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Epiphone Texan Specification question

#1 User is offline   Paulajo 

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 06:09 AM

Hi, this is my first post. I am in London UK. My question is-I have a Texan 1965 which has cream neck binding. I don't seem to see this on any other Texan I
have seen. Was this an option or could it have been added later, which would have been very difficult, and anyway it looks completely original. The serial
number is 267954. I would welcome any thoughts on this .
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#2 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 03:41 PM

I remember these guitars when they were new and have not only never seen a Texan with neck binding but never even heard of one until now. From the one employee handbook I have seen, I also gather Gibson did not allow employees to build their own guitars. So I am guessing it was done after the fact. And you are right in that adding neck binding is one pain of a job - removing the frets and fingerboard, sanding and so on. One of the characteristics of Gibsons in the 1940s, 1950s and into the 1960s was to shape the binding over the fret ends. Not sure if it carried into the mid-1960s though. A lot changed in 1965 when CMI came under new control and Gibson was retooled (such as the installation of new automatic neck machines). So I am not sure the practice was continued.
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#3 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 03:57 PM

The 'build your own' issue was unlike Martin policy where such things happen by the book, so to speak. A considerable number of instruments with non-standard features left the factory with employees in the 1950's and 1960's. Haven't seen the added neck binding, but it wouldn't surprise me.
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#4 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:14 AM

Again, employees at Gibson, at least from the late 1940s into the mid-1960s, were not permitted to make guitars for themselves. It remains my understanding that most employee guitars were seconds (which the could snag at a discount) or those they ordered but which would have been built on the normal production line. A customer, however, particularly after 1960 when the Custom Department was created, could presumably order a guitar with modifications such as neck binding. Again, an aftermarket neck binding would take a serious amount of time and work. I am guessing the only way to solve this one would be to get hold of the ledger books.
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#5 User is offline   bobouz 

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 04:38 PM

I too have never seen a Kalamazoo Texan with neck binding, but all kinds of oddball things could and did happen at Gibson.

Check the scale length to see if it is the Texan's standard of 25.5". If it turns out to have the 24.75" short-scale neck, that would possibly point towards the neck being borrowed from another model - perhaps just to get the guitar completed & out the door.

It would be very interesting to take a look at your guitar to see if we can spot anything else that does not conform to typical Kalamazoo Texan specs. Enjoy your unique instrument, and thanks for posting!
> Gibsons: '22 "A" Mandolin / '66 ES 125T / '90 Tennessean / '00 J-100 Xtra
'02 J-45 Rosewood / '02 SG Faded-moon / '06 ES 335 / '09 ES 339
'10 ES 330L / '11 ES 335-P90s / '12 ES 330 VOS / '12 LP Special
'12 J-185 / '13 LG2-AE / '13 Midtown Kalamazoo / '14 J-15
> Epis: '66 FT45n Cortez / '00 AIUSA-John Lee Hooker 1964 Sheraton
'05 McCartney 1964 Texan (Terada-Elitist) / '09 Elitist 1965 Casino
> Martins: '00 OOO-16 / '01 Custom Rosewood D / > Ibanez: '81 M-340
> Guilds: '73 F-30R / '74 F-40 / '76 G-37 / '92 D-6 / '94 JF-30 / '97 Starfire
'14 Savoy A-150b / > Breedlove: '10 American Series OO Mandolin
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#6 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 05:45 PM

 zombywoof, on 23 August 2017 - 11:14 AM, said:

Again, employees at Gibson, at least from the late 1940s into the mid-1960s, were not permitted to make guitars for themselves. It remains my understanding that most employee guitars were seconds (which the could snag at a discount) or those they ordered but which would have been built on the normal production line. A customer, however, particularly after 1960 when the Custom Department was created, could presumably order a guitar with modifications such as neck binding. Again, an aftermarket neck binding would take a serious amount of time and work. I am guessing the only way to solve this one would be to get hold of the ledger books.

Do you have a source for Gibson records? If it comes to that, I'm not sure if I have or not - will check, but it may take a while. A lot of my information comes through former Kalamazoo employees and, unfortunately, they (like many of us) get fewer as the years pass😐
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#7 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 11:24 AM

 OldCowboy, on 23 August 2017 - 05:45 PM, said:

Do you have a source for Gibson records? If it comes to that, I'm not sure if I have or not - will check, but it may take a while. A lot of my information comes through former Kalamazoo employees and, unfortunately, they (like many of us) get fewer as the years pass��


Somewhere I have a Xerox copy of the Employee Handbook put together in the 1950s. Of course, whether the rules were strictly enforced or not only those who worked there would know. As we just moved, where it is at the moment remains a mystery. If I recall, you can also find this kind of information in Gil Hembree's book on the Ted McCarty years at Gibson which also includes a number of interviews with those who worked under him from the late 1940s into the mid-1960s. But other than that, as Gibsons were team built, even after McCarty instituted cross-training, it is doubtful that there were many who could have single handedly built their own guitar.

As I said though, the guitar could have come out of the Custom Dept. At the time, the Gibson Custom Dept. did not issue Limited Edition guitars and such as they do now. They built all of their high dollar guitars like the Super 400 and J-200 there and did custom work on individual guitars. I am guessing (and it is only a guess) this is the most likely scenario for the Texan if the neck binding is original.
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#8 User is offline   el capitan 

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 02:53 PM

 Paulajo, on 22 August 2017 - 06:09 AM, said:

Hi, this is my first post. I am in London UK. My question is-I have a Texan 1965 which has cream neck binding. I don't seem to see this on any other Texan I
have seen. Was this an option or could it have been added later, which would have been very difficult, and anyway it looks completely original. The serial
number is 267954. I would welcome any thoughts on this .

You sure it's not an Eldorado?
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#9 User is offline   Leonard McCoy 

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 11:12 PM

Pics, please, of the guitar, serial number / inside sticker.
2009 Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony (Left-handed)
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was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now."óJol Dantzig, founder of Hamer Guitars
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#10 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 06:25 AM

 el capitan, on 24 August 2017 - 02:53 PM, said:

You sure it's not an Eldorado?


That is a good thought. Sure would answer the question.
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#11 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 12:18 PM

 OldCowboy, on 22 August 2017 - 03:57 PM, said:

The 'build your own' issue was unlike Martin policy where such things happen by the book, so to speak. A considerable number of instruments with non-standard features left the factory with employees in the 1950's and 1960's. Haven't seen the added neck binding, but it wouldn't surprise me.


I just ran across some interviews with Gibson employees. One guy who worked for Gibson from 1954 to 1980, as example, stated there was no reason to allow employees to build their own instruments or for them to even want to because the majority did not play. He stated simply he had never seen or even heard of it being done.
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#12 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 09:15 PM

 zombywoof, on 30 August 2017 - 12:18 PM, said:

I just ran across some interviews with Gibson employees. One guy who worked for Gibson from 1954 to 1980, as example, stated there was no reason to allow employees to build their own instruments or for them to even want to because the majority did not play. He stated simply he had never seen or even heard of it being done.

A lot of the guys I've spoken with were both players and builders, though I imagine a good share of employees weren't. Quite a few were undoubtedly just employees in just another factory job.
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#13 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 07:42 AM

 OldCowboy, on 30 August 2017 - 09:15 PM, said:

A lot of the guys I've spoken with were both players and builders, though I imagine a good share of employees weren't. Quite a few were undoubtedly just employees in just another factory job.


The Bozeman shop is a world apart from Kalamazoo. I only recall running across one instrument, in this case a mandolin, which had some unique features and which was built specifically for a Gibson employee. In this case though, it was built for a Gibson executive and back in the 1930s. The Gibson that emerged in 1950/51 was not your Daddy's guitar company. It was re-tooled and re-organized and a very tightly run shop. In the 1950s and 1960s, employees needed to permission from a higher up to buy even a stock instrument off the line.
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#14 User is offline   frenchie1281734003 

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 12:55 PM

There certainly have been Epiphone custom builds from Kalamazoo in the 60s. Walter Carter's "Epiphone the complete history" has a photo on page 91 of Stevie Ray Vaughan playing a red Riviera with vari-switch, double white pickguards,and bound headstock!

I recently saw a Texan that had neck binding for sale in Scotland, but it was hard to tell whether it was a factory mod or not. I have seen a Casino that had Crestwood type oval fretboard inlays too!
Recently there was an Epiphone Sheraton "Customer order" for sale on ebay, which if I remember correctly was red with single black body bindings, no neck binding.

Just found that Sheraton.

https://reverb.com/i...see-thru-cherry

So they are out there.

Steve.
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