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FT-130 / FT-130 Caballero

#1 User is offline   ghanlon 

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 05:10 AM

Hi I recently purchased an Epiphone FT-130 ($40.00) blue label inside only has FT-130, but I have seen others that say FT-130 and Caballero.

Are these two the same?

What are the differences?
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#2 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 06:43 AM

Is yours a classical size hog top guitar with a satin finish?
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#3 User is offline   ghanlon 

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 10:51 AM

View PostOldCowboy, on 03 September 2017 - 06:43 AM, said:

Is yours a classical size hog top guitar with a satin finish?



Sorry that was over my head :)
here is a photo.
My FT-130

It has a bolt on neck
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#4 User is offline   QuestionMark 

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 11:44 AM

View Postghanlon, on 03 September 2017 - 10:51 AM, said:

Sorry that was over my head :)
here is a photo.
My FT-130

It has a bolt on neck


The original FT30/Caballero from the 1960's was a concert size mahogany guitar. It mirrored, Gibson's LG0, which was made side by side to it in the Gibson/Epiphone Kalamazoo factory. The original F30 was a pre-Gibson owned Epiphone. When Gibson bought Epiphone they kept the model in their line up and added Caballero to its name.

After Gibson outsourced Epiphones in the 70s, an overseas made Epiphone FT 130 was made and sometimes through out the import years sometimes it was a FT130 and sometimes the Caballero name with or without surfaced. Records are non-existent. In recent years, Epiphone began to seriously pay homage to its earlier history and reissued a FT30/Caballero that was imported that looked identical to the 60s model in size, shape, and being fully mahogany, although this time around it was all laminated mahogany whereas the 60s version had a solid mahogany top. ((I am not sure if the 60s version had laminated sides and back, not sure anyone really know for sure).

The FT130 models and Caballero models without the FT30 designation, bore no resemblances to the mahogany FT30/Caballeros, except for similar names.

If your FT130 has a bolt on neck, it likely was from the 70s. Likely, from a Japanese guitar factory, relabeled as an Epiphone.

I assume it's top is solid spruce.

Some of the 70s Epi's from the early era of imports often get a neglected rap by collectors because little is known about them and because their bolt on necks were unusual. Yet, some of them are pretty good guitars. (And as Taylors have bolt on necks, bolt on necks on an acoustic guitar are no longer an oddity like they originally were.)

There used to be a total expert named Tad on 70s Epiphones on the Epiphone forum that preceded this one. I have no clue if he ever still is in this forum. If so, I am sure he'd be able to tell you a lot about FT 130s. But, not sure he still checks in or not to help you with specifics.

Hope my scarce knowledge is helpful.

QM aka Jazzman Jeff
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#5 User is offline   bobouz 

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 12:50 PM

View PostQuestionMark, on 03 September 2017 - 11:44 AM, said:

(I am not sure if the 60s version had laminated sides and back, not sure anyone really know for sure).

The FT130 models and Caballero models without the FT30 designation, bore no resemblances to the mahogany FT30/Caballeros, except for similar names. If your FT130 has a bolt on neck, it likely was from the 70s. Likely, from a Japanese guitar factory, relabeled as an Epiphone. I assume it's top is solid spruce.

A couple of thoughts re the above:

>On budget '60s models such as the FT-30, the top & back were often solid, while the sides were laminated.

>On '70s Epiphones such as the OP's, the spruce top would typically be laminated rather than solid.
> Gibsons: '22 "A" Mandolin / '66 ES 125T / '90 Tennessean / '00 J-100 Xtra
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#6 User is offline   ghanlon 

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 03:17 PM

View PostQuestionMark, on 03 September 2017 - 11:44 AM, said:

The original FT30/Caballero from the 1960's was a concert size mahogany guitar. It mirrored, Gibson's LG0, which was made side by side to it in the Gibson/Epiphone Kalamazoo factory. The original F30 was a pre-Gibson owned Epiphone. When Gibson bought Epiphone they kept the model in their line up and added Caballero to its name.

After Gibson outsourced Epiphones in the 70s, an overseas made Epiphone FT 130 was made and sometimes through out the import years sometimes it was a FT130 and sometimes the Caballero name with or without surfaced. Records are non-existent. In recent years, Epiphone began to seriously pay homage to its earlier history and reissued a FT30/Caballero that was imported that looked identical to the 60s model in size, shape, and being fully mahogany, although this time around it was all laminated mahogany whereas the 60s version had a solid mahogany top. ((I am not sure if the 60s version had laminated sides and back, not sure anyone really know for sure).

The FT130 models and Caballero models without the FT30 designation, bore no resemblances to the mahogany FT30/Caballeros, except for similar names.

If your FT130 has a bolt on neck, it likely was from the 70s. Likely, from a Japanese guitar factory, relabeled as an Epiphone.

I assume it's top is solid spruce.

Some of the 70s Epi's from the early era of imports often get a neglected rap by collectors because little is known about them and because their bolt on necks were unusual. Yet, some of them are pretty good guitars. (And as Taylors have bolt on necks, bolt on necks on an acoustic guitar are no longer an oddity like they originally were.)

There used to be a total expert named Tad on 70s Epiphones on the Epiphone forum that preceded this one. I have no clue if he ever still is in this forum. If so, I am sure he'd be able to tell you a lot about FT 130s. But, not sure he still checks in or not to help you with specifics.

Hope my scarce knowledge is helpful.

QM aka Jazzman Jeff



Clearly says FT-130, has a bolt on neck and is made in Japan during the 70s.

My real question was just am I correct in calling it a Caballero even if it does not say it?

Picky I know but some labels say FT-130 Cabellero and others like mine just say FT-130


I like the bolt on necks, and love the thin profile of it.
I also like the zero fret.

I also recently picked up an FT-160 Texan 12 bolt on neck. I'm gettign to fit it with a bone nut later this week.
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#7 User is offline   QuestionMark 

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 03:48 PM

I would say if it doesn't say Caballero on the label, it''s correct model name is simply FT130. My FT30/Caballero, for example says both on the label and as mentioned is a different model and guitar as it is a 60s mahogany guitar.

Plus, the bolt-on necked Epi guitars from the 70's, did not resemble any prior Kalamazooo made models or from subsequent years when Epi production was moved from Japan to South Korea, China, or Indonesia.

Where there are a few cases of guitars having different names on their labels and being cross named, those cases involve identical guitars. Such as a Gibson Country-Western is also a Natural Southern Jumbo.

Just my 2 cents.

QM aka Jazzman Jeff
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#8 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 04:36 PM

Lots and lots of fine and accurate information here for anyone who gets puzzled over the Great Epiphone Metamorphosis of the 1970's. At the onset, I picked up one or two Japanese Epi's to use as 'beaters' - a job they fulfilled rather well, although they bore no resemblance to Gibson instruments. At the time the new imports were prone to structural issues which manifested themselves relatively soon after purchase - neck issues and braces that weren't sufficiently glued were very common. Many of those that have survived until now were either put together properly originally or were subject to much needed refurb (Forest Fretworks in Oshtemo, MI contracted to do much of that, and had defective Epi's by the bin and stacked along the walls to the point of being comical). That's one reason why import Epi's got a bad rap from the beginning. Back to today's survivors, the strongest (mostly) are still around, and in some cases have developed what I'd call a genuine cult following of sorts. Whatever, it's all great fun☺
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#9 User is online   zombywoof 

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:53 AM

As Question Mark notes, during the 1970s Gibson outsourced the Epiphone brand. They simply licensed the name and had nothing initially to with the design or build. These guitars were at least up till mid-decade pretty much re-badged budget Arias which is why they resemble nothing that had come out of Kalamazoo.
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#10 User is online   zombywoof 

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 11:04 AM

View PostQuestionMark, on 03 September 2017 - 11:44 AM, said:

The original FT30/Caballero from the 1960's was a concert size mahogany guitar. It mirrored, Gibson's LG0, which was made side by side to it in the Gibson/Epiphone Kalamazoo factory. The original F30 was a pre-Gibson owned Epiphone. When Gibson bought Epiphone they kept the model in their line up and added Caballero to its name.




In all the decades I have been playing I have never even seen a pre-Gibson FT-30. I know they appear in catalogs but I cannot help but think I would have had to run across one sometime somewhere.
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#11 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 06:17 PM

View Postzombywoof, on 05 September 2017 - 11:04 AM, said:

In all the decades I have been playing I have never even seen a pre-Gibson FT-30. I know they appear in catalogs but I cannot help but think I would have had to run across one sometime somewhere.

Yeah, it's funny how that works sometimes. I doubt it's a myth, but possibly not a big seller....
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#12 User is online   zombywoof 

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 07:32 PM

View PostOldCowboy, on 05 September 2017 - 06:17 PM, said:

Yeah, it's funny how that works sometimes. I doubt it's a myth, but possibly not a big seller....


The NY Epiphone Registry does have a handful of FT-30s listed beginning in 1940 so the guitar is definitely not a myth.
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#13 User is offline   Cougar 

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 08:18 PM

View Postghanlon, on 03 September 2017 - 03:17 PM, said:

I also recently picked up an FT-160 Texan 12 bolt on neck.


Congrats! I've got one of those. It's a pretty good sounding 12-string for one that gets no respect whatsoever and sells for peanuts. Yeah, my luthier remarked the bolt-on neck made for easy adjustment...
2011 Guild F50R burst
2002 Guild JF30-12 burst 

2011 Guild F-212 XLCE
2008 Epiphone Masterbilt EF-500RAVS


2012 Epiphone Lennon EJ-160E VS


1972 Epiphone FT-160 12-string sunburst

2012 Epiphone Dot CH

2010 Epiphone Les Paul Standard trans amber 

Yamaha Motif XS7

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#14 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 09:08 PM

View Postzombywoof, on 05 September 2017 - 07:32 PM, said:

The NY Epiphone Registry does have a handful of FT-30s listed beginning in 1940 so the guitar is definitely not a myth.

So, perhaps not a big seller? Suddenly, I have a very familiar urge to find and try one!
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#15 User is online   zombywoof 

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 01:59 PM

View PostOldCowboy, on 05 September 2017 - 09:08 PM, said:

So, perhaps not a big seller? Suddenly, I have a very familiar urge to find and try one!


I had the exact same urge.
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