Artist Series was already on the market, Something like the model 2710 is where you started hearing the term Gibson slayer, Granted it was a double cut away LP style Maple Walnut neck thru with Mahogany body but it tended to shut the mouths of many a Norlin/Gibson devotee, As to the pre lawsuit LP copies? Be careful as there's some fake Tokais and such floating around out there, Such is the world of collectable anything, As to the run of the mill department store copies, Sure you can buy them cheap online all day but they are what they are and will get they're asses handed to them by todays Gibson standards, Or even Epiphone for that matter, Better than a 1975 Gibson LP, maybe, just depends on the individual examples your evaluating, The Gibson may have had no overlooked quality control issues and the headstock didn't break off within 6 months, And the MIJ might just be a plywood copy that looks nice, So it really comes down to knowing what it is your looking at ,
#8
Not Japanese, but check out Maybach as well. They're easily in between Gibson Standard and CS in quality.
#9
Pretty much as everyone has been saying- it depends on the exact model of each that you're talking about (and watch out, as dspellman rightly says, some of those MIJ brands now have cheaper models which aren't MIJ).
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#10
Thanks for all of the input so far everyone!

So, I did a little bit of digging around, per the advice of dspellman, and it appears that yes, there is quite a massive array of different models from all of these brands!

What makes it a bit more challenging, is the fact that it's much harder to dig up information on the vintage "lawsuit" era models of the 1970's/80's. I've found some bolt on neck versions of LP's from that era for as low as $300-500, and some nicer looking LP Custom clones closer to the $800-1000. It seems damn near impossible to find very detailed info about these particular models, and some of the vintage Tokais seem to go for as much as, or even more than a Gibson. I'm sure that they're stellar axes, but I'm not looking to blow $2-3K if I bought an LP (And at that point, I'd probably just go for a Gibson, mainly just for the easier resale/value down the road).

I have, however, looked into a couple of more modern LP clones that have caught my eye - Particularly, this Edwards!

http://www.espguitars.co.jp/edwards/lp/E-LP-125SD.html

Someone had one for sale around me locally recently (not in a position to buy, or I would have checked it out), but I think he wanted around $800-$850 for a mint example (With the current Yen to Dollar exchange rate, they're just under $1200 USD brand new - I know that's not including import duties/taxes, though - which aren't too bad for bringing a guitar into the US). But this model sounds rather legit - SD JB and 59 pickups (No need to swap, for me personally), factory bone nut, (I believe?) a neck profile between a thick 50's, and slim 60's style, and LP standard cosmetics - all at the LP Studio price bracket.

I have heard that higher end Edwards models like this one have 1 pc bodies and tops, and nitro finishes, but I haven't been able to officially confirm it yet. Maybe someone here knows? It's my understanding that Edwards bodies & necks are carved in China, but the rest of the work is done in Japan (This doesn't bother me).

Another modern model I was checking out was the Tokai LS-110. I believe these are 2-piece bodies, but I've found some of these on Reverb, also in a similar price range. It's my understanding that the LS-150 gets you closer in specs to a Gibson standard, but they start creeping into the $1400+ range or so.

I guess to simplify what I would be after, if going for an LP clone, would be to find one similar to a Gibby standard in specs, but priced (New or used) more like a Studio (I've played a few great studios, but a few crappy ones too, so they can seem like a roll of the dice to me). A real Gibby w/the specs I would like would likely run me a fair share more money than I've spent on any of my Gibsons that I currently (or have ever) owned.
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
Last edited by FlightofIcarus at Oct 29, 2016,
#12
I think the Eddy guitars are not 1 piece except the ALS series. If you want a standard for studio prices check out a Crews KTR.
Quote by Axelfox
my mom and i went to a furry con and on the second day she said she didn't come and pay money to go see dumb shit.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#13
I have Bacchus and Momose guitars, sold my Gibsons to buy them. Great guiatrs well worth the $$
#14
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I think the Eddy guitars are not 1 piece except the ALS series.


yeah i think they used to all be 1-piece but that may no longer be the case, as you said.

also someone said a while back in a thread that the edwardses were 100% MIJ again, but
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#15
H4T3BR33D3R - Curious - What particular Edwards LP model do you own? How does the finish feel to you in it? I've read a mixed range of opinions on some LP forums. The general consensus seemd to be that they're very solid axes, but there were a few naysayers, complaining that they still felt a bit cheap, and that the finish felt too thick to them.

Another model that caught my eye was a Tokai LS90Q. These also seem like a solid choice, but I'm seeing a wide range of prices on them, and I'm not sure what is (or isn't) too much to pay for one?

And to open up another can of worms - Is the 1 piece body all it's cracked up to be? Surely, I'm guessing that Gibson studio models use 2 pc or so bodies?
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#16
I wouldn't worry about the body being more than 1 piece so long as the body actually looks pretty. That's all that counts.

Gibson has been known to use up to 3 pieces on their LP Studios.
Quote by Axelfox
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#18
Quote by FlightofIcarus
H4T3BR33D3R - Curious - What particular Edwards LP model do you own? How does the finish feel to you in it? I've read a mixed range of opinions on some LP forums. The general consensus seemd to be that they're very solid axes, but there were a few naysayers, complaining that they still felt a bit cheap, and that the finish felt too thick to them.

Another model that caught my eye was a Tokai LS90Q. These also seem like a solid choice, but I'm seeing a wide range of prices on them, and I'm not sure what is (or isn't) too much to pay for one?

And to open up another can of worms - Is the 1 piece body all it's cracked up to be? Surely, I'm guessing that Gibson studio models use 2 pc or so bodies?


I have an E-LP-98LTC. I dont find the finish thick at all. Its not nitro, but it doesnt feel like a toy.

The LS90Q IIRC is mahogany body, with a plain maple top and a quilt maple cap. I have seen them go for around 500-800 USD used depending on if you can find one (they dont make them anymore). You could probably find something else better used though (like a Crews KTR or an older Bacchus BLP-STD)

If you want a new version of the ls90, it would be the Tokai LS128F and you can find those quite easy online.


Does it matter if your quitar body is multi piece? For myself its a non issue but for people that are looking for authentic 50s specs then it has to be a single piece back. I personally just like a 1 piece back mostly for cosmetics.

That being said even a lot of the regular line of Gibsons have moved to 2 piece backs or multi piece backs. Like, the 2016 trads and standards were 2 piece backs. I havent checked the 2017 line but I wouldnt be surprised if they were mostly 2 piece backs as well.
Quote by Axelfox
my mom and i went to a furry con and on the second day she said she didn't come and pay money to go see dumb shit.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#19
I actually prefer 2 piece backs over 1 piece backs if they're bookmatched.
Quote by Axelfox
Please understand how little we as a community care
#20
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
I actually prefer 2 piece backs over 1 piece backs if they're bookmatched.


Nice. I don't.


Quote by Axelfox
my mom and i went to a furry con and on the second day she said she didn't come and pay money to go see dumb shit.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#21
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Nice. I don't.

disagre.

Quote by Axelfox
Please understand how little we as a community care
#22
Yikes.


is that 3 pieces?





Much better.
Quote by Axelfox
my mom and i went to a furry con and on the second day she said she didn't come and pay money to go see dumb shit.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#23
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Yikes.

is that 3 pieces?

Nope.
*snip*

meh.

Symmetry is better.
Quote by Axelfox
Please understand how little we as a community care
#24
i mean youre a mod so youre right


but youre wrong


i like having a single piece
Quote by Axelfox
my mom and i went to a furry con and on the second day she said she didn't come and pay money to go see dumb shit.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#25
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
i mean youre a mod so youre right

Finally we agree on something.
Quote by Axelfox
Please understand how little we as a community care
#27
Yet another LP I must ask about - The Epiphone Elite (not Elitist) models. I was told these were made in the Fugijen factory, and have most of the desirable features of higher end LPs (1 pc body, nitro finish, solid pickups, etc.). Just trying to find out how much of this is true?

Saw a few listings for Crews KTRs, but prices ranged by quite a large margin (from $1300-$3000). Different models? Haven't found much info about them so far.
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#28
I think the bodies on the Elites/Elitists are 2 pieces of African mahogany iirc, but they were superb guitars.

Unfortunately people are becoming wiser to the fact that those guitars are really good quality and thus they're generally no longer the amazing value for money they once were.
Quote by Axelfox
Please understand how little we as a community care
#29
Quote by FlightofIcarus
Yet another LP I must ask about - The Epiphone Elite (not Elitist) models. I was told these were made in the Fugijen factory, and have most of the desirable features of higher end LPs (1 pc body, nitro finish, solid pickups, etc.). Just trying to find out how much of this is true?

Saw a few listings for Crews KTRs, but prices ranged by quite a large margin (from $1300-$3000). Different models? Haven't found much info about them so far.


Elitist is Elite. Its the same run with a different name. They arent nitro as far as im aware nor are they 1 piece backs and the flame models are veneered for the most part. Doesnt mean they are bad guitars though. I own an Elitist myself.


The Crews guitars have a few different models ranging from ones similar to the Elite series up to really nice ones with 1pc backs and solid flame tops.
Quote by Axelfox
my mom and i went to a furry con and on the second day she said she didn't come and pay money to go see dumb shit.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#30
Just coming back to say thanks to everyone! I've probably learned more about the various LP options out there within the past week than I have within...well, quite a while!

Sounds like I'll just have to keep my options open when the time to buy comes, and that through smart shopping, I should have no problems landing a quality LP - whatever brand I may end up with.

Just one last question - Suppose I want to e-mail one of these companies some time later on to get more info on a particular model? I know next to no Japanese (How to write any, at least). What are the chances of getting a response in English?
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#31
Quote by FlightofIcarus
Just coming back to say thanks to everyone! I've probably learned more about the various LP options out there within the past week than I have within...well, quite a while!

Sounds like I'll just have to keep my options open when the time to buy comes, and that through smart shopping, I should have no problems landing a quality LP - whatever brand I may end up with.

Just one last question - Suppose I want to e-mail one of these companies some time later on to get more info on a particular model? I know next to no Japanese (How to write any, at least). What are the chances of getting a response in English?


Major retailers like Ishibashi, Ikebe and Shimokura have dedicated international sales departments IIRC so getting an English response won't be hard. If you are going through things like Jauce/Rakuten/YJ Auctions, then it depends on the person or store listing the item. A lot of them at least know some basic English either way.
Quote by Axelfox
my mom and i went to a furry con and on the second day she said she didn't come and pay money to go see dumb shit.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#32
Gotta be careful. I played 70's Japanese copies by Global and Harmony and they were both junk so evidently they weren't all good. Most sellers seem to want ridiculous prices for them too. I'd be a little wary of buying any guitar that old myself when you can buy a brand new well made LP from epiphone or agile. You can always upgrade the pups and have a killer LP for a very reasonable price. jmo
#33
^ it's before my time, but from what i've read, there probably is a cut-off point timewise when, before that time, they were junk, and after, they were good (mid-to-late-70s?). also some brands are probably better than others. and also bolt-on gibson copies are likely to be lower-end. but yeah absolutely err on the side of caution.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#34
Quote by hotrodney71
Gotta be careful. I played 70's Japanese copies by Global and Harmony and they were both junk so evidently they weren't all good. Most sellers seem to want ridiculous prices for them too. I'd be a little wary of buying any guitar that old myself when you can buy a brand new well made LP from epiphone or agile. You can always upgrade the pups and have a killer LP for a very reasonable price. jmo


To be fair, neither of those companies are known for making quality copies anyway. They're usually bolt-on and plywood so they're quite obviously not the same caliber as the guitars mentioned in the thread.


Quote by Dave_Mc
^ it's before my time, but from what i've read, there probably is a cut-off point timewise when, before that time, they were junk, and after, they were good (mid-to-late-70s?). also some brands are probably better than others. and also bolt-on gibson copies are likely to be lower-end.


Kind of abridging it a ton but basically yeah.
Quote by Axelfox
my mom and i went to a furry con and on the second day she said she didn't come and pay money to go see dumb shit.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#35
^ oh yeah i mean obviously what i put is an oversimplification but just as a (very rough) rule of thumb.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?