Epiphone 1959 Les Paul Standard Limited Edition

Epiphone’s 1959 Les Paul Standard Limited Edition is modelled, as the name suggests, on the most famous Les Paul of them all — the 1959 Les Paul Standard. Original Gibson Les Paul Standard’s from 1959 change hands for hundreds of thousands of dollars because it’s regarded by many as being the peak of Gibson’s Les Paul output.

Fifty years later, and just weeks after the death of the man from whom it takes its name, only 1959 of these limited edition guitars are available to buy. The Epiphone 1959 Les Paul Standard Limited Edition features an authentic 1950s rounded neck profile. Nick-named ‘the baseball bat’ this neck, according to Epiphone ‘feels beefy yet comfortable in your hands while adding warmth and sustain with it’s greater mass.’

The solid mahogany neck is hand-fitted to the body with a deep-set long neck tenon which ‘extends well into the neck pickup cavity creating even more tone and sustain.’ The body itself is solid mahogany, with a carved hard maple cap and AAA grade flame maple veneer on top. One look at the pictures and you can see just what a stunning guitar this is.

The Gibson BurstBucker pick-ups have unpolished magnets and non-potted coils and are designed to recreate the sound of the Gibson humbucker pick-ups on the orginal ‘59 Les Paul. Those pick-ups had coils with a different number of turns which gave the sound more ‘bite.’

There’s a Switchcraft toggle switch, Mallory-150 tone capacitors with metal pointers, nickel hardware, and a blank trussrod cover. The serial number is stamped on the back of the headstock.

The Epiphone 1959 Les Paul Limited Edition comes with a replica brown Lifton-style case with pink interior and a certificate of authenticity. It’s available in two finishes; Faded Cherryburst and Faded Iced Tea.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B0002CZURY” locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31HTfw9v5qL.jpg” width=”184″]The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top is an Epiphone version of the Gibson Les Paul Standard. Originally made in Korea and now manufactured at Gibson’s Epiphone factory in Qingdao, China, it has two-piece flame maple (it’s the flame effect that differentiates the Plus Top from other LP Standard models) top. As you would expect from an Epi Les Paul, attention to detail is acute. Cream bindings, pickguard and pick-up surrounds? Check. Chrome pick-up covers? Check. Green tulip-head tuning pegs? Check.

Also present and correct are the ubiquitous humbuckers, chrome bridge and stopbar tailpiece, and trapezoid fretboard inlays. The set mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard, and mahogany body are all authentic Les Paul.

The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top is available in Honey Burst, Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Trans Amber, Trans Blue, and Vintage Sunburst. And there’s a left-handed model.

In 2008, Epiphone released the Slash Les Paul Standard Plus Top, a special edition which had features specified by Slash himself, such as a long tenon neck and LockTone stopbar.

Reviewing the original Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top back in 2004, Maximum Guitar Magazine’s Nick Bowcott said “Ultimately, what we have here is a well-made, eye-catching instrument that plays like a dream, sounds as good as it looks and wont drain your bank account. If you’re looking for a Les Paul but don’t have the funds, this affordable Epiphone axe is highly recommended.”

If you’re interested in purchasing an one of these great guitars, you can find them here on 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.

The Anatomy of an Epiphone guitar. Part 1: The Humbucker

The humbucker, or humbucking pick-up, is a feature of most of the electric guitars made by Epiphone and its parent company, Gibson.

The humbucker is a two-coil pick-up with coils of reversed polarity, reverse wound, and connected in series. The name is derived from the fact the design of the pick-up significantly reduces the noise and interference associated with single coil pick-ups used in other guitars, such as Fender’s Stratocaster. In other words, they ‘buck the hum.’

Guitars which are fitted with humbuckers have one at the neck and one at the bridge, along with a three-way switch to choose either pick-up individually, or both together. Humbuckers are often covered with a metal plate; where they are uncovered, the coils and six magnetic pole pieces are clearly visible.

Originally invented by a Gibson employee, Seth Lover, in 1957, the humbucker is strongly associated with Gibson, and in particular the Les Paul, although it’s widely used by other manufacturers. Like every other guitar pick-up, the humbucker works by ‘picking up’ the vibrations of the guitar strings, which then induce an alternating current in its coils. The key difference between it and single coil pick-ups is that it is unaffected by the electromagnetic interference which causes an audible hum from a single coil pick-up.

The reason for this is that the twin coils are reverse wound and reversed in polarity, this means that the electromagnetic interference induces current in opposing directions in each coil and the interference from each coil cancels out that in the other. By contrast, the signal from the vibration of the strings is increased. This is known as common-mode rejection.

The humbucker is known for its fat, warm tone which differs from the clear, bright tone produced by single coil pick-ups.This tone is key to the sound of guitars like the Les Paul and SG, as well as archtop guitars like the Casino and Sheraton. The reason for the tone is that the two coils resonate at different frequencies and therefore, the resonant peak is broader than that of a single coil pick-up.

Epiphone Riviera

The Epiphone Riviera is a hollow-body electric guitar, based closely on the Gibson E335 and originally manufactured between 1962 and 1969. It has a maple side and top, one-piece set mahogany neck, and a rosewood fretboard with trapezoidal pearl inlays.

The pick-ups are mini humbuckers and each has a volume and tone control. The Tunomatic bridge is partnered by a lovely Frequensator tailpiece. The Epiphone Riviera was initially available with a sunburst finish and from 1965 in cherry. Like the 335, there was a 12-string version of the Riviera, which shipped from 1965 to 1969.

For reasons known only to those running the company at the time, Gibson chose to price the Epiphone Riviera almost identically to the Gibson ES335. It should have been no surprise to the company that the 335 outsold the Riviera by around 8 to 1 for the six-string and 5 to 1 for the 12-string. The Gibson brand was far stronger than that of Epiphone, and presumably most customers didn’t see the sense in shelling out for what they thought was an inferior model when they could have the real thing for the same $400 price tag.

Epiphone re-started production of the Riviera in the 1980s and produced a signature model named for Jefferson Airplane guitarist, Jorma Kaukonen. The Epiphone Jorma Kaukonen Riviera Deluxe had classic humbuckers instead of the mini version, dot inlays on the fretboard, and a Vibrotone tailpiece coomplete with tremelo arm instead of the Frequensator on the original Riviera.

Currently, Epiphone makes a signature model named for Strokes’ guitarist Nick Valensi. The Epiphone Nick Valensi Riviera P94 has, as the name suggests, Gibson P-94 pick-ups instead of humbuckers, a Trapeze tailpiece, and is finished in Antique Natural.

You can buy the Epiphone Riviera here on Amazon

Check out this video of an Epiphone Riviera in action

Jimi Hendrix’s Epiphone

Danny has just posted a great piece on The Guitars of Jimi Hendrix, in which he describes how Hendrix played an Epiphone Wilshire. The Wilshire was a Strat-style guitar made between 1959 and 1970 and which originally featured two P-90 pick-ups and a Tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece. In mid-1962 the P-90s were replaced with mini-humbuckers.

Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard Plus Top

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B0002CZURY” locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31HTfw9v5qL.jpg” width=”184″]The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard Plus Top is one of two guitars, the other by Gibson and costing twice as much, released to celebrate the man who Total Guitar magazine credited with reinventing the Les Paul.

Cast your mind back to 1988 if you can remember that far back. Blues and rock guitarists alike were ignoring the great guitar in favour of Fender Strats and variations on the Strat body shape from the likes of Ibanez and Charvel. Think of the big name guitarists of the time Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Vai, Joe Satriani, SRV, Clapton, and there’s not an LP among them. Then along came the curly-haired, top-hatted, chain-smoking, goofy-grinned genius sporting a Les Paul and playing what would become some of the greatest riffs of the decade on Guns n Roses seminal album, Appetite for Destruction. The Les Paul was back.

Fast forward nearly twenty years to the launch of Guitar Hero III and there he is again. On the front of the box, in the adverts, on the marketing material, playing a Les Paul.

Is it any wonder Gibson released special editions as a tribute?

But what of the Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard Plus Top itself? Well, it’s as true to the great man as you would expect. Specified by Slash himself and finished in tobacco sunburst, the Les Paul Standard has a special Slash-profile mahogany set long tenon neck, LockTone tun-o-matic bridge and stopbar which has clasps to stop it coming loose while you change strings, and twin Seymour Duncan Alnico Pro II humbuckers.

Click here to see a list of Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard Plus Top guitars currently for sale on Amazon.

Total Guitar magazine in the UK gave it four stars out of five, and Guitar World said “Epiphone’s Custom Shop Slash Signature Les Paul Standard Plus Top lives up to the hype, delivering the Slash sound at a price that average players can afford.”

At around $1200, its several hundred dollars more expensive than a regular Epi Les Paul Standard, but it’s also less than half the price of the Gibson Slash signature. Whether or not you’re a Slash fan, elements like the long tenon neck, LockTone stopbar and Duncan humbuckers make this a great guitar.

50 Years of the Flying V

Epiphone’s Korina Flying V 1958 was created to celebrate the fiftieth birthday of the original Gibson Flying V. The Flying V was originally issued in 1958 as part of a futuristic guitar line-up that included the Gibson Explorer and Moderne and is one of the most easily recognisable guitars ever made, thanks to its v-shaped body and pointed head. Despite being adopted by no less than Albert King and Lonnie Mack, the Flying V proved less than successful and was discontinued in 1959.

Click here to see a list of Epiphone Flying V guitars on Amazon.

Throughout the early sixties the V was adopted by players as diverse as Dave Davies and Jimi Hendrix and the resultant surge in popularity persuaded Gibson to re-issue the Flying V in 1967. The re-issued version had a funkier pickguard and replaced the original bridge and string-through tailpiece with the stopbar tailpiece used by Gibson on most of its other electric guitars. Some re-issued models also had a Vibrolo Maestro Tremelo arm.

There have also been a handful of signature versions of the Flying V, including Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack versions.

The Epiphone Korina Flying V 1958 has, like its namesake, a body made from Korina, a brand name for Limba, a wood with similar characteristics to mahogany but which is significantly lighter. The Epiphone has a mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard and the string-through tailpiece featured on the original 1958 model. The pick-ups are Alnico Classic Humbuckers. It’s available in a natural Korina finish and an ebony finish.

The imuso.co.uk website reviewed the Epiphone Flying V and described it as ‘the kind of guitar that Birds of Prey would play if they had fingers. If you think you are cool and you haven’t got one of these, you were wrong about being cool. It’s that simple.’ Now, the reviewers idea of ‘cool’ and mine would appear to be somewhat different. But that doesn’t hide the fact thet the Korina Flying V 1958 is a fitting tribute to a great guitar.