Guitar Comparison: Gibson Hummingbird versus Epiphone Hummingbird Artist

The Gibson Hummingbird has always been my dream guitar. It had that rock and roll pedigree, mellow mahogany tone, and just enough flamboyance to make it a legendary instrument. There’s just one catch, it’s really expensive.


I fell in love with the Gibson back in my teens, and more than 20 years later, I finally have one (used, of course, I’m not crazy). However, needing another guitar for boating and camping, I was very curious as to the real differences between the Gibson and the very affordable Epiphone Hummingbird Artists. In fact, I found a blueburst B-stock Epiphone Hummingbird Artist for only $169.

Aside from the headstock you’d think the Epiphone would be a spitting image of the Gibson, but it’s definitely not. First off, their bodies, while both mahogany, are not quite the same size. The Gibson is slightly wider and deeper than the Epiphone with a more pronounced curve to the back.


Both guitars have a 24.75″ scale neck, which is probably my favorite aspect of the guitar. It really helps me reach some of those chords with wide spreads. While the Gibson neck does feel more refined, when switching back and forth between the two guitars, you essentially feel like you’re playing the same instrument.

The Epiphone has a synthetic bone nut and a truss rod cover with three screws while the Gibson has a real bone nut and a truss rod cover with only two screws.

The rosewood bridges are similar, but once again, the Epiphone has a synthetic saddle while the Gibson has a real bone saddle. However, the Gibson still has cheap plastic pegs to hold in the strings. Being outside of the saddle, I know they don’t affect tone, but for the price, you’d think Gibson would spend $1 for real bone there as well.

There’s a HUGE difference in the tuners. My Hummingbird has sealed grover tuners, and the newer Gibson models have sealed Gotoh tuners. Epiphone doesn’t even mention the brand of their cheapo tuners in any of their collateral. They’re pretty terrible. I had some serious trouble keeping the Epiphone in tune for the first few weeks I owned it, although it has gotten better. With the Gibson, it’s usually in tune when I open the case, and it never goes out. With the Epiphone, I have to make sure and tune it before I start playing, and I might need to readjust it once or twice throughout the course of a three-hour jam. (This is about on par with every sub-$400 guitar I’ve ever owned.)

Of course, the real signature of a guitar is it’s tone, so I made a short video comparing the Gibson Hummingbird to the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro. Both guitars have Elixir Custom Light strings, and the audio was recorded on a Zoom H2n set to 4 channel mode. If you’re reading/watching this on a phone or laptop, you’ll probably have to plug in some headphones to really hear the difference.

So there you have it, a detailed look at the differences between a Gibson Hummingbird and an Epiphone Hummingbird Artist.


5 thoughts on “Guitar Comparison: Gibson Hummingbird versus Epiphone Hummingbird Artist

  1. This bothers me because I’m exactly the same I was probably 14 when I first played a hummingbird and I fell in love with the rich warm tone it just made everything I played sound so much better, but I strum a lot and the epiphone just falls so damn short in that area specifically.

  2. No offense but you’re comparing two different guitars. Why are you comparing a hummingbird artist with a hummingbird they are different classes. There is a cherry sunburst Epiphone hummingbird so why even make this article if you didn’t have the comparable model. It’s one thing if you’re comparing for your own purposes but you’re acting like they’re the same guitar from different companies when in reality they’re different guitars from different/same companies you should actually get the correct one before claiming that you’re comparing hummingbirds when in reality you were comparing a artist versus a hummingbird. I appreciate the thought though I will keep my eye out for a comparison of the hummingbirds. You should head over to Guitar Center in pick yourself up a actual Epiphone hummingbird they are great, my Grover tuners never ever go out of tune in fact they almost tighten with stretching. Thanks again for the article I appreciate it have a great day and God bless.

  3. One thing which seems to not have been covered is, yes the Humming bird IS better in most respect than the Epi This is true but it is forever being compared like for like. which is so sloppy It is better, but the question actually should be, whether it is £3,000 better. Now we are getting close the facts of the matter..

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