Long before Epiphone became a subsidiary of Gibson, the two guitar manufacturers were major competitors of one another. Prior to 1957, when Epiphone joined the Gibson family, Epiphone was well renowned for its production of several guitar models, such as the Sheraton, Emperor and Casino. Although Epiphone continued to produce these guitars after the merger, they also began to produce what has become one of the most popular guitar models of all time, the Les Paul. This is particularly appropriate, because when world famous guitarist and inventor Les Paul began experimenting with solid body guitars he used the parts and facilities of the Epiphone factory on 14th Street in New York.
To this day, Epiphone continues to produce Les Paul guitars that consistently have the same look, feel and sound as their more expensive Gibson counterpart, but there are a few key differences, Including:
Body Wood Type
Like the Gibson Les Paul, Epiphone Les Paul guitars are commonly made with mahogany or mahogany with maple tops. Some have a veneer maple top while the upper lines have fully carved tops made of either flame or quilt maple.
Some Epiphone Les Pauls have a mahogany bolt on neck, while better Epiphone models use the mahogany set necks design used on Gibson Les Pauls. Most Epiphone Les Pauls have a high quality rosewood fingerboard but a few are made with a deluxe Ebony board
Epiphone Les Paul guitars are made with a cost-effective polymer finish while the finish used on Gibson Les Paul guitars is more rigorous. Despite the differences in the finishing process, both companies produce guitars that are equally appealing to the eye.
Epiphone Guitars are made in Gibson’s own factory in Asia while Gibson guitars are made in Gibson’s USA and Custom Shop facilities in Nashville Tennessee. Because Gibson owns the Epiphone factory in Asia and does not use contract manufacturers, you can be sure that your Epiphone Les Paul is made to the exacting standards of the Gibson Company.
Although these differences have a minimal effect on the sound of a guitar, they have a drastic effect on the manufacturing cost. Accordingly, pound for pound Epiphone Les Paul guitars cost a great deal less than a Gibson model. However, the more expensive fully featured Epiphone Les Paul guitars do overlap with some of the Gibson lowest priced Les Paul models. There are far more similarities than differences between an Epiphone and a Gibson Les Paul guitar. Everything from the exquisite craftsmanship to the components of an Epiphone Les Paul guitar is perfectly suited to give you the famous Les Paul sound. In fact, Epiphone Les Paul guitars are often made to the same exacting specs, with many of the same components and features as a Gibson Les Paul guitar.
Epiphone Les Paul Guitar Models to Choose From
Quality Entry Level Models:
Better guitars for all players: