Epi '56 Les Paul

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by chet again, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. chet again

    chet again Tele-Meister

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    There was one of these at a GC in Des Moines when I went there last week. Maybe I should've stayed outta there but I had to do it. Couldn't resist.

    I looked at it online again and the price was too good to pass up. I was always curious if they were anything close to the real thing. The real thing probably costs about 3 grand so I would never get one of those.

    This was the guitar that Freddie King used to record some of his classic guitar songs. I read that Clapton wanted one but had to settle for a '59 LP. Just think if he would've started out with a '56.

    The guitar was in pretty good shape and the intonation was pretty good. The action was set pretty good. The pots worked but the pickup switch might need some cleaning up.

    Bottom line: the thing sounds fantastic with my Vox AC15!

    Will post a pic as soon as I can.
     
  2. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    1- No, they're not close to the real thing

    2- No, that's not the guitar Freddie King used.

    For the money they're a nice guitar. Appreciate it for what it is, not what you want it to be.
     
  3. rogb

    rogb Tele-Afflicted

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    As above, nothing like the real thing if you mean the 56 Goldtop.
    I had one for 1 day, played it out then sent it back. You get what you pay for and to me felt and sounded awful, no resonance and a generic P90 sound.

    I hoped I had found a cheap way into the 56 experience. Nope.

    Glad your experience is better.
     
  4. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Meister

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    If I remember correctly there are two slightly different versions. According to what I've read on the interweb the newer one that came out around 2014 is the preferred one. I bought one second hand a couple of years ago and I just love it. Tones somewhere between a humbuckerand and a single coil, 500K pots, big 50s style neck. The previous owner had changed the tuners so that might be th weak spot.
     
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  5. WetBandit

    WetBandit Friend of Leo's

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    20190411_112234.jpg

    I done some work on this one for a buddy... swapped pickups, pots, wiring, switch etc...

    It is a fine guitar (now).

    He scored this and an SKB case for $250.

    Before the swap it was awful, dark and muffled sounding. The pickups were just plain mud.

    I was sad to see it leave a few days ago.
     
  6. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Meister

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    I have 2 Epi LPs. One 'Standard' from ~2017. One a '60's Tribute' limited edition plain top from 2010 (it came with Gibson 57 Classic pickups and Gibson hardware as standard).

    They are both now lovely to play, the 2017 slightly better than the other due to a better setup. However it was a kinda long path to get there...

    In short, I played a 1995 Gibson LP premium flametop model that was for sale in my local music shop for about 3k. I was blown away by it - it was glorious to play, but way way too much for me to spend as I'm an amateur hack :D .

    I know the luthier well and in chatting, he offered to take all the measurements of the 95 Gibson and set up my 2 LPs the same as a kind of fun test. He changed the 2017 to a bone nut, set everything the same (nut height, string heights, relief etc).

    They both played infinitely better afterwards. The 2010 60's was pretty near to the 95, to the point that it played and sounded better than most of the 'real' LPs in the store - the Gibson pickups really helped.

    The 2017 played great but sounded very inarticulate and fuzzy - so we changed the pickups to SD 57 classics, and it absolutely sung. Another customer asked me to sell it to him after hearing the demo!

    Out of the box the Epis are not bad but not great, with some investment they can become lovely guitars! I'd definitely start with a new nut and pickups.

    I've since changed to SD 'Whole Lotta Humbuckers' and love the guitars even more...

    The only difference now between these and the 1995 is play time - the Gibson had been played a lot, had worn frets and felt 'worn in' - hoping in a few years the Epi's may feel the same.

    All in I think I invested about ~300$ to buy each, and 150$ each in pickups. Compared to a Gibson, I'd take this any day. (And yes I do also have a few 'real' Gibson to compare to).
     
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  7. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 Tele-Afflicted

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    You’re talking about the 56 Standard Pro....

    I have one too fat neck, killer quality- my favorite guitar in my collection. Mine has multiple tweaks - Bourn potentiometers and 50’s wiring with PIO caps, graphite nut, Gibson tuners and roller bridge.
    The pickups are Epi pro P90’s. It is a completely different and upgraded guitar from the Epiphone 56 Goldtop

    I prefer it to a friends R6 probably because the neck on mine is sanded and tru oiled. The tone is equivalent and mine stays in tune all day tho I do use a 16g G string.

    I can’t presently afford a Gibson 50’s Goldtop but I’m always hunting!

    The right one would be my personal grail. My Epi Pro covers the itch nicely but.....
     
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  8. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    The epi 56 goldtops are nice guitars if you get a good one.
    Congrats, look forward to some pics. I have a black epi goldtop and a epi plus top standard from 09? Both nice players. I prefer my Gibson traditional plus top and Japan lp style guitars but for the money the epi is close enough. I'm sure some of the epis are better than some of the vintage gibsons. It's not like every example of every model of guitar is the same.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  9. Lima Junior

    Lima Junior TDPRI Member

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    My Epi 56 LP is with me since 2008. After eleven years of good work, it has now a very pleasant voice. But it is very modded too: 02 Lollar minihumbuckers, CTS pots and switch, roller bridge, locking tuners. Lovely guitar. Far from the real thing but ver nice IMHO.
     
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  10. MattyK-USA

    MattyK-USA Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Every guitar has its own personality, and I hope you like the one you got. :)

    Post pics!
     
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  11. chet again

    chet again Tele-Meister

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    Freddie King did start out with a LP with soapbar pickups. Some of his early albums had a pic with him and one.

    Close enuff to the real thing for me!
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  12. hdvades

    hdvades Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    +1 on the 56 Std Pro. Big fat neck and better electronics/P90s than the earlier version.
    I had one and liked it a lot. Needed some $$$ and sold it.
    Some folks say the earlier one had a solid maple cap. Wouldn't know as I never had one.
     
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  13. DrPepper

    DrPepper Tele-Afflicted

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    He said his is pretty good... My grandmother would have replied "just pretty good?"...
     
  14. chet again

    chet again Tele-Meister

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    I don't know if this guitar has been modded or not. All the basic stuff checked out and I thought it might need Gibson pickups installed but these sound pretty good. I don't have a vintage '56 goldtop to compare it with. I do like the sound of it better than the Gibson Les Paul I used to have.
     
  15. chet again

    chet again Tele-Meister

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    Thar she blows...


    IM002685 (2).JPG
     
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  16. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    I own a bunc of guitars with P90's, including two of those Epi 56 Goldtops, and several actual Gibsons.

    On one of the Epi 56 GTs, I replaced the pickups with genuine Gibson P90s. The Gibson P90s are a little bit higher output and feedback on slightly sweeter overtones.

    For the money spent, I don't believe it was worth doing, and I would NOT do it again.

    Back in the 80's I had a 68 Goldtop, which was one of the first Les Pauls that Gibson made when they reintroduced the Les Paul. Supposedly a lot of the 68 Goldtops were made with parts left over from the 50's that had been in storage. It was a great guitar, but it was heavy like the proverbial boat anchor, and while the original P90 pickups sounded sweet, they were noisey as sin.

    I believe the pickups in the earlier Epi 56 Goldtops are Alnico 2. It's a huge improvement over the ceramic P90s they use in their budget guitars.

    The more recent, ie. post 2010, Epi 56 GTs have the P90 PRO pickups, and I think those are awesome too. In fact, I think the P90 PRO sounded more like my old '68 P90s than modern actual Gibson P90s do.

    Modern Gibson P90s are much hotter, and when you get them as a set, are reverse wound reverse polarity for hum cancelling in the middle position.
     
  17. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis TDPRI Member

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    I have an Epiphone goldtop with P90s. Don't know what year it is, and don't particularly care. It sounds and plays great.
     
  18. CFFF

    CFFF Tele-Meister

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    Did this guitar have p90 pickups before?
     
  19. WetBandit

    WetBandit Friend of Leo's

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    No. If it did I would have pretended it was stolen and kept it myself...lol!
     
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