Will an Epiphone Les Paul appreciate in value like a Gibson Les Paul?
No. Let's find out why.
I have owned an Epiphone Les Paul guitar before. Two, actually. One that was dirt cheap and another that was mid-priced. Both were decent for what they were. But I knew neither would ever command any sort of decent resale value.
These are the reasons why Epiphone Les Paul guitars do not appreciate in value like Gibson Les Pauls do.
Not made in USA
A big part of what guitar players lust after with a Gibson LP is the fact it's American made. Epiphone has a very specific factory where they make all their Les Pauls, and it's obviously not based in the United States.
While absolutely true you can get an Epi Les Paul with 100% American electronics in it (they've been doing that for a while now on upper end models,) the guitar itself is not made in the USA, and that detracts from its resale value.
Purists don't believe Epiphone makes "a real Les Paul"
If an Epi LP exactly matches a Gibson LP in every measurement, every wood choice, every electronic and even every screw, it doesn't matter. Purist Gibson snobs will never consider any LP by Epiphone to be "the real thing."
Furthermore, guitars buyers will not spend extra on LPs made by Epiphone. They simply won't do it. The perceived value of an Epi LP is lower than what they sell for new, and that's not about to change any time soon.
Of course, there will always be That Guy who says he was able to sell an Epi LP for good money. He's either lying through his teeth, or he found a sucker. Or he currently has an Epi LP that he's trying to sell for way too much and is desperately trying to convince buyers it's worth something when it isn't. (Usually the same kind of idiot who posts a guitar "with upgrades" on eBay, thinking that actually increases the value of a guitar when it doesn't and never did.)
Epiphone Les Paul will always be seen as second banana to the Gibson
There's only one original Les Paul, and it's made by Gibson. That's the name on the headstock people want, and that will never change.
I'm not arguing which is the better guitar. I'm saying that when you think Les Paul, you think Gibson first and always. Not Epiphone. Never Epiphone.
Guitarists buy Epiphone Les Paul guitars because they want a Les Paul that's made like a Les Paul with all the Les Paul features without the Gibson Les Paul price. It's what you buy when you desire LP character over brand.
It is a foolish decision to buy an Epiphone Les Paul guitar as a collector's piece, because the likelihood of it appreciating in value is very low.
Do any Epiphone electric guitars appreciate in value?
An Epiphone brand guitar that stands a much better chance of appreciating in value is whenever it's a model Gibson does not make. More often that not that means looking at Epiphone Archtop series. As in Sheraton, Casino, Riviera, Wildkat and Uptown Kat.
Archtop models by Epiphone exclusive to their brand only are the guitars that are not second banana to Gibson since their isn't a Gibson equivalent. This means if you want one, you must buy Epiphone brand to get it. Exclusivity counts where value is concerned. You can get that with Epiphone, just not with a Les Paul.
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