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Riviera Custom P93 Royale. Black Royale Riviera Custom P Les Paul Goldtop. Les Paul Standard Plaintop. Les Paul Standard Plus Top. Joe Pass Emperor II.
Epiphone Riviera Custom P93
Tommy Thayer Spaceman Les Paul. Les Paul Custom Blackback. Nick Valensi Riviera P Les Paul Custom Silverburst. Black Royale Emperor Swingster. Les Paul Custom Chrome. Many of the imported instruments bear a label with Gibson's Kalamazoo address and no mention of Japan or Korea, which can be misleading.
However, these import instruments have model numbers that do not correspond with Kalamazoo made Epiphone model numbers listed below. Also the serial number is usually 7 digits or longer unlike U. In addition to the Zephyr and Zephyr Regent models, Epiphone applied the two terms to other models to signify electric or cutaway: High-end acoustic archtop Epiphones are constructed of high quality, solid woods.
Electric archtop Epiphones are made from laminated woods. Because of this, electric archtop Epiphones are much less desirable, and are worth considerably less than fully acoustic archtop models. Pre Epiphones are of very high quality and are generally much scarcer than later models.
They have a smaller body and less modern neck feel than later models, and are less collectable. The most collectable models are those made from when body sizes were increased, up to the end of New York productions Most desirable are the professional grade models on which the company built its reputation: Emperor, DeLuxe, Broadway and Triumph. These models, along with Gibsons, are considered by most to be the best vintage factory-made archtop guitars produced. Mid-range and low-end models are generally regarded as student model instruments. New York-made electric archtops are interesting but generally are not as collectable as equivalent acoustic models.
Acoustic models are solid carved top and back whereas electrics are plywood. In addition, the electronics on New York Epiphones are not as sonically good as compared to Gibson of the same period or to the later Gibson-made Epiphones. Therefore, New York electric archtop Epiphones are worth considerably less than Gibsons of the same period. Most hollowbody Epiphone electrics bring less than the equivalent Gibson models. Double cutaway thinbody electrics are the most highly sought after electric archtop models. The Emperor single cutaway is the rarest of the thinlines 66 made.
The Sheraton, especially the early version with blond finish, is also very collectable. Sheratons with New York pickups are worth the most, but not for sound. The Riviera, though equal in playability and sound, is not nearly as collectable. The Casino is collectable only because John Lennon played one. It may seem like a contridiction in terms: New York pickups are sonically inferior to Gibson pickups, but models fitted with New York pickups from to are worth more than post models fitted with better Gibson pickups.
These Epiphone models made from to like the Sheraton and Coronet are much more collectable and valuable with New York pickups, even though everyone agrees the later models sound much better fitted with Gibson pickups. Solidbody electric Epiphones with New York pickups are interesting to collectors, but not for their sound.
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Later solidbody models with mini- humbucking pickups bring less money than Gibson equivalents with standard humbucking pickups. None are especially valuable, although Epiphone workmanship and playability is equivalent to Gibson of the same period. Contact the vintage guitar info guy Back to the Table of Contents Epiphone Model Numbers, to Model numbers date from Epiphone's ownership by Conn in until Gibson moved Epiphone production to Japan in Letters preceding model number: Letters after model number: Information here for completeness.
Model number listed on a blue label with a Kalamazoo address, but usually say "Made in Japan" at the bottom edge of the label. Epiphone label as used from to ; this one is Epiphone label as used on Gibson-made guitars from to ; this one is General Specs: Masterbilt label, high-end models, several different label styles, all with "Masterbilt" in fancy lettering: Different Epiphone Pickups used. Pic thanks to LB Fred. Epiphone New York era pickups left to right: They are also considered the "best" top-of-the-line pickup model for pre Epiphones. Gibson made P pickup: Frequensator tailpiece as used from to , and on many "reissue" Epiphones today.
This tailpiece has a nasty habit of cracking at the right angle bend of the anchor. You can just barely see that this anchor is starting to crack as it passes over the edge of the body. If this part is taken to a saxophone repair shop, often they can repair it best to do this while it's cracked, and before it breaks.
Truss rod adjustment at body end of neck: Truss rod adjustment at peghead: Epiphone used their own tuners with a slashed "C" logo and a pearloid button from about to on most mid to high-end models.
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On their low-end guitars, they used an assortment of different tuners. Epiphone style tuners as used on most mid to high-end guitars. A few early models have block letter logos. Gibson continued using New York-made Epiphone necks, with laminated construction and script "E" logo, until all New York necks were used. Epiphone's stylized "E", which looks like a "C" with a horizontal slash, appeared in in literature and on metal peghead plates.
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Models with inlaid or paint logos made the changeover to Gibson necks and the slashed "C" logo style circa On flat tops, the Gibson neck can be distinguished by a wider flare towards the top of the peghead. By the catalog, all solidbody guitars are pictured with the slashed "C" logo. These varied considerably from guitar to guitar, year to year. Note the standard script "E" and cloud style fingerboard inlay.
On some Deluxe model, Epiphone used Emperior style fingerboard inlays instead. Note the standard script "E" and "V" fingerboard inlay; it's pearl with a "V" insert of abalone.
Before the war, the "V" inlays were all pearl no abalone , and had a black separating line to separate the "V" from the block. After Gibson bought Epiphone in , Epiphone parts were used up before Gibson parts were issued. This occured on Gibson-made Epiphone starting in In addition to New York pickups, both acoustics and electrics featured New York necks with a pronouced "V" shape that Gibson necks did not have.
The New York Epiphone peghead shape is also different from that of the later Gibson made necks. The stock of Epi-made necks ran out in late or early on most models.
Dating of Epiphone Riviera
Binding on an Epi: The binding used on NY era Epiphones and before was troublesome. The binding was made of celluloid, and glued in place with an Acetone based glue. The problem is that the binding shrinks considerably with age, and can literial turn to dust. There is no way to fix this short of replacing the binding.