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Singi Cho

need help identifying this guitar!

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Hello community, 

I need your precious help to identify this epiphone guitar which i found in the basement of my granddad's house who recently passed away. Sadly, i found it pretty hard to find out anything, since the serialnumber is missing (see Picture 3).  Here are some characteristics of the guitar (there might be some wrong lingo - sorry about that):


1. So, i've done some research and apparently Guitars made in Korea in the early 90s, the serialnumbers were placed on the back of the head with a sticker instead of engraving, which might be the case for this guitar also. there is some residual of what might have been a sticker that has been taken off (see picture 3). That would make sense with respect to the heritage of my granddad.
2. The head is shaped like one on an Explorer
3. The branding on the head is “Epiphone by Gibson”
4. the truss rod cover says “GIBSON”
5. The inlays are dots, but placed where the low E string is.
6. The body reminds me somewhat of that of a Spotlight, but resembles more this one by Samick: https://samick.fandom.com/wiki/P . I can't really tell. What I can say is that this guitar is not “Neck-thru construction”, it’s a 4-screw “Bolt-on Neck”. The surface of the body is somewhat "flat" (rather like a e.g. regular Strat, than a "curved" body like a Les Paul or PRS.

7. It has two single coil and one humbucker pick up, with a 5 way switch
8. The Bridge is by Steinberger and has a tremolo locking nut.


Please see the photos below for reference.

Thank you so much for your help!
Best regards

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67637810_2332460580342822_5812384202364026880_n.jpg

67676610_775952296153585_4985772086451503104_n.jpg

68649915_532042677335358_1666104392069152768_n.jpg

67748207_1081271175596534_7904606211268411392_n.jpg

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Hello...

Had a quick look..

Possibly an Epiphone 635i?

 

Edited by Rabs

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oh woow this looks reaally close. Thank you very much!

I don't know how important these small differences are, but somehow the guitar i have is more a flat top, and the cutaways aren't as "curved" as the 635i. the cutaway "mellows out" a bit where the neck is (that's why i thought it's a Spotlight). and the logo on the head is "epiphone by gibson", whereas the 635i says  "epiphone" only. also, the back of where the neck is connected to the body looks slightly different... oh gosh this is really hard!

But again, thanks Rabs!

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Ooh...a mystery!

The i435, i635 & i935 are the only Epiphones with a neck like this one; 24 frets,  top dot inlays and explorer headstock. However,  the Epiphone by Gibson logo was from 1986-1988. The i-series came out in 1989. The body looks a little similar to the spotlight (1988-1989) and del-rey (1995-+2000) but not quite. It also has a few small similarities to the i-series. The pickups look like the Tech-II's they used in the S-series super strats from 1986-1988. The Steinberger tremolo would have been used on some models during this time period as well, but not after 1988, IIRC.

This is not like any production model Epiphone that I've seen. As much as I hate to fall back on the idea, it's possible that this is a prototype or a small run market test for a limited area that was unsuccessful.  Unless you get lucky and find another one on the web, the most you can do is tear it down and look for other Epiphone hallmarks to verify it's authenticity. There were no counterfeits back then, but there have been some custom one-offs made from Epiphone bodies and parts floating around. None that I have seen tend to look as good, or factory made like this one though. 

Edited by RobinTheHood

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On 8/12/2019 at 4:07 PM, RobinTheHood said:

Ooh...a mystery!

The i435, i635 & i935 are the only Epiphones with a neck like this one; 24 frets,  top dot inlays and explorer headstock. However,  the Epiphone by Gibson logo was from 1986-1988. The i-series came out in 1989. The body looks a little similar to the spotlight (1988-1989) and del-rey (1995-+2000) but not quite. It also has a few small similarities to the i-series. The pickups look like the Tech-II's they used in the S-series super strats from 1986-1988. The Steinberger tremolo would have been used on some models during this time period as well, but not after 1988, IIRC.

This is not like any production model Epiphone that I've seen. As much as I hate to fall back on the idea, it's possible that this is a prototype or a small run market test for a limited area that was unsuccessful.  Unless you get lucky and find another one on the web, the most you can do is tear it down and look for other Epiphone hallmarks to verify it's authenticity. There were no counterfeits back then, but there have been some custom one-offs made from Epiphone bodies and parts floating around. None that I have seen tend to look as good, or factory made like this one though. 

 

 

Wow this is really great. Thank you so much. i haven't thought about guitars that might be floating around somewhere, that were not supposed to be regularly released products.. other than that, i really couldn't find any more clues or indicators that might secure the authenticity of this guitar. i dug out the pickups, and looked into the back chamber where the electronics are... not a single indicator. but again, thanks for your help!

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53 minutes ago, Singi Cho said:

 

 

Wow this is really great. Thank you so much. i haven't thought about guitars that might be floating around somewhere, that were not supposed to be regularly released products.. other than that, i really couldn't find any more clues or indicators that might secure the authenticity of this guitar. i dug out the pickups, and looked into the back chamber where the electronics are... not a single indicator. but again, thanks for your help!

Have you tried emailing Gibson or Epiphone?  I would have thought someone there would know?

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14 hours ago, Rabs said:

Have you tried emailing Gibson or Epiphone?  I would have thought someone there would know?

 

Well, I texted them on Facebook. I thought it may be a little bit more "direct" than e-mail. But sadly, they asked me one question back (which they could have found the answer to if they had read my initial inquiry thoroughly), to which i answered, and since then, i haven't heard anything from them. That's why I searched further by myself and found this forum.. i could try e-mailing though...

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On 8/13/2019 at 2:21 PM, Rabs said:

Have you tried emailing Gibson or Epiphone?  I would have thought someone there would know?

If it's not in a catalog, Epiphone/Gibson are usually clueless about things like this. Especially from this era when records weren't well kept. Most, if not all, customer service people that work for Gibson weren't around at that time or have any in-depth knowledge of the era. Sometimes you get lucky, but not usually. 

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