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Les Paul: Gibson vs Epiphone – Can You Tell The Difference?

March 28, 2014 by · 14 Comments 

Hey Gear-Vault readers! An interesting debate was brought before our attention earlier this week and we thought we’d pass it along to you guys. Let’s put your mad guitar knowledge to the test! Comment your answer at the end of this kick ass discussion!

Can you tell which is Gibson and which is the Epiphone?

Now let’s take a closer look at these two guitars:

[click to enlarge]
Epiphone Les Paul vs Gibson Les Paul

At first glance, these two guitars appear quite similar. In fact, many players might even have trouble distinguishing between the two. However, did you know that the left guitar often costs as much as NINE TIMES than the one on the right? That’s right. The axe on the left is perhaps one of the most recognizable guitars in the world: a Gibson Les Paul Standard. You can typically purchase one of these for around $2500-3500. Pictured just to the right of the Gibson is the Epiphone Les Paul Standard, which usually clocks in at just under Read more

Carvin SH550 Electric Guitar Review

March 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Carvin SH550 Electric Guitar ReviewCarvin SH550 Electric Guitar Review — Carvin had a long tradition of producing semi-hollow-body guitars dating back in the 1950‘s. The companies newest edition was introduced in 2008, named the SH550 (SH stands for semi hollow), this model has a carved top and it is a true precision semi-hollow custom shop masterpiece.

Semi-hollow body guitars are suitable for legendary artists such as B. B. King, Ted Nugent, Steve Howe (Yes) and Alex Lifeson (Rush). These legends have relied on hollow guitars as mainstays of their respective guitar arsenals.

The Carvin SH550 AAAA flamed maple is the standard top, yes, we said “AAAA“ maple top, and unlike most “archtop” style guitars, the SH550 features an actual carved top. In addition, you can also choose an optional AAAA quilted maple top or a flamed koa top.

The top starts out as a 2″ thick slab of solid curly flamed maple wood. After the top is bookmatched, it is top sculpted, and the underside of the top is also carved to follow the contour of the top, while increasing the overall size of the sound chamber to improve the tonal characteristics of the instrument. Read more

Fender Classic Volume Tone, Phaser and Fuzz-Wah Pedal Review

March 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Fender Classic Series Volume, Volume-Tone, Phaser and Fuzz-Wah pedalsDuring the late Sixties and early Seventies, it seems like everything related to music was literally huge: amp stacks, stack heel platform shoes, rock star mustaches and hairstyles, crotch padding and, especially, effect pedals. Stomp boxes were the size of shoe boxes, and the average pedal board was so big that it took two roadies to haul one from the back of a Chevy van to the stage of the Cow Palace or Winter land. Of course, that all changed later in the decade as microchips replaced the transistors and cherry bomb-sized components in primitive effect circuits, and soon after, the size of the average pedal shrunk significantly.

Fender’s latest Classic Series pedal reissues bring back in their full glory four of the company’s big-honkin’ stomp boxes from the Golden Era of effects: the sensibly named Volume, Volume-Tone, Fuzz-Wah and Read more

Look at Dan Donegan Signature Schecter Guitar from Disturbed

February 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


Donegan Schecter Guitars From Disturbed

Schecter Guitar Research have officially joined forces with Disturbed guitarist, Dan Donegan. Dan first debuted his signature guitar at the 2009 winter NAMM show. While I’m not a huge fan of Schecter, I was excited to see how this ax turned out. Fast forward 4 years… Read more

Jackson Kelly KE3 Pro Hands On Review

January 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Jackson Guitar Review: Jackson KE3 Skull Guitar
Jackson guitars have always offered aggressive looks and sound coupled with high-quality workmanship. Their KE Pro series brings all the upscale Jackson elements to a very attractive price point. Based on the Kelly, the KE3 has a sharply chiseled Explorer-like body shape, with Jackson’s signature pointy headstock. The nearly -$1,400 difference between Marty Friedman’s favorite axe and the KE3 is really not so huge: the tremolo is a JT580LP Floyd Rose License, not original; the pickups are Seymour Duncan’s Jazz and JB and the neck is bolted on, all of which add up to a great deal.

The Jackson KE3 has an alder body and a maple neck of wide, oval proportions. The headstock is attached with a scarf joint behind the fist two frets, adding strength at the nut—an important detail when dealing with the extra routing necessary to accommodate a locking nut. The rosewood fretboard is fitted with 24 wide, near-jumbo frets, which are superbly crowned and polished. Jackson’s trademark “shark fin” inlays, done in a rich pearloid plastic, are inlaid to the neck with admirable neatness. Our review model arrived dressed in Black (Transparent Red, Blue and Black are also available as well as Cobalt Blue, Swirl and Skulls), all black hardware, including black tuners, and black locking nut and tremolo and a single black volume knob.

Plugged in, the KE3 really came to life. The Seymour Duncan Jazz SH2N and JB TB4 pickups, in neck and bridge position respectively, are bold and brawny, high-output humbuckers with a hard-assed bite that can be felt even through clean amp settings. But don’t peg them as one-trick ponies: each pickup alone offers some enticing colors, particularly with the volume rolled back a couple of notches, and the combinations of the two makes for a fine clean rhythm or lead tone.

But let’s face it, the axe was made to cut eardrums, and so most of my playing time was spent with the KE3 pumped through a Marshall JCM800 and a ProCo Rat distortion pedal. The resulting sound was capable of rearranging furniture and small pets in the house across the street. The bottom end on this guitar is something the U.N. should sanction. Muted rhythms take on a tribal percussiveness, and leads sound like they’re doubled with tap-dancing gorillas. The treble had to be rolled back a bit from my usual “everything on seven” setting, however, since a hint of microphonic squeal could be coaxed from the pickups with a tap of the pick. Still, the KE3 delivers some awesome muscularity along with radical good looks and solid craftsmanship.

For those who wish to single eyebrows and swill Jaegermeister on a Budweiser budget, Jackson’s KE3 Pro is your weapon of choice.

Jackson KE3 Guitar In Action!

No Guitar Effects Fix Bad Sound

January 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Zoom Guitar effects g1Even the best signal processor can’t make up for a bad guitar sound.

Too often engineers and producers tell worried guitar players, “We’ll fix it in the mix,” or, “I know it sounds a little funny now, but we’ll sprinkle some fairy dust on it and it’ll sound killer.” Statements such as these are, in my humble opinion, a crock. There are many things you can do to a bad guitar sound—you can flange it, EQ it, play backwards or bury it in reverb—but 99 percent of the time you’ll just end up with a bad guitar sound that’s been flanged, EQed, played backwards and buried in reverb. Read more

Vaccaro Groove Jet & X-Ray Guitar Review

October 6, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Vaccaro Groove JetIf you’ve seen advertisements for Vaccaro’s guitars on the internet or magazines, you may have noted their slightly confrontational slogan: “They’re not for everybody.” This statement, it seems, is absolutely true. The reactions I’ve seen when whipping one of these unorthodox instruments out of my gig bag have ranged from shock (“Where di you get that?”) to covetous (“Awesome! Where can I get one?”).

Brought to you buy the people who created Kramer’s distinctive aluminum and wood-necked guitars in the late Seventies and early Eighties, Vaccaro’s guitars feature daringly designed popular bodies, bold finishes and unique aluminum, maple and ebonol composite necks. The Groove Jet evokes the unholy alliance of a Gibson SG and a satanic dung beetle, and features two Seymour Duncan Custom ’59 humbuckers, a three-way switch pickup selector located on the top horn of the guitar, two volume controls and a master tone control. Our review model was flawlessly finished in a stunning see-through emerald green. The X-Ray, whose sleek, orange sparkle body has a space-age Rickenbacker vibe, boasts two Rio Grande Muy Grande pickups: a humbucker in the bridge and a single coil in the neck position. Both pickups are topped off with the same mother-of-toilet-seat plastic as the pickguard, adding to the instrument’s undeniable ie ne sais quoi. The X-Ray’s control layout is simple yet versatile: a three-way pickup selector, coil-tap switch for the humbucker and single volume and tone controls. The hardware on both guitars (Sperzel locking tuning machines, super-sleek Tune-O-Matic-style bridges and top-notch components) is bullet-proof. The phenolic “I can’t believe it’s not ebony!” fingerboard are smooth and natural feeling, and the well-finished frets provide a sleek, effortless playing surface. Read more

Top 5 Best Selling Acoustic and Electric Guitars

August 30, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

best axe prices

Guitars arouse my crazy obsession, therefore, I am obliged to compile 5 top selling electric and electric/acoustic guitars for our readers. Guitar companies manufacture a wide variety and styles of guitars and sometimes produce junk that’s barely worth firewood, and other times produce the ultimate guitar that we can all appreciate. However, finding that perfect guitar is not always easy, but it’s fun searching for it. If you are one of those players that is searching for a guitar that provides that sensuous feel that fills your pulse with vibrations of rhythm and melody; yet easy on the wallet, then read on. Read more

Carvin ST300 Guitar Hands-On Review

August 29, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

guitar reviews, carvin guitars, electric guitar

Carvin is thrilled to introduce their latest model, the ST300. This new model offers the features and choices of Carvin’s contemporary Custom Shop guitars with the timeless body shape that they offered back in the early 1990s. The body is more circular than the legendary DC series and has a waist and forearm cutaway for playing comfort, as found on the Contour 66. The Carvin ST300 model reflects Read more

Is It Better To Buy New Guitar Gear or Used Guitar Gear?

August 23, 2013 by · 3 Comments 

Buy Used Electric Guitar vs New GuitarsBuy guitar gear new vs. buying guitar gear used — If you are reading this, you are more than likely a gearhead. By ‘gearhead,’ I mean someone who spends more than a little time thinking about, learning about, and chasing down the musical equipment and accessories that capture your attention and becomes part of your sound, for better or worse. Read more

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