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"Gibson" Epiphones: Why do they copy the axe, except for the headstock shape?

Donelson
February 20th, 2012, 07:23 AM
I find it to be weird that Gibson sells non-US made "copies" of their own old designs, branding them as "Epiphones", yet they keep the defunct Epiphone headstock shape, which often doesn't look at all good with the axe.

I'm sure I'm not the first to wonder about this!

I'm thinking of something like this, a guitar design that I like, the 60's SG, but the headstock looks too weird for me.

Currently around $350.

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-EPI-EG61-LIST?src=WNWSLTTRE120220H&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=Inhouse&utm_campaign=120220

Jupiter
February 20th, 2012, 07:35 AM
You want the Gibby headstock, you pay the Gibby price. Simple. It's a pretty clever way to get some people to fork over the extra cash.

hekawi
February 20th, 2012, 08:10 AM
Epiphone models enable budget minded players to have "officially licensed" Gibson style guitars instead of copies from other companies. (similar to what Fender offers through the Squier brand). personally, the Epiphone headstock shape doesn't bother me a bit. i own 3 Epis and they all offered me something i liked: an SG with the best neck i've ever played on any guitar, a Dot Studio which made a 335 style guitar very affordable to me and is a fine sounding no frills guitar, and a Wildkat...which is not a Gibson knockoff, but a cool retro styled semi-hollow with bigsby.

DeepDrummer
February 20th, 2012, 08:26 AM
I'd buy another epi in a heartbeat.

Donelson
February 20th, 2012, 08:31 AM
That's good, Hekawi. I owned & did many gigs with an Epiphone Joe Pass hollowbody. Pretty good guitar. I'm not really meaning to "bash" these Epiphones.

But still, why copy the whole look and design of the instrument, except for the headstock? Fender Squiers have regular headstock shapes to the originals.

jwsamuel
February 20th, 2012, 08:44 AM
But still, why copy the whole look and design of the instrument, except for the headstock?


To set Epiphone apart as a different brand and create more distinction between it and Gibson.

Jim

TG
February 20th, 2012, 08:45 AM
But still, why copy the whole look and design of the instrument, except for the headstock? Fender Squiers have regular headstock shapes to the originals.

I agree and, as said above, it's probably to differentiate an Epi from a 'real' Gibson. But I think it's an idea that's not as relevant as it used to be and that they are stuck in their thinking somewhat.
With all the Tokais and things out there with a closer to original headstock I think they're making a mistake and should change the Epi headstock to something closer to the original Gibson...at least on models that are copies of Gibsons.

The long Epi headstock should certainly be dumped. Hideous, IMO.

itsGreg
February 20th, 2012, 08:52 AM
I like it on epi only models(sheraton,riviera,casino etc...) But I agree it doesn't look right on lp's and sg's.
Tokai's looks much better.

theGecko71
February 20th, 2012, 08:59 AM
I don't see much difference, other than the Epi headstock is more "flared." Damn, I love my Epi Dot. I know its components aren't top of the line, but since I'm not top of the line, either, I don't care. It plays like a dream and didn't cost me much at all (especially since I got it used on a trade).

nadzab
February 20th, 2012, 09:28 AM
To set Epiphone apart as a different brand and create more distinction between the it and Gibson.

Jim

I think this is it, plain & simple.

SackvilleDan
February 20th, 2012, 09:55 AM
There used to be Epiphones (out of Japan I think?) that had the Gibson headstock, I seem to remember a few early '90s LPs that were Epis with a Gibson headstock... I bet they have different headstocks to prevent people from replacing the decals and trying to sell them as Gibsons...

hekawi
February 20th, 2012, 11:35 AM
There used to be Epiphones (out of Japan I think?) that had the Gibson headstock, I seem to remember a few early '90s LPs that were Epis with a Gibson headstock... I bet they have different headstocks to prevent people from replacing the decals and trying to sell them as Gibsons...

you mean like this:

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y170/hekawi/epilespaul-1.jpg

DrumBob
February 20th, 2012, 11:59 PM
I have seen a couple of Epi headstocks that were altered to look like a Gibson. The guy had a luthier glue "points" on each side of the headstock, refin the back, and put a real Gibson headstock overlay on top. You couldn't tell the difference unless you looked really closely. On stage, nobody would ever know.

Durtdog
February 21st, 2012, 12:10 AM
I love that big Epiphone headstock, and I like many of their guitars.

I wish they'd design more original Epi guitars instead of so many Gibson copies.

But I understand why they do it.

Alex W
February 21st, 2012, 12:18 AM
Is the current Epi headstock that much different from headstocks on vintage Epis from the pre-Gibson ownership days?

studio1087
February 21st, 2012, 12:23 AM
I find it to be weird that Gibson sells non-US made "copies" of their own old designs, branding them as "Epiphones", yet they keep the defunct Epiphone headstock shape, which often doesn't look at all good with the axe.

I'm sure I'm not the first to wonder about this!

I'm thinking of something like this, a guitar design that I like, the 60's SG, but the headstock looks too weird for me.

Currently around $350.

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-EPI-EG61-LIST?src=WNWSLTTRE120220H&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=Inhouse&utm_campaign=120220


Stop being bothered by the headstock. It's a great guitar. Get one while you can. I love it........

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k106/johnlg-2006/FullAmpBag.jpg

I love the back of the headstock......nice old school chrome three-in-a-row tuners. I dig them......

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k106/johnlg-2006/HeadRear-1.jpg

The bag is great. Hell of a deal!

Bulldog87
February 21st, 2012, 12:24 AM
I don't really care. I have the Epi you referred to in your original post and it sings just fine regardless of what headstock is on it. I actually never noticed it up to this point. It is an Epiphone, not a Gibson, so I wasn't looking for a Gibson headstock and logo. I didn't feel the extra $X00 was worth it.

Wyzsard
February 21st, 2012, 02:36 AM
Guild, Gibson, and Epiphone are the nicest looking 3 + 3 headstocks imo.

Duncas
February 21st, 2012, 07:01 AM
i love epiphones and i really want an epiphone les paul but the headstock, i just cant deal with it.

rangercaster
February 21st, 2012, 12:33 PM
"Woe is me !!! my headstock is so ugly i can't bear to look at !!! ... thankfully, i am not one of those headstock sniffers ... how 'bout this Epi Emperor Regent headstock ??? Gibson doesn't make anything this cool ... http://vintagearchtop.com/images/04_epi/06headstock.jpg

Donelson
February 21st, 2012, 12:47 PM
Very nice. That's an Epiphone model never offered by Gibson though, not an SG.

Seems that few have gotten my point.

Why copy to such detail these old ultra-classic Gibson designs, which are familar icons to even non-guitarists, and put a different headstock shape on there, one that was never used by Gibson?

If it really is because Gibson was enraged by lots of people changing the decals of these "Epiphones" & passing them off as USA Gibsons, I'd like to see some evidence of that.

To me it just seems like weird marketing.

spauldingrules
February 21st, 2012, 12:56 PM
Like someone already said, because it would be too easy to change the label to Gibson. Imagine the fortune to be made on forgeries that were that easy. I mean, they definitely SOUND the same..... :)



Very nice. That's an Epiphone model never offered by Gibson though, not an SG.

Seems that few have gotten my point.

Why copy to such detail these old ultra-classic Gibson designs, which are familar icons to even non-guitarists, and put a different headstock shape on there, one that was never used by Gibson?

If it really is because Gibson was enraged by lots of people changing the decals of these "Epiphones" & passing them off as USA Gibsons, I'd like to see some evidence of that.

To me it just seems like weird marketing.

jwsamuel
February 21st, 2012, 01:18 PM
Seems that few have gotten my point.

Why copy to such detail these old ultra-classic Gibson designs, which are familar icons to even non-guitarists, and put a different headstock shape on there, one that was never used by Gibson?



Many of us got the point and responded.

The reason they have different headstocks is to differentiate between an Epiphone SG and a Gibson SG.

Gibson wants Epiphone to be seen as its own brand, not just as cheap versions of Gibson guitars.

Jim

refin
February 21st, 2012, 01:23 PM
Epiphone models enable budget minded players to have "officially licensed" Gibson style guitars instead of copies from other companies. (similar to what Fender offers through the Squier brand). personally, the Epiphone headstock shape doesn't bother me a bit. i own 3 Epis and they all offered me something i liked: an SG with the best neck i've ever played on any guitar, a Dot Studio which made a 335 style guitar very affordable to me and is a fine sounding no frills guitar, and a Wildkat...which is not a Gibson knockoff, but a cool retro styled semi-hollow with bigsby.

Same here,Dot 335 and SG/Les Paul.Great guitars,and maybe a little more mids out the headstock shape.:lol: :roll:

scrumley
February 21st, 2012, 01:27 PM
I too, like it on their hollowbodies, but not on SG's and LP's. I think they do it just to toy with us.

Alex W
February 21st, 2012, 01:47 PM
Very nice. That's an Epiphone model never offered by Gibson though, not an SG.

Seems that few have gotten my point.

Why copy to such detail these old ultra-classic Gibson designs, which are familar icons to even non-guitarists, and put a different headstock shape on there, one that was never used by Gibson?

If it really is because Gibson was enraged by lots of people changing the decals of these "Epiphones" & passing them off as USA Gibsons, I'd like to see some evidence of that.

To me it just seems like weird marketing.

I think your "point" is misguided. Epiphone had a brand identity prior to its association with Gibson as the "budget line of Gibson guitars." Part of the brand identity was and is the headstock shape. Why should they change it? Epiphone Les Pauls and SGs and so on are not "copies" of Gibson guitars. They are Epiphone versions of those guitars but not "copies."

IMO the weird marketing is in doing anything to move Epiphones downmarket in the first place. The Beatles played Epiphone guitars (among others) and that is the sort of cachet that no money can buy.

J-man
February 21st, 2012, 02:00 PM
You want the Gibby headstock, you pay the Gibby price. Simple. It's a pretty clever way to get some people to fork over the extra cash.

Came here to say this.

J-man
February 21st, 2012, 02:02 PM
"Woe is me !!! my headstock is so ugly i can't bear to look at !!! ... thankfully, i am not one of those headstock sniffers ... how 'bout this Epi Emperor Regent headstock ??? Gibson doesn't make anything this cool ... http://vintagearchtop.com/images/04_epi/06headstock.jpg

That headstock is very nice. But Epi's standard headstock shape isn't that attractive IMO.

zedd
February 21st, 2012, 02:29 PM
I dont get it, its an Epiphone guitar, thats an Epiphone headstock. They aint gonna change it. Live with it.

Daddy Hojo
February 21st, 2012, 02:36 PM
The extra wood adds more sustain.... LOL

Get over it. Swallow your pride and save some cash.

WaylonFan76
February 21st, 2012, 02:43 PM
I too, like it on their hollowbodies, but not on SG's and LP's.

This

dan1952
February 21st, 2012, 03:00 PM
Epiphone is not its own separate guitar company, friends. It is a brand name that Gibson owns, and Gibson contracts with overseas manufacturers to build guitars with the Epiphone name on them, instead of other names such as Cort or Samick, or who knows how many other names that are currently in use. While quite a few Epipione-branded guiatrs are indeed fine instruments, let's not forget that they are essentially imported guitars in the great tradition of Teisco, Hondo, Vester, Bentley Series 10, Aria Pro II, and Electra. Simply stating the facts...

robmc_68
February 21st, 2012, 06:05 PM
Well my Epi 58 korina Flying V has same head stock as a Gibson , as do Epi Firebirds

jefrs
February 21st, 2012, 07:39 PM
Just to point out that the Epi Emperors and the Sheraton were the original models, the latter Gibson copied as the ES335.

At one time an Epi archtop was considered every bit as good or better than a Gibson. Then Gibson bought Epi out.

A larger headstock is supposed to add sustain, hence it is used by a number of top-end jazzbox makers.

MiloCroton
February 21st, 2012, 08:06 PM
A larger headstock is supposed to add sustain, hence it is used by a number of top-end jazzbox makers.

Ironic isnt it?

paulitik
February 21st, 2012, 10:01 PM
They may look different, but they all break just as easy. My best friends dad, growing up, was a Gibson dealer. He had us terrified to even touch the Les Paul's in his shop. I've had quite a few friends break epis and Gibsons Over the years. I'd love an ES335, but I'm too clumsy.

stantheman
February 21st, 2012, 11:25 PM
Epiphones are for the bars and Gibsons are for the stars.
I'd rather have the Joe Pass and five suits than an ES-350T with all the worries, buyer's remorse, etc.

Mark My Words Dept: Once there's a Joe Pass with a Florentine cutaway it'll be the hottest selling totally Hollow Body in the galaxy.
FWIW Dept: I love the headstocks on the Emperor Line.

aunchaki
February 21st, 2012, 11:34 PM
I'd rather have the Joe Pass and five suits than an ES-350T with all the worries, buyer's remorse, etc.

Mark My Words Dept: Once there's a Joe Pass with a Florentine cutaway it'll be the hottest selling totally Hollow Body in the galaxy.

As a Joe Pass owner, I agree 100%.

But as to the original post, Gibson bought out competitor Epiphone and used the Epi label to sell more guitars in areas where official Gibson dealers had regional monopolies. Today, they don't really do that, so you have Gibsons and Epis side by side.

BLAM
February 22nd, 2012, 04:42 AM
The Epi headstock doesn't really bother me but I would agree it looks more suited to their Casino/Sheraton etc range.

SackvilleDan
February 22nd, 2012, 07:35 AM
you mean like this:

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y170/hekawi/epilespaul-1.jpg

That's EXACTLY what I meant! :mrgreen:

RevMike
February 22nd, 2012, 07:47 AM
I currently own 2 Epi Pauls (3 if you count my LP Uke). They are great guitars. One which I'm currently selling is a Korean made black Custom. It is in my opinion comparable with a lot of what Gibson is making.....and for around 350. The other is a plain black standard. I'm keeping that because it just happens to be one my favorite guitars I've ever owned. I pick it up and everything about it feels right. And it can play anything. Headstock be darned.

jebbo
February 22nd, 2012, 01:35 PM
That's good, Hekawi. I owned & did many gigs with an Epiphone Joe Pass hollowbody. Pretty good guitar. I'm not really meaning to "bash" these Epiphones.

But still, why copy the whole look and design of the instrument, except for the headstock? Fender Squiers have regular headstock shapes to the originals.

It's actualy a good thing that the headstock is different. You don't see people selling epiphones saying that they are gibsons. Anybody could take a squier get a fender logo, slap it on, and call it a fender. It's sad to say that, but there are people who wouldn't pay attention and pay fender price for a squier. I'm with you though, I don't like the look of the epi heads, but that's what makes them different. I can't stand it when I see a craigslist ad saying "squier by fender" or "epiphone by gibson". A squier is a squier, and a epiphone is an epiphone.

itsGreg
February 22nd, 2012, 01:41 PM
It's actualy a good thing that the headstock is different. You don't see people selling epiphones saying that they are gibsons. Anybody could take a squier get a fender logo, slap it on, and call it a fender. It's sad to say that, but there are people who wouldn't pay attention and pay fender price for a squier. I'm with you though, I don't like the look of the epi heads, but that's what makes them different. I can't stand it when I see a craigslist ad saying "squier by fender" or "epiphone by gibson". A squier is a squier, and a epiphone is an epiphone.

I see plenty of ads that say Gibson les Paul and when you click its says by epiphone!, but that's for another thread..

jwsamuel
February 22nd, 2012, 02:02 PM
I can't stand it when I see a craigslist ad saying "squier by fender" or "epiphone by gibson". A squier is a squier, and a epiphone is an epiphone.

Not according to Fender and Gibson.

Jim

mad dog
February 24th, 2012, 08:34 PM
It's a marketing thing in part, legal/distribution thing being the other part. Gibson clearly values that headstock shape as integral to the Gibson brand. So they withhold it from sub-brands, to maintain image and value of their main lines. My Epiphone LQ model Les Paul is one of the Epis with the Gibson open book headstock. Made in the Fujigen plant in japan, intended for Japanese domestic sales only. As long as it isn't distributed in the US, less of an issue.

Donelson
February 24th, 2012, 08:57 PM
It's a marketing thing in part, legal/distribution thing being the other part. Gibson clearly values that headstock shape as integral to the Gibson brand. So they withhold it from sub-brands, to maintain image and value of their main lines. My Epiphone LQ model Les Paul is one of the Epis with the Gibson open book headstock. Made in the Fujigen plant in japan, intended for Japanese domestic sales only. As long as it isn't distributed in the US, less of an issue.

Thanks for the good reply mad dog.

I wonder why those Japanese market Epis don't turn up on ebay? Or, maybe they do & I've just never noticed.

Larry F
February 24th, 2012, 09:22 PM
The Epi headstock says "blues" to me. Take a look at any recent issue of Living Blues, and you'll see nothing but Epis.

OK, mostly Epis. This dang forum has made me more paranoid about my writing.

mad dog
February 25th, 2012, 04:59 AM
I wonder why those Japanese market Epis don't turn up on ebay? Or, maybe they do & I've just never noticed.

Donelson:

I bet the LQ les pauls do show up once in awhile on ebay. The place to check is mylespaul.com. That's where so many MIJ LP appreciators hang out. Having owned Fujigen made guitars before, I was specifically looking for something like that. Didn't even know about that Epiphone model until a guy over there sold it to me. Probably picked up used overseas via the web, or carried into the states. Not many around, that's for sure.
MD