Epiphone is Gibson’s “budget” division. If you can’t quite justify a Gibson, Epiphone guitars are excellent for the money. If you’re strapped for cash these guitars make sense.
I will say that going the extra mile to save up for a real Gibson is absolutely worth it. I remember one time I borrowed money from a bunch of friends for a few weeks so I could pay for a Gibson Les Paul. They are that good.
Of course, paying $1,800 for a guitar is just not a reality for everyone, so that’s where Epiphones make a lot of sense.
Epiphone was founded 1837, and were Gibson’s biggest competitor in the early 1900s. In the mid-fifties Epiphone stumbled, and in 1957 Gibson said “gotcha” and bought Epiphone. Nice way to get rid of your competition! [you can download the full Epiphone story by clicking here.]
Gibson has licensed Epiphone to make copies of dozens of different Gibson staples like the Les Paul, SG, and Doubleneck. These are made in China, that’s why you pay $600 for an Epi Les Paul instead of $1,800 for the real thing.
Again, if you’re a serious guitar player or you’re gigging, do anything you can to get the Real Deal, it will be worth it. A lot of times if you’re just starting out the money just isn’t there and Epiphones make sense.
TIP: However, if you do decide to get an Epiphone instead of a Gibson, one pro tip I can recommend is to replace the pickups and tuning keys. The standard Epiphone parts are lower quality, and by replacing them you will really see an improvement in tone without breaking the bank.
A Few Notable Epiphone Guitars: