Epiphone Riviera P93

The Epiphone Riviera P93 is the latest version of the classic Epiphone semi-hollow body electric guitar to hit stores.

As its name suggests, the Riviera P93 features three ‘dog-ear’ single coil P-90 pick-ups. It also has a gorgeous Bigsby trem and tailpiece. The Bigsby, along with the polyurethane finish and gold hardware make this one good-looking guitar.

The Riviera P93 has a laminated maple body and top, glued-in mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard and trapezoid inlays. The Tune-O-Matic bridge complements the Bigsby perfectly.

In addition the, head features Grover tuners and the body, a 3-way pick-up slector and tone and volume controls for the neck and bridge pick-ups.

While the P-90s give that extra crunch for rockabilly and blues, the Riviera P93 is also very well-suited to jazz, and the Bigsby makes it perfect for country playing.

Reviews so far seem to be very positive. Over on Guitar Center, cguitarist929 said ‘This guitar is AMAZING for the price! My brother just got it yesterday and I never thought epiphone would make such a nice guitar. This guitar has a thick warm tone on clean, great for blues. But when distorted, it can play from classic rock to punk.

And on the Musicians Friend, Sgtpeppere64 said ‘It’s got that woody tone that threatens to retire my Fender 72 deluxe,American Mahogany HSS,Variax 700 and Nashville Tele. I road tested it for days, on a Vox DA5 practice amp, and was mesmerized!! I don’t know how to describe the experience thru my Mesa Boogie!

You can buy the Epiphone Riviera P93 now at Amazon

Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor II

The Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor II is a semi-hollow body electric guitar based on Epiphone’s Emperor guitar and named after late jazz legend, Joe Pass.

The Joe Pass Emperor features a distinctive trapeze tailpiece, twin humbuckers, and a laminated maple body with spruce top. All the hardware, including tailpiece and pick-up covers is gold. The 3-piece set maple neck has a rosewood fretboard with block inlays, and the tortoiseshell pickguard has a reproduction of Joe Pass’ signature. The guitar is available in antique natural or vintage sunburst.

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B0002CZUPQ” locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/415ge3A47JL.jpg” width=”204″]According to Wikipedia “Joe Pass previously had a relationship with the Ibanez guitar company, but in the late 1990’s Epiphone released the Emperor II, claiming Pass had a hand in the design of the guitar. Epiphone had previously issued the guitar as just the Emperor and with Pass’s endorsement some subtle changes to the guitar were made (such as moving the pickup selector switch). While Pass endorsed the Epiphone he was more commonly seen with a Gibson ES-175?

It’s certainly true that Pass was more often seen playing an ES-175, but the Joe Pass Emperor has more in common with the Epiphone Broadway than it does with the other Emperor in Epiphone’s range, the Emperor Regent, which features a single mini-Humbucker. Both the Broadway and the Emperor Regent have Frequensator tailpieces, while the Joe Pass Empereror 2 has a trapeze tailpiece, similar to the one on the Nick Valensi Rivieria P94.

In the words of one proud owner the Joe Pass Emperor II is a “warm, smooth and silky affordable Archtop that delivers rich, smokey tones from jazz to blues.”

Click here to shop for Joe Pass Emperor II guitars on Amazon.

Hendrix Epiphone set for re-issue

As you’ll know if you read this post on Jimi Hendrix, the great man, before he migrated to playing a Strat left-handed, once played an Epiphone Wilshire. And now, according to Musician’s Friend, Epiphone is about to launch a special edition of the Wilshire.

MF describes the new Wilshire as ‘Perfect for anyone who wants to stand out or already has an SG and LP’

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It has a Mahogany set neck, Alnico humbuckers, solid mahogany body, and is finished in white. The Wilshire also has a rosewood fretboard with block inlays, chrome hardware, ‘bat wing’ headstock, and inline Grover Mini-Rotomatic tuners.

The chrome bridge and stop tailpiece complete the look and there’s a pick-up selector and volume and tone controls for each of the humbuckers.

The original Wilshire was made between 1959 and 1970 and originally featured two P-90 pick-ups and dot inlays, along with a Tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece. In 1962, the P-90s were replaced with mini-humbuckers.

Checkout the Epiphone Limited Edition Wilshire Pro Electric Guitar Alpine White at Amazon.com.

Epiphone ES-175

The Epiphone ES-175 is a semi-hollow body electric guitar based on Gibson’s hugely popular ES-175. The Gibson ES-175 was originally launched in 1949 and became one of the most famous jazz guitars in history. It was the first Gibson to feature a Florentine cutaway, and was so named because it originally cost $175. Sixty years later it is still in production. It has been played by notable players such as Elvis’ guitarist Scotty Moore, and Steve Howe of Yes.

Check out the Epiphone ES-175 at Amazon.

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The original Gibson ES-175 had a single P-90 pick-up, but by 1957 featured two humbuckers. The Epiphone ES-175 is a replica of the Gibson model. It has a pair of Alnico Classic humbuckers, a maple body with maple laminate top, mahogany neck, and rosewood fretboard with split parallelogram inlays.

There are volume and tone pots for each pick-up, a Tune-o-matic bridge and lovely trapeze tailpiece. The chrome hardware looks fantastic against the vintage sunburst finish.

Reviews from people who have taken the plunge and bought one are very positive. On epinions.com, buffoonery said “The Epiphone ES-175 delivers serious tone and value for the money. And, if you swap out the pickups, for a total of $750 or so you will own a very fine instrument.”

And on Harmony Central, Jay Ingle enthused, “I’ve been playing for 41 years, Rock, Country, Blues, Bluesgrass, and now Jazz for the last 12 years. I’ve had one guitar that actually played better, a 62? Les Paul Custom, this axe plays next best.”

The current average overall rating on Harmony Central, from 9 reviews, is 9.4 out of ten.

This isn’t the guitar to go for if you primarily play rock or metal, obviously. But if you’re into playing jazz, blues, country or rockabilly it could be your new favourite guitar.

Check out the Epiphone ES-175 at Amazon.

Happy Birthday, BB King

Danny has an excellent post to mark BB King’s 83rd birthday. As I said in this post about the Epiphone BB King Lucille, BB is one of my favourite all-time guitar players. I saw him live a couple of times, once in 1989 and once in 1993 and both nights were amazing. Sadly, he’s retired from touring outside the US, but there are plenty of live recordings available from over the years. In particular, Live at the Regal, and Live at San Quentin are very worthwhile checking out.

Epiphone Launches Slash Les Paul Goldtop

Update: The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Gold Top is now available, in-store only, from Amazon.com. You can find it here

Epiphone has announced the introduction of its second Slash signature Les Paul, the Slash Les Paul Gold Top.

Like the Slash Les Paul Standard Plus Top, the Goldtop was designed and built in collaboration with the Guns n Roses and Velvet Revolver guitarist and is limited to only 2, 000 units worldwide.

Highlights of the Slash Les Paul Gold Top include the same Slash custom neck as the Plus Top, profiled from the neck on Slash’s own Les Paul, a pair of Seymour Duncan Alnico Pro II pick-ups, and a Locktone Tune-o-matic bridgae and tailpiece. There’s also vintage nickel hardware, classic tulip tuning pegs, and a custom Slash truss rod cover.

The body is solid mahogany with a grade-A maple top, the glued on mahogany neck has a long-neck tenon which was originally found on early Les Pauls from the 1950s and 1960s. As well as giving extra strength to the neck, the long-neck tenon provides more ‘wood to wood contact’ between neck and body which gives longer sustain and a sweeter tone, according to Epiphone.

The Goldtop is the same as that introduced on the original Les Paul in 1952. Achieving the finish involves one coat of primer, two coats of gold paint, and four coats of polyurethane, applied over nine days.

Each Slash Les Paul Goldtop comes with a hardshell case with Slash logo, a certificate of authenticity signed by Slash, a laser-cell print of Slash, both of which are presented in a leatherette booklet, a leather metal-studded strap, and 24 Slash picks.

Gibson 1957 Les Paul Goldtop VOS Electric Guitar, Antique Gold

Five great iPhone apps for guitar players

The whole world seems to be talking about the new iPhone 3G at the moment. And with good reason: I’ve had one for just over a week now and already I’m wondering how I managed without it.

One of the great features of the new iPhone software, which comes with the iPhone 3G and is available as a free uprgrade for older iPhones, is the ability to install third party applications.

Apple’s App Store is already brimming with fantastic applications. So what, you ask, has this to do with guitars, Kenny? Well, it so happens that quite a few of the new apps are music related and a number of those are aimed at guitar players.

That’s no real surprise: the iPhone has a mic, a speaker, and a lovely screen, making it ideal as a guitar tuner. But there’s much more to it than that.

Here’s my list of five great iPhone apps for guitar players.

1. Guitar Tool Kit $9.99/ £5.99
This is a lovely looking app. It has a chromatic tuner with over 40 built-in tunings, a chord dictionary with 260 chord maps, a metronome which flashes so you can keep time by sight as well as sound, and audible tones so you can tune by ear.

2. TyroTuner $2.99/ £1.79
A one -trick pony this one, but it’s a third of the price of Guitar Tool Kit. It uses the iPhone’s mic to allow you to play a note and the rather neat interface displays whether you need to tune the string up or down.

3. OmniTuner $4.99/ £2.99
More expensive than Tyro Tuner, but more sophisticated too. The main screen displays the not you play and its relationship with the note you’re aiming for. There are also fretboard and stave views, and it can be used to tune mandolins, banjos, and other stringed instruments as well as the guitar.

4. Band $9.99/ £5.99
Ok, so it’s not just for guitar players this one, but I just couldn’t exclude it. The sheer ingenuity of building an app for the iPhone which provides a whole bunch of virtual instruments and the ability to record, overdub and mix to your hearts content makes it well worthy of a place here.

5. Karajan$14.99/ £8.99
A sophisticated learning and training tool for aspiring musicians. Karajan teaches you to recognise intervals, chords, scales, pitch and tempo. It’s easy to use and looks pretty good, too. It’s a bit pricey, so if you’re not sure, download the free version, Karajan Beginner, and give that a try first.

Epiphone BB King Lucille

For as long as I’ve been able to play the guitar, BB King has been my favourite guitar player. There’s something about his style which manages to capture the joy and misery of the blues in one note. And the way he wrings the neck of his beloved Lucille to extract every last ounce of vibrato and sustain from it is sensational.

I’ve been lucky enough to see him live twice. On the first occasion, at the Edinburgh Playhouse in 1989, the theatre was absolutely jumping. Everyone was dancing by the end and there was a couple in front of us who looked they were having a particularly good time.

The story of BB’s guitar, a Gibson acoustic he was playing in the late forties, is the stuff of legend. He named it Lucille after a woman who was at a gig he was playing in Arkansas in 1949. A fight broke out over the woman, that caused a fire to start and the place was evacuated as it burned down. Rather than run for his life however, King went back into the joint to retrieve his guitar. On finding out that the woman over whom the fight had broken out was named Lucille, he gave the guitar which nearly cost him his life, the same name. And he’s called every guitar since, Lucille.

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B0002GZSM2″ locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31iGbGgibJL.jpg” width=”225″]The Epiphone B.B. King Lucille is a semi-hollow body archtop with no f-holes and was designed by the great man himself. It’s based on the Gibson ES-355 King played from around 1958 onwards. He used to stuff the soundholes with rags to prevent unwanted feedback. “I don’t want feedback – unless I want it. And a lot of times with the S-holes if you really crank it up and the amplifier is close to you, you will get feedback. I’m no technical person, but I do know that. I know how to get feedback from Lucille when I want it. But only when I want it,” he told interviewer, Walter Carter.

The Epiphone B.B. King Lucille features two humbuckers with Vari-tone control, gold hardware, laminated maple body and top, and a set maple neck with rosewood fretboard and block inlays. The tailpiece is a TP-6 fine tuning unit and the headstock is emblazoned with the name ‘Lucille’. The Epiphone BB King Lucille comes in ebony and has stereo outputs.

If you want the ultimate Epiphone B.B. King Lucille, Rock for Kids is auctioning one, signed by the great man himself, on 5 December 2008. You can see the guitar here.

It won’t make you sound like BB on its own, but with the right amp set-up and a lot of practice, you might just get close.

The five best guitar teachers on YouTube (Guitar Lessons)

ouTube is a fantastic resource for guitar lessons. Not only are there dozens of highly-skilled guitar players demonstrating chords, lick, styles and songs. But some of the world’s best, and most well-known guitar players, some of them sadly no longer with us, are right there giving lessons.

So I thought that it would be great to put together a kind of video notebook of some of the best lessons I could find on there and keep it so that when I get some time (ha!) I can watch the videos and learn a few new tricks.

And if I’m building a list of great videos for myself, seems kinda logical that I should share it here. So, here are my five favourite all-star guitar lessons from some of the best players ever to pick-up an axe.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

The late, great Texas bluesman talks in detail about the blue that influenced him and the differences in style between the Chicago blues he grew up listening to and the British blues bands of the Sixties.

Eric Clapton

A long-haired, moustached Slowhand, filmed in the late sixties, talks about how he gets those amazing tones, and how he used the Wah Wah to such great effect. Playing a rather funky SG, too.


The leery grinned one explains how to play Velvet Revolver’s American Man.

Angus Young

Angus the legend unlocks the secrets of those classic AC/DC riffs.

Andy Summers

Has to be filed under dull, but worthy, this one. A pretty disinterested Andy Summers demonstrates some Police riffs while making it clear that that’s not what he does anymore.


Two great Slash Les Paul videos

It’s been a while since I posted any videos, so I thought I’d make up for it by posting two great ones today.

They both feature Slash. In the first — which is an Epiphone promo, so is a little ‘in your face’ — he talks about the Epiphone version of the Slash Signature Les Paul and how he suggested it to Gibson as a way of making it available to those of us who can’t afford to drop $4,000 on one guitar.

In the second, an interview with Sky News, Slash goes into greater detail about signature guitars in general and the three Slash signature models in particular. He also tells how when he was an up and coming guitar player, he wrote to Gibson asking if it would send him a guitar for free. To Gibson’s credit, it didn’t just file his letter in the bin — it offered to sell him a guitar at cost. Not sure it would do that today. Might be worth a try, though.

< Update: Sorry, the videos have been removed from Youtube >