Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Equipment Notes - Part 3

1966 Epiphone Riviera

The Epiphone Riviera was introduced in 1962. Mine is from 1966. This was during the period when Epiphone was owned by the same company that owned Gibson, and the Epiphone guitar was made at the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Riviera is the same as the Gibson ES-335 in workmanship and design. The single-parallelogram fingerboard inlay pattern and the headstock shape are distinctly Epiphone.

The original mini-humbucking pickups have been replaced with Seymour Duncans; a SH-1 `59 model in the neck position for PAF tones and a JB model SH-4 in the bridge position for a great lead tone.

The trapeze tailpiece has been replaced with a Gibson stop tailpiece. The Epiphone pickguard has been replaced with one from a Gibson ES-335.

Because of the modifications, the guitar has lost some of it's value as a collector's item, but the changes put the guitar in the same league as the coveted 1959-1960 Gibson ES-335 as far as tone and playability. I would not consider spending $50,000 for a 1959 Gibson ES-335, but I feel that I have here essentially the same instrument. It has a warm tone for jazz, a
powerful sound for rock, and a singing B.B. King tone for blues.

The guitar came with the interesting gray vinyl Epiphone hardshell case.

Here is a photo:



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