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Epiphone Les Paul

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I have a colleagues Epi LP guitar for repair. It had no output and was humming and the first thing I thought of when he explained the problem was the output jack earth wire broken and that turned out to be correct. Probably due to a crappy plastic plate to mount the jack to which had cracked. I found an old plastic electrical switch cover and made up another jack plate to sit under the original to stiffen it up.

I had always thought Epiphones would have been reasonable quality but when I removed the cavity covers I discovered a few things.

The body is not Mahogany like a Gibson but some very light coloured wood and is stained to make it look like Mahogany on the outside. It is made of four pieces of wood across the back and three on the thickness. Obviously they glue all the offcuts together to get more bodies out of them. So not including the cap there is twelve pieces of wood plus the two for the Maple? top. I dont know whether it is Maple or been cleverly airbrushed to make it look like it is.

They never even thickness sanded it properly as the joins are obvious even though the lacquer job is OK.

Inside the control cavity there is no shielding apart from an aluminium strip that sits under one pot and runs up to connect to the cover which also has aluminium foil glued to it.

The shielding on the wires are so tiny compared to the Stew Mac wiring they supply.

I am frankly disappointed at the quality of this guitar and if I was Gibson I would be uncomfortable to sell stuff like this.

I dont think us as home builders, are doing too bad when I look at the quality of this. They are still quite an expensive guitar too here in NZ.

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I went through a 'cheap' guitar phase a couple of years ago, and bought an Oscar Schmidt OE-30 (semi-hollow bolt-on) for $110 and an Agile 2500 (LP copy) for $250, and I was planning on getting an Epi LP as well. I went to check it out (which was selling for $400 - at the very top end of 'cheap'), and I was seriously disappointed. The quality was abysmal. Frets were lifting, inlays were proud of the fingerboard, the jack was loose & output was intermittent, etc... You get the idea. After that experience, I would have paid $600 for the Agile, which has no problems at all whatsoever & is a great-looking and great-playing instrument. Everyone who plays it loves it. It puts the Epi LP to shame. Gibson should be embarrassed.

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Considering the hundreds of thousands of these epiphones they sell every year, i dont think they care about the quality. If you want higher quality, simply dont look towards the "copy at less than half the price".

Tell me, is the maple top at least centralised to the body? I have one in for a headstock snap right now, and the centre join is about 1/4" off centre...

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Surely it's the guitar being 1/4" out relative to the maple Perry? C'mon, we're talking fundamentals here!


I've noticed the same thing about the "light-coloured mahogany" and the multiple pieceing to save on scrap. A good thing really, as it's better than wasting half a blank if you're mass producing!

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