Are Epiphone guitars good?

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Are Epiphone guitars good? The price range, sound quality, choice of components, and variety of models to choose from make Epiphone guitars a very good option, especially as an entry-level instrument.

Noel Gallagher used it during his early days as the lead guitarist for Oasis. Slash got it in his collection. John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney all owned the same guitar line during the active years of The Beatles.

Famous jazz guitarist Joe Pass, guitarists of rock bands The Rolling Stones, Eagles, Foo Fighters, U2, Blink 182, and many others played with it.

Of course, we’re talking about the Epiphone—the low-key, budget-friendly brother of the more elite Gibson.

While this humble guitar seems good enough for many seasoned guitarists, some are quite dubious about Epiphone.

Maybe it’s the price range, or maybe it’s just the fact that the company making these guitars intended the brand to carry that “economy” image. And we’re all used to the saying that cheap equals low quality.

But if Epiphone guitars are so-so in quality, how come many high-profile musicians include this guitar in their music maker arsenal?

Are Epiphone guitars good? Read on for more info

Epiphone Profile

Epiphone is made by the same company that makes Gibson guitars. For some, Epiphone is the more affordable version of Gibson.

In the past, most Epiphone models were based on standard Gibson designs. But later on, they have become more adventurous and released eye-catching designs in the market.

● The Woods Used

Since Epiphone guitars are modestly priced, the instrument’s main material has to be lower-graded wood to save on manufacturing costs.

For Epiphone electric guitar models, mahogany is usually used for the bodies. It is then laminated for aesthetic appeal, typically with ash, alder, or maple woods. This lends a nice, quality finish to the instrument.

They normally use rosewood, ebony, or Indian laurel for the fretboards.

Wood veneers are also not an unusual choice of finish; it imparts a striking, expensive look without costing so much.

For acoustic guitars, the body is usually laminated spruce tops; for the back and sides, they use maple, mahogany, and spruce.

Mahogany is usually the top choice for necks, but hard maple, maple and walnut, and maple and mahogany, are also used. Rosewood, Indian laurel, and ebony are typical woods used for fretboards in their acoustic models.

The bottom line here is that you don’t see something like Flamed or Quilted Maple in Epiphone guitars; no choice woods, no select tonewoods. Just the same type of wood, and that’s mahogany most of the time.

● The Electronic Components

In recent years, Epiphone made good progress with their stock electronics. Most of their premium models are equipped with updated electronic parts, with some even sporting Fishman Pickups.

Some models also feature push-pull switches with coil-splitting for ease of use and pickups with alnico magnets for a more dynamic tone.

Another recent development is the ProBucker pickup series, which puts the Epiphone humbucker specifications not far behind from its more expensive brother.

Acoustic electric models mostly use the under-saddle ShadowNanoflex pickup in tandem with the Shadow Performer (or the ePerformer) preamp and tuner. The Fishman Sonitone soundhole mounts in their top-end acoustics spew out great acoustic guitar sound, too.

● The Hardware Parts

Gone are the days when Epiphones were known to have generic hardware. For one, they have upgraded their Tone pros locking bridge system on almost all of their recent guitar lines.

The higher models of the Epiphone electric guitar range features Grover Rotomatic and Vintage Deluxe tuners that add a neat and timeless look to the instrument.

The higher-range Epiphone models also carry imitation bone hardware, to actual bone for the high-end line.

To help the strings stay in tune longer, Epiphone uses self-lubricating GraphTech Tusq nuts in most of their middle to higher-end range electric guitars. That should give the user less time getting the guitar in tune, and more time playing!

Here’s a great video showing more of Epiphone guitars on this topic:

Are Epiphone Guitars Worth the Money?

One of the biggest factors why some guitar enthusiasts deem Epiphone inferior in quality is its point of origin.

Epiphone guitars are made in the Far East, either in South Korea or China.

Another reason may seem absurd, but it appears that the name on the headstock seems to matter a lot, as well. If it’s not Gibson, Guild, or Fender, then it’s no good.

But the thing is…

Whether it is made in the US or the Far East does not really matter that much; if they will create it out of mahogany with rosewood fretboard and laminated finish, then that’s how it’s going to be. Where it is made and assembled will not make any difference.

But it does make a difference to cost; it will be much cheaper to have it made where raw materials are accessible. Labor is also less expensive in China and Indonesia.

And that’s how they keep good quality Epiphones affordable for everyone. So, yes, Epiphone guitars are worth the money.

And do people actually care about what name is emblazoned on the headstock?

For some, maybe. But any self-respecting guitarists will also tell you: it does not really matter as much as you think. Don’t let the brand cause you discomfort.

In the end, it all boils down to how you play.

If you suck, you suck; if you’re awesome, then you are awesome—even if you are playing the lowly Epiphone. Ask the famous musicians above! They can certainly afford the best of the best, but they perfectly demonstrated that having the best guitar around is not everything.

In Conclusion: Is It Any Good?

Although the answer depends largely on personal preference, it’s safe to say that for the price, Epiphone guitars are quite good.

For those who are looking for entry-level guitars, Epiphone is a great choice. While it cannot exactly be pitted against the crème de la crème of guitars, Epiphone guitars (especially their higher-range models) are excellent in terms of affordability, variety, playability, and sound.

But feel free to look around and try different brands and models until you find the one that suits your budget and requirements. As we always say, the best instrument for you is the one that feels right for you.

“Every guitarist I would cross paths with would tell me that I should have a flashy guitar, whatever the latest fashion model was, and I used to say, ‘Why? Mine works, doesn’t it? It’s a piece of wood and six strings, and it works.” – Angus Young