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Dating an Epiphone Riviera- Pics added


machinehead

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Hi everyone, this is my first post here. But I've been reading a lot!!

 

I'm wondering if anyone can help me to date a Riviera guitar. I'll give as much information as possible.

 

I've done all the usual searches but cannot find any definate dating or identification information.

 

It has a serial number on the back of the headstock, 5083272, (no prefix). Number is not engraved, just gold letters across the top part right behind the Epiphone front logo.

 

On the sticker it says Riviera WR ( the colour IS wine red) Below that, "A division of Gibson Inc, Kalamzoo, Michigin

 

The strange part is that it has a stop tailpiece but no signs that it was ever changed from any other type.

 

Other details are: trapeziod block markers, bound neck and body (high quality work) white guard and truss cover both with the "E" logo, mini humbuckers, four vintage knobs and three way switch.

 

The general quality is excellent, intonation is good. The guitar plays really well with a nice action and the sound is to my liking.

The guitar looks to me to be at least 20 years old, maybe more. Some rust dimples on stop bar, screws are rusted on pickups etc. I own two other guitars from 1960s so I know the look.

 

When I bought it in a private sale locally, it was dusty and dirty. The frets where gunked up and dull. It has a few dings and scratches and a little playing wear here and there.

It came in a slightly battered but reasonable case with "Epiphone" on it.

 

Thanks for any help offered.

 

This is a really interesting site and I've enjoyed reading all the old posts.

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Thanks for the quick response.

 

It's a set neck. The label is a light beige colour with darker brown swirls all over it.

 

I'll try to get some pics up but it'll be next week as I'm heading off for a few days camping and I'd like to take the pics in sunlight.

 

The finish is lovely, nice subtle figuring of the wood shows through on the top of the body. I'll try to show this in the pics.

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It has a serial number on the back of the headstock' date=' 5083272, (no prefix). Number is not engraved, just gold letters across the top part right behind the Epiphone front logo.

 

On the sticker it says Riviera WR ( the colour IS wine red)

 

Below that, "A division of Gibson Inc, Kalamzoo, Michigin

 

The strange part is that it has a stop tailpiece but no signs that it was ever changed from any other type.

 

 

Other details are: trapeziod block markers, bound neck and body (high quality work) white guard and truss cover both with the "E" logo, mini humbuckers, four vintage knobs and three way switch.

 

The general quality is excellent, intonation is good. The guitar plays really well with a nice action and the sound is to my liking.

The guitar looks to me to be at least 20 years old, maybe more. Some rust dimples on stop bar, screws are rusted on pickups etc. I own two other guitars from 1960s so I know the look.

 

When I bought it in a private sale locally, it was dusty and dirty. It came in a slightly battered but reasonable case with "Epiphone" on it.

 

Thanks for any help offered.

[/quote']

 

I thought most Rivieras came with the Frequensator. Of course this was when they were still made in Kalamazoo,

Michigan.

 

BTW..is the "Kalamzoo Michigin . a dylexic typo or the actual label information on this guitar?

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It has a serial number on the back of the headstock' date=' 5083272, (no prefix). Number is not engraved, just gold letters across the top part right behind the Epiphone front logo.

 

On the sticker it says Riviera WR ( the colour IS wine red) Below that, "A division of Gibson Inc, Kalamzoo, Michigin

 

...The label is a light beige colour with darker brown swirls all over it.

[/quote']

 

Like this:

 

Riviera%20MIJ%20label.jpg

 

You got a really nice Matsumoku Riviera. It was made in Japan August 1985. WR does indicate Wine Red, the AN on the label I posted stands for Antique Natural.

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Like this:

 

Riviera%20MIJ%20label.jpg

 

You got a really nice Matsumoku Riviera. It was made in Japan August 1985. WR does indicate Wine Red' date=' the AN on the label I posted stands for Antique Natural.[/quote']

 

That's excellent news and thanks for posting.

 

Are these Japanese ones common? I take it I should hang on to this then?

 

Actually, I like this guitar so much I have no intention of parting with it. The quality is top notch.

 

I'll post some pics next week.

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That's excellent news and thanks for posting.

 

Are these Japanese ones common? I take it I should hang on to this then?

 

Actually' date=' I like this guitar so much I have no intention of parting with it. The quality is top notch.

 

I'll post some pics next week.[/quote']

 

They're not too common, they were primarily designed for the Japanese market. I have three Matsumokus (Emperor, Casino & Sheraton), and I rate them top notch as well. They're keepers.

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Hi everyone' date=' this is my first post here. But I've been reading a lot!!

 

I'm wondering if anyone can help me to date a Riviera guitar I bought recently. I'll give as much information as possible.

 

I've done all the usual searches but cannot find any definate dating or identification information.

 

It has a serial number on the back of the headstock, 5083272, (no prefix). Number is not engraved, just gold letters across the top part right behind the Epiphone front logo.

 

On the sticker it says Riviera WR ( the colour IS wine red) Below that, "A division of Gibson Inc, Kalamzoo, Michigin

 

The strange part is that it has a stop tailpiece but no signs that it was ever changed from any other type.

 

Other details are: trapeziod block markers, bound neck and body (high quality work) white guard and truss cover both with the "E" logo, mini humbuckers, four vintage knobs and three way switch.

 

The general quality is excellent, intonation is good. The guitar plays really well with a nice action and the sound is to my liking.

The guitar looks to me to be at least 20 years old, maybe more. Some rust dimples on stop bar, screws are rusted on pickups etc. I own two other guitars from 1960s so I know the look.

 

When I bought it in a private sale locally, it was dusty and dirty. The frets where gunked up and dull. It has a few dings and scratches and a little playing wear here and there.

It came in a slightly battered but reasonable case with "Epiphone" on it.

 

Thanks for any help offered.

 

This is a really interesting site and I've enjoyed reading all the old posts.[/quote']

 

I'm certain the intention of these nice people was to help you but your guitar was actually made in August of 1975...had it been made in 1985 the label would have stated "Epiphone Musical Instruments- "Nashville Tennessee"... Epiphone in Kalamazoo didn't exist in August of 1985...with all Gibson production ending there in June of 1984 (Epiphone production ended there in the summer of 1970) and the doors finally closing in the autumn of 1984. The line was was originally intended for the Japanese domestic market but it wasn't long before they escaped to the world market and by 1981 distribution was world-wide. They were manufactured by Matsumoku which was the parent company of Aria and other Japanese brands and they were of relatively high quality, slightly superior to the later Korean production Epiphones but not quite to the level of the later Terada-made Epiphone Elitist Japanese line. This line always had full-sized humbuckers and initially was only offered with a stop tail piece. In the early 80's the Frequensator was also offered as an option so you'll find both versions with these guitars. They did resemble the Kalamazoo-made models sharing the same model names but they weren't exact duplications. The line was made from 1975 until 1985 when after the sale of Gibson to the current owners all Epiphone production was moved to Korea. A year or so later (1987) Japanese production resumed though this time at the Terada factory and again it was intended only for the Japanese market and again the models made their way on to the world stage. In 1995 this line of guitar became "Epiphone Japan" and in about 1999 it became the Elite line and later the Elitist line. Not necessarily common though also not really that rare these do come up quite often on E Bay and usually sell for between $500-$700 which is probably their reasonable market value depending of course upon condition. They are pretty nice instruments. Good luck

 

 

...and Al's your uncle.

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I'm certain the intention of these nice people was to help you but your guitar was actually made in August of 1975...had it been made in 1985 the label would have stated "Epiphone Musical Instruments- "Nashville Tennessee"... Epiphone in Kalamazoo didn't exist in August of 1985...

 

No, if it was made in 1975 it would have had a blue label (and a 6 digit serial #), the tan labels started in 1980 and were changed to brown in 1985. This was probably just one of the last tan Kalamazoo labels prior to the change over.

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No' date=' if it was made in 1975 it would have had a blue label (and a 6 digit serial #), the tan labels started in 1980 and were changed to brown in 1985. This was probably just one of the last tan Kalamazoo labels prior to the change over.[/quote']

 

The Kalamazoo to Nashville label change started in 1984 so the old labels were long gone by August of 1985...and not all of the early labels were the blue Kalamazoo-type labels. In fact, by 1976 after the Norlin labels appeared those Blue labels were no longer used on anything...the serial number is consistent with what was being used on 1975 Matsumoku Epiphones...the color of the labels were parchment, not tan and the brown swirls was the glue used seeping through..between age and the glue and the background color they do sometimes appear to be tan.

 

...and Al's your uncle.

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The Kalamazoo to Nashville label change started in 1984 so the old labels were long gone by August of 1985...and not all of the early labels were the blue Kalamazoo-type labels. In fact' date=' by 1976 after the Norlin labels appeared those Blue labels were no longer used on anything...the serial number is consistent with what was being used on 1975 Matsumoku Epiphones...the color of the labels were parchment, not tan and the brown swirls was the glue used seeping through..between age and the glue and the background color they do sometimes appear to be tan.

 

...and Al's your uncle.[/quote']

 

Uncle Al, can you explain why they (Matsumoko) used "Epiphone..Division of Gibson...Kalamazoo"

on their labels?

Was this done as part of the licensing agreement for the Japanese market?

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The Kalamazoo to Nashville label change started in 1984 so the old labels were long gone by August of 1985...and not all of the early labels were the blue Kalamazoo-type labels. In fact' date=' by 1976 after the Norlin labels appeared those Blue labels were no longer used on anything...the serial number is consistent with what was being used on 1975 Matsumoku Epiphones...the color of the labels were parchment, not tan and the brown swirls was the glue used seeping through..between age and the glue and the background color they do sometimes appear to be tan.[/quote']

 

You're obviously not familiar with the tan/light brown Matsumoku labels that were used 1980 - 1985, maybe you just forgot. They say nothing about Norlin, and they are not as you describe:

 

...the color of the labels were parchment' date=' not tan and the brown swirls was the glue used seeping through..between age and the glue and the background color they do sometimes appear to be tan.

 

They do indeed have swirls as evidenced in these photos:

 

mat%20lab.jpg

 

You will notice that the pattern is exactly the same in all four photos, it is not glue seepage as you stated. Now I have these brown label guitars and had a fourth, so I am familiar with them. So before you get all defensive, please look at them and understand that these labels have nothing to do with saying Norlin, glue seepage, parchment turning tan from the glue and/or aging... These are the labels used on Matsumokus 1980 thru 1985, and it is the label machinehead has on his guitar.

 

Here's the rundown on Matsumoku labels compiled by someone on the old forum. If memory serves me correctly, the list was compiled by someone in Japan who specialized in Japanese Epis, it's a shame that a lot of good info was lost:

 

Blue label 6digits 1975-1980

Light brown label 7digits 1980-1985.

Brown label 7digits 1985-1988.

Orange label 5digits 1988-

 

Coincidentally, there is a thread running about Casinos where a forum member has a 1975 - 1980 Matsumoku Casino:

 

I have 2 casinos. I acquired one in 2003 from one of the band players in manila. It was made in japan with a serial no. 101088. In the blue sticker inside' date=' it said kalamazoo, Michigan. Underneath it said made in Japan. The other one i ordered it from my friend living Georgia. It was made in Korea. It was brand new when it was shipped to me. It has an orange sticker.[/quote']

 

As you will note, it has a blue label and a six digit serial # as per the listing above. I find it interesting that the blue label says Made in Japan, the later ones I have do not. If I recall correctly, you own a pre-Elitist Terada which according to the list should have a 5 digit serial # and an orange label. Maybe instead of fighting, maybe you could post a photo of your label (blocking out the serial #) and we could ask pempol to post a photo of his blue label. Maybe someone on the forum has the darker brown 1985 - 1988 label. Maybe frenchie has one.

 

PS - I'm sorry for the poor quality photos, but I took them hastily to make the point about the swirls being exactly the same on all the labels.

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Jerry,the labels on all of my Casino`s are the same as those that you have shown.I totally agree with all the comments you have made here,about this issue,and i think Matsumoku were still using the Kalamazoo labels,post Kalamazoo production(i don`t think using such labels was a big issue,after all the Lennon reissues have Blue Kalamazoo labels,and none of them ever pased that way!!).Of interest to me was the fact Pempol had a Blue label Matsumoku Casino with a 1981 serial number all be it six digit.

 

Iconoclast is not often wrong,but i think in this instance the Riviera in question is an 85,and these Tan labels certainly never had glue seepage!.

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I`ve just re-read Machineheads original post again' date='and now i`m confused,"mini humbuckers"on an 85 Matsumoku Riviera,that`s not right,we need pics!!.[/quote']

 

You know, it is possible that I am wrong on the mini humbuckers thing. This is my first Epiphone, in fact, it's the first 6 string guitar I've bought since 1979 (and that was a Washburn D28S, acoustic, which I still own). I've been playing mainly bass guitar for almost 20 years now.

The Epiphone has rekindled my enjoyment of playing 6 strings.

 

Rather than make another blunder, I will post some pics as soon as I can. As I said above, I'm going away camping for a few days but I'll post after I get home.

 

Thanks for all the responses and I hope I haven't started a argument....

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