Is Epiphone a Good Guitar Brand? [Solved]

Epiphone is Gibson’s sister company that offers lower price points for iconic “Gibson-esque” instruments. The guitars are made in China at the Qingdao factory. The cheaper labor plus the lesser expensive materials lower the costs of these guitars. But how much does it affect the sound/quality and is Epiphone a good guitar brand?

Epiphone is considered to be a good brand by most guitarists because of the lower price point for iconic Gibson designs. Despite the lower price point, Epiphone produces quality and consistent guitars, especially with their newer SG models

Continue reading to learn if Epiphone guitars are as good as Gibson guitars, if Epiphone is a good guitar brand, and if they are worth it.

Is Epiphone a good guitar brand?

Are Epiphone Guitars Made By Gibson?

Yes, Epiphone guitars are made by Gibson. Gibson purchased Epiphone in 1957 after the two companies had been rivals previously, specifically in the arch-top guitar market. Today, Epiphone is marketed as the budget-friendly Gibson.

Before being bought by Gibson, as mentioned above, they were Gibson’s main rival in the 1930s and 40s. After complications resulting from the great world war and the passing of their then-current owner, Gibson was able to purchase them. This allowed Gibson to expand their distribution network and eventually move production of Epiphone models overseas.

Unique to Epiphone, the Epiphone factory in China only makes Epiphone guitars. Most guitar companies employ manufacturers in Asia that are massive manufacturing complexes specific to guitars. Although, these massive complexes often do not only produce one brand of guitars. One building could produce Squier, PRS, Ibanez, etc. Epiphone is not like that, their factories only produce Epiphone which gives them greater control over the manufacturing and logistics process (cheaper prices and higher quality).

With Epiphone, guitarists can purchase guitars with the same aesthetic as Gibson models like the Les Paul, SG, Flying V, etc. This is the same as Fender did with Squier. The purpose of this practice is to capture lower-spending consumers without branding cheaper guitars with the namesake brand.

Are Epiphone Guitars as Good as Gibson?

No, Epiphone guitars are not as good as Gibson. In terms of the quality of the instrument and sound output, Gibson is better than Epiphone and it will always remain this way as Gibson is cautious in the prospect of Epiphone quality matching Gibson’s, thus decreasing profit margins significantly by the brand conversion of customers.

Gibson guitars are made with greater attention to detail. The electrics are made in Nashville with higher quality materials and a more robust manufacturing process with more checks and balances (quality control confirmed).

From a technical perspective, pots in the tone controls are not as responsive in Epiphone guitars as they are on Gibson’s. The pickups aren’t quite as warm, specifically the bridge pickup. It is mostly the electronics that Gibson thrives in over Epiphones. Epiphone guitars have great bones, so upgrading the electrical components can very much help to reach the Gibson level.

With all that being said, in my humble opinion, Gibson’s are better but not that much better. Especially for the bedroom or the occasional session guitarist who is not playing six hours a day and touring. Manufacturing technology with guitars is becoming state of the art. The result of this is more fine guitars being produced in Asian factories.

Find Out if Gibson is a Good Guitar Brand Today

Many guitarists, including myself, have noticed cheaper brands like Epiphone and Squier outputting quality guitars that are starting to rival their parent companies. But they are not there yet.


Epiphone offers a better value but Gibson offers a better instrument. These are two entirely different things. The money you pay for an Epiphone is low for the great instrument you receive. The money you pay for a Gibson is high for the greater instrument you receive. This is known as the law of diminishing returns.

Epiphone guitars are the only way you can play an authentic Gibson-style body cut/shape on a budget.

Is Epiphone a Good Guitar Brand?

Three factors are involved when evaluating whether Epiphone is a good brand or not. These factors are the quality of their instruments, the consistency, and the playability.

Let’s dive into each.


Quality is an aspect that Epiphone shines in. The manufacturing technology has become state of the art, allowing for higher quality guitars to be produced, even at lower prices.

The woodwork and finish are superb, making the guitar look extremely similar to their Gibson older brother. The guitars I purchased stayed in tune, despite not having locked tuning and the headstock has seen recent improvements from past models.

The only quality discouragement I had was with the volume/tone pots and the pickups. Although, please keep in mind that these are usually the first aspects of an inexpensive guitar that brands will “cut corners on”. The pots were not as responsive as I would have liked and the dials rotated slightly clunky. Pickups seemed a little too hot and I heard some breaks when I bent to the high notes. Although, neither of these aspects represents the entire quality of the guitar.

For the price of Epiphone guitars, the quality is superb and I would not be surprised if, in the coming years, the quality starts to rival Gibson’s.


Similar to quality, Epiphone has proven to create consistent guitars for the majority of its models. As mentioned above, Epiphone guitars are made in a factory that only produces Epiphone guitars. This allows the brand to hone in on their manufacturing process with the factory and ensure each guitar is produced adequately.

Quality has been consistent. Although, after trying several straight out-of-the-box Epiphone guitars, I have noticed that they were not set up properly. Something that would likely go unnoticed by a beginner. The action was ridiculously high and the strings were extremely tight which is not great when the guitar goes through various humid environments in the shipping process.

One other note is the frets were slightly high across all of the guitars. I am not positive if this was intentional by Epiphone but my previous Epiphones did not have this setup issue.

Luckily these setup issues are extremely fixable. If you are a beginner, I recommend taking it to a guitar shop to get it set up and with some new strings. The stock strings are not my preference. If you are an experienced guitarist, then you will likely just need to lower the action, check the fret height, and adjust accordingly.

I checked the intonation and any potential warping and saw no issues. No electrical issues so in my books, these guitars are consistent aside from their setup.

Epiphone ships their guitars with four layers of protective boxes so damages during transit is rare.


After receiving the guitars that I would be reviewing, I quickly set them up properly to my liking. Lowered the action, carefully shaved down some frets, and changed out the strings. Again, for beginners, a guitar tech can do this all for you for less than $70.

After it was set up, I got to playing. And wow are they fun to play. The necks felt great and smooth and experienced no sharp frets. The wood on the neck did not feel grainy when bending to notes and the pickups remained relatively consistent. I did notice a bit of a high-end on the bridge pickup but it did not deter me much as it is an inexpensive guitar and pickups are usually the first to cut costs.

Felt great to play the Les Paul and play some Led Zeppelin, as I was able to match Page’s Kashmir tone within an hour of tone manipulation via just the guitar and amp (BOSS Katana).

“Bought the Bonamassa Les Paul today and it is an absolute beast. Plays and feels so close to a Gibson Les Paul Standard sounds amazing and looks spectacular. A superb buy for the money – well done Epiphone.”

Gavin B, Guitar Reviewer

Again, this is not a sponsored post but I sure did love playing these Epiphone guitars. The difference in sound with my Gibson was slightly noticeable but not enough to justify the exponentially higher price of a Gibson. In the end, Epiphone guitars are extremely fun and playable guitars.

Are Epiphone Guitars Worth it?

Yes, Epiphone guitars are worth it because they offer iconic Gibson designs at a fraction of the price. The quality, consistency, and playability of Epiphone guitars at a lower price point make these guitars worth it as their quality control from their China factory is getting better and the playability makes them a joy to play at all skill levels.

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