New Guitars

Epiphone 1966 “worn” Wilshire


A year or so after Epiphone’s lovely but hugely expensive 1962 Wilshire reissue, they have now announced a much cheaper, but just as tempting 1966 model, in the nicely faded “worn” range. The following is directly from the press release;

Epiphone brings back the Wilshire with a faithful reproduction of the 1966 model. Like an SG guitar, the Wilshire’s double cutaway Mahogany body with a glued-in Mahogany neck that joins the body at the 22nd fret gives you ultimate upper fret access.

Epiphone 1966 Lightweight and comfortable, the Wilshire has excellent resonance and natural acoustic tone – even unplugged! Featuring Epiphone’s LockTone tune-o-matic/stopbar combination, the transfer of string vibration is improved even more giving this guitar excellent sustain and clarity. But here’s what separates the Wilshire from the SG. Most early Epiphone guitars including the Wilshire were equipped with mini-humbucking pickups and Epiphone carries on this tradition.

With its smaller size, narrow magnetic field and unique design combination, the mini-humbucker produces bright and focused output while retaining famous humbucker “hum-free” performance. A replica of the originals, they feature adjustable pole pieces, enamel wire, bar ceramic magnets and rounded nickel plated covers set in an original style black mounting ring with height adjustment screws.

Cool Retro-Looks! Also unique, the Wilshire features Epiphone’s own “batwing” headstock. A classic design that improves tuning ease and accuracy by offering a straight string-pull design, the headstock is adorned like the original with the vintage “Epiphone” logo in gold. Other features include a 1960’s SlimTaper neck profile with Rosewood fingerboard, premium 14:1 die-cast tuners and individual Volume and Tone controls for each pickup. And to give it that worn-in look and feel, Epiphone tops it all off with a thin satin finish.

No word on prices that I can find, but the other “worn” guitars aren’t too expensive, so I think these guitars will offer great value and a nice retro/vintage vibe. I’ll be getting one!

4 replies on “Epiphone 1966 “worn” Wilshire”

Well, I bought one of these in “Worn Cherry” a week after they became available and it’s a great guitar. It’s not quite “period correct” as to be so it would need to be fitted with a “maestro vibrola”. However, in all other respects it’s a pretty good reproduction, including period correct mini humbuckers. It’s great to go out on a gig with something that not everybody’s using (yet).

Actually, there were some Wilshires that were equipped with stop tailpieces although I agree the majority had a vibrato… though not the ‘Maestro’ unit exactly; the mechanism was quite different. The main discrepancy on the stop was that the originals had it closer to the bridge resulting in a sharper break angle across the saddles than this reissue has. About the only other differences are the Indonesian ‘mahogany’ used (instead of the real stuff) and the shallower 14° headstock angle. Other than that, it looks a very good replica and a great value; also it’s nice to have an offering in Epiphone’s solid body lineup that sports mini humbuckers. The previous Wilshire LE left me cold since it had the full-size pickups, making it nothing more than a very ugly G-400. I ordered one of these just before Christmas but it hasn’t arrived yet…

I stand corrected on the stop tailpiece. Although I’ve never seen an original with one fitted, obviously I haven’t seen them all. With regard to the “Maestro Vibrola” I agree that the Maestro’s I have seen fitted to other Gibsons etc have differed in style/construction, however, Epiphone described the trem fitted to the Wilshire as a “Maestro Vibrola” in their ’66 catalogue which can be viewed here >