Thursday, August 15, 2013

1965 Epiphone Frontier

In 1957 Gibson bought a failing manufacturer of musical instruments called Epiphone.  This company had been their biggest rival until management issues started affecting it around the late 40s.  In 1970 they moved the production of the Epiphone brand overseas and made budget instruments.  But, for about 12 years Gibson manufactured guitars in their own factory with Epiphone on the headstock.  The product line was just as high of quality or higher than their own brand.  The Epiphone Frontier (FT-110) was the same build of the Dove but had a different style motif and headstock shape.

I don't normally look for 60s era Gibson acoustics but I fell for this one really bad.  It has flame Maple back and sides, a scale length of 25.4" and of course, a lasso and cacti motif on the pickguard.  The most surprising part of this one was of course, the TONE.

This is a big, rumbly strummer through and through.  I was always told that the ADJ bridge was a tone killer but this one has a couple of secret weapons.  First, the Maple back and sides.  It's a harder wood and seems to reflect volume really well.  Second, the longer scale length.  This takes a little more string tension to get up to pitch resulting in a little more volume.  The downside is that it is a bit more tiring on the fingers.  

If you are a cowboy chord strumming songwriter then string tension is much less of an issue.  What that person needs is a guitar that will make him/her pick it up and strum some chords.  After a morning of fruitless writer's block the only thing left is to play your favorite song.  A subtle twist of a melody or chord change is all it takes to get those creative juices flowing.  

Do you have one of these that you would like to sell?  I'm looking for another.  Please email me about what you have for sale.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

1952 Gibson J-45 previously owned by Johnny Meeks and Bobby Jones of His Blue Caps

This one is real special.  I found myself one day jumping in the guitar hauler (read mini van, so rock and roll) and driving to South Carolina.  There was a man selling a 1952 Gibson J-45 and a 1963 Fender Bassman there and we had already agreed on a price.

When I arrived he asked me if I knew who Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps was.  I had no idea I had stepped into the house of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member Bobby Jones.  Rolling Stone Magazine bestowed the title of "The first rock and roll band in the world" on the Blue Caps.  Bobby was the bass player for the Blue Caps for about 14 months ('58-'59) and toured the world playing rock and roll.  Bobby's J-45 was stolen around '56 so Johnny sold him his '52.  More on Bobby here

Gibson introduced the J-45 in 1942 sporting a solid Adirondack Spruce top and Honduran Mahogany back and sides.  It had a scale length of 24.75", featured scalloped X bracing and the bridge was rectangular.  In 1944 they switched to Sitka Spruce for the tops.  In 1950 the "belly up" bridge was introduced with a slot saddle.  The sides were solid Mahogany until 1952 and in 1953 the saddle changed to the drop in style.  In 1955 the fretboard went from 19 frets to 20, the bracing went from tall/thin and scalloped to shorter and straight, and the pickguard became the larger style.

Since this guitar has the belly up bridge and the slotted saddle then it *should* have been made in 1952.  The Factory Order Number prefix "Z" confirms this.  

The aforementioned '63 Fender Bassman is still at the amp tech's place.  I'm not sure if it is taking a long time to get parts or if he is playin' the hell outa that thing!  Either way I am excited to get it back.  Hopefully that will be soon.

Do you have one of these that you would like to sell?  I'm looking for another.  Please email me about what you have for sale.