Choosing the right guitar can be a challenge. I know what you are thinking – practice, gain some experience, and then you will know exactly what you want. Wrong! I love playing on Gretsch 1, but I am a longterm fan of Epiphone2. I play the guitar for over ten years, and I still struggle to make a decision, hence my comparison.
Comparing Gretsch vs. Epiphone is difficult because each option has its pluses and slight minuses. They complete each other, so making a final decision asks for a bit of research. Which one is better for a newbie? Which one provides a deeper sound? Which one offers better value for money? Which one is more qualitative?
This guide will break down the two guitar manufacturers and give you an insight about what to expect from each of them. Of course, different models come with different specifications. Before going on, make sure you also know what you need from a guitar. Guitars are like everything else – you cannot just buy one without having any actual expectations.
Gretsch Vs. Epiphone
Back to the roots
Both guitar manufacturers have a rich history, hence their popularity all across the world. Gretsch came to life in 1883. A German immigrant in the USA established it. These days, the American company is the name behind a series of instruments. Apart from all kinds of guitars, it also produces drums.
Epiphone is only ten years older than Gretsch. It is interesting to find out both companies were started at similar times. Established in 1873, Epiphone is one of the best value guitar manufacturers in the USA. It creates guitars for all kinds of music styles.
Like I mentioned before, different models from Gretsch and Epiphone come with different characteristics. However, some aspects seem to be common. For example, Gretsch is an expert in the semi-hollow game. Some of its top products come with a semi-hollow body. The manufacturer aims to provide a diversified sound. Practically, you got access to deep sounds and complex compositions, as well as classical music.
Epiphone follows the same story – lots of models and many of them featuring the semi-hollow body. The semi-hollow body was not a standard for Epiphone, but it is slowly becoming the most common solution due to the accuracy and superior sound. Moreover, the tuning stability is not to be overlooked either.
At this point, it is hard to make the difference between one brand and another.
Value for money
This one is more difficult. It is quite important to decide on a budget upfront. If you are new to this, you do not want to blow $1,500 on a guitar. If it does not match your style or you realize it is not for you, it will be a waste of money. You do not want the cheapest guitar either – you will lose interest then. Instead, go for a middle option and great value for money.
Generally speaking, comparing Gretsch vs. Epiphone will bring in a smaller price for Gretsch. I am talking about guitars in the same segment, with similar capabilities. However, Epiphone goes for value for money. While Gretsch is slightly cheaper, Epiphone will give you a higher quality and more bells and whistles for the price, so value for money is higher.
What I am trying to say is… If you want value for money, go for Epiphone. If you have to stretch a buck, choose Gretsch.
The actual performance is also up to the guitar. You cannot compare two guitars from two different categories. At this point, it is vital to be aware of what you expect from a guitar. If you are new and looking for a good guitar, both Gretsch and Epiphone will work wonders on your style.
For instance, Gretsch’s G6136T guitar has an electro-acoustic sound given by the ML bracing. It also comes with a vibrato tailpiece – Bigsby B6GP – and a pinned rocking bar bridge. When mixed with the large nuts, you can forget about small details, but focus on the actual sound only.
In the same range, Epiphone’s Riviera Custom P93 guitar has three pickups – Dogear Alnico V P90. It also comes with a Bigsby B70 tremolo plus. None of these things may mean anything to you if you are new, but they can make the difference for a more experienced individual.
Looks and appearance
At this point, it is all up to your personal preferences. What do you want your guitar to look like? Each brand has a few classic designs, as well as some unique pieces that will draw attention right away. Like I said, focus on the performance rather than the looks.
While this is not always a general rule, Epiphone seems to be more into classic designs. You will find dark wooden styles and designs. While Gretsch has plenty of classic styles too, it also has a few models in light white or silver styles, which will inevitably draw attention.
Epiphone guitars are slightly larger than Gretsch guitars – with lots of exceptions too. At the same time, they seem to be a bit lighter, so they are more comfortable to hold. Differences are usually small and insignificant though.
The bottom line, comparing Gretsch and Epiphone can be challenging. It is hard to compare two different brands when they have plenty of guitars in different ranges, sizes, and performance levels. To be more successful in this venture, you would have to compare guitars in the same segment – which is the next step once you decide on a brand.
Getting a few ideas before getting into small details is a plus. I wish I knew all these slight differences before going out and trying every single guitar I could get my hands on. Whether you are after value for money, good looks, performance, or sound standards, feel free to leave your ideas and suggestions in the comment section and let me know what you think about this general comparison.