Guess I should have started here-Hi!

Discussion in 'Welcome Wagon' started by tony1852, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. tony1852

    tony1852 New Member

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    Hi all!

    Got my first guitar when I was 14, about 31 years ago. It was either a black SG or Les Paul clone (maybe an Epi). Upgraded to an Ibanez EX350 and put EMGs in it, and got caught up with life after college. A couple of years ago, got the bug to play again and started buying some guitars and amps. Picked up an SG as one of them, and here I am!

    So here’s my big question, and I’m sure it’s been debated a ton here: is a Gibson SG that much better than an Epi, especially something like an Epi Iommi or a G400 with 498/490 pickups??? Thanks!!
     
  2. Layne Matz

    Layne Matz Active Member

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    Epis are made the same way except all materials are downgraded, there are more pieces glued together, veneer tops, and I believe the only other structural difference is the headstock and neck joint. I'm probably wrong and forgetting small differences.

    Epi's are great, and definitely Gigable. They are easily upgraded with higher quality stuff, as the parts are all the same size.

    I own a G400 Pro. With the coil splitting its pretty versatile. Stock pups arent too bad. I think I have classic pros. The frets arent bad as far as I've experienced. They are a great lower cost solution because in the end a good player doesnt need a guitar that costs 800+ dollars.
     
  3. AngelDeVille

    AngelDeVille Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back.

    I have cheap guitars and I have expensive guitars, but they all feel right. If it don’t feel right, it’s not worth bothering with.
     
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  4. Norlin SG

    Norlin SG Well-Known Member

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    One of the biggest problem with Gibson's is that quality wise they can be inconsistent. Another problem is that they are way overpriced, especially since quality can be so poor sometimes.
     
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  5. Roca

    Roca Active Member

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    I have an epi 66 reissue. They are great guitars for the price!
     
  6. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Much better, no.
    It totally depends on your approach.
    If the Gibson headstock shape is important, then it's better to you.
    If the looks of veneer on the Epi bugs you, then the Gibson is better.
    If you just want to rock an SG, the Epi is for you.
    If your bank account can't afford it, the Epi is for you.
    If you want good tone, get a good amp. Both will sound great then.
     
  7. NMA

    NMA Well-Known Member

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    I've had an Epi '66 model and now a Gibson Standard. I'll take a different approach in explaining the difference.

    The Gibson SG just feels better. When in your hands you just feel like you have the higher quality instrument. It feels heftier, it feels more solid, it feels like a professional instrument.

    Now take that as you want (I didn't mention anything about tone) but the feel, the satisfaction, is an important aspect to bonding with a musical instrument. You get that satisfaction just from the feel of the Gibson SG.
     
  8. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    this is one of those questions that goes on forever. There are lots of answers, depending
    on how each person's experience has been with the brands in question.

    So don't expect a definitive answer. Expect a lot of opinionated commentary.
    At the end of a thread on this subject, the end is usually fatigue. People just get tired
    of the endless bickering, and go play music. Which is what we all should do.

    Here's my take on it: I LIKE BOTH...

    If you've read any of my other posts, you know I'm a Gimme Both kind of guy.
    Offer me Gibson or Fender, Beer or Whiskey, Chevy or Ford, Karen or her sister Sharon,
    Steak or Salmon... I'll say give me both.

    So I own both Gibsons and Epiphones (and Fender). Here's the lowdown:
    Four Electrics@100.jpg
    Gibson guitars are built to very high standards. The standards of the Gibson buying clients
    are often higher. (or so they claim) So you get people criticizing Gibson bitterly, as
    if Gibson made the worst guitars in the world. But it's just not true. Gibson makes SOME OF
    the best guitars in the world. That's just a fact. The wood, the parts, the construction,
    the finish, the tone, the feel... all Gibson guitars are intended to be the best. And in my
    humble opinion, they are. I own three Gibsons, and each of them just oozes elegance
    and great tone. I'm not a Gibson basher. I'm a fan. And I've gotten great service from my Gibsons.
    Luna 3@100.jpg
    Epiphone guitars are built to a price point. The object of the game for Epiphone's Tsingtao
    plant is to build affordable guitars to sell worldwide. They use Gibson designs, because Gibson
    owns the company. But they also their own designs, and Epiphone has their own take on the
    Gibson instruments they put their name on. ONE of the reasons Epiphone guitars are so good
    is that they use Gibson designs. So of course they're good. But they also are very well built
    and very serviceable right out of the box. I'm very fond of both Epiphone guitars I own.
    Caledonia 916@100.jpg
    So I personally don't think a guy can go wrong with either brand, as long as he understands
    what he's getting. Gibsons are made in USA by our own countrymen who get paid decent money.
    Epiphones are made in China by excellent skilled workers, and they keep getting better and
    better. The designs are good, and both companies make fine instruments. Gibsons are built
    of premium materials and finished in lacquer. Epiphones are built of less expensive components
    and finished in polyurethane. In the end, no matter which one you choose and play, you sound
    just like you.

    I have upgraded both of my Epiphone guitars with high quality parts. Now both of my Epis
    can take their place onstage alongside guitars costing ten times as much, and not give up
    a thing. IMHO that's the beauty of the Epiphone. You can buy it for reasonable money.
    You can upgrade it as you can afford it, or when you come to the limitations of the parts
    they installed stock.

    IMHO, a well set up Epiphone is a much more useful guitar than a poorly set up Gibson
    even if the Gibbie was much more expensive. Setup is crucial, and all guitars need it.
    Conversely, Gibson guitars retain value much better than their Epiphone cousins do.
    Such that if you buy a used Gibson SG, and pay like $700 for it, the value will not drop
    unless you modify it. You can always sell it later, because it's a Gibson. If you buy a used
    Epiphone SG for $200 and modify it (as I have done) with $600 worth of very cool parts
    it will still be worth $200 or less if you try and sell it.

    ETSG Wisdom:

    YOU CAN PUT A $2000 STEREO IN A $500 CAR
    AND IT'S STILL A $500 CAR.
     
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  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah, and one more amusing point of difference (vive la difference, eh?)

    I have read posts on this forum by players who say,
    "Yeah, I bought a $3000 Les Paul, and I love that heavy beast
    but I would never actually take my Gibson downtown and play it.
    At the kind of sleazy dives my band plays, I bring my Epiphone."

    That's because all that value retention I was describing above seems to attract guitar
    rustlers, so Gibsons get targeted and stolen more than Epiphones do. I've read posts
    by players who say they keep their cool Gibson in an Epiphone case, in hopes that they'll
    escape scrutiny by guitar thieves. Guitar thieves can get more money and more dope
    when they steal and fence a Gibson. A thief might get $200 if he steals a $3000 Gibson
    Les Paul, and if he steals a $600 Epiphone Les Paul, he might only get $50 from the pawn
    broker. You do the math. But don't do the meth...
     
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  10. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Can't speak about Gibsons as I've never owned one (too expensive for me), but I would strongly agree with both of these statements.
     
  11. reingarnichts

    reingarnichts New Member

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    My Gibson SG Special is made of five badly matching pieces glued together. Beat that!

    The Gibson design is one of the reason why the g-string has trouble staying in tune without lubrication, why headstock fractures are so common, etc.

    Really guys, Gibson guitars are just guitars. No magic involved. They do have some really annoying design flaws (as I mentioned: angled strings behind the nut, no volute at the transition from headstock to neck, etc...).
    Also: Quality is hit or miss. Most are quite ok - especially the cheap Gibsons. The faded finishes have a great feel (although they are quite sensitive to mechanical stress ;) ), pickups are ok and all parts are of reasonable quality (electronics, hardware). But if you want to spend big money, go to a good luthier and get something really special.
     
  12. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    I have a Gibson SG Special and just recently sold off an Epi G400 Pro to help recoup the cost of a new Marshall amp. I prefer the Gibson - but it's primarily because of feel. The fingerboard feels better. The neck feels better. The finish feels better. The hardware feels better. Does it feel 400 dollars better than my Epiphone? I think so, but I also had the expendable income at the time to justify it. Someone who doesn't might not see it that way. The Epiphone was a tremendously good instrument in it's own right, and I even liked some things about it more than the Gibson - it held tune better, and I kinda liked the neck profile and neck join a little bit better.

    But having splurged on a Gibson SG and a Marshall DSL40C, I can safely say that both were worth every bit of the cash. They just make an incredible duo. As DrBGood said, if you must, save some dough on the guitar, and get a good amp. I *highly* recommend one of the new Marshall DSL series amps if you can swing it, or a Boss Katana 100 or Orange CR35RT if you can't. :thumb:
     
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  13. Layne Matz

    Layne Matz Active Member

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    That really is the beauty of it, because it enabkes someone like myslef to get someyhing would otherwise be far out of my reach. I can pay 150 for a used Epi and it kicks ass but no way i can afford 650 for a used Gibson. That being said ive played enough vintage 50-60s gibsons in shops around Nashville to know those old models were very special. I think a lack of consistancy on the part of Gibson is not a negative thing so long as the quality is acceptable, as well as intonation and action.

    Come on man, thats a bold statement. Id say its almost arrogant. Dont tell me there isnt anything magical about an American hamdmade instrument. Many people put their time into every single part of the instrument and every compound that winds up constituting the whole thing. Any instrument has some.magic to it or we wouldnt play them. There is an attraction at a near sexual level to play these things. Dont tell me a good looking guitar doesnt excite you, maybe not the way a woman does but its still a powerful emotional draw. I dont think Gibsons should cost as much as they do but then again I've heard the tonewoods used come from some of the last rainforests. Not positive but it would make sense that old growth wood would be expensive. That being said I cant help but feel like guitar manufacturers should put environmental needs above retail demand. Im 18, what will be left of the wilderness when I'm 65?
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
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  14. iblive

    iblive Well-Known Member

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    I picked up a used G400 at a decent price. Over a two year period thru some mods at it. Plays nice. Sounds nice. Would I like to have a Gibby. Yes. Will I go but one. Probably not.
     
  15. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Nope, nor is there any in an Asian or German made one. That's a tool made with machines, they make zillions of them all over the world. The only things really made by hands on a guitar today, is putting the parts together, staining the body when the wood is figured and tuning the final product.
    Not much I'm afraid, So if you can travel and take it all in TODAY, do it.
     
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  16. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Volutes can be found on the SG from 1971-1981 and more recently on the 2016 SG Specials.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  17. tony1852

    tony1852 New Member

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    I have to say, my first impression of my Gibson SG standard LE was not very good. Now, I played that Ibanez off and on for so many years, it was radically different. I also got a Schecter Hellraiser about the same time and didn't like that either. It must be that I was just used to that Ibanez neck. Both the Schecter and Ibanez were far better/more expensive guitars no question. The first SG I received also had some issues-bad setup and poor shielding. The next one was better, but I still took it to get setup. Much better after that. Maybe I wasn't used to the slim D neck. And for the hard rock/classic metal I play, the Classic 57 in the bridge just didn't do it for me. I've really got to give that guitar more of a chance.

    BUT, I did play an Epiphone SG Prophecy that I REALLY liked the feel of. 24 frets, speed taper D (whatever that is) ebony fretboard, and Dirty Fingers pickups. It does look pretty from afar, but you can tell it's several pieces of wood. And I really do NOT like the inlays. But I like the way it feels! Now, could it possibly use some upgrades? Maybe. I've got a lot to learn about pots, wiring, nuts, tuners, bridges, etc..

    I guess the best thing I can do for right now is play my SGs!!! I'll just have to get practice and be patient. I'll eventually figure out which guitar is for me.

    Thanks for the opinions and I look forward to learning more.
     
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  18. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    Then by all means, play it!

    Shoot, I'd sell off a kidney to get my Epiphone Les Paul Special single-cut flat-top with P90s back that I traded in college... That thing was just a monster.
     
  19. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    And that's an even bolder statement. It's also off-topic - we're not discussing anything that could honestly be described as 'hand made', no matter what the PR folk want you to believe. This is about Epiphone compared to Gibson USA - both mass produced instruments, coming off a production line, with human workers and a lot of machinery - no magical elves involved. No sexual chemistry, just a product and a brand name. And if you think Gibson USA is being fed the last of the world's rain forests any more than any plant in Japan, Indonesia, China or Korea... dream on.
     
  20. Layne Matz

    Layne Matz Active Member

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    Seems like your making some assumptions. As far as i know there is a significant amount of hands on work done on ALL guitars built- correct me if im wrong. The american made part is a plus IMO because it probably does more to support local economies here in the US than imported guitars- again, correct me if im wrong but please explain.

    Any instrument is magical, there is a mystique about it. Tools is too blunt a term. Ive been told everything is made up of vibrating particles. Maybe its far out there but i think that the ability to make musoc that will effect the emotions of listeners is a very powerful thing. Im not trying to get into a debate or preach that I'm right or someone else is wrong.

    I never said other companies/ factories WERENT using wood from endangered rainforests- however ive been led to believe that Gibson uses less glue and more solid peices of higher quality woods. A higher quality and larger piece of wood would neccesitate the death of an even larger tree than would a guitar body with more pieces and more glue lines. Nowhere did i insinuate that others werent using these same endangered woods. I would assume that lower end guitars like my Chinese made 11.7lb squire strat are made with lesser wood more pieces and thus more glue lines. By lesser wood I mean younger, cheaper, aesthetically unattractive cheaper wood. I have to assume those expensive ass American made gibsons would have better quality wood given the circumstances. Correct me if im wrong.

    The sexual part is the part where any instrument pleases the player and or listeners in such a way that it allows the flow of dopamine in the brain. They excite and please some people, some more so than others. They arent just fun to look at, they can bring pleasure to both player and listener. Brand or instrument of choice is irrelevant. Chill man, i had been responding to another poster with these 'off topic' statements.
     

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