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Thread: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

  1. #1

    Question Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

    Hi all. I a doing some Christmas shopping for my husband and I don't know anything about instruments. He currently has an Alverez mandolin (not sure the model) but he doesn't care for it and dreams of an A-style Gibson made after 1940. Now there's no way I can afford that (Think champagne taste on a beer budget! I noticed that Gibson has an Epiphone line which I'm told by a friend is just the budget line.

    My question is would an Epiphone be an adequate substitute? Currently looking at an epiphne MM30. Or if you have better ideas, I'm open to suggestion. I have no idea what I'm doing here so any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

    Also what does the S on the end of the Epiphone MM30S stand for?
    I assume MM20 is a lesser model than MM30

  4. #3

    Default Re: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

    Hi and welcome! Tough questions to answer in just a few sentences. Basically, no the Epiphone would not be a good substitute, IMHO. It is an import and a "Gibson" in name only. It would be on par with the Alvarez. You mention he likes vintage, so depending on your budget, a 40's or 50's Gibson A-50 would be in the $700-1200 range. An A-40 from the same period would be a little less, maybe $600-900 approx. A vintage USA made budget mandolin would be a 30's or 40's Kalamazoo, made by Gibson and can be found for $300-600 (although people like to ask more...)

    You didn't state a budget, so that may help pinpoint some other choices available. Good luck with your search!

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

    One thing Jeff forgot to mention is that Epiphone mandolins are mostly laminate wood construction, as opposed to the all solid wood construction of made in USA true Gibsons. The ďsĒ on the MM30s stands for solid top. That would improve the sound somewhat over an all laminate instrument, but still would not sound as good as a mandolin with solid wood all around.

    Jeff has made some really good recommendations as far as affordable Gibson mandolins. Obviously you have to buy used (they havenít made A styles in years) and accept some honest play wear. If you decide to go the route of a vintage Gibson A, I urge you to buy from a reputable dealer who will examine, set up, and stand behind your purchase. Gruhnís, Carter Vintage, Gryphon, Elderly are only a few. Guitar Center offers used instruments with generous return periods but no guarantees or set ups. eBay and such, well, itís like buying a pig in a poke, and not for the faint of heart. The extra money you spend at a reputable dealer is worth it IMHO. Good luck.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    2011 Weber Bitterroot A
    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

    Be very careful buying instruments for others. Musicians are funny creatures. They tend to be very particular about things that other people would not even give thought to, or seem meaningless to some. Things that seem very simple to most folks, such as picks, straps, and strings are very personal to the musician. Unless you know of a specific mandolin your husband has had his eye on, or have a good feel for the parameters that his ideal mandolin fits in it might be better to get him something else.

    Adam

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

    Unless you are rich and can simply buy the best, never buy an instrument as a surprise gift. Question: What body style is his current mandolin? Also, I have heard some very nice Harmony Montereys. I have their premium all-solid wood model from the 40s and it has a wonderful sound and a great neck and fingerboard. I'm sure with a little shopping you almost certainly could find one for quite cheap.
    Blessings and good luck.

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  12. #7

    Default Re: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

    Look at it this way, if your husband liked Harleys or ski boats or golf, the money spent would be unbelievable, so a really nice mandolin to last him a lifetime is the best financial expenditure you could possibly make, and all that money you'd save could go toward cute purses. And the time it would keep him out of your hair, priceless.

    Seriously, instruments are a subjective purchase and not to be taken lightly.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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    Default Re: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone


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    Default Re: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

    Quote Originally Posted by RobBob View Post
    Wow, most of those are affordable! Good choices.

  17. #10

    Default Re: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

    Thanks for the reply Jeff! I really appreciate your help!

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  19. #11

    Default Re: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

    Thanks for the help Don. I'm a fish out of water here and you gave some much needed advice!

  20. #12

    Default Re: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

    Hi Rusty, He currently has an F style Alverez. Thanks for the input I'll look into Harmony Montereys.

  21. #13

    Default Re: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

    Michael Kelly,
    Are you sure you don't know my husband? This sounds exactly like something he would say....or put his friends up to saying! But seriously you do make some good points!!!!

  22. #14

    Default Re: Gibson vs Gibson Epiphone

    RobBob,
    Thank you so much for the links! I'll check them out!

    All you guys have been so helpful with your responses!

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