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Gibson/epi-elite experts! Q's re: models

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by watspan, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. watspan


    Nov 25, 2002
    madison, wi
    I hope some of the gibson and epiphone fans can sort me out on a few questions. I just got back from the music store and played a epiphone elite thunderbird iv, vintage sunburst, nickel hardware, $1100 list price--i liked it a lot--seemed well built, had the narrow type of neck i liked, sounded great through an ampeg classic tube head and 8x10 bottom (what wouldn't!) also saw the eb-3 epiphone elite (strange that this bass is not sold as a gibson?). I've done a little web research and it seems that the t-bird can be had as a gibson, an epiphone and an epiphone elite (eliminating "goth styles) I Know the elite is made in japan, the epi in korea and the gibson in the us(?) the dealer did not have the epi or gibson line, only the elite. can anybody comment on the differences? Is the epi-elite the equivalent of the gibson? what's the reputation on the elite's? I wanted to play the eb-3 elite, but it needed work. thanks for your input
  2. icks


    Jul 12, 2001
    bump, i want reviews too.
  3. SMG

    SMG Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    metro Detroit
    According to Gibson, the Elite line is supposed to be a definite step up from the plain Epiphones. They feature better woods, USA made pickups and in the case of the T-Bird, the same neck through construction as the USA model.

    I have played several of the Epiphone T-Birds at stores, and with their bolt on necks, they don't feel anything like my '76 Gibson. Is this good or bad? Well, some play fine, just feel different.

    On the other hand, I scored the remains of an Elite T-Bird from Guitarbage off of Ebay. All that I have is the wood with a broken off headstock (haven't started its resurection yet) but from what I can tell, the neck feels a lot like the Gibson. A point of note about this, though. The Elites use the typical truss rod system utilized by most Oriental guitar manufactures, that is a metal rod going through a metal "U" channel. This type of rod takes up a bit more room then the normal Gibson style tension rod. Because of this, the amount of wood that is left around of the truss rod on the Elite that I have (as you can clearly see with the broken off headstock) is much less then the Gibson would have...in fact, underneath the rod, there is almost no wood there at all. Very poor exection of design on the part of Gibson/Epiphone. There is so little wood that I haven't decided if I am going to try to glue this one back together, or remove the fingerboard and trussrod, cut a scarf joint, and fabricate a new headstock. The more I think about it, the more I lean towards the later as it would probably be much stronger.

  4. watspan


    Nov 25, 2002
    madison, wi
    I'll post a follow up of my own soon; i'm going back to the original store to try their elite eb-3, I'll try the elite t-bird again, then I've found a second store w/ a gibson t-bird. only thing missing will be a plain epiphone t-bird.

    I'm also excited to learn that the second store has allen woody signature epiphone rumblkats (been mega gas-ing to try one) and bongo's on order! :hyper:
  5. The Epiphone Elite is made closer to vintage Gibson T-Bird specs thusly I prefer it to the modern Gibson T-Birds. Both sound incredible.

    The regular Epi T-Birds sound nothing like a Gibson T-Bird. They are OK but not my cup of tea soundwise. There is only one reason to own a T-Bird and the standard Epi doesn't seem to have it.

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