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Epiphone Wilshire

Epiphone 1966 “worn” Wilshire


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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!

Dwight Guitars


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09Dwight GuitarsDwight guitars were made by Epiphone as the house brand for Sonny Shields Music in East St Louis IL, which was owned by Mr Charles “Dwight” Shields.

Sonny Shields Music was a pretty big music shop back in the 50’s and 60’s and they also had several Dwight guitars made by Supro (and built by Valco), although the most well known was the rebranded Epiphone Coronet, marketed between 1963 and 1968.

The Epiphone built Dwight Coronet model has “Dwight” on the headstock and a “D” in the scratchplate, similar to the “E” in the Epiphone models.

Epiphone guitars of this period were built by Gibson at the Kalamazoo, Michigan, and were distributed by the Chicago Musical Instrument Company (CMI).

An ex-employee of Sonny Shields says that CMI sold the rebranded Dwights to Sonny Shields by the dozen, and that there are probably lots of old Dwights sitting in basements and attics throughout Southwestern Illinois!

These guitars, while rare and unusual are still around and tend to be cheaper that the Epiphone equivalent.

Many Coronets have the 6 on one side headstock as opposed to the 3 per side style of the Dwight, which is stronger in construction, and to my mind, looks better.

Epiphone guitars of this period were generally well made (American Epiphone production ran from 1961 -69) and the Dwights counted among some of the better ones.

These cool looking guitars are well worth picking up if you come across one.

Dwight Guitars

Epiphone Wilshire 1962 Reissue


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Epiphone Wilshire was a solid-body guitar made in the 1960s as an alternative to a Gibson SG. It sported two P-90 pickups and a hardtail bridge, and was put into the Epiphone line in 1960.

Epiphone Wilshire GuitarA long-time sleeper of this Epiphone range, the solid-body Wilshire model represented amazing quality and value throughout the ’60s. Originally intended as something of a rival to Fender’s Stratocaster, offering similar upper-fret access and curvaceous body lines, the Wilshire actually provided similar features and tones to that of Gibson’s own Les Paul Special, at a price closer to that of the more affordable Les Paul Junior.

The Wilshire featured two P-90 pickups, a three-on-a-side headstock, and a solid mahogany body and one-piece neck. It benefited, however, from Gibson’s fully intonable ABR-1 bridge and stop tailpiece, all in all offering a straightforward instrument with up-market features, at a relatively affordable price.

The guitar, like all Epiphone’s solid body guitars, was met with little success and was discontinued in the mid-1960s.

However, there is now a very nice authentic USA-made reissue for a shade under £2000. Unlike most other Epiphones it is not a Far Eastern-made cheaper alternative to a Gibson, but a range-topping American model made in the Gibson Custom Shop.

It is a faithful replica of the 1962 Wilshire model, with the two P-90s, tune-o-matic bridge and classic cherry finish remaining intact.

The bonus features include a certificate of authenticity, a commemorative T-shirt, guitar picks and leather strap. The guitar is close to $5,000 in list price, ironic for a guitar originally sold at $210 and looked upon as a “poor man’s Gibson”.

Gibson have stated that this guitar is limited to only 100 instruments, which will no doubt make it a collectable guitar for the future.

I also saw while browsing around a guitar site, some other Epiphone reissues. This one was a less painstaking reproduction of a Wilshire, looking more like an Epiphone Crestwood in fact, with two mini-humbuckers and an aged finish- however, this one was around £250. I have yet to see it on the official Epiphone website, however, so at the minute I’m not sure.

UPDATE: Gibson have announced a white version, again limited to 100 guitars, and I am assuming at the same price. I have to say it looks even nicer in white…

Epihone Wilshire Reissue in white