So Many Epiphone's....Guitar Buying Advice for a Newbie...

Maekong

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Greetings everyone,

First of all, thank you for reading this new thread (I know it is quite long and hope you will read to the end )! I'm new to this forum and new to playing guitar (although I played briefly when I was in 9th grade, so I know a few basic chords; now I'm much older and seriously looking to get back into it).

My question relates to buying a guitar. A good friend of mine who plays told me that I should invest in a mid-range guitar rather than buying a cheapo at $200 or so, which I’ll probably trash after a year or sooner. I’ve got a few extra nickels to rub together for a nicer guitar anyway.

However, I am torn between many brands and models. I’ve tried to understand the nuances between each, including pickups, fretboard material, slim versus wide guitar necks, etc, but I’m still scratching my head since there's so much to learn, especially when a company such as Gibson Epiphone has a plethora of different models. View attachment 16273

I have an eclectic taste in rock and roll music, including classic rock, prog rock, classic metal, progressive metal, punk, postpunk, new wave, some 90s grunge, and alt rock. I eventually hope to learn to play songs by bands like Led Zeppelin, Cream, Rush, Yes, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Misfits, The Clash, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Cure, Interpol, Radiohead, Mogwei, Mastodon, System of a Down, Tool, and even Pink Floyd!

I guess what I'm saying is I'm looking for a quality guitar that is also versatile; something that sounds good with High Gain, but can also produce very fine, clean sounds.

Below are 10 guitars under consideration (feel free to add any additional guitars that I may have overlooked):
-Epiphone Les Paul Standard
-Epiphone Les Paul Plus Top Pro
-Epiphone Les Paul Custom LE
-Epiphone Les Paul Modern
- (or any other Epiphone you would suggest...)
But also...
-Fender player Stratocaster HSS Plus
-Yamaha V611/612
-PRS SE Standard 24
-PRS SE 245
-ESP LTD 256

I know that I probably just named half the guitars within the $500 to 900 range , but I am hoping that you guys can share your experiences with these guitars and/or your advice about which one I should purchase.

I also understand that it would be ideal to play each guitar in order to decide whether it 'feels right'. I have done this with a couple guitars already, but for the most part it's probably unrealistic to expect to play all of these guitars on the list at a Guitar Center or Sam Ash, etc. So I'm hoping you guys can give me some advice.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Best,
Rob

After a lifetime of playing, and having fallen in and out of love with a number of Epiphones in recent years, there is only one that can truly do it all. That would be the Modern, and, therefore, my recommendation for any attempt at a life without buyer’s remorse. Or you can have a go at living in the past, but with all the past’s limitations. Best of luck with whatever you decide.
 

Raiyn

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After a lifetime of playing, and having fallen in and out of love with a number of Epiphones in recent years, there is only one that can truly do it all. That would be the Modern, and, therefore, my recommendation for any attempt at a life without buyer’s remorse. Or you can have a go at living in the past, but with all the past’s limitations. Best of luck with whatever you decide.
You need to speak up more often. :cheers:
 

3bolt79

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To the OP. Check out an Epiphone Modern SG or LP. Or, for a mere 300 bucks, an Ibanez AZES31.
 

VTblue

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Hey all. Newbie here. I'm in the same boat as the original poster but with a far smaller list of Epi's I'm considering. I've never played guitar but always wanted to learn. I have an acoustic but it just doesn't do it for me so I don't pick it up often, it does look good as wall art.

I've always wanted a Les Paul and I think i've got it narrowed to to the '59
Standard LE or a Modern. I've done all the YouTube reviews and listened to a lot of different models. I thought i had decided on the '59 but I keep coming back to the Modern every time I see the Burgundy. I know I'd be drawn to either one of these.

Wondering if there are any opinions one way or the other. Should I be considering the weight relief the Modern has? It also has the asymmetrical neck. Would either of those features make this more or less playable for me. I'm not a small guy, 6' 190 so I don't thing what people say about the '59 would be an issue.

Any thoughts are appreciated. Thx
 

Noodling Guitars

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Hey all. Newbie here. I'm in the same boat as the original poster but with a far smaller list of Epi's I'm considering. I've never played guitar but always wanted to learn. I have an acoustic but it just doesn't do it for me so I don't pick it up often, it does look good as wall art.

I've always wanted a Les Paul and I think i've got it narrowed to to the '59
Standard LE or a Modern. I've done all the YouTube reviews and listened to a lot of different models. I thought i had decided on the '59 but I keep coming back to the Modern every time I see the Burgundy. I know I'd be drawn to either one of these.

Wondering if there are any opinions one way or the other. Should I be considering the weight relief the Modern has? It also has the asymmetrical neck. Would either of those features make this more or less playable for me. I'm not a small guy, 6' 190 so I don't thing what people say about the '59 would be an issue.

Any thoughts are appreciated. Thx

Welcome!

The modern has more "features", so to speak, to make things more accessible and easier to play. For example, it has a bit more cut away where the neck meets the body (the contoured heel) and some amount of weight relief. I wouldn't think too much about the weight relief - it's really not that noticeable for the moderns. Nevertheless, all these combined may provide for a bit more comfortable experience for some players. Sounds-wise, you get more choices as well as you can pull up the volume knobs to split the coils.

On the other hand, the '59 Standard aims for more traditional specs (no contoured heel, full body weight) and features more premium construction. For example, it uses less pieces of mahogany for the body and neck, Gibson pickups and slightly more expensive electronic components. When you're first starting out, all these things may or may not be immediately noticeable, but see below re: price!

For people chasing a more traditional form factor, the 59 is probably a better choice. If you want something a bit more versatile out of the box, then the modern provides you with that.

So on price - while the 59 standard has a more expensive list price, it has Gibson pickups (i.e. the list price is double as compared to the Epiphone pickups) and a case (which is worth at least $100+). IMHO, these more than make up for the price difference. If you don't need the split coils sound, I'd go with the 59. The 59 also has a higher resale value at the moment (but since this is your first electric, I wouldn't plan on selling it - just saying).
 

VTblue

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Welcome!

The modern has more "features", so to speak, to make things more accessible and easier to play. For example, it has a bit more cut away where the neck meets the body (the contoured heel) and some amount of weight relief. I wouldn't think too much about the weight relief - it's really not that noticeable for the moderns. Nevertheless, all these combined may provide for a bit more comfortable experience for some players. Sounds-wise, you get more choices as well as you can pull up the volume knobs to split the coils.

On the other hand, the '59 Standard aims for more traditional specs (no contoured heel, full body weight) and features more premium construction. For example, it uses less pieces of mahogany for the body and neck, Gibson pickups and slightly more expensive electronic components. When you're first starting out, all these things may or may not be immediately noticeable, but see below re: price!

For people chasing a more traditional form factor, the 59 is probably a better choice. If you want something a bit more versatile out of the box, then the modern provides you with that.

So on price - while the 59 standard has a more expensive list price, it has Gibson pickups (i.e. the list price is double as compared to the Epiphone pickups) and a case (which is worth at least $100+). IMHO, these more than make up for the price difference. If you don't need the split coils sound, I'd go with the 59. The 59 also has a higher resale value at the moment (but since this is your first electric, I wouldn't plan on selling it - just saying).
It' s funny that what you've stated has pretty much been what I've been thinking after my research. The modern had a few more features with the split coil option but the '59 has the better electronics overall. I also figured the resale on the '59 would be better if ever needed. As for price, they actually get pretty close with case. The '59 comes with a case which would be $120 add on for the Modern so that pretty much knocks out the price difference there.

Thanks for your thoughts. You've kind of reinforced my thought process on the '59.
 

Raiyn

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The modern had a few more features with the split coil option but the '59 has the better electronics overall.
The Modern has all the wiring tricks I get paid to add to customer axes right out of the box. Sure the 59 has all the name brand stuff standard, but the Modern comes with more versatility from perfectly serviceable components that most people will get years out of. To me, the contoured heel joint and asymmetrical neck carve are big comfort features. I also put locking tuners on all of my guitars - which while primarily useful on the trem-enabled guitars for added tuning stability - makes string changes an absolute breeze with far less winding than the "tie yer strings" crowd.
I also figured the resale on the '59 would be better if ever needed. As for price, they actually get pretty close with case. The '59 comes with a case which would be $120 add on for the Modern so that pretty much knocks out the price difference there.
If you're worried about resale - particularly on an Epiphone, you're doing it wrong. A guitar should be an investment in yourself and your art. Therefore, it should be comfortable to play without concern of somehow depreciating the value.

The '59 appeases the traditionalists, but you'll rarely find it as their only guitar. The Modern has playability upgrades that, in my opinion, make it a better choice.

Also that Modern burgundy color... Dude.
R.fc045325e388a1aeb094e0add0bf7f8f


Also, if you're gonna get a case, let me suggest an SKB TSA model. While I don't fly with my guitars, between pets and car travel they hold up better than any tolex wrapped thing on the market.
 

VTblue

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@Raiyn
I agree with you on the resale. don't ever really envision selling. Even if I wanted something different I'd keep whatever i get as my first. i still have my first mountain bike from the 80's.

Thanks for the tips on the Modern. I do like the idea of a super versatile guitar so i can fool around with different sounds. It's not like i have a style yet.

Ive been doing some online lessons with my acoustic. I'm finding fretting pretty hard. My fingers are going to need a lot of training. Im wondering if I'd find learning on an electric easier? I'll probably wait a week or two and let my head stop spinning from all the YouTube research I've done and then make a purchase. That would be a couple more weeks practicing the basics too.

I really appreciate all the advice on the forums. who better to ask than real players.
 

VTblue

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Make sure you hold one in your hands first before buying something online. The Les Paul's weigh a little more than the SG or semi-hollow alternatives.
Thanks. I've been to the local GC and they have a Trad Pro IV that i've checked out. The neck shape is probably a bit different but could feel the heft of the LP.
 

Noodling Guitars

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Did you like the Traditional Pro IV? Those were supposedly a great deal and built well. If the price is right and the aesthetics matches what you want, it’s an option worth considering too!
 

VTblue

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Did you like the Traditional Pro IV? Those were supposedly a great deal and built well. If the price is right and the aesthetics matches what you want, it’s an option worth considering too!
I thought the pictures of them looked good but seeing in person was different. I wasn't thrilled with the unfinished grainy appearance of the wood. It was a cool maroon color which kind of turned me on to the Begundy Modern. I walked away from the interweb for a few days but when I go back and look the Modern is a really good looking guitar in pictures. Nobody local has any in stock so I can't go check out the Modern or '59 in person anywhere. That's why I'm leaning towards buying from GC. There is a local store so if I didn't like what I get for whatever reason I can do an easy return and change course.
 

Raiyn

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That's why I'm leaning towards buying from GC. There is a local store so if I didn't like what I get for whatever reason I can do an easy return and change course.
While that is a pretty good idea, I would be remiss if I didn't put in a plug for Sweetwater.
I've purchased two guitars from them over the last couple years (GIR and Hello Nurse) and their service has been exemplary. They perform a 55 point inspection on every guitar that they get their hands on and the two I've gotten have been absolutely perfectly setup when I've gotten them aside from a normal truss rod adjustment. As I mentioned previously, I'm a big fan of the SKB TSA cases and Sweetwater has no problem shipping my guitars in the cases I've bought from them.

This was my Jag's arrival.
1635444187008.jpg
Guitars do need to acclimate to their new home. Leaving them in the box allows this to happen more gradually.
1635443993131.jpg
It's a BIG box.
1635444529673.jpg
Out front are the two side foam blocks on top of one of the end blocks (the other is still in the box). The guitar and case are still in the SKB box for this shot.

1635444618474.jpg
The case as first opened.
As safe as could be.

Any issues, call your Sweetwater rep, you get assigned one when you make a purchase, and tell them what's going on. My rep is Stephen Oppenheimer, and he's been exceptional.
 

VTblue

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I think all things being equal I would shop with Sweetwater but when I checked with them the Moderns and '59's are both on back order and not expected for the next couple of months....which may not be an issue because the Burgundy Modern just went on backorder at GC to. I'm not really in too much of a rush, I guess it will depend on who gets them back in stock first. I think I've flipped my preference and I'm going to go for the Modern in Burgundy.
 

Raiyn

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I think all things being equal I would shop with Sweetwater but when I checked with them the Moderns and '59's are both on back order and not expected for the next couple of months....which may not be an issue because the Burgundy Modern just went on backorder at GC to. I'm not really in too much of a rush, I guess it will depend on who gets them back in stock first. I think I've flipped my preference and I'm going to go for the Modern in Burgundy.
I waited 10 months for that Jag from my January pre-order. To be fair, it was initially scheduled to drop in April, but I didn't get mine until late October. Minor snafus like a global pandemic and increased demand playing havoc with the shipping industry -small stuff. :rolleyes: Having said that, my rep was in contact with me every couple weeks (whenever Squier / Fender would update him) and let me know what the status was. He would have been perfectly happy to change / cancel my order, find something else for me, you name it, but I stayed the course. I can't emphasize this enough - they made me feel like I was buying an axe worth ten times as much. The Customer Service experience at Sweetwater has been top notch - just treat them like human beings -with respect- and don't go Full Karen.

I don't think things are as bad now, but I'd give Sweetwater a call and get on the list for the next batch.

I should note that we are coming into the season where the makers unveil the new models and variants so keep your eyes peeled.
 
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