Played a Gibson for the first time

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by TimTheViking, May 31, 2019.

  1. TimTheViking

    TimTheViking Active Member

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    Stopped in at the Virginia Beach GC last night and browsed about a bit. (I'm a bit hesitant to display my guitar prowess in public) I picked up a couple of $1500 Strats and played them un-amped. The action seemed too low as there was what I considered excessive string buzz. I wonder how they will sell those things with what I consider a poor setup. I guess there are those who will buy a Fender before a Squier even though it's very tough to tell the difference for a novice to intermediate player in my opinion. (insert flame comments here :facepalm:) They felt no better than my Squier 70s Vintage Modified. I've wanted to see just what the Gibson experience was so I bravely asked the guy behind the counter if he has an ES-335 as I had not seen one and I have an Epiphone of the same model. He turned around to point to it and of course it was 10 feet off the ground and he had to go get the ladder. Funny how all the Gibsons and nothing else are behind the counter. It was a very pretty one. Blue and purple flamed maple. The fit and finish was good. The price tag was like $3995. The first thing I noted was that it was quite a bit lighter than my Epi 335. So I sat down an played it un-amped for a bit. Darn if the action was so low that the strings buzzed. The frets really didn't feel much better than mine. How could GC stick a $4K guitar on the wall and not give it as perfect a setup as possible including a good fret polish? At least set to Gibson factory specs and there's no way it was a factory setup. I've set my Epi to those specs so I know what it feels like. There was really no way to test tone, at least not by me in a noisy GC, plugged into an Orange amp, playing quietly so hopefully nobody will pay any attention to the old guy with the expensive guitar he had no business holding. I was tempted to play "Stairway to Heaven" but "Wayne's World" kept coming to mind so I didn't.

    Was I impressed with this almost $4000 axe? I handed it back to the guy and told him it's bit better than my Epi-335 but not $3000 better... at least not for somebody with my guitar skills. I was lying too. My $400 Epi plays better even if it is a bit heavier. I have to be careful not to now judge Gibsons on my sampling pool of one.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
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  2. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Well-Known Member

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    Good for you for trying the GIbson. Nice that they didn't run a credit check before letting you try it out. :)
     
  3. RTH

    RTH Moderator Staff Member

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    IMO, a $4k guitar should be able to have shred-low action without aftermarket fret work. I had a 1982 or 83 Gibson SG that was just that. The action was so low and clean you could barely tell it had strings on it....as it should be. And it wasn't even an expensive guitar for the time. It was also a factory 2nd with finish flaws. Go figure ...
     
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  4. DaveInSoCal

    DaveInSoCal Well-Known Member

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    I have Gibsons and Epi's and for me the setup is the most important factor when comparing guitars. I have modded most of my guitars but I will say out of the box the Gibson's are better.
    The Gibson you tried has been shipped cross country (depending on where you are) and hanging on a wall with strings that haven't been changed since they were installed at the factory.

    I doubt GC is moving a lot of $4000 guitars so it has probably been there a while. Even though it had a factory setup it will need to be completely re-done and fresh strings installed before it can really come alive.

    Epiphones are very good guitars to be sure, Gibsons are next level in my opinion. Are they worth $3000 more than the Epiphones? I would say no but I would say that about a custom shop Gibson vs a "mass produced" Gibson as well.
     
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  5. RTH

    RTH Moderator Staff Member

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    And as well all know , the bulk of chain guitar store employees are barely qualified to set up a guitar.
     
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  6. Paruwi

    Paruwi Kraut-Rocker Staff Member

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    I've just owned one Gibson, a well made Midtown Custom
    wanted to buy more, though none of the sub 1000€ Gibsons I've tried in the shops were made to my expectations....

    sold the Midtown Custom to get more MiJ FGNs
    'cause to my experience the FGNs exceed the other Gibsons I had in my hands by FAR..:D

    Sold most of the Epis I've had, though recently got a real Beauty, and sure will keep her
    http://www.epiphonetalk.com/threads/es-175-premium.4276/
     
  7. RTH

    RTH Moderator Staff Member

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    I remember checking out those SG Melody Makers a few years back. Total garbage. Crooked TRCs, warped pick guards, sanding marks and gouges all over the body, sharp fret ends, icky baked maple boards - and just overall ugly....which I could overlook if the construction and QC were up to par. Why on earth Gibson is trying to compete with Epiphone is beyond me, especially when they put out an inferior product at a higher price point. And oddly enough, they haven't lost a cent in aftermarket value. Amazeballs.
     
  8. Paruwi

    Paruwi Kraut-Rocker Staff Member

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    I had LP-Studios in my hands...

    I guess they've learned this lesson the hard way
     
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  9. Brian16sg

    Brian16sg Active Member

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    FAC7EE5D-DD98-4A50-80E5-CBE3BF60BCA7.jpeg It’s hard to reason the $$$ spending on those higher end models. Even the the lower end ones . I was playing and checking out a Gibson Les Paul Studio a few weeks back . I really liked it but $799.00 used would be $800.00+ after taxes. I think it sold I was fighting the urge to go back and just buy it . My wife would been not so happy!
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
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  10. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    <Insert boilerplate positive modded Epi statement here.>

    I can't justify paying Gibby prices for something that isn't damn near perfect when it's handed to me. Truss rod adjustments are one thing, but bad fret jobs, screwy intonation and other QC issues aren't cool.

    It'd be bad at a grand, but 4K?
     
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  11. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Funny, the guys who never can "justify" buying a Gibson complain the most about problems we who really own Gibsons (in my case, 6 New Gibsons since 2013) seldom if ever encounter. The worst qc issue I have seen was 4 slightly loose screws on the tuners of my LPJ, which I wouldn't have noticed except I put a Tronical set on it shortly after it arrived.
     
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  12. reelaroundthefountain

    reelaroundthefountain New Member

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    In the past few months I became the owner of my first Gibsons, a 11 LP Studio & more recently a well loved all original 79 The Paul. I hadn't ever planned on owning a Gibson tbh but they were both sitting in a pawn shop for $600 each & I really got on with them. I haven't played an Epi Elitist or Sig models, but I would say Epi's in the $600-700 range I've played are not far off in terms of feel(Customs/Lucille/Plus Top Pros) but these feel a step above. If you like the body styles, LP Studios/Tributes & SGJ/Tributes are in the $600 range often & if you find one you connect with, they are truly marvelous pieces of American craftsmanship. That being said I also recently traded for a 03 MiC Epi Dot/335 & I really love this guitar! Action is as low as I want it, no scratchy pots or wobbly switch, the 57CH pickups are actually pretty decent & the neck is glorious, fretwork spot on. Now I love all three but even with those two, I still go for this Epi a majority of the time (cause it's a freakin 335)!
     
  13. John

    John Well-Known Member

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  14. DaveInSoCal

    DaveInSoCal Well-Known Member

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    I hate to say it but I have had quality issues with every Epiphone that I have purchased, even the one high end signature model that I have.
    With all of the Gibsons I have purchased I have only had one issue, that was a ding in the finish.

    The Fenders I have, Squire and US Strats, have had no issues at all.

    The issues on any guitar I either fix or live with, so it hasn't been a problem for me except one G-400 that refuses to set up. I'm going to file down the frets on that and if it still has issues it will end up being my dedicated "slide" guitar.
     
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  15. elephantrider

    elephantrider Well-Known Member

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    i own 3 gibsons and they are all fantastic. a '13 60's tribute, a '14 melody maker, and
    a /75 deluxe. have a bunch of epi models as well, and they were set up nice out of the
    box. maybe i've gotten lucky :)
     
  16. Shadow Explorer

    Shadow Explorer Well-Known Member

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    To me each guitar is different, wood is not something that can be replicated, therefore each one can be very unique.
    I would pit an upgraded, no brand to a super ultra custom.
    As long as you have a good platform to build upon, anything is possible.

    Also Gibson Custom, it's just another production line, I don't see how their guitars are any better than the USA line.
    More consistently well made, yeah I guess...

     
  17. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    The kid gushes about the "60's" LP (the LP was out of production from '61-'68) then notes that the switch was put in backwards. IIRC he doesn't mention if it was wired wrong or just rotated.


    On a positive note, the much maligned PCB is gone, replaced by pots on a plate, so that's more of a win for us homegamers.
     
  18. DaveInSoCal

    DaveInSoCal Well-Known Member

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    So in a previous post in this thread, I mentioned a G-400 that just wouldn't set up, well we finally came to a compromise, shes all good now!!

    20190704_120351-467x1048.jpg
     
  19. Cozmik Cowboy

    Cozmik Cowboy Active Member

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    FIFY
     
  20. Cozmik Cowboy

    Cozmik Cowboy Active Member

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    When checking out a new guitar, judge it by the neck feel (ignoring the strings, how do the profile, radius, and frets feel to your hand?) & tone, not by the set-up!
    The factory has no idea what you want, so they shoot for an average - and most of their employees are factory workers, not luthiers. And many stores don't do anything except take it out of the box. I cannot imagine buying an instrument and not immediately giving it thorough going-over for set-up, tightening, etc.
    Don't know how to do that? Ask someone to show you, or buy Dan Erlewine's book. Or, there's this new thing they call "the internet"; I've heard you can find a how-to vid or 3 there. Owning a guitar and not knowing how to do a set-up is like driving a car with no idea how to change a tire.
    Plus, it's fun!
     
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