This thread will draw some flames. That's fine. But it's a sincere question. If you take an Epiphone and upgrade the hardware, is the Gibson still "better?" And if so, why? Is the difference more than just hardware? Is the Gibson really built to a higher standard? Now personally, I'm not a fan of either, so keep that in mind. I'm more of a Jackson/Carvin/Kiesel, or Fender guy. So I really don't have an iron in this fire either way.