Epiphone Les Pauls from China

PelliX

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So I waltzed into a local outlet the other day, fairly sizable one and tried a few of their Epiphone Les Pauls. (I'm not opposed to buying new guitars, I just generally don't). Anyhow, I was really disappointed by each one of them. Dead sounding, craftsmanship was ranging from 'poor' to 'what I expect from a lower price class' when looking at the 700-1000 (Euro) models, dodgy switch in one (but showroom model, eh). Did I just have some bad luck, or have the last couple of years production in China been this bad?

I picked up a 4K Slash signature Gibson and I wasn't having a 'bad ears day' - that sounded awesome except for the TOTALLY worn out strings... Sure enough, in walks a kid, grabs it, plays Sweet Child O' Mine. I join him with whatever I was holding for a few bars. Then decide I really shouldn't.

Long story short, are the CP Epi's worth anything at all?
 

lespaul339

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I thought they were being made in Korea? When did they switch over to china? It's been minute since I had a newish Epiphone.
 

Calebz

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I thought they were being made in Korea? When did they switch over to china? It's been minute since I had a newish Epiphone.
I seem to remember some time in the past they built their own shop there (vs a lot of other places that use contract shops).

My 2017 Epiphone Iommi SG is made in China. The quality is actually quite good, but I'm not sure it's full price 1000€ good. Totally worth the few hundred bucks I paid for it.
 

PelliX

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My 2009 L.P. standard was made in China, and it doesn't sound dull at all..just the opposite actually. A $165 bargain 10 or so years ago so no complaints here.

Sure, that's 13 years old, though. I've been looking around second hand, but haven't come up with much lately. All the Gretsch 'non top notch' models were Chinese, too.

EDIT: a decade off. Typo, I think. I hope.
 
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Windraiders

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I seem to remember some time in the past they built their own shop there (vs a lot of other places that use contract shops).

My 2017 Epiphone Iommi SG is made in China. The quality is actually quite good, but I'm not sure it's full price 1000€ good. Totally worth the few hundred bucks I paid for it.
Hey PelliX. I didn't browse through them to give you an accurate answer but what Calebz said reminded me of the last one I tried. Don't remember the year, so not certain if we're discussing the exact same model but it was an Iommi signature SG I tried and my feelings were a mirror reflection of yours (but adding strings in the worst condition I ever tried, though I know that's on the store).
It got me really down, because I had high hopes for that guitar, but when I held it in my hands it did nothing for me).
It wound up a good thing because I ended up fixed on wanting a 24-fret SG and looking for it, I found the Gibson 70s tribute. That guitar is magic, so keeping that in mind I suppose the year was 2014 since the Gibson is a 2013 model. Looking up the change at the time, the price in my geography was close to 850 dollars for the epi and 1600 for the Gibson. I decided the epi was not worth the price and got the Gibson instead, If I could have got it for a couple hundred, I would have done so at least to cannibalize the PUs which where Gibson Iommi signature in the epi, the 70s tribute came loaded with dirty fingers.
I do have an Epi, strat model, but it's a 90s one made in Korea by Samick, not a great one but it was my first, and at the time I chose it over a squier strat and it was also a full 100 dollars more expensive than the squier. Also I tried a Epi Les Paul around 2015, but it was for a beginner guitar player so my main concerns were that it was playable and wouldn't hinder his practice of the instrument, wasn't impressed by it either but the price tag was a bit more reasonable for a starter guitar.
I suppose you need to find one that appeals to you.
Don't know, just my two cents. It would be nice to see Epiphone going back to affordable guitars of good quality
 
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GregM

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I think it was 2004 the Chinese factory opened in Quandong or somesuch place . They were making guitars in Korea still too at the time .
Most people say 2006 to 2007 is when the Chinese ones got alot better .
What model were you playing Pelix ? Most people rave about the inspired by Gibson Epiphone's . CTS pots , good pickups , Switchcraft jacks etc .
I've fallen in love with my 2007 epi SG , infact I put a new one on layby ( layaway) for the p90 special one with the lightning bridge thingy that scares me a lil but meh . Gotta try these things .
 

-BOOGIEMAN-

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Timely thread as I’ve been contemplating which guitar will be my next and last…ha ha stop laughing!!! I’ve been wanting a Les Paul Custom since forever but I’m not willing to pay what they are going for currently. I’ve been researching the Epiphone version of the Les Paul Custom and from what I’m seeing, the quality seems to be good with these inspired by Gibson models. I’m also considering a PRS SE 245 which is a bit more than the Epiphone but doesn’t make me squeamish. Those are my top 2 choices at the moment…
:nutkick:
 

Wildeman

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I haven't tried any brand new guitars in a long time but I've heard good stuff about the Epi Paul's, mine is kickass but it's old and Korean. Some shops don't know how to sell guitars and let their stock get shitty, a good setup will usually cure them.
 

PaulHikeS2

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I've owned a couple Chinese made Epiphone SGs - a 2007 G400 and a 2016 Tony Iommi - and they've been fine guitars for the price. I think the Chinese made Epis are worth it if you play them, but not worth it if you decide to sell.
 

jmp45

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I picked up these Chicom logs last year and they are flawless. Necks are perfect, no buzz, no dead spots. Has CTS pots, stock P-90s are great, no reason to upgrade. Couple of the very few I didn't have to level and dress frets. They've become real favorites here despite not being a fan stuff coming from China. Indonesia instruments, that is a whole nother story.

Epi_Wilshire_Coronet.jpg
 

Kutt

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We all know the electronics on Chinese-made guitars are generally of low quality. So out of the gate expect bad switches, jacks, and pots sooner rather than later.

We all know they likely aren't using the highest grade of tonewoods either, so if you get one that resonates well then you're lucky.

If one of them is your first guitar then it's a great start. But if you're accustomed to playing higher end instruments you just have to take an Epi for what they are... import guitars that can sound good if you put some work into them. Yes there are exceptions. I write in generalized terms. I played one of their LP Customs last year out of curiosity, one with the newer headstock design. It felt good in the hands but the pickups seemed lifeless.

I am not bashing them. I love playing cheap guitars because they have their own vibe going on. I bought a new Squier Bullet Mustang last December for $150, still in the cardboard box, and I couldn't put it down for weeks (after a setup of course).
 

South Park

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The Chinese don’t give a shit about about building a good guitar the big box stores just sell them so if you want a good guitar you have to find a used one or build one .
 

PelliX

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I picked up these Chicom logs last year and they are flawless. Necks are perfect, no buzz, no dead spots. Has CTS pots, stock P-90s are great, no reason to upgrade. Couple of the very few I didn't have to level and dress frets. They've become real favorites here despite not being a fan stuff coming from China. Indonesia instruments, that is a whole nother story.

Epi_Wilshire_Coronet.jpg

Nice catch! Totally agree - it's about finding odd the odd good one among the rest. If I had come across something that clicked with me, I'd have bought that specific one. Not another of the same model. I'd rather have exactly "what clicked" with me and maybe showroom model discount.

The Chinese don’t give a shit about about building a good guitar the big box stores just sell them so if you want a good guitar you have to find a used one or build one .

Yup, that's been my reasoning for many years. I think I will continue down that path.

think the Chinese made Epis are worth it if you play them, but not worth it if you decide to sell.

Fair enough. Not looking to sell, just play. :)
 

Ken Ops

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I’ve heard good things about MIC guitars in recent years, but haven’t actually tried any out.

A bit biased in favour of MIJ guitars all round though, from experience. MIK is apparently a solid alternative too.

Might depend how important it is for your “LP” to have Les Paul printed on it.
 

scozz

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I’ve heard just the opposite about Epi’s! Especially the inspired by Gibson line.

They all have one piece neck, long tenon, Switchcraft switches, 50s wiring, Mallory caps, Cts pots, Gibson USA Burstbucker pickups.

I’ve watched a couple of videos of them and they sound great, and the guys making the videos really liked them!
 


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