Early Samick LP (Les Paul) style guitars are considered by many to be among the most sought after budget Les Paul style guitars on the market. Since the Samick Musical Instrument Company produced Epiphone Les Paul guitars at one time, under contract from Gibson, technology and quality control has been an ongoing part of the process. The same quality and attention to detail was put to use in Samick's own guitar models, making them a viable choice for guitarists wanting a well-made Les Paul style guitar, without paying a premium price.
Samick began in 1958, as the Samick Piano Company, importing Baldwin pianos for the Korean marketplace. Several years later, Samick began manufacturing its own pianos, which continues today. The relationship with Baldwin has also remained intact through the years, which paved the way for Samick to win manufacturing and import contracts with other companies.
As early as 1965, Samick branched into the guitar manufacturing sector, again producing instruments for other leading manufacturers. Today, Samick is one of the largest producers of grand pianos, guitars, and other musical instruments in the world.
Samick Epiphone LP
In the mid-1990s, Gibson Guitars approached Samick to negotiate manufacturing for Gibson's budget Epiphone line. Since Samick had been producing Gibson-style guitars under the Samick name, and for other manufactures, the tooling and production processes were already in place. With Gibson's stringent quality control, design and R&D departments at the helm, Samick began producing instruments under the Epiphone and Samick name that closely rivalled the more expensive Gibson brands.
Samick on Its Own
Gibson opened its own Epiphone factory in China in 2002, leaving Samick to produce its own models, and those under contract for other companies. Samick changed its LP design slightly, as to not interfere with trademarked Gibson and Epiphone lines, but maintained the traditional single-cutaway LP design. These post-Epiphone Samick Guitars maintained many of the same components, woods, and quality features as the Gibson spec instruments, leaving players with yet another choice of Les Paul style guitar. Samick further distinguished its LP line by maintaining competitive pricing with Epiphone.
Greg Bennett Design
Greg Bennett, a music marketing veteran, designer and performer joined Samick around 2004. Samick needed a design boost and identity to remain competitive, and introduced Greg Bennett Guitars. Greg took the extensive Samick guitar line, revamped each model with design, material, and specification changes, and was granted marketing and branding control over the new products. With a credible and respected musician and guitar authority, Samick reinvented its guitar line once again, meeting with critical acclaim from players and the industry. Samick's Les Paul model, now called the Greg Bennett Avion, features a sculpted headstock, and redesigned body cutaways, distinguishing it from traditional Les Paul guitars, and giving the instruments signature styling cues.
Samick LP Playability
From the new Greg Bennett models, to the early Samick LP copies, the guitars are considered by many players to match the playing and sonic performance of their more expensive counterparts. Samick's extensive experience in automated guitar manufacturing, reputation for strict quality control, and the use of high-quality components and finishing techniques, have continued to earn Samick accolades. Steadily rising prices of Gibson Les Pauls have put them out of the average players reach for some time now, making LP style guitars, like the Samick, an attractive alternative.
Review after review shows that guitarists on a budget appreciate the consistent quality of Samick Les Paul style guitars. The newer Greg Bennett guitars, as well as the older Samick Les Pauls, are very similar in features and playability. The buyer has only to decide which style to choose.