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Thoughts on these two Les Pauls

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Ooh, tricky.

I don’t know the Tribute series but they seem well specc’d and the weight relief is a big plus for me.

That said, while I loved the Studio I had, I’ve not been a big fan of recent Gibsons. Build quality has been a touch too hit-and-miss for an instrument costing nearly £2,000. They may have fixed this with the new management structure but I’d want to actually try the guitar before I committed.

The Epiphone looks nice and against a US Gibson at £1500 or £1800 it’s a no brainer. For £450 difference, that’s a harder call. In theory a US made Gibson should hold its value better and even if you’re not a badge snob, there’s something about having the real thing rather than the cheaper copy.

In normal circumstances, I’d advise you to try them both but that’s not really an option right now.

I can only speak for myself but I’d be looking very closely at the Gibson in the hope that it would be the modern successor to my much-missed Studiio.

 

Edit: Guitar.com like the Tribute and it does look like it’s the modern version of my old Studio. I might be interested in one of these myself....😁

Let us know what you decide

Edited by Skinnyman

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I've actually got an order for the Epiphone atm, however between the retailer/carrier who have appeared to have lost it somewhere between Germany/UK im now awaiting a refund.

The loss shipment has given me pause for thought on the gibson because the epi is pretty much out of stock everywhere. 

I like the 60s Standard and while the epi rolls in at an affordable price compared to over 2k for the real deal. Was just wondering where the Tribute sits? Yeah its bugger not being able to try out feel it. Guess its youtube for me. 

Thanks for your opinion. 

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Personally - and this really only is a subjective personally opinion - it's a rare Gibson I would find worth the spend. (Bear in mind, of course that the left handed options I see are more commonly the closing in on two grand end of things new; I'd struggle to justify that when I could go to a reputable builder and have something custom made to my specs for that....). These tributes look nice, though, and around the price that I'd feel comfortable with if I wanted a Les Paul again. Buying new given these price points, I'd stump up for the Gibson,. I'm sure the Epi is a fine guitar (I've never played an Epi I thought was truly "bad", beyond muddy HBs), but for my tastes Gibson have rather started to push the prices of Epiphones up. After yeas of them selling Epi as a budget brand, I'm afraid I find it hard to look at their new guitars and thing "expensive Epiphone-alike" rather than "Bargain Gibson!" If I was already going to buy a copy of a Gibson, I'd probably look at Vintage or Tokai instead, rather than spend more on something which, no matter how 'official' it is, is no less a 'copy' just a more expensive one. I still believe that's a major reason why Epiphone's Elite/ Elitist series failed - if they'd badged it 'Gibson Japan', I honestly think they'd have made a mint. Course, it's still very early days for these new Epiphones,  so it's possible they will begin to hold their own moneywise. Proportionately, I think Epis always did (at least for the LP models) hold a similar proportion of their resale value to higher end (non-rare) production line Gibsons, but to me they're no longer worth the new prices given the range of competition out there. At least their marketing department have finally cottoned on to the impact of headstock shape in the market, though - always seemed a strange choice to me in a world where the market does care about these things that Gibson would give its own budget line a headstock shape that immediately made it less close a replica of the real thing than many other legit copies on the market (I'm not talking counterfeits). 

TL/DR: if I was going to buy a LP nowadays, the Tribute would be the one I'd choose, especially if available used.  

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I've never quite got on with Les Pauls (despite owning a vintage Lefty LP Custom back in the day and currently owning a late '90s Epi set-neck with the original HBs swapped out for a pair of Dan Armstrong P90s), so feel free to take what follows with a pinch of salt...

Like other posters I've heard some horror stories about what's been going on at Gibson in recent years, so would be inclined to treat any Gibson original with deep suspicion until I'd actually played it.

By modern standards the Epi is not that much above being a budget instrument, but IME the quality of inexpensive guitars generally has gone through the roof in the last 10-15 years. I don't know the recent story at Epiphone, but the £500 or so for the listed model should buy you a very useable and decent-sounding guitar. Again though, I'd be reluctant to shell out for one sight unseen. That's just me though, and it may be that you have no opportunity to try them out before buying (in which case I'd have a close look at the returns policy of the retailer before committing funds).

If nothing else will do then go for it, but at around half the price I'd be surprised if the Epi wasn't a very good instrument in its own right.

 

Edited by leftybassman392
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I don't doubt the Epis are good. I've always said that the Gibson was twice the guitar for five times the price of the equivalent Epiphone, but it seems the price of the Epis is ever pushing upwards. The Tribute seems to be a well thought out model - less sparse  / more trad looking than the Studio, but at a price where they don't look crazy for the hobbyist. Epis seem to be going upwards price-wise, I wonder are Gibby just charging more because they can, or is it a strategy to make the Epiphone line look higher quality - you know, like the way they solved dwindling sales of the Gibson LPs by doubling the price and repositioning it as a lifestyle brand? 

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14 hours ago, EdwardMarlowe said:

I don't doubt the Epis are good. I've always said that the Gibson was twice the guitar for five times the price of the equivalent Epiphone, but it seems the price of the Epis is ever pushing upwards. The Tribute seems to be a well thought out model - less sparse  / more trad looking than the Studio, but at a price where they don't look crazy for the hobbyist. Epis seem to be going upwards price-wise, I wonder are Gibby just charging more because they can, or is it a strategy to make the Epiphone line look higher quality - you know, like the way they solved dwindling sales of the Gibson LPs by doubling the price and repositioning it as a lifestyle brand? 

Fair points (and as I said I'm out of touch with recent movements so not really in a position to dispute your comments even if I wanted to). Truth to tell I'd never pay this sort of money for a guitar sight unseen. Not possible right now of course, so I guess the OP has to either hit & hope or else be prepared to return his purchase if he doesn't like it.

That said, I wouldn't buy a new LP anyway so probably talking a bit out of turn (and the OP is accordingly quite entitled to ignore my comments :)). Great sound, shame about the weight. And the upper fret access. And the back-to-front control knobs. o.O

(The one I do own is inherited from my nephew as payment for something or other so I feel at liberty to hack it around a little. Sounds pretty good with the P90s IMHO, plays pretty well too as long as I don't try to do anything fancy. Not sure I'd want to gig with it though as the electrics are actually a bit flakey. Must get round to sorting that out sometime...)

Edited by leftybassman392
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1 hour ago, leftybassman392 said:

Fair points (and as I said I'm out of touch with recent movements so not really in a position to dispute your comments even if I wanted to). Truth to tell I'd never pay this sort of money for a guitar sight unseen. Not possible right now of course, so I guess the OP has to either hit & hope or else be prepared to return his purchase if he doesn't like it.

That said, I wouldn't buy a new LP anyway so probably talking a bit out of turn (and the OP is accordingly quite entitled to ignore my comments :)). Great sound, shame about the weight. And the upper fret access. And the back-to-front control knobs. o.O

(The one I do own is inherited from my nephew as payment for something or other so I feel at liberty to hack it around a little. Sounds pretty good with the P90s IMHO, plays pretty well too as long as I don't try to do anything fancy. Not sure I'd want to gig with it though as the electrics are actually a bit flakey. Must get round to sorting that out sometime...)

The p90 Goldtop ones are nice. If mine had been one of those (I don't think they did 'em lefty, at least not 22 odd years ago) I'd probably hang onto it.  The LP is an odd guitar... a good few of my guitar heroes (Jones, Mick and Jones, Steve in particular) played one, but in my hands I find it's my CIJ 71RI Tele of all things that gets me that sound, never a LP! The best "Gibson" sound I ever had in a guitar is a Westone Thunder IA, with both HBs on and the actives engaged. It's one of the guitars that has come time to move it on, though.... I think I'll be hitting  Reverb hard once we get to a point where I can let buyers come in to collect. 

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23 hours ago, EdwardMarlowe said:

The p90 Goldtop ones are nice. If mine had been one of those (I don't think they did 'em lefty, at least not 22 odd years ago) I'd probably hang onto it.  The LP is an odd guitar... a good few of my guitar heroes (Jones, Mick and Jones, Steve in particular) played one, but in my hands I find it's my CIJ 71RI Tele of all things that gets me that sound, never a LP! The best "Gibson" sound I ever had in a guitar is a Westone Thunder IA, with both HBs on and the actives engaged. It's one of the guitars that has come time to move it on, though.... I think I'll be hitting  Reverb hard once we get to a point where I can let buyers come in to collect. 

The P90s do give it a different sound. I don't play it much these days, but every time I do I find it a very pleasant alternative to the somewhat generic humbucker sound it used to have - actually quite unlike any of my other guitars and worth doing for that reason alone. Or at least it would if the bridge pickup didn't keep cutting out when you least expect it. Unfortunately the electrics is one of those areas where costs seem to have been trimmed (I was with the nephew when he bought it in Denmark Street for a whisker under £400 if memory serves). Once the dust settles I'll take it to a tech to get it properly sorted. The wiring is all correct, but something's clearly not quite right.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should add that the '84 Custom was one of the best sounding guitars I ever owned; absolutely classic Les Paul tones.

Unfortunately it wasn't enough to cover the other issues, so with some reluctance it had to go.

On the upside I sold it on to a Canadian guy for a small uptick over what I paid for it.

ETA: I love Teles. Always have. I used to have a black mij '72RI with a maple neck. Fantastic little guitar, so much so that it was my main teaching instrument for years despite the somewhat iffy tuning courtesy of the triple bridge saddle arrangement. Sold it and later regretted it. I don't think the owner is a member of GC, but if he is and is reading this I'll happily buy it back from him... xD

Edited by leftybassman392
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My Tele was a real discovery for me. Every othe guitar I've ever owned I sought out. This one.... I just happeneed to be in Resding on day visitng a friend who also plays,and is also a lefty. Much to our surprise, GuitarGuitar in Reading had two lefty CIJ Fedners in the window, both white - a 71RI Tele and a 68RI Strat. Needless to say, it would have been rude not to give them a go. So we went in and spent avery pleasant hour or so. Six months later, I had the scratch and the Tele wasstill there, so.... FWIW, if I'd had the money, I'd have bought the Strat too, such a gogeous neck profile, matches a 50s soft V for comfort for me, but there was just something really special about that Tele that got to me. If I can ever sneak it past the wife, I'm really keen now on the idea of a Classic Vibe 50s Tele rewired as a Broadcaster.

The Gibson I still have a lot of affection for now is the LP Junior. In some ways, the ultimate utilitarian guitar for me would be a TV yellow one of those Teles Fender just grought out with the sole p90 in the bridge. I've never played a regular Esquier, though the CV version looks really nice. Don't think they have lefties, though. The other guitar I'd buy very quickly if they did a left hander is the Slick 59 model...

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Eventually pulled the trigger on a Gibson LP standard. Beautiful sounding, beautiful just to gawp at love it. 

Edited by Variable
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