Gibson vs. Epiphone Les Paul (Take 2)

Over the Lost Weekend I asked for advice concerning Gibson Les Pauls vs. Epiphone Les Pauls. This was prompted by seeing a ‘Gibson’ in a local music store. Posters in the thread pointed out a couple of details which led me to conclude that it is not a Gibson but an Epiphone. (There is a sticker on the head covering the name.) I didn’t buy it and decided I’d just get an Epiphone Les Paul Ultra Cherry Burst sometime in the future.

Yesterday I was in a different music store where I had seen through the window what appeared to be an Epi Cherry Burst. Turns out it is a Gibson. (‘Gibson’ not on that little plastic plate behind the nut, ‘Gibson’ inlayed where it should be on the head.) It has the standard striped wood, and not the ‘quilted’ wood of the Epi Ultra. There are a few scratches on the back, but it looks very nice. As far as I can tell it’s unmolested. As far as I can remember, the hang tag read ‘Gibson Heritage Unknown, Les Paul Tribute, Consignment’. I did not see a serial number on it anywhere. Price is $699.

I have one guitar too many right now, so I’m in no rush to get another one. Based on the YouTube video of a guy playing a Gibson and an Epi, they sound the same to me; so I have no worries about buying an Epi. But it would still be neat to have a Gibson ‘just because’.

Epiphone Les Paul versus Gibson Les Paul guitar review. Video.

I think I agree with you. For my money (and really it’s money that’s the issue) there isn’t enough difference between a Gibson and an Epi for me to want to take the plunge into Gibson territory. I play an Epi ES-335 as my go to guitar and love the heck out of it. On top of that I think that standard Gibsons are WAY overpriced. They gouge you based on the Gibson name.

Some day a “real” Gibson might be nice, but for now, if it sounds good I don’t really care. After all it’s not like Epiphones are down with Squires quality wise.

The video I mentioned in the OP is one linked in this thread.

The video I linked was one ‘recommended’ by YouTube when I popped over there.

I understand these words individually, but can’t make sense out of them together.

Everything else being equal, a pre-owned Gibson will keep (or possibly gain) value, a new Epiphone won’t. $699 (£390) isn’t a bad price for a Gibson LP, assuming the guitar is decent of course. A few scratches add character, check for cracks around the neck join that’s a bad sign.

So - what are you looking from from the Guitar Geek squad? What we would do in your shoes? If so, I’ll take a shot.

  • If you like a guitar a LOT - you can see wanting to play it a lot and it improving the way you play and/or just sounding damn good - and you have the financial means :wink: then there is no such thing as “too many guitars”

  • If you like THIS guitar a LOT - see above - then it is priced close to an Epi, delivers the playability you want and has the kicker of Gibson on the headstock - so go for it. You have been dancing around the idea of a Les Paul for a while on the boards.

  • Whatever you do, get the serial number and call it in to Gibson - what model is it? How much was the Gibson list price? What are the main features - is the body weight relieved or chambered (they’re different) or truly solid? I have never heard of a “Les Paul Tribute” model and a quick Google only showed me specific tribute models named after artists. This suggest that it may be listed incorrectly by the music store. No ill intent I assume, but you should still find out which specific LP it really is and then research that model. Shouldn’t take much effort and pretty essential to the whole caveat emptor thing.

  • Oh, and find out how much it weighs. If it is much over 9.5 - 10lbs, then take the time to strap it on and play it for at least 30 minutes, standing up with the strap you would likely use. Decide if you are okay with a heavy guitar. Many - most in fact - are okay with it, but if you are not, you should know it up front.

Really, I don’t know. I like the way Les Pauls sound. Even the Hondo II sounded pretty good (when it was in tune). This isn’t a ‘Should I buy it?’ thread. Just sort of mentioning it and seeing what people say No doubt I’ll get an LP eventually; but not in any rush.

The shop doesn’t seem to be that great. Their guitar section isn’t very big (I’ve seen pawn shops with larger), and most of the guitars were brands I’d never heard of. The rest of the instruments were a bit sparse too. I had the impression that they generally cater to music students. (Just an impression. The first thing I noticed going in was a couple of horns and violins.) I’ve been going to Mojo Music, and the first thing I think when I go in is ‘Gosh, look at all the guitars!’ They did list an Epi as a Gibson, but I think that’s because the seller covered the name with a sticker and the person logging it in for consignment only saw the ‘Gibson’ on the plate. I think this other shop knows their consignment offering is a Gibson, but they don’t know enough about them to put specific information on the tag. They probably saw the ‘Les Paul’ signature and said, ‘Oh, this must be a “tribute” to Les Paul,’ not knowing that it’s just one of their models.

Where is the serial number? Under one of the plates?

The serial number on any Gibson is on the back of the headstock, at the top. If it ain’t there, something’s fishy.

Like NAF1138, I have an Epiphone ES-335 with which I’m very happy. I’ve never played a vintage 335, but as far as I’m concerned there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between my Epi and the recent Gibson versions.

I have played several Epi Les Pauls which I considered to be fine guitars, and none that were crappy. If you like it, go for it,