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lespauls from china


lespaul77
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I have and have had some excellent Chinese built guitars. They've definitely caught up to South Korea, and maybe even to Japan in terms of potential quality. BUT... I've only bought well-known brands -- in fact, my go-to guitar of the moment (Steinberger SS-2F) is a Chinese-built guitar and it's excellent, amazing player. And once you go headless, you can't go back again... But I also have a Hofner Verythin CT and a Washburn parlor acoustic, both made in China, and I recently sold a Guild acoustic, also Chinese, also a great guitar.

 

It's not that I go looking for Chinese guitars, but that's where the market has shifted now. I can't justify spending the big bucks on a Western-built guitar, I'm just not that good of a guitar player.

 

But I'd be really leery of buying a no-name Chinese guitar. These things can sell for next to nothing -- check it out here:

http://www.alibaba.com/trade/search?fsb=y&IndexArea=product_en&CatId=&SearchText=electric+guitar

 

Resellers in the West buy these things in bulk, often slap their own names on them and pretend they're guitar makers.

 

At least with the name brands, they have a set list of specifications and depending on the brand and model, they'll have some quality control as well.

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REAAAALLLY depends on the brand. I have an Ariana? Alliyah? something like that I'll have to look when I get home. I hate that guitar. The only one of my guitars that I wouldn't run into a burning building to save. It's  a stratish copy like there are super strats and then there is this sort of a sub strat. The body is almost the size of a jazz bass and very fat. The neck isn't too bad, but the fit and finish of the hardware is awful. The volume knob is set in such a way that you can almost not NOT hit it when you're playing, I eventually just took it off. The frets are sharp, as is the bridge, so when you're palm muting you have these burrs digging into your hand. I've been meaning to fix it but I haven't found a place to buy a fine file over here yet so I can dress the rough edges. Oh and the tuning machines catch. They're supposed to be sealed. It's like dirt got into them at the factory. Or they just did a terrible job cutting the gears. Could be either. Oh and the electronics are crackly can't forget that. So yeah really really really depends. 

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You can find some great quality guitars on trading sites like mylespaul.com, sevenstring.org (people sell six strings too, lol), or TheGearPage. While some copies do make guitars in China, they are not knock-offs. Gibson owns Epiphone, so they are authentic, and while they may not be the greatest guitar in the world, you can rest assured that it will be better than the one in the video. You can find an Epiphone Les Paul on ebay for around $300. 

 

Just be careful. Gibson is highly counterfeited, but believe it or not, Epiphone is counterfeited more. The folks at mylespaul.com/forums are HIGHLY knowledgeable on this topic. I suggest checking that out.

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Well, the fact that the guy in the video bought one bad guitar just means... that he was stupid enough to spend $450 on a knockoff. I mean, seriously. Even a quick glance around -- ebay, Amazon, wherever-- will tell you that you can pick up a LP copy for as little as $100 (which includes the 75 percent markup the seller is taking). Paying this kind of money for aclear fake? Insanity.

 

What would this guy's opinion have been if he'd paid $100 for it? I'm sure he'd be like a lot of people, posting glowing reviews of his excellent deal. Just have a look at people raving at the GFS guitars -- they're the same guitars.

 

Now, here's another little factoid this guy doesn't know: That $2000 he paid for his Les Paul? Sheer marketing. The Gibson company was nearly bankrupt in the mid 80s or so when it was acquired by a group of Harvard MBA types. These people set out to restructure the company -- they did a lot of good work in that respect. But the biggest thing they figured out was: the higher they raised the price on their guitars, THE MORE THEY SOLD.

 

Gibson also did an excellent job repositioning the Epiphone brand. For a long time, Epiphone was synonymous with crappy low-end guitars (like Squires). But they changed the brand positioning, and in the last 10 years or so, Epiphone has become a pretty respectable brand in its own right. It's basically Gibson's Asian-made line (because they know they'd destroy that $2000 price tag if they put the Gibson label on their Asian built guitars). And especially when you're getting into the higher-priced range of Epiphones -- and especially Epiphone's own guitar models (their reissues), they're making some great guitars now.

 

For $450 bucks, you can get a pretty fine guitar. No need for a knockoff brand. I'm sure Epiphone (and PRS) have a guitar at that price point.

 

(Ps: here's an interview with the CEO of Gibson: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/2006-02-20-forum-gibson_x.htm

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I ordered a Gibson 339 2 years ago from an huge internet music store. After the guitar arrived I took it out of the case played a few licks and during every slide my fingers were going bump bump bump. The frets felt like a railroad track. After looking at the frets I seen they are SQUARE.

This was my first Gibson and I tought I got a lemon and should send it back. But after searching about that problem in the internet I found out that Gibson ships all guitars with square frets.

I liked the looks and the smell of the guitar very much but I could not adapt to the square frets so after a few months I sold it.

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Check out "China Guitar Sceptic" on youtube - he has intentionally bought several of the Chinese counterfeit Gibsons etc and modded them up to a playable level. If you really want to get into it - watch his vids. Just know that if you are in the USA, selling the guitar later is a crime and there is only a fairly small chance it will even get past customs now.

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My take on this is that I have a Chinese left handed les paul copy. (note les paul copy). And it plays relay sweet. But (and this is really important), it doesn't try to be a genuine les paul.

 

Also the right handed ones were a POS.

 

The advantage in being a Leftie is we can play every guitar within half an hour and decide for ourselves what is the best at our price range. Also we have to ignore branding if we are going to play more than one.

 

So the short answer is, ignore clones, but play every "style"copy to find the one that works best for yoy.

 

And the very short answer is play before you play,.

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I actually have a Chinese les paul copy bought from dhgate. I bought it as a kind of project, a cheap guitar that I can learn to setup without fear of ruining my decent guitars. When I ordered I asked the seller to change a few things so that it was made to my design, I went with an ebony fret board, no fret marker on 1st fret and all black hardware, this added about 3 weeks to the delivery time. The good thing about DH gate is that payments are made in escrow, so the seller doesnt get the cash until you have your guitar.

 

The guitar was supposed to be a Les Paul Dark Fire copy (minus the robot bits), it looks great from a distance, but when looking at it closely, theres a few small blemishes here and there. The body is made from 3 parts with a maple cap, the black binding on the body is actually painted on and bleeds into the rest of the body in some places, the neck has a very visible scarf joint for the headstock

 

When I got the guitar, it was set up quite well, although some frets needed leveling / dressing, I had to adjust the truss rod to get the action right for me. I replaced all of the electrics as the pickups were really weak, it had fake p90 and fake emg hz (no battery), lthough I have read that some actually get branded epiphone pickups. It also came with fake locking grover tuners that actually work well. I replaced the pickups with bare knuckle stacked p90 and mule in the bridge and wired it for coil splitting.

 

after that effort its a really nice sounding guitar and also feels pretty nice to play, but in hindsight, It wasnt worth the hassle. the guitar worked out at around £170 by the time i had it shipped and payed import taxes and surcharges, plus around £250 for the new pups and another £40 on pots and wire.

 

If I was to do it all again, id probably just go with a regular off the shelf guitar and customise it to get the sound that i want. In my mind with the china clones is that you are buying a nice looking guitar copy, if you want it to sound like a nice guitar, you WILL have to spend a little setup time / cost

 

Edit... Something that I read when researching to buy a Chinese Gibson, was that it depends what factory the guitar came from would determine how good the guitar can be. So checking feedback is very important to find 1 of those sellers. look for people who have returning customers. And be very clear on what you want when discussing with the seller, some things get lost in translation so make sure youre both on the same page before you send your money.

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I'm always tempted.. but usually end up with Rondo.

 

Rondo guitars are all Chinese imports. They just slap their name on generic guitars. I'm not saying they're not decent guitars, but it's not as if Rondo is a manufacturer.

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I actually saw a video on this subject about a year ago. The guy pointed out that the cheap copy he was showing actually FIXED a Gibson design flaw ( the thing about the necks breaking ) but otherwise it was crappy. He went through and fixed the setup, the poor wiring and others and when he was done,, hell I'd have it in my stable.

 I'm Allergic To Stupidity. I Break Out In Sarcasm.

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You can find some great quality guitars on trading sites like mylespaul.com, sevenstring.org (people sell six strings too, lol), or TheGearPage. While some copies do make guitars in China, they are not knock-offs. Gibson owns Epiphone, so they are authentic, and while they may not be the greatest guitar in the world, you can rest assured that it will be better than the one in the video. You can find an Epiphone Les Paul on ebay for around $300. 

 

Just be careful. Gibson is highly counterfeited, but believe it or not, Epiphone is counterfeited more. The folks at mylespaul.com/forums are HIGHLY knowledgeable on this topic. I suggest checking that out.

Yep, Epis are also counterfeited. I paid £300 for an Epi LP Custom on ebay, never got on with it and tried to sell it on eBay only for Gibson to ask ebay to pull the ad as it was a fake.  Even though it was a year after I bought it I went back to the guy who sold me it and he gave me a full refund: I was very lucky! 

Fender Classic Player Baja Telecaster; Epiphone Nighthawk Custom; Westone Concord 1: Italia Mondial Classic;


Epiphone J Mascis Jazzmaster; Chapman ML2 Classic Gold-top


 

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Do your reaseach first, honestly if your looking for something that resembles a les paul, i'd go with the Epiphone Les paul 100, its really good quality for the price. Check out youtube for the chinese copies they can take months to arrive and you dont know what condition theyll be in when they arrive, specialy the baggage transporters at airports these days.

I highly recommend you rethink about buying copies, i would bet all people are not 100% satisfied with a copy.

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This past Christmas (2013), @ Guitar Center, I purchased for my Son, an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro for About $460 total, with the standard Epiphone hard case. That is a new Guitar with the full Gibson/Epiphone warranty! This LP Custom Pro, all black with gold hardware, came with the push/pull knobs for coil tapping the PAF Humbuckers, as well a a push pull knob for the out of phase coils  "Peter Green Mod" that came installed stock (think Gary Moore's guitar sound)! A very sweet and fully loaded guitar to be sure!

 

In talking to a lot of LP players before buying this guitar, almost universally, I received the same tips; 1. Buy a Les Paul "Standard" or "Custom" model. They start out with a better quality of wood than the "Studio" or "100" models. 2. Buy from a local source where you can play and carefully inspect the guitar before you buy. If this is not possible, then only buy from major reputable online retailers who offer complete refunds! 3. If you cannot afford a good/great LP guitar now, then buy one that has the best body/neck (wood quality) as upgrading everything else can be relatively easy later on!

 

Another good tip that I received was that if we found a LP we liked from someone or somewhere that we didn't want to buy from, ask our local store to order that guitar for you or if its a large music store chain, find out if another branch has it in stock. Also ask the store about upcoming sales. often times, stores will have price wars and you can be the winner!

 

Hope it helps, Good luck!

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Well, the fact that the guy in the video bought one bad guitar just means... that he was stupid enough to spend $450 on a knockoff. I mean, seriously. Even a quick glance around -- ebay, Amazon, wherever-- will tell you that you can pick up a LP copy for as little as $100 (which includes the 75 percent markup the seller is taking). Paying this kind of money for aclear fake? Insanity.

 

What would this guy's opinion have been if he'd paid $100 for it? I'm sure he'd be like a lot of people, posting glowing reviews of his excellent deal. Just have a look at people raving at the GFS guitars -- they're the same guitars.

 

Now, here's another little factoid this guy doesn't know: That $2000 he paid for his Les Paul? Sheer marketing. The Gibson company was nearly bankrupt in the mid 80s or so when it was acquired by a group of Harvard MBA types. These people set out to restructure the company -- they did a lot of good work in that respect. But the biggest thing they figured out was: the higher they raised the price on their guitars, THE MORE THEY SOLD.

 

Gibson also did an excellent job repositioning the Epiphone brand. For a long time, Epiphone was synonymous with crappy low-end guitars (like Squires). But they changed the brand positioning, and in the last 10 years or so, Epiphone has become a pretty respectable brand in its own right. It's basically Gibson's Asian-made line (because they know they'd destroy that $2000 price tag if they put the Gibson label on their Asian built guitars). And especially when you're getting into the higher-priced range of Epiphones -- and especially Epiphone's own guitar models (their reissues), they're making some great guitars now.

 

For $450 bucks, you can get a pretty fine guitar. No need for a knockoff brand. I'm sure Epiphone (and PRS) have a guitar at that price point.

 

(Ps: here's an interview with the CEO of Gibson: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/2006-02-20-forum-gibson_x.htm

 

This ^^^

 

Spending that sort of money on anything from China is asking for trouble.

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I went with an Agile 2000 from rondomusic.com. I just love it. It is made in Korea and is better than any Epiphone i have ever played. Only cost about $225. Check them out. You wont have the Gibson name on it, but from what i have seen, the quality is better and you wont have to worry about any legal problems.

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I have a China Les Paul as well as an Agile 3010 from Rondo. Priced similar but with some huge differences. The China Les Paul looks beautiful from a distance, but once in your hands its a completely defferent story. The guitar looks impressive hanging on the wall for eye candy with its brand name and everything looking nearly perfect. Now as far as playing it, your pretty much guarenteed to have atleast one string out of tune by the end of a song due to some real crappy tuners, the pickups are nothing special and are quite muddy sounding. The feel of the guitar is pretty darn good though and with a little time and money to change the electronics and tuners, could be quite a nice guitar.

 

The Agile 3010, now thats a different story all together. Bought it new from Rondo, this beauty arrives in near perfect tune! The finish is great, the inlays are stunning, ebony fretboard, alnico pickups, the tuners are smooth and tight and stay put. Absolutely beautiful guitar in looks, sound, and playability. Yeah, its missing the Gibson name, but it took only a very short amount of time to not even care about that anymore. Would gladly give away the China copy for another one of these beauties, or even the 2000 model without thinking twice. I have a Jackson and an Ibanez here as well, both of which I have only good things to say about, but in all honesty I like the Agile even better.

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Also, the Agile guitars are from Korea, but with Rondo as the retailer he is able to buy in bulk and have the guitars meet a certain specification in terms of quailty and craftsmanship. Now these other China Les Pauls, your buying from tradetang, alibaba, or dhgate. You will come across 20 or more "guitar factories" on these sites all selling the exact same thing using the exact same pictures, other than their own watermark stamp on the images. You will be rolling the dice as far as what you get in terms of quality and craftsmanship, as these guys barely speak english, and you just hope for the best. You will however, not get the same exact guitar as shown in the picture, no matter how much the China guy says you will. By far mine is not total crap but it does need some work do be decent. Youtube PixxyLixxx and you will see a great success with a China copy, hunt around some more and you can find some horror stories.

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At this point, from what I've read (I've done research on the big South Korean musical instrument companies), most of the components now come from China anyway. Including necks, bodies, etc. They're probably only assembled in South Korea at this point, because it just costs too much to manufacture there. My guess is that a $225 guitar was not actually made in Korea. At this point, you'd have to go higher end than that.

 

I was never very impressed with Korean build quality anyway. The Korean guitars I've had were just fair, to be honest. On the other hand, all of the Chinese guitars I have are excellent -- like I said, they're all brand-name guitars (Hofner, Washburn, Steinberger, and a beautiful Guild acoustic, which I sold). It's all about the specifications -- the brand name companies have to be certain the quality is there, otherwise they'll destroy their brand.

 

No-name brands don't have this pressure. Rondo/Agile aren't really a no-name brand anymore -- they have a good rep for quality. And since their margins are probably razor-thin, they most definitely have to keep an eye on quality.

 

I think the difference between China and Korea (and Japan before) is that China could invest directly in state-of-the-art machinery, technology that didn't exist when these other countries were ramping up. And Chinese workers are amazing, even if their work conditions can be pretty lousy.

 

These days, the really cheap, low-quality guitars are coming from Indonesia.

 

Anyway, I ordered a guitar directly from a Chinese manufacturer a couple of weeks ago. I should have the guitar in another week or so -- no way of knowing what I'll get!

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I got an Epiphone Les Paul Custom PRO, built in china. looks amazing but it seems like everything from there has at least ONE little error. Beautiful guitar, gold hardware, no marks on the finish, screws and nuts on tight. But one of the pickups is pretty low. Easy fix though.

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