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Why Even Buy a Gibson Anymore?
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verve92
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9th February 2012
Old 9th February 2012
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Why Even Buy a Gibson Anymore?

I was in my local music shoppe today and picked up a Gibson LP Studio and wow. My hands still sore from the bloody frets sticking out on both sides of the neck. Gibson, I know the binding is more money, but can't we file the damn frets down, please? This is embarrassing. And lets not go to the 'you get what you pay for' nonsense, still over $1000. There were some other issues too, the toggle switch would cut out a bit and sound muffled. This a NEW guitar mind you. I did some online research and apparently these issues are common with the LPS. Many big online stores have low customer reviews. Why should Gibson and us consumers bother?
My band mate has a nice Epiphone he got under $500. He gutted the electronics, reset the action, put in better pots and better Gibson pickups and frankly I don't know if there is much of a difference between it and a $3000+ Les Paul, which to me and most are un-affordable.
His mods only cost a few hundred since he does the work himself.
Gibson is fast becoming a boutique wherein only pros can afford them. Guys like me cannot anymore. I got my 1981 335 second hand about 15 years ago and more knowledgable guys I play with swear it's better made than the modern ones. Maybe maybe not.
Sure the Epi's are NOT Gibsons, but who can justify the price differnce anymore, really? $500 ($800 with mods) vs $3000 plus? For that price, the latter should come with a free party with hookers and coke!
Just curious what you guys (and gals) think.
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9th February 2012
Old 9th February 2012
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dimag333 is offline
buy your guitars where there is an on staff luthier, we keep all our gibson humidified and have them checked on daily. Sounds like a trip to GC to me
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9th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dimag333 View Post
buy your guitars where there is an on staff luthier, we keep all our gibson humidified and have them checked on daily. Sounds like a trip to GC to me
Understood. My music shoppe has the real expensive ones in glass cases or in a corner of the shoppe, where the dreamers can't get to them, which I am sure is safe.
My issue is with the factory where they are made, not the music shoppe.
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9th February 2012
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Hi in my experience you get good guitars and you get bad ones .
I have in the past spent a lot of money on guitars £2000+ instruments but preferred guitars bought for like £200.. you can have 2 guitars exactly the same but one will sing and the other wont i think guitars chose you lol
But i to have looked at Gibsons and thought that the build quality and finish was shit for the money. your band mate is spot on I also am playing epiphone guitars right now and love them the quality for the money is great and fitted with some good pickups sound fantastic.I guess with gibson guitars you are paying a premium for the badge on the headstock....Oh by the way im not talking vintage guitars thats a WHOLE different ball game ...
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9th February 2012
Old 9th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verve92 View Post
Understood. My music shoppe has the real expensive ones in glass cases or in a corner of the shoppe, where the dreamers can't get to them, which I am sure is safe.
My issue is with the factory where they are made, not the music shoppe.
guitars can leave the factory in perfect order and be very, very badly out of whack by the time they are hung on a showroom wall..it happens all the time.
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9th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verve92 View Post
I was in my local music shoppe today and picked up a Gibson LP Studio and wow. My hands still sore from the bloody frets sticking out on both sides of the neck. Gibson, I know the binding is more money, but can't we file the damn frets down, please? This is embarrassing. And lets not go to the 'you get what you pay for' nonsense, still over $1000. There were some other issues too, the toggle switch would cut out a bit and sound muffled. This a NEW guitar mind you. I did some online research and apparently these issues are common with the LPS. Many big online stores have low customer reviews. Why should Gibson and us consumers bother?
My band mate has a nice Epiphone he got under $500. He gutted the electronics, reset the action, put in better pots and better Gibson pickups and frankly I don't know if there is much of a difference between it and a $3000+ Les Paul, which to me and most are un-affordable.
His mods only cost a few hundred since he does the work himself.
Gibson is fast becoming a boutique wherein only pros can afford them. Guys like me cannot anymore. I got my 1981 335 second hand about 15 years ago and more knowledgable guys I play with swear it's better made than the modern ones. Maybe maybe not.
Sure the Epi's are NOT Gibsons, but who can justify the price differnce anymore, really? $500 ($800 with mods) vs $3000 plus? For that price, the latter should come with a free party with hookers and coke!
Just curious what you guys (and gals) think.
in the 70's, gas cost 35 cents a gallon and a les paul was $350.- Today (in the US) gas costs $3.50 a gallon and a les paul is $3500.-. In relative terms, there is really no difference between then and now.
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9th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trippy View Post
in the 70's, gas cost 35 cents a gallon and a les paul was $350.- Today (in the US) gas costs $3.50 a gallon and a les paul is $3500.-. In relative terms, there is really no difference between then and now.
Hmmmmm Point taken. Interesting parallel. But there are many more options for guitars than gas alternatives.
Moreover, there was no cable and cell phone bill to pay back in the 70's and people actually got raises and were doing better all round.
Still I have never played a guitar with this neck issue and a new one in a shoppe with a bad toggle switch. Perhaps it was an isolated thing, dunno.
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i'd only buy a second hand gibson...
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9th February 2012
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Gibsons are all over the map...when you shop at GCs or Sam Ash.
A local store here called Harry's has their guitars in first rate shape.
Support the local guys....
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I do, that's why I am shocked this one got in......
I would NEVER go to GC a my poor ass needs layaway, not getting raped with credit card scams!!
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9th February 2012
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I'd buy a factory Heritage over a factory Gibson as well as a factory G&L over a factory Fender these days. YMMV.
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9th February 2012
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Gibson makes some great used guitars. It's just too bad it takes them decades to make one.
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verve92
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They don't lose value either. You don't save much buying them used...
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9th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papanate View Post
Gibsons are all over the map...when you shop at GCs or Sam Ash.
A local store here called Harry's has their guitars in first rate shape.
Support the local guys....
This is true. I avoided them for YEARS.. finally joined the club a few years ago with a LP standard. I played a TON of them before I found the right one.. and it's niiiiice.
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9th February 2012
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Gibson guitars quality control

I played approximately 20 new Dot Reissue ES335s four or five years ago before finding a good one. They were all Memphis custom shop Gibsons, with a retail price of nearly $6000 USD. Several of them had splinters coming from the F-holes, and not a single one played in tune.

I bought mine with the assumption that I could get my tech to improve it with a good setup. A couple hundred bucks later, and I had a new Tone Pros bridge and decent intonation. Not as "in tune" as my BFTS Tom Anderson guitars, but I do love the 335 and I do not regret the investment.
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9th February 2012
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I have an Epiphone LP, with flamed top, neck and body binding.... replaced the bridge with a Graph Tech Resomax bridge and graphite saddles, and put a Duncan Custom humbucker in the bridge. This thing sounds absolutely awesome... build and finish quality is outstanding, especially for a Korean made guitar. MUCH better than a lot of the Gibsons I've played.

My main guitar is a Hamer (thinner neck, not as heavy) but the Epi beats it in tone every time.

You pay for a Gibson and all you get is the name.
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9th February 2012
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I used to hate on Gibsons all the time, having been a Fender man for years (always lusting over a Jazzmaster) but today there was a guy with a Zakk Wylde signature Gibson and we plugged it straight into the amp and it just sounded fantastic. Barely tweaked the knobs, but the sound was incredibly sweet and clear for what I imagined would sound like shreddy-scoopmania.

Beautiful sounding guitar, even if I felt the neck was abit short. I'll be less quick to write off metal guitars in the future..provided the guitarist is good!
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My first real guitar was a Les Paul standard that I bought in a pawn shop for $300. I love it and it sounds great, but I've also fixed up some real cheap guitars w/nicer electronics and a good setup and I won't ever be buying a Gibson again (unless its a great deal like my first one). People will try to say there is some magic mojo in different types of wood blah blah blah, but it really just depends on what you want it to look like.

Just remember that 80-90% of the tone comes from your strings. The difference between 9 and 10 gauge strings is much larger than the difference between a Gibson and an Epiphone.
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10th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dysenterygary View Post
The difference between 9 and 10 gauge strings is much larger than the difference between a Gibson and an Epiphone.
i'm gonna fight you on that one!

i agree with you about the uber importance of strings, but going from fresh 9's to fresh 10's is minimal compared to the gib-epi divide.....especially when played with a clean tone. and i'm definitely in the 'skip the gibson and buy an epi and swap out the electronics school'.

i will say, however, that the difference between old strings and new strings is greater than the difference between a gibson and an epiphone.

....just sayin'
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verve92
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10th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doctor sumatra View Post
i'm gonna fight you on that one!

i agree with you about the uber importance of strings, but going from fresh 9's to fresh 10's is minimal compared to the gib-epi divide.....especially when played with a clean tone. and i'm definitely in the 'skip the gibson and buy an epi and swap out the electronics school'.

i will say, however, that the difference between old strings and new strings is greater than the difference between a gibson and an epiphone.

....just sayin'
jd
I use both 9's and 10's. 9's on my guitar with Floyd Rose and 10's on the rest.
Most solid bodies come with 10's from the factory.
I love the D'Addario's myself.
A lot of it depends on the tone you are after...
#21
10th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dysenterygary View Post

Just remember that 80-90% of the tone comes from your strings. The difference between 9 and 10 gauge strings is much larger than the difference between a Gibson and an Epiphone.
That is misguided. The PUPs push out most of the 'sound'. The strings only resonate well if the hardware is right. The 'tone' of a guitar comes from the hands of the player.

As to what s a better value between Gibson or Epiphone...that can be argued ad naseum to no real conclusion. If you can't afford a Gibson but want a Les Paul...then....but if you can spend the $4.5k - $8k those Les Paul's are quite amazing instruments.

But like all instruments people have to find the one that 'speaks' to them. And that is true of Gibsons or Epiphones.
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If I didn't want to spend the money on a Gibson, I'd probably look at one of the Agile LP knockoffs before an Epi. The Agile stuff is really nice.
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I ran into a similar experience as the OP. Every new production Gibson I picked up had dead tone and/or bad fret job, I nearly cut my fingers sliding around the neck.

The only good Gibsons are those from the custom shop. I bought an excellent '60 sunburst reissue from GC (look for "G0 XXXX" serial on the headstock). They had a few other custom shop LPs there and they were all excellent.

The custom shop guitars are far FAR better than anything coming off the production line.
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I'd suggest that if you want to buy ANY guitar over $400 you shouldn't bother looking at GC, Sam Ash, etc. Go to a local dealer who specializes in them. Not only will you get better service, the guitars will be usually in better shape, and you may get better deals than you would at Banjo Barn.

Glad the poster above was lucky with his reissue, but if I were spending the money on a new Fender '52 reissue, I'd be going to my local dealer, not some mass place.
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10th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
I'd suggest that if you want to buy ANY guitar over $400 you shouldn't bother looking at GC, Sam Ash, etc. Go to a local dealer who specializes in them. ....... but if I were spending the money on a new Fender '52 reissue, I'd be going to my local dealer, not some mass place.

Absolutely. Local guys have a vested interest in your business. Most are more attentive to the musician - and most are involved in the local music community.
Plus for me it's a feel good thing...I like supporting local business's over the large scale Mao Marts.

Still don't underestimate Guitar Center and Sam Ash...they are interested in your business as well - and a lot of those stores really want to offer the best service they can. They also now (thanks to Visa BTW) offer generous no questions asked returns - which are very hard for the local guy to absorb.
Unfortunately the nature of the business model they use doesn't really allow for a personal feel to the business - plus they filter through so many mid level budget guitars that they don't very often spend the time on the high end gear.
And their is always the unbiqutious - Stairway to Sandman obnoxious 14 year olds riffing away at ungodly volumes. <G>
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11th February 2012
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The thought of paying 3-5 grand for a Les Paul or some signature model classic brand guitar makes me cringe, as I know it cannot be worth the money in regard to the cost, tone, build and play-ability.

I've been a Carvin custom guitar user for well over a decade now and cannot imagine playing or buying a simple mass produced guitar of the line.
Carvin quality must be owned and played to be appreciated.
One's choice of woods, hardwire, finish, plus having your name set in the truss rod cover just make for a great guitar at any price.
The level of workmanship, the tone and play-ability of these guitars is just way above the guitars I used to buy and lament over in the past.

For fun a few years back I build one of their kits. What an instrument that turned out to be. I finished it myself just a deep wood stain Danish Walnut as I cannot hope to paint or quilt a finish like they can. I was after just pure tone and man did that puppy turn out to be the best Strat I have used.

Two of their older model AP-11 single coils with added base plates, extra shielding, grounding and a special switch I added to get the neck w the bridge combination. A 9 position Strat tone combination (fullsize HB in bridge w split coil), plus an EBONY fingerboard on a Strat. It is not as pretty as one they can make for you nor does it have the exotic wood selection but what a workhorse of a guitar that drips tone! All their guitars have Sperzel locking tuners as standard hardwire in your choice of gold, black or std.

One can get a very top end Carvin for well under 2K more like 1.5K at the most and the quality will blow your mind. The kit only runs about $500 and they have improved the neck bolt, body, and new single coils, even more since I did mine. I have several and really I would not spend the money on anything else.
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11th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3waytie4last View Post
I'd buy a factory Heritage over a factory Gibson as well as a factory G&L over a factory Fender these days. YMMV.
I did just that , I like those instruments , don't get me wrong , I just like the others more .
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11th February 2012
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Darkhorse - glad you've been happy with your Carvin. Our studio got an acoustic, bass and 3 electrics, and after numerous trips to Greg Back, they always need work. Plenty of options which is great, but I'd submit the quality isn't always there. If you're happy and have a good one great.

Moral is that unless you can test the guitar in an environment to hear it really check it out, it's all bets off. It's why I favor local guitar shops that I can go in and spend the time really evaluating the guitar, amp or effect I'd want. Happy to pay extra for quality.

For me, gibson's aren't an issue as the shorter scale doesn't work for me.
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11th February 2012
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I don't have much to ad to the discussion as I find inexpensive Ibanez guitars to be perfectly fine for me, but as I was reading through the thread, I looked at the eBay ad on the bottom and clicked on LP Bass auction.
1992 Gibson LPB-2 Les Paul bass guitar | eBay
That's a dude holding the guitar- isn't it?
#30
11th February 2012
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Pro Gibson arguement: They need to be set up properly.
Anti Gibson arguement: For the money they should already be set up properly.
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