Why Buy an Epiphone Acoustic Guitar?
Are you considering purchasing an Epiphone Acoustic Guitar? My search for the perfect acoustic guitar for my needs took me meandering through the forest of Epiphone models that are out there. Perhaps what I learned in my search will help you narrow down your own choices.
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Epiphone Acoustic Guitars in a Nutshell
There are a lot of Epiphone models to choose from. In fact, there are so many models (a good many of which are in my price range) that you would think I wouldn’t have had a problem finding one. But honestly, the more research I did into the Epiphone Company, the more hesitant I became about purchasing one for myself.
For one thing, Epiphone used to have an awesome reputation until it was bought out by its rival Gibson Guitars in the 1957. Once its center of operations was moved to Japan, its reputation went downhill quickly. Unfortunately, the move came just when Japan was developing its reputation for producing cheap goods that fell apart easily. After they moved the company to Korea things began to get a little better, but when compared to the Gibson models they are still second rate guitars.
Even when you compare today’s Epiphone acoustic guitars with other guitar manufacturers, it is clear that the Epiphones just aren’t given the attention to detail that even other mass produced guitars receive. The edges are a bit rougher. The trim is not as even. And when you compare some of the details with their Gibson counterparts, it is obvious which brand is getting the attention to detail.
For example, did you know that while all Gibson’s have a set-on neck, only the higher-end Epiphones have these? The rest of the Epiphone models have bolted on necks which can affect the overall tone of the guitar.
Another example is the quality of wood that Gibson uses in its Epiphone models. While Gibson is known for its high quality woods, its Epiphone siblings oftentimes get stuck with lower grade wood. While this saves on costs, it can also affect both the tone and the appearance of the guitar. But it is not just a comparison between Gibson and Epiphone that shows the Epiphone to be lacking.
Honestly, when you compare the lower-priced Epiphones with, say, their lower-end Yamaha counterparts, the quality differential is clear. This is why I recommend Yamaha and not Epiphone for those looking for an inexpensive entry-level acoustic guitar.
Final Thoughts on Epiphone Acoustic Guitars
While I may have an issue with the ‘rough around the edges’ quality of the lower end Epiphone acoustic guitars (not to mention their lower quality tonewoods, hardware and overall construction), there is one model that I wouldn’t mind owning - that is the
Patterned to be an affordable model of the Gibson Hummingbird, Epiphone’s model costs about $1,600 less than the Gibson.
I won’t say that it plays as well. If you’ve ever played a real Gibson guitar you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. There is something about the way the guitar feels in your hands; the way it plays that simply can’t be matched by lower quality models.
Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that the Gibson is made from high grade mahogany (instead of select mahogany or mahogany veneers) as well as the fact that the Gibson is more polished than its Epiphone counterpart.
But when it comes right down to it, the Epiphone Hummingbird plays quite well compared to other guitars in its price range, and especially compared to other lower-end Epiphone acoustic guitars.
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