Epiphone guitars vs Gibson Guitars

I have been asked many times what the difference is between Epiphone guitars and Gibson guitars. If you've spent any time looking at Gibson guitars, you've no doubt noticed that they are significantly more expensive than their Epiphone counterparts. New Gibson Les Pauls can command thousands of dollars, while the Epiphone Les Paul can be had for under $500.00, and often much cheaper.

Personally I own one real Gibson Les Paul in which I paid close to $3,000.00. I also own several Epiphone models, including two SG's and Three Les Pauls. I'll try and answer this popular question in two parts, form and Function. I'll start with the form first.

The Gibson Les Paul that I own is a visually stunning guitar. It has a golden amber semi transparent flame top that is simply beautiful. The guitar screams quality, it's flawlessly built using what I'm guessing are the best pieces of hand selected wood. It was made in the US, and is close to a work of art in my opinion. In some ways I think it's almost too nice to play, and I don't use it that often. Epiphone guitars, though very nice, are built mostly in China. They can also be beautiful in appearance, but lack the hand chosen detail of their Gibson counterparts. There is something about playing a real Gibson, that probably has as much to do with the exclusivity of ownership, than any actual functional difference. In essence you're in an exclusive club. That may sound snotty but it's the only way I can describe it.

Having said this, the function of the Epiphone guitars I own are, in my opinion, identical to the Gibson. Electric guitars for the most part, are very simple instruments. The humbucker pickups in the Epiphone sound as good to me as those in the Gibson. The action and feel of the Epiphone are pretty much identical. I'm sure that there are some that swear a real Gibson sounds better, and maybe an amazing guitarist can feel the difference. For the average bedroom guitarist, you won't be able to tell what you've got in your hands with the lights out.

So my advice is this. If you're frugal, and don't want to spend the money, buy an Epiphone. In fact you can buy five or six Epiphones for the price of one Gibson. However I don't begrudge anyone who wants, or buys, a real Gibson. There is something magic about owning the real deal. For what it's worth. J.B. 2-27-11.

For questions email me at Guitarinfo145@aol.com

The debate continues, Gibson or Epiphone



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