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History Of Epiphone Semi-Arch tops from mid 60's required


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I'm quite new to these forums - and found the level of knowledge people have fantastic - but to appreciate some of these guitars more, could somone provide me with the history of epiphobe semi arch tops from mid 60's to date?? - are there any websites/boks like Gibson guitars?

 

I'm aware Epiphones were made in the USA at the same factory as Gibson's in the 1960's, but by looking on ebay you see Japanese guitars called Casino's & Riviera's which don't resemble Casino & Rivieras - th body shape looks wrong, they have bolt on necks, different hardware etc - and called EA-2-- if I recall- had manufacture transferred to Japan?

 

And then along came the Matsumokus models 82/83 - 85 - I'm particular interested in the Riviera of this period - why was it fitted with a stop bar and not the frequensator??

 

Then I believe in 86 guitars were made by Epiphone by Gibson -embossed in pearloid on the headstock - & production transferred to various Korean factories, and in the 2000's China.

 

Where do Orville guitars fit in? and when where the elite/elitist series introduced - I know they're Japanese, but where are they made.

 

Is Epiphone just a brand name - and the guitars can be made anywhere?? - in the 90's when Britpop was rising high with Oasis - and you saw them playing EpiphonesI believed epi's to be the bestof the semi-archtops from rival brands such as Tanglewood, Aria Pro, Encore - but it appears they're all probably made in the same factory or two, but just different hardware/logo on headstock is this a correct assumption?

 

Any help would be appreciated

 

John

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Good site for info about older Epiphones (including US built semis from the '60s):Vintage epiphone guitars

 

Also a detailed page about the Riviera specifically:

http://www.vguitar.com/features/brands/details.asp?AID=2600

 

Like you, I think, I remember the popularity of these models in the UK in the mid-90s. It was a great time to get a deal on a Telecaster.

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Hi,Supernova,you are asking for a lot of info there,but i`ll do my best to rough sketch it for you.

U.S.A.Kalamazoo production ceased in 1969(basically due to a decrease in sales of the Epiphone brand,and the cost to produce them).Gibson/Norlin got Matsumoku in Japan to produce the Semi-acoustics from 1970-1986/87,firstly with rebadged Aria product(the EA models)and from 76 the reissue Casino,followed by the Riviera,Sheraton,and the rest(these guitars much better resembled the 60`s Kalamazoo models,particularly the Casino).The quality was much higher,on a par with top of the line Aria Pro II,Westone and Washburn product ,which Matsumoku also produced,and on a par with Ibanez and Yamaha.They have their fans and users,i.e Noel Gallagher and Paul"Bonehead"Arthurs(for the Riviera)and Billy Jenkins and Luther Dickinson(for the Casino),plus fans of them on here.Specs did change over that period which is why you find Riviera`s and Sheratons with both stop tailpieces and Frequensor.Korean production by Samick started in the mid 80`s(but i only remember Sheraton models by them).Terada took over Japanese production in 1988,and they made the pre-Elite/Elitist Epiphone semi`s as well as the Orville/Orville by Gibson,and the Elite/Elitist guitars(2002/3 for start of Elite production).One point to make here is that Terada made the semi`s and Fuji Gen Gakki(Ibanez)made the solid bodies.Korean production really took off in 1997 with further re-issues of the Casino,Riviera and Sheraton,these are the guitars which most of the forum users here have,various factories built them,but Peerless and Samick spring to mind.as production costs have escalated production has recently moved to China,and it now appears sadly that Japanese and Korean production is very much winding down!.Hope this answers your questions.If you are looking to purchase,a Riviera,then the 76-86 Matsumoku version is a very nice guitar,which shares key design traits with Kalamazoo,but it isn`t as close to the 60`s original as the Matsumoku Casino is.Whereas the Terada Elite/Elitist,pretty much ticks all the right boxes.However if it`s the Oasis Riviera you want,then you have to have Matsumoku!!.Frenchie

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Look at the links, but I can tell you avoid the goofy bolt on neck ones. I had one in 1983-84 and it was the biggest POS. Dumped it and did not look at the Epiphone brand again until 1998 when my buddies store became a dealer and was impressed by how much things had changed.

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Thanks everyone for their help.

 

Just acquired a November 1983 Wine Red Epiphone Riviera made at the Matsumus factory (same colour and year as Noel Gallagher's) from Oasis, and just wanted to know a bit more about what I had, the history before it and after.

 

I'd gleaned a bit of info from this site before buying it - but not a direct history of epi semi-acoustics - there's info on dating guitars, etc and lots of superb members who are more knowledgable than me.

 

I wanted a guitar with humbuckers, and a solid block in it - and looked at sheratons, elitists over the net in the usa, epiphone custom guitars of china - but finally saw the above guitar, which ticked all the boxes. It plays great and very pleased to own it.

 

It wasn't just bought because of the Oasis factor - I grew up in the Oasis era, saw Epiphone's on tv , like the Beatles

, rock n roll generally - and Noel and Bonehead played these guitars - and due to the lack of elitists in England/and lack of epiphones generally I purchased this guitar - and also like the fact that it has block inlays all the way down the neck which sheraton's don't have. I always preferred block inlays over dot markers on the neck.

 

 

Thanks again

 

John

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