#1
I've done some reading up on les paul guitars.
The first thing I have to say is, man they do look good. But they're also so damn expensive. The epi les pauls don't look as cool to me though, like the body looks more "cookie cuter" cut out look to it. Is that just me?

All asthetics aside though, and besides the price diff, what makes a gibson lp different from an epiphone one? How do they differ in tuning, bridge, tone, playability etc.

Besides being a gibson fanatic or major guitar collector, how could I justify spending so much on a gibson les paul instead of $200-500 for the epi.

Also, whats the main diff between les pauls and strats? My assumption has always been les pauls are have a better tone for jazzy-bluesy stuff where strats are for "rocking out". Is this right?

And lastly, throw in any other electric guitar types (telecaster) if you want to contrast those as well.
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#2
the epi lps use different pickups i believe to save money asd well as not being made in america
the differenc in the strat and lp is many things fir 1 the shape of course , for another the pickup which are different because the strat has single pickups nad the lp has humbuckers which give off different tones but in the words of jimmy page "if you turn it up to a certain level they all sound like les pauls" also the wodd is different as well so anyways it ujp to you to chose the best one for you
#3
i'm curious on the epi vs. gibson debate as well, but here is an answer to your other question:

Les Paul have humbuckers, strats have single coil pickups (and sometimes one humbucker)

Humbucker = chunky, smooth tone
single coil = thin, choppy tone.
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#4
Okay... There's more of a difference between a Strat and a Les Paul than the shape of the body and pickups. Wood, neck shape, bridge type, neck materials, weight, body thickness, whether or not the guitar has a top capped on, the type of nut, the string trees on the headstock, the angle of the headstock... It's almost impossible - like comparing apples to oranges. As a side note, plenty of Strats have humbuckers, and all of them can be modded to have them.

As far as one being better for a style than another, it's preference. You can put a humbucker in a strat if you want, it's personal choice. Adam Jones from Tool plays a Les Paul, so they're fine for rock, and Zakk Wylde plays one for metal. Adam from Killswitch ENgage used a strat on the first cd, so they're fine for it too. As far as blues, the ones who use a Les Paul are well noted, and Clapton played a strat. Like I said, it's just preference from person to person which is better.

Difference between Epi and Gibson is materials and where they're made.
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#5
Quote by mlfarrell
I've done some reading up on les paul guitars.
The first thing I have to say is, man they do look good. But they're also so damn expensive. The epi les pauls don't look as cool to me though, like the body looks more "cookie cuter" cut out look to it. Is that just me?

All asthetics aside though, and besides the price diff, what makes a gibson lp different from an epiphone one? How do they differ in tuning, bridge, tone, playability etc.

Besides being a gibson fanatic or major guitar collector, how could I justify spending so much on a gibson les paul instead of $200-500 for the epi.

Also, whats the main diff between les pauls and strats? My assumption has always been les pauls are have a better tone for jazzy-bluesy stuff where strats are for "rocking out". Is this right?

And lastly, throw in any other electric guitar types (telecaster) if you want to contrast those as well.

Heres a copy paste about epi lp customs



Yup, Customs now use the same wood, for all intents and purposes, as actual Gibsons. Standards now use what Customs used to use, to put it very simply. Studios still use hacked-up lower graded offcuts (it should be pointed out; actual Gibson Studios and Faded series also use offcuts from lower grade wood than the Standards and Classics), and the Juniors and Special-IIs use lord only knows, it seems to vary from instrument to instrument. LP-100's use the same wood as Studios, I think (hacked up offcuts and low-grade).
Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisshad
no. epiphone les pauls use a veneer top mostly...but are made of several peices of wood where gibsons are usually one or two pieces.

This was true for the Standards and below until about a year and a half ago. Epi had a big change over in their production since then though.
And the Customs, signature LPs, Ultra and so on, have always been made 'properly'.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrWannabe
When I got my Gibson USA Les Paul Studio Faded, it was between that for $800 and a totally trick-looking Epiphone Les Paul for $500. The difference? With the Les Paul Faded, I got a bare wood finish, the same hardware as a Les Paul Standard, burstbucker pickups and block fret inlays. With the Epiphone, I would have had a really nice finish with inferior hardware all the way around and it was much heavier.
This part should have been the tip-off for you to get the Epi. That Faded you have, as I mentioned above, has a body made like the Studio - lower grade wood, hacked up from offcuts. On top of that, if you bought it within the last two and a half years or so, it will also have the chambering that Gibson puts in their Standards now, which while good for helping the weight, also reduces sustain, arguably weakens the tone (depends on your personal taste), and reduces the durability of the instrument.

On the other hand, if it was a few years back, the Custom would have completely solid two-slab construction, and the wood would be the same grade as the Gibson. If it was newer (since Epi had their overhaul of production), the Custom will still have the same entirely solid, two-slab construction, and the wood will be roughly one grade (possibly two, there's some variation) than the Faded (for reference, the Epi Customs now mostly use D Select, though sometimes C Select, while Gibsons like the Faded and Studio use D Select at most, but as is the nature with their construction from off-cuts, they normally contain more #1 common and #2 common, rather than any D Select).


But granted, the Gibson comes with nicer stock hardware. My argument is and will always be though, so long as you don't mind the Epi neck profile, you are always better off getting one of the rare good Epis and spending the money you saved upgrade it, rather than just getting a Gibson. And certainly if you do have the money to buy a Gibson, then you should still skip those, and just go to the Epiphone Elitist series, which have the most consistent quality control I've ever come across, and frankly, beat any production Gibson (again, so long as you're okay with the Epi neck profile). As a general rule of thumb, the Gibson Custom Shop is the best, then the Epi Elitists, then production Gibson mid-range, Epiphone production higher-range and modded mid-range, Gibson lower range and stock Epi mid-range, then finally the lower range Epis which are at best, average beginner instruments, and that's only if you're lucky.


I should probably point out, this is coming from someone who owns two Gibsons, has owned a third in the past, and currently owns two Epis, again, having owned a third in the past. So, I'm not biased to one brand just because it's the one I play the most or anything, I own and play both equally. And you'll just have to take my word for it - I've done my research.


... And to answer the OP's question in typically boring fashion, the answer, as many people have said, is to just play the damn thing. If you notice any fretbuzz, unusually loose hardware, unusually stiff hardware, a lack of sustain - anything - then you put that Epi down right now. You don't even have to plug them in to tell if they're bad or not; 99 times out of 100, if an Epi has one flaw, even if it's just something 'minor' like some rough flack on the nut from where it was cut or the pickup selector switch is a little stiff, the rest of it will turn out to be a waste of money too.

When trying out Epis, you need to keep this in mind; you are search for a mid-range Gibson quality build, with the exception of the pickups. For this reason, I heartily recommend you try the Epi unplugged. You'll be able to spot it's flaws much easier, and really it's the core build you're testing out, as it's a given the electronics will be unimpressive. Most of the time you'll be changing the pickups anyway (and at the same time, change the pots and all the existing wiring - but again, I would think that's pretty much a given anyway).

You should also try looking at the guitar's serial number to see how old it is. Just because Epiphone have officially passed on all of the old stock (made before their production change), that doesn't mean those guitars aren't still sitting on shelves in stores or sitting on eBay or in warehouses for other online shops. Look at the serial number on the back of the guitar - look at the third and fourth characters in the sequence (it normally goes two letters, then the numbers start - you want to be looking at the first two numbers). It's pretty simple to tell the year; if the first two numbers are 05 for example, then the guitar was made in 2005. If it says 06, it's a 2006 guitar, etc. Now, Epiphone made their production shift a little over a year and a half ago now, so any guitar made in 07 is fine, any made in 06 should be fine, though earlier than that and you're looking at lower grade wood, if it's a Standard or lower then it'll be using the old mahogany/alder mix rather than just mahogany, and the stock hardware on the Standard and below is worse too (though you really should be changing most of the hardware anyway).


The exceptions are the Signature range of Epis, the Ultra, any limited editions, and the Elitist series.

The Elitists are quite frankly, better than production Gibsons - period. You don't need to worry about possibly finding a bad Elitist; no such thing exists, at least not in my experience.

The Ultra is a hard one to gauge since it's meant to be heavily chambered, the tone, especially unplugged, isn't really like any other LP. The build quality on them tends to be higher too. That's not to say there aren't bad Ultras out there - there are - just that it's much harder to tell what the hell is going on with any Ultra you pick up, so shopping for those should be left to those who have already owned a couple of good Epis and really know what they're looking for.

The Limited Editions that Epi sometimes do, are nearly always good too. They seem to put much more care over them even if it's just a limited run Studio model. Again, like the Ultra, there are still bad ones out there - they're just that bit less common, and it varies so much from each limited run model that they're not the kind of thing inexperienced buyers should be risking looking into.

For the Signatures, I assume it's since the artists insist better quality control on their guitars, but I've never come across a bad Signature Epi. Most of the Signatures started life in the Elitists series and then got 'demoted' to standard production, but never got any actual spec changes, so that could be why. In particular, the Joe Perry LP and Tony Iommi SG are incredibly well built (again, at least in my experience), though from what I understand, the Joe Perry LP is no longer being produced. A shame since it came with actual USA-made Gibsons Burstbuckers (#2 and #3 - my personal favourite pickup configuration) as standard, which combined with the higher quality body it had, meant it was, for all intents and purposes, a Gibson with a different headstock. I'm lucky enough to have a 2004 one (which is okay since Signatures were always made properly, even before the production shift), and I can safely say it's better than one of my Gibsons, and since owning it I've put the same pickup configuration (reverse #2 and a #3) in all of my guitars - it is just that damn good.


Wow, tl;dr....
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#6
Epi Les Pauls look exactly the same as Gibsons as far as shape goes, your just imagining things.

Gibsons cost more because they're made with better materials and hardware, they're made in the USA where labour costs are much higher and because the Gibson brand has more perceived value than the Epiphone brand.

Strats and Les Pauls are completely different - a Strat typically can be biting, percussive, chimey, fragile and vocal depending on which pickups you're using. A Les Paul tends to be louder, fat, warm, muscular, smooth and creamy - again depending on which pickups you're using.
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#7
Quote by mlfarrell

All asthetics aside though, and besides the price diff, what makes a gibson lp different from an epiphone one? How do they differ in tuning, bridge, tone, playability etc.


I've seen a video on youtbe where they compaire the epiphone to the gibson, here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTzdcOcpyuE
#8
you have it backwards for "rocking out"

to be honest, I've never seen anyone in the heavy metal scene play a strat, except for slipknot because they do stupid stuff like that.

I've played gibson les pauls that feel HORRIBLE to play, but epi's that look and sound GREAT, if you find a nice epiphone, that works for you, you should get it! haha

I love strats + tube amps though, they really sound great
#9
Gibson Les Pauls tend to have better workmanship, better materials, better electronics, and a better sound, due to their 100% mahogany bodies and high quality maple tops.

Epiphone Les Pauls are made overseas in Korea, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The difference between the Epi's and the Gibsons is that with Epiphone, you tend to get a higher occurrence of dud guitars and they tend to require setup more often. the stock pickups are of lower quality than the American-made Gibson pickups, and the body itself is NOT pure mahogany. they are usually some combination of alder and mahogany for the body, and fairly good maple for the top.

the epi costs a fifth of what the gibson costs though. and if you're not an idiot, you can identify a dud guitar before you fork over 600 bucks for it. and if you have an extra 500 or 600 bucks, you outfit the epiphone with custom american-made gibson reissue pickups, gibson-style knobs, a proper intonation and setup, and some decent strap locks. that'd get you about 75% of the way to a true les paul look and sound. If you rock it through a big-ass marshall tube amp, most people won't be able to tell the difference.
#10
well you might have seen them playing a strat body because lets see
ESP,LTD, schecter, dean, bc rich, and every one except gibson and a couple others have strat style bodies
#11
Quote by Jammin'
i'm curious on the epi vs. gibson debate as well, but here is an answer to your other question:

Les Paul have humbuckers, strats have single coil pickups (and sometimes one humbucker)

Humbucker = chunky, smooth tone
single coil = thin, choppy tone.

sorry but thats very misleading. a single coil can sound thick and smooth too. just listen to SRV or eric johnson.

singles do however tend to have a brighter sound than humbuckers and are well suited for twang sounds. but they can sound just as good as humbuckers too.
#13
Quote by Suicidal_Brick
The Strat is more for blues, while the Les Paul is more for rock.


except that the orginal stratocaster was designed for country music, and the orginal Les Paul was a signature model for Les Paul, the blues guitarist.
#14
Quote by frigginjerk
except that the orginal stratocaster was designed for country music, and the orginal Les Paul was a signature model for Les Paul, the blues guitarist.

i thought he played jazz? but it doesnt really matter as you can play blues on pretty much any guitar if you wanted. and lots of rock players use strats.
#16
Quote by frigginjerk
except that the orginal stratocaster was designed for country music, and the orginal Les Paul was a signature model for Les Paul, the blues guitarist.


Les Paul designed the guitar himself, it wasn't a signature model made for him. Oh, and he plays Jazz.
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#17
Quote by Jammin'
Humbucker = chunky, smooth tone
single coil = thin, choppy tone.


Single coils are very smooth sounding, and sound pretty "thick" a lot of the times.
#18
Quote by Suicidal_Brick
Les Paul designed the guitar himself, it wasn't a signature model made for him. Oh, and he plays Jazz.


it was both. he designed it, and gibson made the signature model for him. and it was bluesy jazz.

FTW

anyways, i've posted way too many times in this thread. i'm out.
#19
bluesy jazz.

Anyways, try them both out. I have a strat, and am looking to purchase a LP myself to get the best of both worlds.
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#20
Quote by Suicidal_Brick
The Strat is more for blues, while the Les Paul is more for rock.

Neither of them are "more" for anything - it's up to the player to decide if the sound suits their music.

Rock didn't even exist when the Les Paul was introduced.
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#21
both the Strat and Les Paul have helped shape the sound of rock, but modern rock is suited for Humbuckers.
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#22
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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.
#23
For the love of god - everyone speaks as if a strat can't have a humbucker. Well, myth debunked - I've got one in mine.

And I play metal

Sorry folks.
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#24
The plain truth is if you have a guitar made with cheap lador and cheap materials then you have a cheap guitar. just the facts Jack.
#25
Quote by filthylittleboy
you have it backwards for "rocking out"

to be honest, I've never seen anyone in the heavy metal scene play a strat, except for slipknot because they do stupid stuff like that.

I've played gibson les pauls that feel HORRIBLE to play, but epi's that look and sound GREAT, if you find a nice epiphone, that works for you, you should get it! haha

I love strats + tube amps though, they really sound great


THEY USED STRATS? WTF.

Maiden used strats...they're metal. Maybe not "heavy" metal, but metal nonetheless.
#26
I think he meant Fenders, just that custom Telecaster.

Maiden used strats, Eddie Van Halen, etc.
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#27
I used to collect nothing but Gibsons. (Lp's, Explorers, V's, Firebirds etc.) I am very dissapointed with the quality of the newer Gibson guitars even the very high end ones seem to fall short. I tried a $7500.00 Gold anniversary LP that is nothing but eye candy for that price it didn't sound any better than the top of the line Epi that is 1000s less. I have several friends that work in variouse guitar shops around me and they all say they have a lot of issues with Gibsons. Everything from bad wiring, unfinished frets, nut's not cut. loose hardware etc. These usually get fixed before the public get there hands on them so a lot of people don't realize there were issues before they try and buy. I have really been pleased with the Epis. I got to try one of the new Epiphone Prophecy Futura hard tails and it's better than almost every Gibson I have tried in the last couple years. Some Epis come with Gibson USA pups. I have a Flying V with Gibson pups. I have seen several Epi LPs with Gibson USA pus as well as the Iommi SG which IMHO has the best Gibson pups around. I was reading the Epi LP Prophecy stats and it had Dirty Fingers pups. There are some good Epis out there that will stand it's ground with any Gibson LP out there for about a 3rd of the price. Today when I was picking up some supplies at GC and Daddy's a bunch of us got into a disscusion about the price and quality of High End guitars and the cost and quality of the lower end and mid range guitars and it seems the low end guitars are getting better and the prices are staying the same while the high end guitars are getting more and more expensive and the quality falls short compared to price. Anyway you can get a true Gibson LP for about $800.00 new that has the worn finish and mid range Gibson pups. For about $300.00 less you can get a really good Epi with comparable pups and a lot better finish. I notice I see more and more Epis being used by bands and they sound great. Don't get me wrong I still love Gibsons, just not pleased with the newer ones. It all boils down to poor QC.

As far as Strats and Tele's go I never cared for them especially for the music I play and listen too.
#28
The main differences between production Gibsons and production Epiphones are:

- Gibsons use higher grade woods.
- The hardware on Gibsons is usually from a higher quality cast, using better metal (be that steel or an alloy, depends on the model).
- The stock pickups.
- The neck profile.
- The headstock angle.
- Epiphone uses a thick poly (plastic-based) finish, Gibson uses a thin nitro (laquer) finish. This means the Epiphone has a darker, thicker tone than the Gibsons (or the Gibson has a brighter, thinner tone than the Epi - whichever way you prefer to say it). The Gibson's colour will also fade faster (or the EPi's lasts longer), and the Gibson is more prone to dents, bumps and scratches (or the Epi is tougher - again, whichever way you prefer to think of it)
- Resale value. You can resell an unmodded Gibson LP Standard for usually as much as 75% of it's original price, depending on it's condition. With the Epi, you'll struggle to get half of your money back, even if it's in great condition.


Of course, there are some exceptions:
- Certain Epiphone Artist Signature models use the same pickups than Gibsons.
- Some low-end Epiphones come with a thinner, a thicker, or no maple top at all, depending on the model.
- Some low-end Epis are made with some alder in the body instead of just solid mahogany.
- Higher-end Epiphones come with the same or superior hardware than some Gibsons.
- Some of the low-end Gibsons' body wood is only the same grade (if not lower) as mid-range Epiphones.



And I'm not going to start talking about the Epiphone Elitist series (better than any production Gibson, period) or the Gibson Custom Shop (better than even the Epi Elitist, period). Also, the above only applies to the Les Paul models; the SGs from each brand are a slighty different case, and the archtops that each produce are a very different story (namely, that Epi's are actually superior to Gibson's once you get past the really bottom-of-the-barrel low-end crap).




Generally, if you're just some guy sitting in his bedroom or just playing with his little garage band at the weekends, then no, there is no point in you spending the extra money on a Gibson.

If you do any more than that though, then you will probably find the extra money that the Gibson costs, is worth it.
#29
onley thing i can say is play em all urself and you will hear the diffrences and what you like about each... i think picking a guitar is verry hard... it has to sound and feel just right so whatever your prefrence is go with it..... every man to his own
#30
Do what I did purchased an epi lucille ,replaced all the electronics. A set of sperzels and a new bridge. For the $1000.00 I have in that guitar it really does compare to the Gibson.
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#31
I play metal, and I like the sound of a Strat SSS more than a Les Paul for it. The LP sounds too muddy (yeah, not only Epis, I've tried Gibsons), I love the sound of singel-coils, you can play very heavy riffs with them too with the right pedals and amp. Soon I'm gonna try a Standard Tele and see if it can play metal as a Strat.
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#32
I just dealt with the issue of gibson lp's verses epi les pauls. I first bought an epi les paul for 300 bucks. it looked cool but didn't sound anywhere near as good as the 1000 les paul. I kept the epi for 2 weeks and then took it back and bought the real thing (gibson les paul). It's better in every way. My epi had a lot of string buzz which the gibby didn't have and most importantly to me was the fact that the Gibson sounds 50 times better than the epiphone. Trust me, there is no comparison between the 2 intsruments. Unfortunately, there is no comparison between prices either. I'm about a grand in debt because of the gibby but it's cool, i'll deal with it.

edit. in case you're wondering the epi les paul did not sound that great, even without comparing it to a better guitar. It was the best sounding guitar that I played in the 300 dollar price range but that isn't saying much in my opinion.
Last edited by junglej25 at Apr 10, 2008,
#33
The higher end epis are definitely a better instrument than the lower end gibson stuff.
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#34
Great thread guys, I am thinking about getting a Slash, and I'm torn between the Epi and the Gibby standard (over a $1,000 difference).
#35
sweet. thanks for all the advice. I've never played an electric. I own an acoustic and I plug it in some times and crank distortion on my tiny little micro cube, but thats not the same.

I already I know I want a humbucker or some sort of noise-canceling pickup though. I don't like noise coming through, especially when its amplified.

I really want the gibson standard, but there's no way I'm allowing myself to spend $1000+ on my first electric guitar. I'm thinking like maybe $500 for the guitar, and stick with my amp until I can afford a decent tube amp (marshall tubes look almost too expensive for me to start with).

Fret buzz on the epi's scare me though cause I'm gonna want low action. I'm also scared of buying a lemon without knowing it. My ear isn't good enough yet to detect bad intonation, etc, etc.

I suppose I could always have the guitar tech look at it. Actually, his store will probably be the store I buy it from anyway.

Edit: also can you get the epi les pauls in cherry sunburst? cause man that color is bad ass
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Last edited by mlfarrell at Apr 10, 2008,