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  1. #1

    how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    I'm only 15 and looking for a guitar to get that awesome humbucker tone, without spending all my money. Is it really worth the extra money to go Gibson? And also, what's the difference between the different Gibson/Epiphone models (ie. the Studio, Traditional, Standard...)?

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member Keefoman's Avatar
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    Quote Originally Posted by arunpandit View Post
    I'm only 15 and looking for a guitar to get that awesome humbucker tone, without spending all my money. Is it really worth the extra money to go Gibson? And also, what's the difference between the different Gibson/Epiphone models (ie. the Studio, Traditional, Standard...)?
    Depends on how you define ”worth”. The Epiphones are mainly fine instruments, but the fret work can be a little hit or miss. If I were you, I’d go to a guitar store and try as many as you can and buy the one you feel is ”worth” it for you.

    As for the different models.... Well, there are so many. Google is your friend.

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member fakejake's Avatar
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    My first proper electric guitar was an Epiphone Les Paul, which I still have. Despite now owning several vintage and custom shop Gibsons, that Epiphone is still a great guitar to me that I take out and play regularly.
    As Keefoman suggested, just try as many guitars from different brands many as you can, and get the one that speaks to you the most (given you can afford it ).

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member jrgtr42's Avatar
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    First of all, this question probably should be in the Standard forum versus the Vintage one - but no matter.

    First do you already play guitar? What kind do you currently have? Will you be trading that one in / selling it, or keeping it alongside?
    I'd say to look at what your budget is, and stick pretty strictly to it - if you find a really good deal on a better guitar, it may be worth the extra (can you borrow from your parents? My first couple guitars were financed through the International Bank of Mom and Dad; great interest rates, but those collections agents were BRUTAL! ;) )
    Epis are really good instruments, though they are built overseas. Gibsons are built in the US, and more expensive, but they'll hold their value better - you should be able to sell for about what you bought it for, if you decide to sell down the line.
    There are differences in materials, construction, components etc on them.
    The recommendation to go to a store and play as many as you cn is a good one - and don't limit to Gibson Epiphone - try other brands as well. Obviously this is a Gibson Les Paul forum, and we think those are the greatest - but compare and contrast other brands too.
    Also keep you eyes on used places, Ebay, Craigslist etc (presuming you're in the US) you can sometimes find good deals on what would otherwise be a more expensive guitar.
    Good Luck!!
    ********************************
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    "It is if you don't drop it."
    - Trent Lane, Daria, Episode 1-2.

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Keefoman's Avatar
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrgtr42 View Post
    Gibsons are built in the US, and more expensive, but they'll hold their value better - you should be able to sell for about what you bought it for, if you decide to sell down the line.
    That's only partly true, and presupposes you buy second hand. You'll lose a lot more money relatively, buying a new Gibson than a new Epiphone if you should choose to sell on. Even buying second hand, there's a good chance you get your money back on an Epiphone. IF you haven't paid overprice to begin with, of course.

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member jrgtr42's Avatar
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keefoman View Post
    That's only partly true, and presupposes you buy second hand. You'll lose a lot more money relatively, buying a new Gibson than a new Epiphone if you should choose to sell on. Even buying second hand, there's a good chance you get your money back on an Epiphone. IF you haven't paid overprice to begin with, of course.
    Good point - I should have mentioned that this would be buying used you'd get your money back.
    Though even new, depending on how long you keep it, you could get your money.
    I have a 2002 LP Standard, and I see them going for (used) as much if not more than I paid new...
    ********************************
    "Do you call sleeping with a guitar in your hands practicing?"
    "It is if you don't drop it."
    - Trent Lane, Daria, Episode 1-2.

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member Keefoman's Avatar
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrgtr42 View Post
    Good point - I should have mentioned that this would be buying used you'd get your money back.
    Though even new, depending on how long you keep it, you could get your money.
    I have a 2002 LP Standard, and I see them going for (used) as much if not more than I paid new...
    Yes, of course, but now you're talking nearly 20 years, so that's mostly due to general inflation. Still, a less desirable brand wouldn't hold its value that well. Both Gibson and Epiphone have been and are, major brands in the market, and will probably continue to be for many years to come.

  8. #8

    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    my 2003 Korean made Epiphone Les Paul was a very nice guitar. i've since sold it and purchased a USA Gibson Les Paul which to me is BETTER, but from a cost/value perspective I'm not sure it's 5 times better. When I went to sell the Epi, I found the market to be a bit saturated. That said, I certainly wouldn't hesitate to own another one or recommend one especially for someone just getting into or RETURNING to the electric guitar world. It's nice knowing we have SO many excellent choices out there to fit everyones needs and budget.

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keefoman View Post
    If I were you, I’d go to a guitar store and try as many as you can and buy the one you feel is ”worth” it for you.
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  10. #10

    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    Quote Originally Posted by arunpandit View Post
    I'm only 15 and looking for a guitar to get that awesome humbucker tone, without spending all my money. Is it really worth the extra money to go Gibson? And also, what's the difference between the different Gibson/Epiphone models (ie. the Studio, Traditional, Standard...)?




    Any Updates??
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  11. #11

    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keefoman View Post
    Depends on how you define ”worth”. The Epiphones are mainly fine instruments, but the fret work can be a little hit or miss.
    This is a problem even on their anniversary models. On my 50th anniversary V3 model (which had a 60's neck), there was a small divot on the fret wire near the 12th fret. No buzzing was detected but how does a new guitar leave the factory in that shape?

    The lower end Epi LPs selling at the $500 price point can benefit from a new set of pups. A new player does not have to worry about this initially, as finding a good amp is more important.

    While browsing Reverb, I saw a cool 100th anniversary Epiphone LP Custom model for $700, not including shipping. First I've ever heard of it, so I cannot vouch for its tonal quality, although the 100th and earlier 50th anniversary model have Probuckers.

    https://reverb.com/item/10597907-epi...versary-outfit



    Lastly, pay attention to the weight of a guitar. At a young age, you don't want to develop a bad back or chronically sore shoulder.

    Some advice from a dad to a son. When he was a kid, Jerry Cantrell created a Christmas wish list for his dad. All Jerry wanted was a Les Paul. On Xmas he woke up to find a large guitar under the tree. Uh oh, it was not over 8 lbs. It was light. Could it be cardboard? No, it was an acoustic guitar. The dad, who was sensible, told Jerry to play it and prove that he was worthy of a Les Paul. Think about that Arun, and accept whatever your parents can afford. They'll be spending tens of thousands of dollars to send you to college. (Those of you who are interested in what Jerry did with the acoustic can search for the Ernie Ball String Theory video).
    Last edited by Aloha_Ark; 04-09-20 at 02:20 PM.

  12. #12

    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    I know the op has mentioned Epiphone and Gibson but there are still Tokai, Burny, Edward guitars can be great guitars and good value for what your getting.
    The new Epiphones look great value for money though. The P90 models especially

  13. #13

    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    These two cost individually less than £650 each on EBay
    Made in Japan
    Humbucker models are also available


    nicknames for men's names

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member mattnew33's Avatar
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    Have both.... A 2015 les paul custom pro ( epi ) and a 2008 '68 re-issue ( Gibby )

    They are different animals really. Visually from 10 feet off, sure they both look like les pauls. epi build quality is lower, especially if you look under the covers... but it sounds great...

    Sound different
    Play different
    feel different

    Different music comes out of each

    Its kinda like asking me if steak or chicken is better.

  15. #15
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    I bought my first guitar when I was your age, an Epiphone was all I could afford, so I did go with that.
    My best friend was shopping with me that day, so we bought two Epiphone SG.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keefoman View Post
    The Epiphones are mainly fine instruments, but the fret work can be a little hit or miss.
    exactly.

    We both have them today (20 years later), despite the fretwork isn‘t really good on mine, but I wasn’t able to notice that when 14 years old and holding a guitar the first time in my life.
    Nevertheless, it was enough for learning to play, playing in 2 bands and do international (payed ;) live gigs.

    The epiphone of my pal has a better build quality, although we bought them together the same day.

    So you see, you can‘t generalize.

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member sonar's Avatar
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    The easiest answer is buy what you can afford. Most kids can't afford a new Gibson at your age and I wouldn't go used unless you personally know somebody that can help you pick out a used Gibson. To be honest I'd want to personally know somebody that understands Gibson even when buying new, but with liberal online return policies new guitars might be a better alternative. Returning a lemon is a lot easier than trying to sell one.

    If you can afford a Gibson and you know guitar is going to be a life journey, then go for it. There's something intangible (possibly based in something as irrelevant as vanity) about owning a Gibson, yet it can be a watershed moment in life. I know a few players that still have their first Gibson LP, owning for over 30+ years and getting a lot of use and abuse out of them. Most would just assume trade-in a loved one before their Les Paul.

    That said, there's no shame in owning an Epiphone. One of my favorite guitars of all time is a cheap Korean Gretsch, which I love as much as some of my vintage pieces valued at 30 times higher.

    A good guitar is a good guitar.

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    Tiny piece of advice to you young man--"Buy once, cry once." Resist the temptation to spend increasing amounts of money on items you do not really want when it is not that much harder to get the one you DO want. The fact that you are here asking on a Les Paul Forum tells me you likely actually want a Gibson. If you get the Epiphone you will constantly be looking for the Gibson and end up wasting the Epiphone money. If you MUST, find a really beat up old Epiphone and play that until you save the money for the Les Paul that you really want. If you get a good condition used Gibson Les Paul, you will likely always be able to get your money back out of it and you will probably have a good guitar you can play for life. Again, if you go with the Epiphone, you will be running down to Sam Ash (or watever your local store is) for the rest of your life looking at the Gibsons.

  18. #18

    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    ^ that tiny bit of advice was good advise
    Big fan of Gibson amps.
    currently owning...

    Gibson 1955 GA-5 les paul jr amp
    Gibson 1955 GA-7 les Paul TV model amp.
    Gibson 1957 GA-6 amp
    Gibson 1957 GA-20T amp
    Gibson 1960 GA-14 Titan
    Gibson 1961 GA-5 Skylark
    Gibson 1962 GA-5T Skylark

    Gibson 2014 Les Paul 58 RI, Gibson 2019 SG Jr
    few Tokai guitars and a Lazy J 10LC amp

  19. #19
    Les Paul Forum Member Daytripper67's Avatar
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    Used Gibson studio should cost about the same or less than a new epi..

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member fakejake's Avatar
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    Pretty sure this was a spam post. OP only responded once, with some dodgy links in his signature line.

  21. #21

    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    First world answers to a first world problem. I recall watching a Richie Blackmore interview where he was recalling a story about being asked advice about buying guitars and amps for a friend's teenage son who wanted to learn to play guitar; Gibsons and Marshalls were part of the dad's talking points. Mr. Blackmore considered this absurd, recalling his youth with a cheap guitar and an old radio with a gramophone input for amplification. I didn't buy my first Gibson until I had my second real job; the first real job paid for motorcycles. Kids have way too much money.

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member Keefoman's Avatar
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    Quote Originally Posted by rick c View Post
    First world answers to a first world problem. I recall watching a Richie Blackmore interview where he was recalling a story about being asked advice about buying guitars and amps for a friend's teenage son who wanted to learn to play guitar; Gibsons and Marshalls were part of the dad's talking points. Mr. Blackmore considered this absurd, recalling his youth with a cheap guitar and an old radio with a gramophone input for amplification. I didn't buy my first Gibson until I had my second real job; the first real job paid for motorcycles. Kids have way too much money.
    I see your point. My first "amp" was my father's Radionette tape recorder (from the mid 60's), and my first guitar his '71 Ibanez LP Custom copy. I wanted to learn how to play and used what I had access to. This was in the mid 80's and I had many friends whose parents had a lot more money, so they had a lot more expensive gear from the start. Most of them didn't last long in the "guitar-world". The positive side of it was that I could by their expensive gear, relatively cheap, second hand, as they fell off the wagon, and I continued exploring and learning.

    Still, I can see the point of having a guitar that is a reasonable player to help keep the enthusiasm going. If my father's Ibanez had been a hassle to play, I might have lost the spark, though in hindsight, it wasn't a great guitar, but it was "good enough".

  23. #23

    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    My first electric "guitar" was a Woolworths nylon string classical that I bought with my birthday and Christmas money (10 whole GB pounds in 1971) that about two or three years later, had the microphone from an old bone-style telephone taped to the body just behind the bridge. I guess about 15 years or more after Richie, I also plugged into an old, 1930-something radio that had a gramophone player input. Necessity is the mother of invention; my parents had no true "disposable" income. I fell asleep each night listening to pirate radio stations on that same radio. Good days.

  24. #24
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    A Nashville, TN...USA made Gibson Les Paul is vastly superior to a Chinese made Epiphone copy.

    Everything from factory tooling, CNC, materials, parts, workforce, environmental controls, etc. are much better at Gibson USA. For one thing, the Epiphones make generous use of laminated guitar construction including the maple tops, and other cosmetic touches intended to fool the buyer. And they construct guitars with multi-piece backs and perhaps necks too. I think Gibson USA limits Les Paul backs (bodies) to 2-piece mahogany.

    Things apparently have turned a corner with the new CEO at Gibson, Inc.
    "Scan not a friend under a microscopic glass; you know his faults so let his foibles pass".

    Sir Frank Crisp
    Friar Park
    London, England

  25. #25

    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    If you buy used, either Gibson or Epiphone, the value has taken the hit. You should be able to sell it for at least tge same money,mif you didn't overpay.

  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: how much better is a Gibson Les Paul than an Epiphone?

    My first guitar was a Yamaha RGX110.
    Loved it. Shredder neck, nice low action.
    Then I traded it for a used Squier Strat.
    Then a Les Paul copy.
    Then a Mexican Fender Strat.
    Then a proper Gibson Les Paul.

    My journey was a long one!

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