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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!

New Epiphone Roy Orbison Signature 12-string acoustic

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Epiphone Guitar Company of Nashville, Tennessee announces the release of the new limited edition Oh, Pretty Woman 12-string acoustic guitar. Produced in cooperation with the legendary singer/songwriter Roy Orbison’s estate, this signature guitar is based upon Roy’s own 1962 Epiphone ‘Bard’ 12-string acoustic guitar.

Epiphone Roy Orbison GuitarOrbison used his original Epiphone acoustic guitar to write and perform many of his most well-known songs including perhaps his biggest hit Oh, Pretty Woman.

“As a young brilliant guitar player growing up in West Texas, Roy would have never dreamt that he would one day have his own Epiphone signature guitar named after him. Roy wrote Oh, Pretty Woman on his Epiphone 12-string acoustic guitar which features one of the most instantly recognizable rock n’ roll guitar riffs and has remained iconic and fresh to this day.

“I hope the next generation of artists will feel inspired to write another great rock n’ roll song thanks to the Epiphone signature Roy Orbison 12 string acoustic guitar,” said Barbara Orbison, Roy’s widow.

The new Epiphone Oh, Pretty Woman is a faithful reproduction of the 1962 original and features a solid spruce top, a solid mahogany back, a rosewood 12-string bridge and vintage tuners.

For this limited edition release, the back of the guitar’s headstock includes a replica of Roy Orbison’s signature and the notation for the first measure of the world famous Oh, Pretty Woman introduction riff.

Also included in this limited edition offer is a hard case with Roy’s signature and sunglass icon on it, a certificate of authenticity hand-signed by Roy’s widow, Barbara Orbison and Roy’s son, Roy Orbison, Jr., a black & white photo of Roy with his original Epiphone Bard 12-string, a sunglass lapel pin and a copy of the Oh, Pretty Woman sheet music. The certificate and photo come in a leatherette presentation binder.

The Epiphone limited edition Oh, Pretty Woman 12-string Bard outfit will be officially unveiled on Roy’s birthday, 23rd April, at the Gibson Guitar Studio in London, England.

The Roy Orbison limited edition 12-string package has a US MSRP of $1332 and will be available at authorized Epiphone retailers in September 2009.

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

Collectable Guitars pt 14 – The Epiphone Coronet

Epiphone Coronet GuitarThe Epiphone Coronet was launched in 1958 as an alternative to the popular Gibson Les Paul Junior. It was part of a range of models made from the late 50s to 1970. The range included the Crestwood, Coronet  and Olympic models.

The models were designed to compete with the Gibson Les Paul Junior, and so they all had slim mahogany bodies and necks, and were made in a slightly offset double cutaway format.

The guitars resembled a cross between a Fender Telecaster and a twin-cutaway Gibson Les Paul Junior. The Coronet had a single “dog-eared” P-90 pickup at the bridge. The Olympic had one-single-coil pickup, like a Gibson Melody Maker, while the Crestwood, available as a Custom or Deluxe model, had two or three mini-humbuckers depending on model. The guitars had an optional Epiphone Trem-O-Tone vibrato, similar to the Bigsby unit widely used by Gibson.

The Coronet is the best-known of the range and is known as a very simple, playable instrument which is well built and has a classic single P-90 tone like a Gibson Les Paul Junior, which was the original target for the guitar.

Coronets are quite rare, as they never achieved the success they set out to have. An original will cost anything from £750 to £1500.

Epiphone no longer make any of these models, and the closest to a new one is the limited run of “USA Coronets” made in the 1990s. However, these are nothing like the originals, and only share the shape of the 1960s models.

The USA models had optional Floyd Rose tremolos, Bill Lawrence pickups and an array of vibrant finishes. These will be anywhere from £400 – £750.