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Everything posted by bobouz

  1. The only models I can speak to are the hollow & semi-hollow Epis from Korea & China. The Chinese made instruments I've observed have generally had an appearance of using downgraded wood (lately getting a little better). Tops & backs in particular haven't looked much like maple, with almost none of grain pattern one would expect to see. Most Korean made hollowbody Epis show beautiful wood grain. Also in the case of the Sheraton II, the neck specs were down graded (away from the five-piece neck). Yes it's true, the build quality of Korean instruments would vary from factory to factory, but the Peerless factory in particular was consistently top notch (and they're still at it: check out their website). Finally, a number of current higher line Epi hollowbody models are still being made in Korea, and the workmanship remains excellent. I personally just picked up a new Korean made Valensi Riviera. The top & back display a lot of birdseye, and it's workmanship is pretty darn close to my Elitist Casino. All of this is not to say that China can't build a great instrument, but at this point I still prefer what has and continues to come out of Korea.
  2. Imho, it would have been better to stick closer to the original specs, at least with a reverse belly bridge & black P90. I've always found this model to be kind of interesting, but for some reason the example shown here looks kinda disjointed.
  3. dubstar - Many Elitists are direct copies of Gibson models and have two hole TRCs, which are shaped like the Gibson "bell" cover. Other Elitists, like the Casino, Riviera, & Sheraton, have a three hole TRC. Every catalog picture I've seen of an Elitist Casino has the three hole TRC. These are obviously not fakes. Only the AIUSA version is shown with a two hole TRC, and this model is no longer in production. Now it's possible that the Terada factory may have put necks similar to the AIUSA model on some Elitist Casinos (because they built both versions), but this would not be the norm.
  4. Definitely nailed the '60s look. Very nice!
  5. Yes, the two hole TRC is standard on the Assembled In USA (AIUSA) Casino, which is a very accurate reissue. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a source for even the three hole Epi TRCs. Went searching for a black one to replace the white TRC that comes with the Valensi Riviera. Ended up swapping it with the TRC on a Peerless Casino, and it visually improved both guitars! Still, I'd appreciate any info that can be provided on Epi TRCs.
  6. bobouz

    30/60 Neck

    A sales pitch maybe? When I purchased my 339, the line was, "and this one's still from the custom shop - they'll be going into regular production soon." The 30/60 neck seems to be quite popular & should remain available, imho.
  7. I have a Korean Peerless '04 Casino, and a '09 Elitist Casino. The Peerless is a very good guitar for the money. The Elitist is an even better guitar, with a price tag to match. If you can only buy one, spend the extra dollars and get the Elitist Casino for the higher build quality & Gibson made P90s. Btw, the Elitist Casino is a true hollowbody. The Peerless has a soundpost under the bridge, but is also a true hollowbody. One more comment about the Elitist Casino: the neck is definitely on the skinny side. As for the semi-hollow Sheraton, it is a completely different animal. If you want to get into semi-hollows, one of the best buys on the market right now, imho, is the Gibson 339. I have three Gibson semi-hollows (335,339,Tennessean) as well as a Valensi Riviera I just picked up (also a good buy w/P94s). Although I enjoy them all, on a pure value scale, the 339 is very hard to beat for a high quality semi-hollowbody guitar. If you bought one & then decided you'd really like to experiment with the P90 sound, you could always drop in one or two P94s at a later date. One other comment on the 339: the 30/60 neck seems to be preferred by most folks.
  8. Speaking of Antique Walnut, my '00 J100xtra in maple has this stain on the back & sides. Because the guitar has black binding, the overall effect makes it look smaller than a jumbo body with white binding & natural finish, until you get them side by side. Although I generally prefer a natural finish, I've grown to really like the look of this guitar. Even visually preferring it to my now departed J150 with flame maple.
  9. As I recently mentioned in another thread, I have one of the earliest faded SGs (April '02). Features that were stock for at least the first year and then changed included the ebony fingerboard, multiple crescent moon inlays, and a ABR bridge. Volume & tone knobs were also changed later down the road. The ebony fingerboards on these are nice, but some examples had a problem with protruding fret ends. I rejected the first one I played for this reason. The next example was fine, which is the one I still own.
  10. Fringe L - The Valensi routinely sells for $699, while the assorted versions of the P93 go for $499 to $549. I tend to look closely at how much I'd already have invested in one guitar vs a reasonable bump up for something I'd consider to have higher build quality and/or better specifications (forgot to mention above that the Valensi also has a one-piece mahogany neck and 5-ply laminate body). Imho, the P94s put the Valensi over the top as a great buy. Certainly not as affordable for everyone out there, but not a lot more cash to save up. And of course deals occasionally come along. My Valensi was a level 2 used instrument from MF for $559, listed as having scratches on the top. Expecting the worst, I had to look hard to notice two minor scratches by the knobs. Could never find this guitar in stock locally, so my golden rule of not buying a guitar without playing it first was broken. In the end it worked out well & must say I'm pleased with guitar #15. Not evenly comparable to my 335, 339, Tennessean & others, but in terms of overall value, it's really quite impressive.
  11. For anyone who likes a slim & fast neck (not everyone's cup-o-tea), the Valensi Riviera I just picked up has it. Also, for not a whole lot more money you get real P94s, built in Korea rather than China, chrome plating that won't tarnish in ten minutes, and at least on mine, a golden-orange top with lots of birdseye. Honestly at first look, the color reminded me more of a gold top I once had. One downside is that the Valensi's production seems to be rather limited, appearing at most of the large volume retailers only a couple of times per year. Oh, and the Frequensator tailpiece has a neat look, but is sort of an odd duck. So far I'm okay with it.
  12. My 2000 J100xtra has maple back & sides (dark walnut finish w/slight sunburst on sides), natural top, mahogany neck, black binding, fully visible abalone rosette (not partially hidden by pickguard), inlaid logo & crown, dot markers, and it is very light in weight. Used to own a '96 with mahogany back & sides, but the neck was a brick! The specs on this model have changed so many times in the last decade alone, I don't know if anyone could accurately spit out all the info. Suffice to say, an awful lot of them sound better than a J200!
  13. I recently purchased a P94R to drop into a LP Studio Plus. If you like everything else about your guitar as I do with this particular LP, it's a very reasonable way to go.
  14. Simply being a J45 does not make it a great guitar. Take your two Gibsons to the shop, or see if you can take the J45 home for a night. A side-by-side comparison should tell you whether or not this particular J45 stands clearly above your other instruments. No two acoustics will be alike, as there are intricate considerations in both tone & playability. If it's a more satisfying guitar than what you have, the question should answer itself.
  15. 2000 must have been a good year. I purchased my '00 J100xtra new in early '01. It is the lightest Jumbo bodied Gibson I've ever picked up, and the notes just pop off it. This version of the J100 came with a fully visible abalone rosette (which I find very attractive), maple body, and Fishman pickup.
  16. I have one of the first faded SGs, made in April '02. This early version came with moon inlays, ebony fingerboard, and a ABR bridge. After the change to dots, rosewood, & Nashville bridge, the only other change I'm aware of was the style of knobs. Chrome pickup covers were never part of the package.
  17. Back in '07 when I purchased my natural finish 335, I compared it to three other 335s, as well as two satin 335s. For whatever reasons, the two satin 335s sounded dark & lifeless compared to the standard 335s. No kidding, they were miles apart in tone. Last year I picked up a red 339, and it's every bit as well made as my 335. Tonally, the smaller 339 body has a more compressed sound, which is simply different. Based on the guitars I've sampled, I'd recommend the 339 before the satin 335. Imho, the 339 is currently one of the best buys on the market.
  18. Unfortunately, I'm too old & lazy to learn how to post pics (but I know how to email them!). This particular Valensi example has a color than leans a bit more towards a golden hue rather than orange, and there's a fair amount of birdseye maple figure both front & back. The one piece mahogany neck feels quite fast, and it's profile is similar to the Elitist Casino, which runs on the small side. With the P94s, it has a very interesting combination of features.
  19. Indeed, it is 101021XXXX (only four numerals after the 21 designation).
  20. Yes, it might be Unsung. Right before the Sheraton switched to Chinese production, every one I saw had the "U" serial number designation, so it seemed like Unsung had become the preferred factory.
  21. Just received a very nice Korean made Valensi Riviera with P94s. It was made in 2010 and has a serial number starting with "10". I've seen one example that had a serial number starting with the letter R, which in the past has indicated the Peerless factory. Does anyone know if Peerless is currently making these? Overall, the guitar appears to have a high level of build quality. My only minor quibble is that I'm not particularly fond of the white truss rod cover. So another question: are there any internet sources for black Epiphone covers? I've looked but so far haven't run across anything made specifically for Epis.
  22. FYI - The LP you're looking at was called the "Studio Plus" in '03, and was designated to have a "AA" flame maple top. The model was later changed to the Premium Plus with AAA top (can't remember the year of the change). I have a Desertburst '03 Studio Plus. The tops on these varied considerably. Mine would qualify as AAA in most anyone's book, and it's a beauty. I've purchased a gold/black P94 to put in the neck position, which could be an option for you if you're hooked on the P90 sound. My overall recommendation would be that you keep the Blueshawk & buy the LP as well. Down the road you'll be glad you did. If you can truly afford only one, evaluate every aspect of the LP before leaping. Pickups can be changed, but playability is a completely different matter.
  23. Might be worth running it by a authorized Gibson/Epi repair person to document your concern. If the problem worsens down the road, you'd stand a better chance of getting it covered. Regarding warranty cards, etc, generally you're covered if you've got the original receipt & no one else has registered the same serial number. Hope it all works out okay.
  24. My recollection is that the early dot studios, which came in assorted bright gloss colors (along with white & black), had true body binding rather than painted on lines.
  25. Yes, I see the fox. Never ever thought of it that way before. Kinda cool!
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