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Gibson vs Epiphone classic pro Tbird build quality

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rokoko, Jan 28, 2014.


  1. Rokoko

    Rokoko

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    I have been reading reviews on gibson and epi classic pro thunderbird, and as far as i can gather they sound similar and both are fine instruments, but my question is:

    How similar is the bulid quality (without looking at the price tag)

    How similar is the neck profile?
     
  2. Eatapeach1965

    Eatapeach1965

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
  3. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Small sample, but I tried 2 Gibsons and 1 Epi Classic at GC and the Epi was the better playing of the 3. I didn't plug them in, but from what I understand they're the same electrically. Without all 3 getting the same setup I can't say it is all that revealing, but based on that if I had to pick one for a gig that night I'd take the Epi. Also it was white, and it looked sharp as hell.
     
  4. Gaolee

    Gaolee The Fat Violin

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    I don't own a Gibson, but I have played them. I do own an Epi Pro. It is an earlier version, but the neck profile is the same as the newer ones I have picked up. It is also the same as Gibsons, as far as my primate fists can tell.
     
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  6. Rokoko

    Rokoko

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Webtroll, thats exactly the kind of opinions i want. My local musicstore dont have the epis around so i will sadly have to order one online if i want one.

    And yes i know they aren't identical, but if the Epi is reasonably close and gig'able im sold!
     
  7. BirdThunder

    BirdThunder

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    I tried them both at GC and I own an epi classic-IV pro, they have the same pick ups, Gibson USA TB+ pickups, almost same feel, I must say the fret work on gibson is tad smoother, The only specs I noticed is gibson got a 9 ply while the epi has 7, gibson sound much growlier or something like that. As for the neck i didn't notice any difference, they both have this tapered neck almost like a jazz bass feel, tbh almost no difference except for the branding and plies.
    I suggest going to guitarcenter or any shop so you can try them.
     
  8. Rokoko

    Rokoko

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Birdthunder, so in your opinion they feel quite similar but the Gibson is growlier?
     
  9. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Have you tried asking in the TBird club thread? Personally I think they're not just reasonably close but very close.
     
  10. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Burbank, CA
    I think they're really close too. The new Epi Classic Pro is a MUCH better instrument than the older version. They moved the front strap button to where it should be and the ones I've tried balanced fairly well...not perfect, but the horrific balance found on many birds has been greatly improved.

    I played a couple of Epi's, the Gibson IV and Gibson 50th Anniversary not long ago. Couldn't tell much difference in neck profile or feel. I thought the Gibsons sounded better - a little bigger and beefier, but honestly, for the money I would have to go with the Epi if I was buying one.

    Disclaimer: I'm NOT buying one, because despite having tried to love a T-Bird many times and owning the Gibson version for a year or so I simply cannot get used to how they feel and play. Love them for recording, can't make it work on stage to save my life. YMMV
     
  11. BirdThunder

    BirdThunder

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    Yes, they almost have the same specs, like I said, 9 ply for gibson, 7 or epi, both have the USA TB+ pickups, Plus the neck nut edges of the epi is a bit sharp, so you may wanna file it a little bit, if you're a bit cashstrapped, go for the epiphone, the newer models got their strap button at the heel of the neck like Mr. Sparkdog said, perhaps other difference aren't noticeable, might be better workmanship? and the obvious the price, But if you're gonna get a tbird, I suggest trying them first cause it's not an ergonomic bass, it's either you're a thunderbird player or you're not.
     
  12. DethByDoom

    DethByDoom

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Location:
    Houston,Tx
    First:
    ImageUploadedByTalkBass1394900857.038336.jpg
    That's a 2013 Epiphone thunderbird classic pro and a 2014 Gibson thunderbird. So, these two are both very close together in age. I set them up identically. String & pickup height the same. Same strings. Same amps and cabs. The idea is that whichever one I pickup they have the exact same feel.

    So, straight out of the box the differences begin. The epi came in a box. Factory set up was ok but it obviously needed a set up. Intonation and action was a bit off. Strings were serviceable. Finish was good. Has the minor weird spots around the neck and raised center piece that's common even on gibsons. The electronics are vastly better than the non pro epis. Very close to the gibby tbird. The pots are not as responsive as the stock Gibson pots. The serial number is painted on in a very universal manner. Strap buttons are placed to eliminate neck dive.

    The Gibson comes in its case. A very nice one at that. Factory setup was awesome. Intonation was flawless. Strings were a better set of stainless rounds. It truly felt ready to gig right out the box. The neck is not as thick and is a tiny bit wider. The finish is noticeably thinner and just a bit more refined. The electronics are again just more refined. The pickups have the same fundamental sound but just sound much "clearer" and "woodier". The pots provide a smoother more even taper and the tone pot is much more usable. The bridges are identical. The gibby's tuners are smother and more consistently "firm"(?) in operation. The nut is of a higher quality on the Gibson. Weight and size wise I can't tell a difference.

    Honestly, the difference is refinement in details. But the question most will have is, "Is that refinement worth the price?" In my mind YES. The Epiphone is a solid entry to mid level bass. It looks good, sounds good, and is affordable for most. BUT. The Gibson feels and sounds like a $1200- $1500 bass. Which, is not for everyone. But if you like the sound, look and feel of an Epi Tbird, you'll f***ing love a Gibson Tbird.
     
  13. Mark4

    Mark4

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    What do you mean by this? Every Epi Classic Pro and Gibson I've seen has been neck through from the tail end all the way through the tip of the headstock.
     
  14. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Location:
    The Great Midwest
    I have played both and couldn't find a $1000.00 difference in the Gibson.
     
  15. Mark4

    Mark4

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    To answer the OP:

    In my experience, the build quality and neck profile are comparable. No two Gibson neck profiles are exactly alike, however, and the same may also be true for the Epiphone version. The Epiphones use thicker paint, however, so that might make them slightly thicker on average if built to similar specs.


    The big price difference is likely due to the following reasons:

    - Cost of labor: It's less expensive to manufacture them in Indonesia than in the USA.
    - Finish: Epi poly vs. Gibson nitro. Nitro is much more time and labor intensive.
    - Maybe higher grade mahogany?: This is just a guess, as Gibson is probably pickier about wood.
    - Hardware: Other than the pickups, the Epi uses Epiphone hardware. Generic tuning machines vs. Grover, for instance. Some parts like the bridge are so similar as to not make a difference.
    - Name on the headstock: If you want a genuine Gibson, then you pay more.

    The only thing I might change on my Epi Classic Pro is the tuners, and that's a big might. I probably won't. They stay in tune and are smooth enough, but a higher ratio would make the process of tuning slightly easier. Everything else is excellent, as far as I'm concerned. I'd say there's no *need* to upgrade anything on them.

    Is it the Gibson worth the price difference? I suppose, if you feel strongly about things like nitro vs. poly, country of manufacture, and name on the headstock. The other differences are minor enough to be negligible, IMO.
     
  16. DethByDoom

    DethByDoom

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Location:
    Houston,Tx

    They are both neck through. But the (edit: non pro) Epiphone's neck is two pieces. The headstock is joined to the rest of the neck around the first or second fret. The joint is subtle. Its oval shaped. I will try to take a pic later when I go by my practice space.
     
  17. DethByDoom

    DethByDoom

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Location:
    Houston,Tx
    Found a pic that shows the joint.
    ImageUploadedByTalkBass1394920290.947337.jpg
    Sorry its so small
     
  18. Mark4

    Mark4

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Interesting. My white one doesn't have a joint, and I can see the laminates continue from the body, through the neck, and then through the headstock when held up to the light. The sunburst I had for a while didn't have one either. Both are 2012 models though. I wonder if they changed how they're constructed, or a few were simply built like yours. I have seen scarf joints on the bolt-on models. Supposedly, such joints can make for a stronger headstock.
     
  19. DethByDoom

    DethByDoom

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Location:
    Houston,Tx
    My mistake. I looked at my classic pro and it is one piece. It's the non pro bolt on that has that joint.
     
  20. DethByDoom

    DethByDoom

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Location:
    Houston,Tx
    OP: Everyone is going to have a different opinion wether or not the Gibson is worth the extra money. Personally, I think there's a lot of small differences that add up to a very noticeable difference between the two. Besides the better sound, look, and feel; the Gibson will hold its value much better.
     

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