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Guitar buying advice please....

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Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 20
Topic starter  

Hi all...i'm looking into getting a new electric sometime this year. I am heavily leaning toward an Epi Les Paul, i really like the style of those. The only thing that is holding me back is the ones i have looked at are made in China, and that kinda scares me. So i was wondering if anyone could tell me if there are any other brands of guitar in the $500-$700 price range that are made in USA? Or does it really make much difference? Any advice or opinions on this?

Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3995

There are many guitars in that price range but probably you will not find too many guitars "made in USA" in it.

I have an Epiphone Les Paul and many members also have that guitar. Probably everybody agrees it is not the best guitar over the world but you are paying just a part that a custom Gibson (usually a 10%).

Perhaps you could play one of those guitars and decide if it is good for you. Sometimes it is not important where the guitars are made.

Also you could consider a Gibson. At least here many stores are reducing the prices of the Gibson guitars. I saw a Gibson SG for less than 500€ this week.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5381

I don't care if it's made in Kamikazistan if the guitar speaks to me. In the past decade or so quality in guitar making has really gotten better world round. Check your Chinese guitar out and if it works for you, feels good, sounds good, makes you want to pick it up and play it, then buy it.

I've played guitars made in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Japan, Canada, Mexico, England and Australia that I liked enough that I bought them. My USA made guitars are excellent, but they aren't the only game in town.

You could check out musician's friend used and clearance....this one caught my eye

Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1497

I've got one US guitar, one Japanese guitar, one Korean guitar and one Indonesian guitar. They are all well built and I like them all for different reasons.

If I like the guitar, it doesn't matter where it is made.

I've got one sax made in Taiwan, one made in Italy, one made in the USA and I've owned saxes made in France and Germany, too.

It's a global economy now, and I simply must like the instrument. That's all that matters.

I've heard good reports on the quality of the newer Chinese Epiphones. They had some problems when they first opened the factory, but they seem to have gotten that under control.

Whatever you end up with, good luck to you.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats >^. .^< >^. .^<

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833

The Chinese have figured out how to build guitars. I have or have had several from their early days of building guitars for the Western mass market that have some flaws, and more recent ones that are excellent.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1630

Godin has some nice guitars, I don't know if these are made in USA or Canada. I have one, and it says clearly, "Assembled in the U.S.A. from parts manufactured in Canada"

These will hold their own with the Epiphone. But, try and buy what you like. I actually prefer the older, heavier and less-laminated Epi Les Pauls - then I saw a period of decline since 2000, with higher prices on poorer guitars IMO, but maybe they have pulled up their socks? Most companies insist on better quality now, not fast-food-type production from China.

Chinese manufacturers, as well as their government regulators have finally stepped back to curb uncontrolled industrial growth, shoddy workmanship across the board, including toys and stereo components, tools, etc. Electronics are great!

I have a few MIC guitars, Squiers and a Cort which are good. Chances are that Cort will manufacture your proposed Epi.

I own a Hagstrom made in Korea I think? I moved and am cut off from the body of my collection including Gibson & PRS.

I have run my fingers down and at least touched most of these guitars, plus Jay Turser and Dean; all very good examples.

I was looking at and liking an Epi Special II made in China, and am considering it for practice & loaning. The sides of the frets are rough, as has been the case of many Oriental or offshore guitars for decades, which arrive in cold dry Canada.

My MIC Cort has that problem, as does my daughter's Squier '51. However Godin will never let anything like that pass. :D

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

Honorable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 549

You can find used Chinese instruments for sale with little effort. This at least keeps the money local. I highly recommend finding a friendly, locally owned music store -- you don't have to explain your issues with Chinese gear, just look at the labels on the back of the peghead. :wink:

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa

Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1221

Godin has some nice guitars, I don't know if these are made in USA or Canada. I have one, and it says clearly, "Assembled in the U.S.A. from parts manufactured in Canada"...

+! on considering a Godin. I have a Godin LG HB, which is probably their most Les Paul like guitar:

Mahogany body and neck, dual HBs.

It's in your price range, built like a tank, great value for the money and extremely well finished.

More importantly though, try 'em all and buy the guitar that plays the best for you.


Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 151

Let your hands,fingers and ears be the judge of guitars instead of the name on the headstock or the labe where they're made.I have one USA guitar,and some made in Mexico,Japan,Indonseia and China.Most likely your audience won't know where the guitar is made.Try some guitars in your price range,listen and feel the guitar,let that be your guide.

Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 652

But if you talk trash about the Epi Les Paul, you may have to armwrestle TRGuitar or something. He's posted many times that his Epi LP is his main, and favorite, axe. And I think he owns a Gibson Les Paul, so...the Epi must be hot.

Personally, I don't own an LP, but have played some Epis that were absolutely crazy good guitars. Great stuff for the price.

And I've played some that were...pretty bad.

What everyone else said. See the guitar. Play the guitar. If it's good, it doesn't matter who made it. If it's not good, I guess it doesn't matter who made it either.


Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 312

I would highly suggest looking into Rondo Musics' Agile Series. I have played everything from a squire to Andy Summers (HIS ACTUAL) Stratocaster and Agile makes quite a guitar for that price range. Very hot pickups, excellent quality. I would personally avoid chinese makes with anything/everything in life but agile is assembled in korea, and korea makes some quality stuff. Almost all of Schecter's stuff is korean and there good guitars too.

Skip the first few pages of cheap guitars they have any get up to your price range and check out some like the Agile 3000,


Sing Me A Song Your a Singer, Do me a wrong, your a bringer of evil. - Dio

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840

The whole question of where it is made is nonsense. Take a look at the Yamaha SA2200 - it beats the socks off a Gibson ES335. Made in Japan.

In England, you can get the Burn's Marquee for around the same price as an MIM Strat. The whole guitar is far better quality than the Fender and it's made in Korea. Burn's has its top end guitar parts produced in Asia, but assembled in England.

Epiphone built its own factory in China, which turns out everything, but the Elitist series, which are made in Japan.

Samick produces huge amounts of guitars, for all manner of "brands" - one year they produced well over half of ALL guitars, produced in that year. They are in Korea.

The quality is dictated by the "brand", not by the factory. There was a Samick ES335 clone, which was produced on the same production line as the Epi Dot and Sheraton. Not the same quality as the Epi, at all.

Don't look at the place of manufacture. Play it, listen to it. Judge it on its merits.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
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Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3709

I own guitars made all over the world. The country of origin does not always indicate the quality of the instrument. I have 2 Made in USA Gibson Les Pauls and I have 2 Made in China Epiphone Les Pauls. I play the Epiphones on a daily basis. There isn't that much difference, they are close. For what it's worth, the Made in Korea Epiphone Les Pauls that we used to see were inferior to the Chineese ones. Some of the bodies were alder with mahogony verneers. Some of the necks were maple. My Chineese Les Pauls are mahogony all the way except for the maple verneer on the top. The Korean tuners were a foriegn knock off of the Kluson style green key tuners where the Chineese models come with Grovers. (I own a Made in Korea Epiphone SG) It is my opinion the Made in China ones are an upgrade and mind you it was not my first incling when I found out Epiphone moved their manufacture. I thought, I'll never own one of these! Well, I own 2. :lol:

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --

Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 20
Topic starter  

Thanks a lot guys for the replies, lots of sound advice here. I don't have anything against foreign made guitars, i just am trying to get an idea of which guitars are quality instruments. I've owned a total of 2 electrics in my life, a Harmony LP when i was a teen, and currently have a Charvel strat. I like the way the Charvel plays, but it only has one pickup and no tone knob, so i feel limited in that area. I want an instrument that will last. I'm sure you all know where i'm coming from. Right now i'm checking out the Agile 3000 models, there's a black one i have my eye on.
Once again, thanks for the replies.

Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2241

Spear. Spear guitars are awesome quality for crazy low prices.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

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