Epiphone vs Gibson: what's the difference?

Epiphone vs Gibson: what's the difference?
(Image credit: Future)

Once upon a time, you bought an Epiphone guitar simply because you couldn't afford a Gibson. That's fact. As of 2022 however, a revamp of the Epiphone lineup means that these affordable heroes can no longer be dismissed as the poor cousins of "the real thing" and the Gibson vs Epiphone debate got a little more interesting. Vintage spec, pimped pickups and eyeball-seducing aesthetics mean that even the most modest budget can bag a guitar with serious tone, feel, and curb appeal.

It's all good news over at parent company Gibson USA too. After bouncing back following a period of uncertainty and poor management, the brand is putting out some of its best ever instruments. The message? No matter how much you have to splash out, there's a Gibson or Epiphone with your name on it. Let's help you find out which one that is...

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Ed Mitchell

Ed Mitchell was Reviews Editor on Total Guitar magazine from 2003, and his guitar-modding column, Ed’s Shed, appeared in print on both sides of the Atlantic (in both Total Guitar and Guitar World magazines). He was the Editor of The Blues Magazine from 2012-16, and a contributor to Guitarist, Classic Rock and Louder. He died in October 2022, aged 52. Between them, the websites Guitar World, Louder and MusicRadar host over 400 of his articles – among them interviews with Billy Gibbons, Paul Weller, Brian Setzer, profiles on Roy Buchanan, Duane Allman and Peter Green, a joint interview with Jimmy Page and Jack White, and dozens of guitar reviews – and that’s just the ones that made it online.