How a $200 guitar from Amazon compares to a Gibson Les Paul

Originally published at: How a $200 guitar from Amazon compares to a Gibson Les Paul | Boing Boing


Lower tone knob to change the humbucker setting to be pedantic, but still cool.


£120 here in the UK. I like the pale pink one.


I think this is what my first guitar (a red Les Paul copy) from Sears cost – and that was in 1983. The biggest problem with that guitar was that the inlays worked their way loose from the fretboard within 3 years. This doesn’t have inlays, so there’s that…


Stupid comparison. Take a epigoni les Paul of the same price. If you prefer compare e mex fender with the equivalent les Paul Paul special.

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I find that all the different settings of pickups end up being superfluous. Most players find one or two favorite settings and stick with them. I once installed a crazy 6-pole, 4-throw rotary switch on my old strat to put the pickups in every possible combination, and still only used a couple settings.

I also find the Chinese-made Epiphone Les Pauls (with the set necks, not the cheaper bolt-on Les Paul Jrs.) are really quite good. I got mine at Guitar Center for $10 (yes, $10. . . one year they had a pile of them $10 each, all with snapped headstocks-- I just glued it, clamped it, plays perfectly, you wouldn’t even know.) Of course those still go for more than $200 even on the used market.


Ehh I think that was all in the vocal effects processing 'cause I hit the wrong button.

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Yeah I’m looking to downgrade my modified Squier Strat to just a one pickup model. (I’m a bridge pickup guy, with a few occasional exceptions)



I guess we know where that guitar’s pickup switch is set. . .


I should practice my guitar more. Bought a dumb kit from Sam Ash and it’s just sitting in the closet now. Part of me wanted to get away from just using Rocksmith and learn actual sheet music, but then I don’t know where to start.

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My first guitar was a Peavy Strat. I didn’t know enough at the time to know whether or not it was any good and I sold it before I was even out of high school, but I assume it was not much.

My next two guitars, also bought in high school were a Washburn acoustic and a Korean made Epiphone Les Paul. I think they both cost around $400 (in the 90’s). My collection now includes several much higher end guitars, but both of those are still in regular rotation.


This Donner guitar review by a harpist who doesn’t play guitar is just fucken delightful.


Ah Thom, love yer playing and voice, good stuff.
I really need to work on my chord transitions. If it ain’t a power chord, I get confused :smiley:
Still, my improvisation’s getting better on a daily basis!

I’ve splashed out loads on guitar gear since picking it back up during lockdown after over 20 years.

Initially, I picked up a nice Blackstar amp and a Les Paul Studio to replace my old Washburn KC40V and Fender M80 amp. The Les Paul was a revelation coming from my Washburn. I was amazed by the tone and how it could be shaped using the controls. And with my old amp being transistor, I was blown away by my new valve amp and how the LP’s pickups interacted with them to create a warm, natural overdrive even on the clean channel.
I all of a sudden understood what people meant when they talked about signal break-up.

Then the pedal-hunger started.

Bought a bunch of cheapo Chinese nano pedals, some of which are surprisingly good (I swear by my Tone City Durple overdrive, which produces a lovely, textured drive in combination with my LP’s pickups and the amp’s valves).

Decided I wanted something with more metal grunt, so splashed a bit more on an Electro Harmonix Metal Muff Nano which is fantastically nasty and coarse / squealy.

Then a more classic distortion sound in the Boss MT-2W Metal Zone Waza Craft. Great pedal, but in all honesty, not as interesting as the cheaper Metal Muff.

THEN I decided that I wanted to explore the other end of the classic rock guitar spectrum, so bought a lovely Fender American Performer Strat, which gave me exactly the Strat sound I was after. I blame Cory Wong for that purchase.

Also picked up the classic Big Muff, before going REALLY CRAZY and splashing out on a Jack White / Coppersound Triplegraph pedal, which is just jaw-droppingly cool. Three telegraph-style buttons, left is octave down, middle is switchable between raw signal cut-out or an fx loop, and right is octave up. The octaves can switch between latched or non-latched. Blows my mind every time I play with it, and creates an instantly recognisable Jack White sound.

And my last purchase was a really nice Harley Benton CLR Reso-Electric, a single-cone resonator guitar with a lipstick pickup. I wanted an acoustic, but also something a bit different, and this fit the bill perfectly.
Plus, it’s a tenth the price of a resonator from a more renowned company like National.
And it’s SHINY.
Action’s a bit too high for my liking though, so I’ll need to look at how I go about lowering it.

The problem now is every time I get bored at work, I need to actively prevent myself from visiting music shop websites, lest I spend a small fortune on more guitar gear.


Same here. The “Peavey Patriot”-- not a bad guitar in retrospect, made in the USA, then they started making them overseas and the quality went down. Back in the 80’s it seemed like Peavey had some kind of deal that put them in every mom-and-pop local music store in my area.

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They sent me one of this Multi Pad SNES-style “pedals” too! I was gonna do a separate video for that. It’s a fun little toy with a lot of stuff crammed into it. But it’s not really a pedal because you have to operate it by hand. For starter who want to mess around with sounds though, I think it’s a great place to start.


Modified Squier you say?

Here’s mine. That’s five vintage Wonder Woman comics cut and lacquered on by hand.

The action sucks and I’d like a humbucker but it is unique.


Pedals are deadly, man. I’ve had a lot of the same pedals for like 20 years now, which I bought mostly out of necessity. I mostly rely on the amp itself, including whatever distortion options are built in. Until the last year, I don’t think I actually bought a pedal since…2005, maybe? I started thinking more about them when my brother-in-law gave me all his old ones; he’s more of a guitar collector, who used to spend money on nice gear he never actually used.

Here’s my current setup:

In order, it’s:

Ernie Ball Volume Pedal
Boss tuner > Boss GE-7 equalizer — got both of these in high school because uhhh • that’s what you do?
Boss V-Wah — got this the first time I was hired to play guitar in a production of The Wiz; I don’t do a lot of funk, but it does come in handy for non-Wiz related things sometimes
• Some weird-ass and tiny-ass no-name Octave Pedal that I bought on Prime Day last year for $15 and actually turned out all right
Boss DF-2 Super Feedbacker & Distortion — this is one of those hand-me-downs from my Brother-in-Law, but it’s good for the hi-gain power chords. It also has a fascinating feature where if you hold the pedal down, it can create a really good harmonic feedback swell based on whatever notes you’re hitting. It’s kinda silly, but occasionally fun for ambient shit, and esp. great for recording. (It was very helpful on this song from our last EP)
Earthquaker Special Cranker OD pedal — This is my newest buy; it literally just came out in May, I believe. I used to rely exclusively on the in-amp distortion, but we’ve been using rental rehearsal spaces, and this gives me more control. Reaaaaally clean overdrive that preserves all the tone of my clean channel, which works well with how I play.
VSN Clean Boost — another $20-on-Prime-Day-so-why-the-fuck-not buy that turned out all right! It’s a solid boost pedal, that lets you flex the gain as well as the treble/bass just a little bit. Good for soloing, or for adding that extra overdriven oomph to push the clean into its breakup zone. There are a lot of surprisingly decent mini-pedals like this on Amazon (including some Amazon-branded ones, and some Donner-branded ones).
DigiTech DigiDelay — bought this one in high school because I was trying to do a solo project thing and it has a 4-second looping feature. Now, I tend to use it for its Chorus-Delay setting, which I set pretty lightly so it adds just a slight shimmer to the guitar (you can hear that effect on the studio version of “This Town,” which I played in the video)
Walrus Audio Fathom Reverb — I bought this last summer. I used to think reverb pedals were dumb; I kept the reverb on my amp around 3 just to give it a little dimension, but otherwise, I never understood the purpose of sounding like you’re an echo chamber unless you were doing a deliberate delay thing (in which case, use a delay pedal). I came around after a lot of messing around in Logic in the first year of pandemic life / parenthood, as I realized that oh, the IR/space features are actually robust, and you can accomplish a lot of different things. I bought this pedal in particular because, in addition to the standard hall/room reverbs, it also has some other cool features. You can add a live reverb swell and cut it off with your foot, and there’s also an up-or-down octave setting, so you can add some extra highs or lows to whatever reverb you’re holding out.

I usually run the “Tuner” out of the Volume Pedal directly into Boss VE-8 Acoustic Singer pedal, which I bought right before the pandemic started. The idea was that it would kind-of help turn my guitar amp into a PA system, so I didn’t have to lug around any more equipment when I did my St. Patrick’s Day Irish music gigs. The vocal part of this pedal is fucking incredible, with built-in options for reverb, speech enhancement, mic sensitivity, and even some impressive auto-tune and auto-harmony options (it’s what I sang through in the video, because it also works as a computer audio interface).

Then I also have, from my Brother-In-Law, a Boss Tremolo, Boss Compression, DigiTech Heavy Metal Distortion, and DigiTech SynthWah pedal, none of which I do much with. I do have one of those nice Boss loop station pedals, which I swear I’m going to use some day.

The most important detail here though is that I’m now officially old enough that I bought not only a Yellow Tweed guitar amp, but that I bought a Yellow Tweed pedalboard to match it.

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OOOOH I might love this even more than my own!

I definitely got a little shit from both my friends and parents who were like, “You’re making your guitar … pink?” I would tell them just wait, it’s gonna be glam rock as fuck. And dammit, I stand by that!

There’s the double-stacked Seymour Duncan Humbucker in the bridge (which, again, I got because this was my first guitar, and I wanted a humbucker, 'cause they were cool and punk, and I didn’t think much beyond it). The middle position is a P-90, and the neck is a TexMex Telecaster pickup that someone gave me. It’s in desperate need of soldering, so I’m thinking of doing some other work on it, too. Maybe move the P90 down to the bridge so it works better as a direct back-up guitar to my LP, without changing the tone too much. If I do that, I might pop the TexMex into the Donner, and then move the Seymour Duncan Humbucker into the wedding book Tele that I never use.


That’s nice! Hell yeah, that’s a glam rock guitar!!

Mine buzzes a bit, probably needs another look at the soldering, I’m not very good at that. Maybe when it is time for new strings I’ll dig it all apart again and give it a new pickup, something chunky. I got the Fender acoustic only about a month ago and the transducer is pretty much silent when not in use so, yeah, need to check my wiring :grimacing:


AWESOME man, thanks for the detailed breakdown, always really cool to learn how people build their sounds.

My LP’s developed a dodgy jack socket, where raw cable is occasionally earthing and cutting the signal. I bodged it with a bit of electrical tape, but I suspect I’m gonna have to learn how to solder at some point to fix it properly.
Still, if I do learn to solder, I could then look at re-wiring my old KC40V.

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