08 Nov Is the original worth its money? Epiphone vs. Gibson comparison
welcome to my second posting here. As I’m still a beginner, this will be again a posting from a beginners point of view, this time about guitars. Cheaper Epihone Guitar versus original Gibson, things to look for, mistakes I did. Maybe other beginners can benefit of this.
After watching Fils Back in Black tutorial on youtube , I thought myself “Ok, you’re dreaming of playing AC/DC riffs for so long, so why you just don’t go out, buy a guitar and start learning this?”.
I looked around at several online dealers and was a bit shocked of the price of a new Gibson SG. Depending on the model, a new GIbson SG costs between 1000 and 2500 Euros.
What, if I am just too unskilled? Maybe I’m paying a lot of money for a guitar I would never use again.
So I looked around for cheaper SG-like guitars and found the Epiphones. Epiphone was an independent guitar manufacturer that was baught by Gibson back in 1957.
They have cheaper versions from almost all Gibson models. While a Gibson SG standard ebony black costs about 1000 Euros, the Epiphone SG G-400 ebony costs about 250 Euros. That was ok for me. If I’m finding out that I’m too unskilled for playing a guitar, losing 250 Euros is much better than spending 1000 Euros for a guitar I wouldn’t use anymore.
At this time, the Epiphone SG G-400 ebony wasn’t available, so I ordered the SG G-400 cherry. This one is Epiphones version of the Gibson SG 1962 reissue.
At the same time, I saw Marshall MG 15 CDR in a music shop here in vienna, price reduced from 200 to 150 Euros. So I had a beginners guitar and a beginners amp together for less than 500 euros. Seems to be a very good start.
Of course, there were “Guitar starter packages” in the music stores, guitar and amp together for 100 or maybe 200 euros. But concerning that these really cheap packages can’t be quite good material-wise and sound-wise, I didnt even look at them. There has to be a minimum quality standard for a beginners equipment, otherwise it would’nt be fun to play with it. And you can’t build an acceptable guitar or amp for 100 Euros.
The Epiphone SG G-400 cherry arrives and I was quite impressed by its sound. The first thing I found out was that the Back in Black chords were too hard to learn for an absolute beginner 🙂 But Fil had another tutorial online, for You shook me all night long. My second favourite song right after Back in Black. So I started with this one.
(Pictures Epiphone alone and with Marshall MG 15 CDR here)
While getting more familiar with the Epiphone and guitar playing in general, I became more and more unhappy with it. At this time I worked on the solo of “You shook me all night long” and it was very hard to perform on the Epiphone.
While the sound was not as close to Angus as I wanted, it was ok anyway, but It was hard work to play with. And I was a bit disappointed by its manufacturing quality.
One time, it nearly fell down from its stand and its neck hit the edge of a table, causing a big crack in the back of neck just where the 2 parts of the neck were glued together. Yes, the neck was made out of two parts of wood glued lengthwise together.
Picture: cracked Epiphone neck. Head is on the right side. The crack goes halfway through the whole neck. Its typical for wood cracks to happen right beside glueing connections. The glued connection is stronger that the wood, so the wood itself cracks apart right beside the connection. The guitar was on its stand, tilted over ca. 50 cm and hit a table edge with the fretboard side. It did not fell on the ground. I would expect a dent, but not a deep crack from this. However, I was able to repair this, but it disappointed me a bit. Should not happen. But the repair went fine and it sounded as good as before, so i just continued playing on it but thought about buying a real Gibson.
Of course it could be that I just got a very bad one. Maybe they have normally a better quality. Could be so, don’t know.
After playing some more months on the Epiphone, I decided to buy a real Gibson. Thought that playing the original would make more fun. I went out and buyed one.
After playing the first chords, I was very impressed. The Gibson was very easy to play, it almost played by itself. And it was so light. Playing the Epiphone was really hard work, compared to the Gibson. The Gibson weights a lot less than the Epiphone and the body has a much better shape. There are so many details that sums up to a big advantage over the Epiphone. See pictures of some of them below.