So you think you might possibly want an electric guitar. Maybe you've been trying to justify that back of your
mind desire to become a rock star/country star.
You may be looking just to take your guitar playing to the next level or from
acoustic to electric. You search the Internet and lurk around the music stores and lust over the shiny new Les
Paul's and Stratocasters and think what it would be like to take one of those babies home.
Then you find the cleverly hidden price tag, and you stare in disbelief. You
think, I've bought cars for less than this thing costs, heck my first house cost less. Do not despair. There are
affordable alternatives to these ridiculously expensive guitars. Epiphone guitars may be the answer.
When you think of guitars, the brands that likely come to mind first are Gibson
and Fender. The greatest musicians in rock and blues history use these finely made instruments - B.B. King has his
"Lucille," and one rarely sees Ted Nugent without an American-made Gibson Byrdland. While you may be inclined to
shop for the model used by your favorite superstar, such guitars could run you as much as several to tens of
thousands of dollars, which is a risky investment for a student.
An Epiphone Strat, by comparison, costs roughly a hundred dollars or more and is a
good suggestion for somebody starting out in music.
You may ask, however, if the Epiphone is even worth that price. Can a guitar that
costs only a hundred or so dollars sound as good as Ted Nugent's in concert? Some will argue that a guitar is
only as good as the person playing it, so if you are serious about pursuing music but are strapped for cash, you'll
find that Epiphone Guitars deliver the quality you need to hone your skills.
Epiphone belongs to the Gibson family of brands - Gibson bought them out because
they need to get a foothold in the beginner/intermediate guitar market. Also they now don't have to compete
with them. Many modern Epiphone models closely track the models sold under the Gibson brand, but they are
considerably less expensive. Debate rages among guitar players as to whether the price differential is
justified. Epiphone guitars have a long history of quality and innovation in their own right, not bad for a
once "banjo" maker...
Epiphone Guitars look, sound, and feel like their more expensive Gibson
brothers. Why do they cost much less?
First, Epiphones are made overseas where labor prices are low, while Gibson
guitars are crafted in Nashville, TN.
Next, Epiphone Les Pauls are made from general mahogany varieties; Gibson guitars
use unusual Honduran mahogany. Gibson also employs an intensive finish procedure; Epiphone uses a cheaper catalyzed
Epiphones are great for people who enjoy the look and feel of a Gibson without the
budget crunching sticker shock.
Remember Gibson bought Epiphone and then released Epiphone guitars under their
branch of instruments. Since Gibson owns Epiphone, they are held up to some pretty high standards, even
though their instruments are mass-produced overseas with slightly less expensive materials and labor.
When choosing an electric guitar think of it this way, if you are not experienced
enough to know a Gibson unless you see the name on it, you are probably better served by an Epiphone.
Gibson guitars are very high-end guitars and to some worth every penny. That
being said a beginner guitarist might want to hold on to their cash while they learn the guitar and are better able
to gauge their need for a higher (WAY HIGHER) priced instrument. I have played both and liked both - but in
my experience I can live with my Epiphones and keep the cash, for now.
Take this test - Go to a guitar shop and "with your eyes shut" get a friend to
hand you a Gibson Les Paul and then an Epiphone Les Paul without telling you which is which. I'll bet, unless you
are a very experienced guitarist, you can't tell the difference. Even if you can, is it worth the extra
couple (or more) thousand dollars out of your pocket? If so - get the Gibson. I have found most
non-professional guitarists won't know the difference...
Today, Epiphone is considered the down-market subsidiary of Gibson. A poor
mans Gibson as they say.
Tell that to some satisfied Epiphone owners like "The Beatles", and even Les Paul
himself, who used Epiphone guitars for recording from the early 1940's until the late 1950's, even after his
signature Gibsons were produced. I'll bet they could have "afforded" any guitars they wanted.
Much as Squier serves as Fender’s lower quality little brother, Epiphone gives
Gibson an opening into the young guitarist market. Epiphone also has its own line of arch top guitars and
Since Epiphones are built overseas, that doesn’t essentially mean they’re low
quality, remember Japanese cars, the same is true for guitars. For example, Epiphone Les Paul pickups are
crafted to Epiphone’s exacting specification. They’re double- dipped in wax and tested by Epiphone engineers
at every step of development.
It is this attention-to-detail which sets Epiphone apart. It is this tried and
true craftsmanship that provides the incredibly rich, creamy sound which makes this guitar a favourite of rock,
jazz, and blues guitarists. Epiphone’s loyalty to the music is reflected by a limited lifetime warranty on
all of its models, no matter the price.
Where is Epiphone today? Epiphone has been busy, playing the rebel to Gibson's
version of a mature matron.
They've become all things to all musicians. Epiphone has continued to
introduce diversity in its product lines, building faithful reproductions of past models and manufacturing
authentic Gibson/Epiphone guitars.
One last note - it has been said just get a "used" Gibson rather than a "Brand
New" Epiphone. A new Epiphone will still probably cost you less and it comes with a warranty, and hasn’t been
ruined by someone else. Used may be cheaper but you have no idea how it’s been treated.