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Epiphone Genesis Reissue Review & Demo VIDEO ADDED

#1 User is offline   brianh 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 03:04 PM

Hi all, well after over a year on the drawing boards, Epiphone finally received some samples of the much-anticipated reissue of the 1979 / 1980 Genesis model. Epi1 was kind enough to send me one in Black Cherry finish for evaluation, and it does not disappoint:

Sound Clip Here

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Similarities to the '79 / '80 Standard, Custom and Deluxe models:

Scale length: 24-3/4"
Overall length: 40-7/8"
Body shape: solid double cutaway carved top
Body dimensions: 13" at lower bout, 8" at waist, 9-3/8" at upper bout, 1-7/8" thick at horn, 2" thick at bridge
Body composition: 3-piece solid mahogany, unchambered
Neck: solid mahogany, set neck with volute and one scarf joint at headstock
Headstock: 3 x 3 elongated Epiphone style
TRC: black 2-layer, 3-hole, engraved Genesis
Nut: plastic
Finish: gloss poly
Pickup configuration: 2x Humbuckers
Frets: 22, steel (appear to be medium jumbo)
Switch / location: 3-way with black washer / below tailpiece
Control cavity: single rear, same shape and location as vintage
Bridge/tail: Tune-o-matic, fixed tail.
Strap pins: non-locking
Neck width: 1.65" at nut 2.0" at 12th fret
Pickguard: none

Differences:

Weight: ~8 lbs (originals were +/-10 lbs)
Neck thickness: +/- 0.85" at the first fret, 0.95" at the 12th fret (originals were 0.9" at the 1st, 1.0" at the 12th)
Top: 2-piece matched flame maple veneer (originals were plain top)
Jack: gold, side mounted w/ 4-screw black plastic jackplate (original was top mounted and notorius for breaking the control cavity)
Pickups: Covered Epiphone ProBuckers 2/3 (originals were uncovered no-name)
Controls: V/V/T/T with push/pull coil taps on volume controls (original layout was V/V/T with seperate coil tap switch, neck pickup only)
Tuners: 14:1 Grover (the originals were no-name Schaller style knock offs)
Serial number: silkscreen 11-digit with Epi Custom Shop logo on back of headstock (original was 7-digit stamped)

Other: The reissue is a combination of the features of all three of the vintage versions:

Single ply front body and neck binding from the Standard.
9 trapezoid inlays from the Deluxe
Gold hardware from the Custom

Stuff I learned about the reissue:

Epiphone ProBucker pickups are patterned after Gibson Burstbuckers (4-wire, nickel/silver base, Elektrisola wire, etc.)
Fits nicely in a standard LP case (not sure if it will come with a case, but there might be a custom Geni case in the works)
Shipping date to dealers is expected to be September 2012.
Available finishes: Black Cherry, Vintage Sunburst

Review / Comments:

Firstly, I am not an Epiphone employee or contractor, so I had no idea what was going on with this guitar or that it was so far along in development, and I had not seen any pictures of the prototype until last week. I saw the same rendering you all saw last year, but this guitar has several key differences, including trap inlays, covered pickups, 4 controls, side-mounted jack and flame top veneer. I don't know if it will be available in trans blue or ebony finish like in the preliminary rendering, Epi1 will have to answer that one. I also don't know what the list or street price will be, but I'd guess similar to some of the top-end Epiphone Les Pauls.

Anyway, when I took the guitar out of the case, I was pretty much speechless. It's a drop-dead gorgeous instrument, and while on paper I thought the changes and new features would take away from its vintage vibe, I am now 100% converted. The gold hardware against the Black Cherry flame top is absolutely stunning. Everything about the guitar just looks right, not too plain and not too gaudy. I was also skeptical that Epiphone could make a reissue with the same level of workmanship as the originals, but other than a tiny bit of red overspray around the binding that's hardly worth mentioning, it's a nearly perfect execution.

I've only had one session with it plugged in so far, but the setup was great, medium low action, no dead frets, no string popping at the nut, and dead-on intonation. I think I can get the action a little lower, but I would not touch the nut, it is beautifully cut and shaped, better than ANY of the other Epis I have (even the ones I have shaped myself), and although I don't think it's bone, it compares with the nut work on my Sadowsky Semi Hollow. The neck is thin, fast and very comfortable, more so than the originals.

The reduced weight is a big plus, I can see gigging this guitar all night without a back brace and the lack of rear body binding makes it comfortable for standing play without a belly cut. The switch and pots feel smooth and sure, so do the tuners. The ProBucker pickups are clear and articulate. I suppose you could change them out, but you'd have to be ridiculously picky about your tone. The coil taps make the reissue a much more tonally versatile guitar than the original, and allow you go from jazz to country to funk to hard rock effortlessly.

I will be posting some photos of the pickup and control cavities when I get around to changing strings. I'll also post a video and maybe a sound clip ASAP.

BTW, huge thanks to Epi1 and the design and manufacturing staffs at Epiphone for bringing this model back with such dedication and attention to detail, it's really nice to know they're listening. Also massive thanks to Jim Walker (wherever you are) for designing the originals. More thanks to Zach Fjestad, editor of the the Blue Book of Electric Guitars for letting me rewrite and correct the entry for Genesis (13th ed.) as well as everyone on this forum that let me rant on for over 3 years about what great guitars these are, and especially those of you who contracted the compulsion and know what I'm talking about. Lastly, thanks to RTH for including the correct descriptions in the Unofficial Epiphone Wiki, and to Fabi for his virtual altar at Epiphone Genesis Lovers.

More info about the originals can be found here: http://en.wikipedia....piphone_Genesis

Cheers, Brian



"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
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#2 User is offline   brianh 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 03:05 PM

The full lineup:

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They're also making a special case for it with orange interior and a Genesis Badge:

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"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
-- Albert Einstein

#3 User is offline   DeweyCox 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 03:18 PM

This is cool! The guitar looks awesome and from your review I take it it is. Really cool that the company really hears the people out. I'm looking forward to trying one out myself.
If Elvis and Buddy Holly are the Cain and Abel of rock and roll, Bruce Springsteen is Zachariah, Iggy Pop is Methuselah, and, of course, Neil Young is the wise prophet Ezekiel, then what does that make Dewey Cox?

#4 User is offline   damian 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 03:22 PM

Nice thread.........Nice clear pics, great review..............Lovely guitar; another top notch model from Epi............

( Perhaps Epi1 would like me to "review" a transblack model for him......[thumbup] ....)....
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#5 User is offline   jcwillow777 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 03:32 PM

Sharp looking guitar. Brian, how do you like having the pup selector switch where it is? It seems like an odd place to me.

Also, is that a bone nut?

#6 User is offline   brianh 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 03:55 PM

View Postjcwillow777, on 12 February 2012 - 03:32 PM, said:

Sharp looking guitar. Brian, how do you like having the pup selector switch where it is? It seems like an odd place to me.

Also, is that a bone nut?

My feeling was to leave the switch where it was. It's out of the way, so no unexpected switcheroos during a gig, and it's true to the original. The only downside is if you want to install a Bigsby, you'll have to go back to V/V/T + switch and plug up the hole.

It could be a bone nut, IDK. Whatever it is, it's really nicely done.
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#7 User is offline   diverden 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 04:03 PM

Want it!

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#8 User is offline   SNick 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 04:19 PM

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I Like.......
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#9 User is offline   LSAR 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 04:21 PM

LUCKY! [cursing]

I haven't ever had GAS for a Genesis before seeing your pics!

I want one. [thumbup]
____________________________________________________
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#10 User is offline   bigneil 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 04:45 PM

I love the black cherry top and hold hard ware look. Stunning guitar. if I ever find enough money to buy a new guitar ever again, that one will be top of my list.

(edit) I just had ano ther good look with the photos enlarged...... I may have had a guitargasm.
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#11 User is offline   mgrasso 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 04:48 PM

Nice job Brian.
I could not think of a better person to review the reissue.
I have been following your love affair with these for the past few years.
Fueled some gas of my own for this model.
Looking forward to the inside construction pics and some sound clips.

And it's good to see Epiphone returning to reissuing their own models after last years move to the Gibson reissues.
(Love your Pelham 339)

Mark
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#12 User is offline   RaSTuS 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 08:47 PM

Tremendous review Brian, they couldn't have chosen any one better suited to evaluating the new re-issue than yourself, it all sounds very promising so far, my only concern being the location of the 3-way, looking forward to the the further pics and comments.
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#13 User is offline   SNick 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 09:10 PM

I like the location of the switch. Very handy and out of the way.
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#14 User is offline   musicmaker99 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 10:27 PM

Beautiful......I can't wait to test drive one. Thanks to Brianh for definitely having a hand in Epi reissuing this one. I've been offered $800 for mine and never even paused long enough to consider such a thing! Sell my Genesis? Not a chance! [flapper]

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#15 User is offline   midiman56 

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 02:07 AM

Man ... if SHE isn't a round-bottomed little beauty!

Wonderful review, Brian ... as others have said, there is no one more qualified than you to give this instrument the once-over. Well done, sir!

Jim
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#16 User is offline   eggs 

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 03:08 AM

Holy smoke... I didn't see that one coming...

Awesome news, awesome guitar, awesome review...

Kudos to you Brian, & kudos to Epi1 for having the good sense to send that your way!

Cheers,
Stuart

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#17 User is offline   Versatile 

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 03:31 AM

Thanks for an interesting review !!

A very desirable guitar indeed...

In a word...'Biblical'... [thumbup]

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#18 User is offline   zeplin 

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 06:11 AM

Thanks for taking the time to write that great review.

Nice guitar and incredible photos! What camera did you use and what settings, if I may ask.
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#19 User is offline   brianh 

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 08:26 AM

View Postzeplin, on 13 February 2012 - 06:11 AM, said:

Thanks for taking the time to write that great review.

Nice guitar and incredible photos! What camera did you use and what settings, if I may ask.

Thanks Zep, it's just a $200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 on auto white balance. It has a Leica-designed lens, a nice feature for a point-and-shoot camera, but after failing to get decent shots inside I finally had to go outdoors for the good light.

It was freezing and windy as hell, so the shoot didn't last long. In the end, the guitar did all the heavy lifting. In person it's beautifully finished in any light.

Brian
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-- Albert Einstein

#20 User is offline   RTH 

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 08:28 AM

YOU LUCKY DOG!!! I'm so jealous right now. [tongue]

Can I put this in the wiki yet? [biggrin]
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