Originally Posted by DangerMoney
Do you recall the difference in materials? Anything specifically about the species or grade of wood?
Originally Posted by Jeffy
For the Les Paul's the biggest difference is that Epiphone uses a thin maple veneer on the cap instead of a solid maple cap. I think it's about 1 mm thick on a "mahogany" (Nato) cap. The body is also Nato/Eastern Mahogany instead of Honduran Mahogany. Some Elite models do have a maple cap though. I'm pretty sure they source their maple in Asia as well. The body is more often multi-piece as well as the neck's. Usually 3-6 pieces. The head and neck are separate pieces on an Epi. So you have 2 and sometimes 3 pieces not including the fingerboard. The other big difference is finish. Epi's use a polyurethane instead of the labor intensive nitrocellulose lacquer.
Here's a tour of the Epiphone Qing Dao factory.
Here's the veneer.
Pretty much what our tour guide told us.
That being said, I didn't want to start a rag war! Epiphone construction seems to follow the cheap labor trail. I have a Japanese made Epiphone FT-133 from the 70's. Great guitar and I play it as much as my Martin. If I remember correctly Epis were made in Korea and then facilities moved to China. They are great guitars for the price and 99% of us do not need to spend $4K on a guitar. When I was younger I thought that if I bought a Strat I would sound like Clapton and if I bought a 335 I would sound like B. B. King. Unfortunately, that is not the way it works.