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I bought my Epi LP a fwe years ago, it was choice between this and a Fender JagStang, after playing on them both I chose this. If you can't afford a proper Gibson then you can't go wrong with the Epiphone. It's the same company and the set up is the same. To be honest if you don't really care about the differences between the Epi and the Gibson and you want something different to a Fender then this is a certain buy. In my opinion it's better quality and sound than the Fender Squire Strat and looks almost identical to a real Gibson. The sound quality is brilliant, you get the great 'Gibson squeal' that you hear on loads of rock songs, it's nice and smooth to play and is a grand less than the Gison. i would suggest though that you get the machine (or tuning) heads changed to Grover ones, most second hand Epi's will probably have this done already and I'm not sure if the new one's actually come with them already fitted. It's also worth getting a new one 'tuned up' or 'serviced' by a shop to fix the little errors like the loose nut, the frets sticking up too far and the replacement machine heads. It shouldn't cost a lot and makes a big difference. Overall this a fantastic guitar and there aren't many better for the price. If you can afford one I'd recomend one providing you save an extra £50 or so for the fixes. My fave guitar in this price range.
Apparently Epiphone guitars are made in the same factories and by the same people as Gibson guitars, the only difference is the parts are cheaper; the guitar body is thinner, there is no mother of pearl inlay in the fret board, or if there is, then you'll have chrome machine heads as opposed to the Gibson Les Paul green ones. However, for the difference in price, are machine heads such a major issue? And the guitar body actually makes the guitar slightly lighter which makes it a great guitar for younger players. Also as a female guitarist, I appreciate light-weight guitars if you're going to have it slung round your neck for the length of gigs and practice, etc. When I first bought my Epiphone, I thought it was a lot lighter than the Gibson, but now I'm not so sure as there is that much difference, but it's obviously worth checking out when you're looking at guitars. I think for those guitarists who progress, they will eventually want a better sound and this can be achieved to some extent with the placing of new pickups, although the stock Epiphone pickups are very serviacble and create a great sound. I recently had Seymour Duncan pickups (a jazz/jb combo) put into my Epiphone (Epiphones come with stock alnico pickups) and it sounds fantastic, certainly an improvement on the other pickups. Yet, as I was constantly informed, it will never have the same sound quality as a Gibson Les Paul because of the difference in the quality of the body. However, the sustain and sound of he Epiphone is fantastic, considering it's around about £1,000 cheaper than the Gibson version; I certainly have no complaints. The only faults I have found with the guitar are that the pickup selector switch had to be replaced pretty soon after I bought it (the plastic cover came off the switch and the wiring loosened inside) and apparently this is quite a common problem with Epiphones. Yet a new switch was cheap and it was relatively easy to fix. The plastic cover of the jack imput also cracked (which is another common problem but one which I assume the Epiphone shares with the Gibson LP) and the wires inside the imput can become loose, but again that's not just Epiphones and it is relatively easy to tighten. The guitar looks fantastic and can be purchased in a range of different colours (like the Gibson) such as sunburst, cherryburst, tobacco and honeyburst. The polish on them is absolutely beautiful - these really don't look like a cheap guitar or even, indeed, like a cheaper version of a more expensive guitar. These guitars really stand up on their own and are well respected in their own right. Of course, like the Gibson, you can take the scratch plate off if you so desire. These guitars are great for pretty much whatever music you play, from blues and rock to punk and metal (as Matt from Trivium pointed out (in referenec to the Les Paul) - it's more metal do play metal on a not typically metal guitar!). However, that said, Epiphone Les Paul standards (like the Gibson Les Paul standard) do not come with a whammy bar, 24 frets or active pickups which many metal players use, which is of course something to take into consideration when buying your guitar. Yet with an Epiphone Les Paul standard, you can get the sounds of famous guitarists such as Slash, who uses Gibson Les Pauls, along with other renowned guitarists such as Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton. Many guitarists also produce their own signiture Epiphone guitars, again like Slash and also Zakk Wylde. Epiphone LPs also come in both right and left handed versions, which is good, although unfortunately, the left handed guitars seem to be slightly more expensive, possibly because of manufacturing differences in the models. So, for the price, this is an absolutely fantastic guitar which certainly holds its own with its more expensive relative, the Gibson LP, and so it's fantastic certainly for new guitarists, and if you get to the point where you think you really need a Gibson, then maybe you'll be good enough to earn some money to buy one! But until then, you really can't fault the Epiphone; this quality for this price? Fantastic. Considering it would cost a couple of hundread pounds for a really cheap starter guitar, you could pick up an Epiphone for not too much more if you shop around and the difference in quality would really be worth it! Go check them out and see for your selves! Depending on where you get your guitar, it won't always come with a hard Epiphone case (as Gibson's usually come with a Gibson case), in fact, it might not come with a case at all, but you can pick up a hard case from about £60 and it might be worth it if you're going to be travelling alot with your guitar. I would also strongly advise a good strap (a wide one is good to distribute the weight over your shoulder) and good strap locks as Les Pauls can be prone to falling off their straps due to their weight distribution! You can get really cheap plastic strap locks which are very effective, but if you want something less fiddley, then you can get chrome ones which stay permanently attached to your strap and cost a little bit more.
The Epiphone Les Paul (LP) Standard is a classic, but cheaper version of the Gibson. While the Gibson costs in the thousands, the Epi LP is a good representation at just a price of around £300. The features you get are very similar to the Gibson. It has a single cut-away, 2 humbucker pick ups and 22 frets. It is a guitar known mainly for classic rock, while more metal and blues players are starting to get this guitar. It has a rich full sound with the humbuckers, which is switchable between Lead and Rhythm. It has a great finish avaliable in many colours, mine of which in a stunny glossy blue. It is easy to tune with a great bridge and sturdy tuning pegs, however I have had a problem in the past with one of the tuning pegs becoming a little loose. It is a heavy guitar, made from a thick solid wood for the body. This means if practicing for hours on end it can be a bit painful on the shoulders when strapped up. However if playing live events then most sets are no longer than an hour, so this should not be a problem. I would reccomend getting strap locks for this guitar however. After playing many, I have found that the same problem occurs, in which the strap buttons are a bit loose and can then lead to the guitar strap falling off, which is the last thing you want during a live event. The neck has a beautiful finish, however is a bit chunky so could be a problem with people with smaller hands as I have had many friends complain about that. As it also gets thicker towards the body, it is not known as a 'shredding' guitar for solos as it is a bit trickier to reach the higher frets. However this guitar I feel could be dropped and battered about and still be working fine. Definately a guitar I would reccommend to upgrade from a beginner.