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Thread: Trade Tang Gibsun Les Paul Supreme - order review

  1. #1
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    Default Trade Tang Gibsun Les Paul Supreme - order review

    Price paid - $360 to Trade Tang, but an additional $30.43 was levied by customs I had to pay at pickup. Total Cost: $391

    I decided to see what the fuss was about and ordered an obviously counterfeit Gibson Les Paul Supreme w/ hardcase from Dave @ TradeTang. I could never afford or justify the real thing but I love the looks, ebony fretboard, inlays, etc. Which of us hasn't looked at such an instrument and not desired it?? So I know it's a fake and I know I'm not going to get anywhere near the quality of a real Gibson but I was hoping to get what would be considered a high end Epiphone LP clone but take Epiphone out of the equation and save some $$$ at the same time.

    Ordering - I was nervous about ordering from China using a credit card. Trade Tang avoids this by allowing buyers to use PayPal. This way they have no access to your actual credit card information. I felt safe paying this way and being able to file a complaint on PP or contest the charge on the card just in case. There was a problem with being redirected to Trade Tang's website after I paid with PayPal. I was a bit worried about it until I saw they had confirmed my payment after just a couple of hours. Overall the ordering process was ok.

    Confirmations/Shipping - I received multiple emails indicating changes in status to my order. I paid on August 4th and got the shipping notice the same day. However just because I got a tracking number didn't mean it had actually been picked up by the shipper. It did not show up in the EMS's tracking system until the 7th. It arrived in customs Aug 12th, and first attempted delivery was Aug. 16th. So 12 days from payment to my door. Not fast but it is coming from 1/2 way around the world so I was OK with the time and that I got decent tracking updates via the EMS web site and USPS website.

    Now - on to the guitar

    Packaging
    Packaging was intact and decent. It's basically a styrofoam box taped together. It survived the trip quite well and was thick enough to provide plenty of protection.






    Here's the case out of the packing - covered in a bag. Had some Gibson stuff on the case.







    Case open - some packing on the guitar:


    Here's some pics of the body - there is some noticable flaws in the flame on the back, they look like scuffs. Some of the artifacts in the pic are from the flash



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    Headstock - there a flaw on the top left tuning peg - it's not a chip but a dip in the wood






    And here's a couple pics of the neck - is that an ebony board? I can't tell - maybe someone can chime in




    Play Report
    Only had a few minutes before I had to get back into the office. Everything is functional, however I noticed that neck is pretty straight and the nut appears to be well cut but the action is still high. The bridge is pretty much down to the body. It clearly needs a setup which I'll have to do tonight. Frets actually appear to be seated well and the neck appears even to the eye.

    Guitar played pretty good - no complaints through my Mustang I. There is some microphonic feedback if you hit the body with your hand. I'm guessing that's the pickups. If so the pickups would be worse than Epiphone pickups.

    Overall
    Well considering the price I think I got an OK guitar. $390 for a guitar with a hardshell case included is cheap these days - just a bit more than a Squier CV Squier with no case! The guitar looks as good as many Epiphone LP's I've owned and I think that with the inlays and ebony (??) an Epi would be much more expensive. It'll need some work for sure but I think it's very close to being a very good player.

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    It would seem that if the action is high and the bridge is nearly bottomed out, the neck angle is slightly off. A setup can't fix that. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Master Fretter Eric's Avatar
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    Cool -- thanks for the early review. It's definitely a pretty guitar. Happy new guitar day!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bookkeeper's Son View Post
    It would seem that if the action is high and the bridge is nearly bottomed out, the neck angle is slightly off. A setup can't fix that. Good luck.
    This is true - I tweaked the truss rod a bit before heading back into work and I noticed that the action was not high on all strings. The high E is bad - I mean WAY high but it's the cut at the nut. I'm hesitant to ding it without a proper setup. I will have to take this to the local luthier and what they can do.

    I am certainly not WOW'd by the guitar out of the box - but I don't think there's anything seriously wrong with it IE improper neck angle.

  6. #6
    Regular Fretter Katastrophe's Avatar
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    It looks to me from the streaking on the fretboard that it may be dyed rosewood. If so, no biggie, plenty of guitar companies use "ebonized" fretboards. The "dip" in the headstock is a little wierd... sanding error, perhaps?

    The real Supremes are supposed to be chambered, and while feedback resistant, are definitely not feedback proof.

    I suspect the cause of your setup issue is the nut was cut way too high... Any problems with fretting notes on the first three frets?

    Like most that have bought Chinese "Gibsuns", a new nut, setup, and electronics will turn 'er into a player.

    Keep us updated on what you decide to do!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katastrophe View Post
    It looks to me from the streaking on the fretboard that it may be dyed rosewood. If so, no biggie, plenty of guitar companies use "ebonized" fretboards. The "dip" in the headstock is a little wierd... sanding error, perhaps?

    The real Supremes are supposed to be chambered, and while feedback resistant, are definitely not feedback proof.

    I suspect the cause of your setup issue is the nut was cut way too high... Any problems with fretting notes on the first three frets?

    Like most that have bought Chinese "Gibsuns", a new nut, setup, and electronics will turn 'er into a player.

    Keep us updated on what you decide to do!
    I was thinking the same thing about the fretboard...kinda bugs me because I am definitely a fan of ebony boards and had an Epi LP that had a real ebony board it was a great. Part of the reason I wanted this one so disappointed there. But rosewood is my 2nd favorite wood over maple so it's not a big deal.

    I think I'm going to try my hand at deepening the nut slots on the high strings this evening. I'm aware of all the pitfalls with making sure to not mess up the intonation at the first fret etc. I can always just get a new nut if I mess it up.

    It most likely is chambered - I'll take the back cover off tonight and check the electronics as well.

    I have another LP to show you all but it's not quite ready - some vintage goldtop guitar pron for the board but I had to get a new neck pickup (delivered this afternoon) and get it installed.

    Double LP NGD hopefully by the end of the day

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    Quote Originally Posted by progrmr View Post
    This is true - I tweaked the truss rod a bit before heading back into work and I noticed that the action was not high on all strings. The high E is bad - I mean WAY high but it's the cut at the nut. I'm hesitant to ding it without a proper setup. I will have to take this to the local luthier and what they can do.

    I am certainly not WOW'd by the guitar out of the box - but I don't think there's anything seriously wrong with it IE improper neck angle.
    Hopefully, it'll end up with acceptable action, but I think it's fair to begin concluding that the guitar was not manufactured with a great deal of precision, considering the flaws you've reported thus far.

  9. #9
    Regular Fretter ZMAN's Avatar
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    Unless there is a definite design flaw, a good tech will have it playing like a dream. I have purchased many guitars that were ugly ducklings out of the box but became swans after my tech got a hold of it.
    I would guiess, neck reliefe, saddles, and nut could be adjusted. The only lower end guitar that I have purchased that was really perfect out of the box was the Agile 3126 Korean made.
    The neck looks very similar to my "Ebony" board on the Agile.
    I am pretty impressed with the case. You really don't get too many with the combo lock and double neck supports for that kind of money. Hell the case is worth a 100 a least.

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    Uhhh...did the lack of an access panel go by everyone including me?? lol! How does one access the electronics in this guitar??

    EDIT: Apparently this was a design goal...pickup cavities??

  11. #11

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    It is a fallacy that all ebony is completely black. Even really expensive pieces can have brown streaks in it. If it is real ebony, I'm sure it's the cheapest piece they could find which would make the coloring inconsistent at best.
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    Displaced Texan bcdon's Avatar
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    It looks really good. Do you think those are real Grover tuners? And what about the pups, any indication as to what they might be?

    Regarding setup, I bought a second hand Epiphone Zakk Wylde LP and had the frets leveled. After replacing the stock EMG Hz
    with some Seymour Duncan Blackouts the guitar plays awesome. My first Epiphone (Ultra II) also needed some fret work but
    I sold it. So even name brands aren't without their faults.

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    Quote Originally Posted by progrmr View Post
    Uhhh...did the lack of an access panel go by everyone including me?? lol! How does one access the electronics in this guitar??

    EDIT: Apparently this was a design goal...pickup cavities??
    Um.... oops! Now what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tig View Post
    Um.... oops! Now what?
    Turns out the real LP Supremes are made same way. I'm guessing you have to work through the pup cavities.

    I took the guitar to the luthier I use - I'm very concerned the action will not be able to be corrected. They're going call me in a day or two and let me know what they can do w/ it.

    Hope I'm not stuck with a $390 POS....but I guess I knew that was a possibility when I ordered.

    I keep the tread updated with the results.

  15. #15

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    Can't really expect everything to be top quality when it is only a few hundred dollars. Given that, the guitar looks quite decent. One of the pictures showing the tuners from the back make them look like they are tarnished. I'm guessing that's not really the case.

    One thing these Chinese copy don't do is to have the neck binding go over the fret ends. That's one easy way to identify the fakes.


  16. #16
    Regular Fretter ZMAN's Avatar
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    The lack of a control cavity is one of the major drawbacks of the Supreme. You have to be a good "Fisherman" if you want to change anything or repair. I have seen them do the 335s through the F holes so a pickup cavity should be a breeze right. Not so sure. It will be interesting to see if they can fix the action. You may have just purchased a really nice looking slide guitar!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZMAN View Post
    The lack of a control cavity is one of the major drawbacks of the Supreme. You have to be a good "Fisherman" if you want to change anything or repair. I have seen them do the 335s through the F holes so a pickup cavity should be a breeze right. Not so sure. It will be interesting to see if they can fix the action. You may have just purchased a really nice looking slide guitar!
    I changed pickups in a Delta King and an Epi DOT through the F-holes. Took a lot of patience and time. Honestly I think I'm done doing my own electronics. I just spent 2 1/2 hours trying to fix this new 70's era LP (pics once it's working ) which has vintage wiring...didn't really think that'd be very difficult but it's not working and I'm tired of screwing with it. I'm going to take it with me when I pick up the Gibsun and have them fix it for me lol!

    And I don't play slide lol - so if I'm stuck with the high action I'll try to get rid of it or just hang it on the wall.

  18. #18
    Regular Fretter guitartango's Avatar
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    How does the price compare with a Eiphone or Agile guitar ? Are you now stuck with a lame duck as sending it back might cause a few issues.

  19. #19
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    Price is better than Epi or Agile 3000 or higher model - I got a guitar and hard case for $390. You could get an AL-2000 or AL-2500 with a case delivered for probably about the same price so it depends on the features.

    I am not returning this guitar - it's too much of a PITA to hassle with. So at this point my experience could be summarized as:

    Out of the box I'd say an Epi or Agile with similar features would be better than the one I got. Now the problem I'm having with the action may just be the exception not the rule. But having spent $390 and having to drop another ~$60 right off the bat just to see if the guitar can be made playable ("playable" being comfortable action I'd expect to be able to get with any guitar) brings the price to $450 and I might be stuck with something I can't even play unless I learn me some slide!

    Bottom line is that my curiosity has been fulfilled - I took the chance and if I had it to do over again knowing what I know now I'd go with an Agile or Epi over this purchase. At least with one of those brands you could send it back. I **could** send this one back and try to get another one but it'd take 6 weeks and it's just not worth my time.

    I'm hopeful the luthier can do something but honestly I've bought/sold a ton of guitars and pretty much always done my own setups. I know what's involved and how to get it to my liking - given that it's a set neck guitar I'm not sure there's anything they can do. But they are the pro's so until I hear back from them I'm still hopeful it'll come out good.

    Even if they can get it playing comfortably - I won't be buying from Trade Tang again.

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