Other Guitars

The virtues of Epiphone

26

Proteus mentioned it, but the fact that Gibson-trained Senior Management runs their own shop in Qingdao makes a big difference.

Epiphone is still seeking to make a lower priced product to offer into the market, but there is a level of accountability.

I have one other Chinese made guitar that I had to rework and replace all of the Tuner Bushings, and in my thread about that effort I said the same thing.

I made a lot of business trips into China back in the day ('95-'99) seeking out partners...you are way ahead buying in versus potluck.

My Jack Bass had one issue, the factory did not seat the Low E string in the nut very well...maybe they thought best that I make that groove the way I like...it took me 3 minutes.

I had two other nuts cut for different string types, and I added a Mod-Bar to the 3-point bridge to keep the end wraps from crossing over the saddles.

http://www.epiphone.com/New...

27

Some of my favorite acoustic Guitars have been the Epiphone 1960's models, especially the Texan's, Cortez's and Caballero's, for about 10 years they were made on the same benches as J45's and LG's. Heres a catalog shot from 1966 Epiphone offerings

28

You can say that again! ;^)

– Don Birchett

Oops, I deleted the double post, Don. Thanks for pointing it out!

29

All this talk made me get this monster of a guitar out this morning.

Epi, by himself, was still running the Shop.

I bought it @ about 1/2 restored...took her the rest of the way home.

It was obvious the guitar had countless, endless road trips and gigs. At some point it fell during a Load-In or Out, and hit while in the case @ the Upper Bass bout.

I tried to restore the case, it was a futile effort...recovered twice before my tenure, just wood dust, old wood glue, and old matchsticks.

Great guitar.

Drive it like a Mack Truck while playing, there is no power steering or power brakes!

Strum hard, pick hard, attack...Big Pure Sound.

30

That's a beauty ,Twang!

31

I have one of their J-160 knockoffs. Weak pickup. Pole pieces are really extended out, in order to get decent output. Also has a spruce top instead of the original’s 3-ply maple. Records rather nicely as an acoustic but using the P-100 is still on my dick-with-it list in terms of recording. The tones have been pretty interesting to me through amps just in the room, however. But $350 out the door from GC (I had to order it off GC’s site and when I came to pick it up, a lot of, “wow, dude!”’s and curiosity as to WTH it was reminded me of what a lotta folks say about GC’s floor personnel. (No offense meant, though.) But wotta find, to see that something like that could be had that cheaply. Definitely worth the cash, in my book.

I also have one of their Ltd. Ed. ES-175 knockoffs. I got it cheap and I just wanted a beater archtop but doggone if I don’t seriously dig it. I’ve never played an actual Gibson specimen but if it’s better than this Epi, I don’t wanna know.

32

@tubwompus yes to that Epi es-175 Premium.
I was not in the market for a 'jazz box', but saw a sterling used one at a local GC, with the original case. It had the natural finish, which I really like (not a fan of the burst finishes). Slim satin neck, low action, very smooth playing, sweet tones. I couldn't leave the store without it. For a while it has been my go-to when I feel the urge to plug in downstairs. Or in this case, plugging in isn't even necessary. .. though I do love the way it sounds through my ac-15x.

33

I remember when Epiphone was better than Gibson. Even after Gibson bought them, they were still a fancier Gibson. In the late-60's, American production of Epiphone ceased, and the Epiphone name was asigned to Gibson's Japanese Kalamazoo line.

– Billy Zoom

I bought a 1962 Sheraton about ten years ago, but I wish I'd bought it 30 or 40 years ago. But I was too focused on Gibsons during those years (I also wish I'd bought my '60 Gent long ago). Oh well, I've been enjoying these guitars immensely, possibly more than any of the Gibson 345's and 355's I was fortunate enough to own in the past.

The Sheraton does strike me as fancier than its Gibson cousins, with its vine inlay, abalone fb inserts, and inset fb binding. It's the sound of the mini-humbuckers that really gives it its special personality, though.

Up until a few years ago, I was still seeing 60's Rivieras selling for around $3K. Maybe they're still out there for that price (not sure, as I haven't been following the market as much in recent years). But the nicer ones are well worth that, I think ("sleepers" still, compared to the gaudy prices of the vintage Gibson semis).

34

I bought a used Epi Joe Pass two years ago that I switched PU's in( Classic HB bridge, Benedetto in the neck). Quickly became a favorite, then I put a set of Thomastik-Infeld flats that I'd tried on two other guitars to lackluster effect. Holy bejeezus, I'm in love with this thing. Cannot put it down, old school sound in a new package. Only thing I dislike about it is the gloppy Poly finish on it, but my Gretsch has that same fault as well, though executed a little better.

35

I bought a 1962 Sheraton about ten years ago, but I wish I'd bought it 30 or 40 years ago. But I was too focused on Gibsons during those years (I also wish I'd bought my '60 Gent long ago). Oh well, I've been enjoying these guitars immensely, possibly more than any of the Gibson 345's and 355's I was fortunate enough to own in the past.

The Sheraton does strike me as fancier than its Gibson cousins, with its vine inlay, abalone fb inserts, and inset fb binding. It's the sound of the mini-humbuckers that really gives it its special personality, though.

Up until a few years ago, I was still seeing 60's Rivieras selling for around $3K. Maybe they're still out there for that price (not sure, as I haven't been following the market as much in recent years). But the nicer ones are well worth that, I think ("sleepers" still, compared to the gaudy prices of the vintage Gibson semis).

– JimR56

Gorgeous Sheraton Jim! Any comments on how well (or not) that Epi vibrato works?

36

If they would make Epiphone guitars with the standard Gibson headstock shape, I would have at least one or two of those guitars in my collection. As it stands now, I have zero. And to be honest, the headstock shape is a real turn off to me. if you look on eBay, you will see some Japanese Epiphones with the proper Gibson shaped headstock, but they are almost as expensive as buying a Gibson.

37

Views from a player: Arounf 2010 I started seeing QC problems with the Gibsons I found at the local GC. I went into the shop determined to find an LP. My first choice would have been a Standard, but the relative new neck profile just did not feel comfortable to me. I ended up looking for almost a year before I found a Traditional that had a decent build, primarily neck profile/fret finishing. And even then I had to have it looked at by a local luthier because the fret binding nubs looked like they had been finished by a amateur, so personally I began to see the decline in Gibson's overall build quality at that point. Another search (now 2014), this time for the new ES-339, exposed another mark in the Gibson/Epiphon quality comparison. This time I was able to find the model produced by both Epi and Gibson, with the expected price difference. The surprise, for me at least, was that they were identical in apparent build quality, feel and tone. I was swung over to Epi by the fact that they offered the guitar with P90s. So that really put Epiphone on the map for me. A couple of years later I found the same situation when I went back for another LP, this time adding Epi to my search, and came home with a beautiful Koa top Custom Pro. That expanded my Les Paul collection to five. So, knowing what an LP should sound and look like, I can confirm that if you eliminate an Epi from your search experience, you are only selling youself short. And, after aquiring the Sheraton ll in 2017, I'm even more sold on Epi.

38

I have to say, I'm VERY drawn to the new Epiphone DC PRO double cut with 24 fret neck and coil splitting. I haven't actually come across one in a store to try out yet, but I'm intrigued, and Iike that it's not a copy of a Gibson. If it sounds and plays as good as it looks, I might not be able to resist. I currently own 7 Epiphones, but none of them are solid bodies, so this one is intriguing.

39

OMG, Parabar! You shouldn't have shown me those! Now I've got GAS!

40

I have four Epiphones. Three of them are among the best guitars I own, one is the worst guitar I own (the John Lennon acoustic). I suppose the fact that Epi can make guitars that can become an owner's best guitar says a lot about them. Making an owner's worst guitar? Well, that can happen with any brand.....but not many brands are capable of making an owner's best guitar

41

I have four Epiphones. Three of them are among the best guitars I own, one is the worst guitar I own (the John Lennon acoustic). I suppose the fact that Epi can make guitars that can become an owner's best guitar says a lot about them. Making an owner's worst guitar? Well, that can happen with any brand.....but not many brands are capable of making an owner's best guitar

– ThunderWalker

My best and worst guitars were a '92 Gibson Les Paul Standard, and an '82 Les Paul Custom, respectively.

42

Epiphone doesn't make guitars any more than "Airline" or "Silvertone" or "Eastwood" did/does. They're just guitars contract manufactured for the owner of the Epiphone trademark, Gibson. It's just a question of whether you like the specs and execution.

You could say similar things about other popular brands around here, but I think there's a bit more hands on by the owner and distributor than a typical contract build.

43

one is the worst guitar I own (the John Lennon acoustic)

Why would you even keep the worst guitar you own?

44

Epiphone doesn't make guitars any more than "Airline" or "Silvertone" or "Eastwood" did/does. They're just guitars contract manufactured for the owner of the Epiphone trademark, Gibson.

I don’t think anyone in the thread has made an issue or even any claims about Epiphone’s bonafides as a brand. I think we all understand it was its own independent brand till bought by Gibson in the late 50s, and that since then Epi’s model selection, market tier position, and place of manufacture has been determined by Gibson.

I get that you’re trying to puncture anyone’s appreciation of Epi by reducing it to a “mere” contract brand - but in fact, as I understand it, since 2004 Epiphone is not put out for contract build. Per Wiki, as below, Epiphones come from a plant built, owned, and operated by Gibson - and I believe the plant is exclusive only to Epiphone. I also understand that the managers there have a significant degree of autonomy which insulates Epi from the convulsions of idiocy Gibson has demonstrated in the past - reflected in the consistent quality Epiphone has maintained through 15 years when Gibson’s has been all over the place.

We know Epiphone operates in a lower price bracket - but my experience with the brand during its Qingdao era has been that it consistently provides stellar value, and many guitars that are superlative even when compared to much more expensive instruments.

Pretty sure Epiphone gets as much - or more - hands-on attention from its owner as any brand out there.

From wiki:

In 2004, Gibson opened a factory in Qingdao, China, which manufactures Epiphone guitars.[16] With few exceptions, Epiphones are now built only in the Qingdao factory.

I know we can’t accept wiki as the ultimate authority on all things, but this squares with everything I’ve read about Epi’s current status.

45

one is the worst guitar I own (the John Lennon acoustic)

Why would you even keep the worst guitar you own?

– Proteus

Because the Gibson J-160E is far too expensive (and supposedly not exactly Beatles spec), so I keep the Epi 160. It looks the part and I can get it to sound Beatley...but the thing is a dog to play. Thick neck, when plugged in volume too low, dries up instantly when winter months come....not a very well made guitar.

46

Ah. So it’s a Beatle thing. Got it.

47

Epiphone doesn't make guitars any more than "Airline" or "Silvertone" or "Eastwood" did/does. They're just guitars contract manufactured for the owner of the Epiphone trademark, Gibson. It's just a question of whether you like the specs and execution.

You could say similar things about other popular brands around here, but I think there's a bit more hands on by the owner and distributor than a typical contract build.

– Kap'n

Proteus already covered this but Epiphone builds guitars in its own factory.

48

Ah. So it’s a Beatle thing. Got it.

– Proteus

Odd thing - or should I say maddening thing - about the guitar is what happens when I want to play The Beatle song "I Feel Fine," a favorite of mine. I don't know if you are a Beatles fan, but the feedback note that begins that song is the A string vibrating when brought close to an amp. Well, first time I go to play that song on my Epi 160....and it is the D string that vibrates and feedbacks! Epiphone couldn't even get that right.

49

i don't think Epiphone can control the feedback properties of individual guitars vis-a-vis the amplification, room acoustics, and other factors.

50

i don't think Epiphone can control the feedback properties of individual guitars vis-a-vis the amplification, room acoustics, and other factors.

– macphisto

Yes, but wouldn't the design and construction of a guitar make it so that the same string would vibrate on all those guitars? String length, string gauge...the same on all the A strings on all the Epi 160s made...so shouldn't that same string vibrate and feedback on all the Epi 160s?


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