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Thread: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

  1. #1
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    Default Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    Good day,

    I am more curious than anything, but are Mid to Upper Range ($600+) Epiphone Les Paul models more durable from a "road use" standpoint than Gibson's? I thought about getting a Gibson Les Paul, but am concerned about the neck angle being so steep (17 degrees) and can result in stuff like this fairly easily from I've read. I don't want to spend $2K-3K and have that break easily, especially on a set neck. The Epiphone models are 14 degrees last I heard, which is much more reasonable.

    It seems to me that the Epiphone necks would be more durable for that reason.

    I genuinely don't know about the rest of the guitar, besides the neck for either the Gibson or Epiphone models. If you could provide me some input on the durability of those parts, that would be greatly appreciated.

    Which model is more durable, the Mid to Upper Range Epiphone models or the Gibson models?

    Thanks,
    GreatOz

  2. #2
    A Ficus ehdwuld's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    The newer Gibson's have a spine-like volute down the center of the back of the headstock
    I have heard of folks in the Gibson shop standing on these necks without breaking them

    This is what I have read on the webs

    What I do know is the Epiphone has a longer headstock with makes both the guitars touch the floor at the same time

    I have a Gibson and an Epiphone the neck joint on my Epiphone looks like this



    The scarf joint is kinda high up

    My Ibanez has a tilt back neck

    I don't think the angle of the neck makes it more or less likely to fall
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    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    There's players in a number of touring bands that use Epi's on stage. Obviously neck breaks aren't an issue for them.
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    Mojo's Minions beaubrummels's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    Iíve used my 1994 Les Paul since 1994, live, studio, home. Itís been dropped many times, in and out of the case. Itís all original, never been modified or needed repair. Never broken the headstock. Thereís a ding in the wood where a music stand fell into it, and thatís about it.

    IMHO If you can break the neck of a guitar, either it just happened that piece of wood was vulnerable, or the conditions might have been a little more abusive than is reasonable for a musical instrument, or both.
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    Tone Member SAguitar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    In any live situation, there is a battlefield risk. Obviously, with an Epiphone you are risking less money than with a Gibson. I don't think that Gibson's neck geometry is a critical factor in likelihood of breakage as much as the force that the instrument is subjected to. I've been gigging with a '70s Les Paul for over 40 years now, and although it bears many battle scars, I have never had a headstock or neck problem. You pay your money and you take your chances.
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    The only catastrophic damage I've had to a Gibson was the neck joint on a 60s SG Special. I have never had a problem with LPs, 335, ES-archtop models. Don't drop your guitar---simple.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    Swear I'm not making this up, I just googled "PRS broken headstock" and there were two pictures of a Les Paul.

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    I poop in my KISS diapers Aceman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    Neck breaks are a myth, as is the volute's benefits.

    The volute "cured" the mostly non-existent problem in TWO ways:
    1. It reinforced the neck break point - Win!
    2. It shifted breaks to the headstock - FAIL

    That said - the Volute showed up on MAPLE NECK Les Pauls from Norlin. They DO NOT EFFING BREAK!!!!!! Try to break one. Those are 5 piece glued maple necks.

    Now - as for the Gibson headstock breaks - yeah - it can happen. If you are a drunk @$$ clumsy rock idiot. Again - TENS of thousands of Les Pauls out there. And yes - when one does break because you were not paying attention it is tragic. And if you have a volute, more so, because the actual headstock will break and that is tough to fix well, unlike a nice neck break.


    Speaking as a guy who has played for 30+ years, you can drop a Les Paul all kinds of ways and it will survive just fine. Usually. Mostly.
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    Epiphones last just fine. Worry more about the pots and bridge saddles.
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
    Epiphones last just fine. Worry more about the pots and bridge saddles.
    +1

    Pots going bad and saddles that I eventually figured out had burrs causing lots of string breakage are really the only two things that weren't durable about the Epi Dot I got in 2000.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    Epiphone should be fine if the guitar feels good enough for you. I recommend SD electronics on them though.

    I *have* toured with my Gibson les Paul and besides feeling the back of the neck you canít tell. Even the dents are shiny and beautiful. Iím seriously in love with this guitar.

    Iíve wanted an epiphone for this purpose, itís a beater. Beaters are good. They help you get there.


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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    Thank you guys for your input gentleman.

    If I really don't have to worry about durability any more than any other instrument, then I guess I really don't have anything to worry about for either the Epiphone or the Gibson.

    If I decided to go for an Epiphone, I was going to replace some of the hardware and the pickups regardless though.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    Durability of Gibson vs Epi = the same.
    Durability of Gibson and Epi vs Fender = give me Fender any day.
    Durability of ANY guitar = take care of the *** thing and it will be fine. I've got a 60 year old guitar that has never been broken (dents, dings, and scratches...yes, lots).
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  14. #14
    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    But;

    Quality vs cost = give me an Epi any day.
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    Tone Member Wolfshead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    I own two Gibsons with broken headstocks - they were repaired before I got them and are fantastic guitars (SG and Les Paul).

    I also had an Epiphone Les Paul which had it's headstock snapped in the post when I sold it. I don't think it matters whether you go for an Epi or a Gibson when it comes to damage.
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    I have to ask, because I have never heard of this happening...

    Can necks snap that aren't a result of blunt force, like dropping? It it a real issue of headstocks snapping off due to something else? I honestly never thought about the angle of the headstock, so I am genuinely curious.
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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    I have to ask, because I have never heard of this happening...

    Can necks snap that aren't a result of blunt force, like dropping? It it a real issue of headstocks snapping off due to something else? I honestly never thought about the angle of the headstock, so I am genuinely curious.
    Not that I've ever seen or heard. :P
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    This was my understanding of the benefit of scarf joint necks:



    I have two Gibsons, but if I was ever gigging heavily/ touring, I'd probably pick up Epiphones (or something from the Fender family, or ESP LTDs, or PRS SE, etc). Mostly because of the emotional attachment to my Les Pauls though.

  19. #19
    A Ficus ehdwuld's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    I have seen many more break at the body joint
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  20. #20
    I poop in my KISS diapers Aceman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Model Durability

    Gibsons break at the body joint???? I think not...

    And remember - if a Fender breaks, who cares?
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