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Any info on an FT-145?


Dylan1281734152

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Greetings!

 

This seems to be a hot topic lately. I, too, was given an old acoustic by my father. I don't know much about it, so as usual, I figured I'd come to all of you fine folks.

 

The guitar is an Epiphone FT-145. I can't find a serial #. Made in Japan. Dad told me that he picked it up in the late 60's-early 70's.

 

What's the story on this guitar? What have I got here? Can any of you offer any info on this thing?

 

It looks to me like it would make a good slide guitar. I think that's how I'm going to set it up.

 

 

img00023i.jpg

 

and another shot...

 

img00021c.jpg

 

 

Thanks.

 

Dylan

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Greetings!

 

This seems to be a hot topic lately. I' date=' too, was given an old acoustic by my father. I don't know much about it, so as usual, I figured I'd come to all of you fine folks.

 

The guitar is an Epiphone FT-145. I can't find a serial #. Made in Japan. Dad told me that he picked it up in the late 60's-early 70's.

 

What's the story on this guitar? What have I got here? Can any of you offer any info on this thing?

 

It looks to me like it would make a good slide guitar. I think that's how I'm going to set it up.

 

 

Thanks.

 

Dylan[/quote']

 

In 1971 Norlin, the then-parent company of Gibson and Epiphone contracted with Matsumoku, the parent company of Aria, Westone and other brands to produce a line of budget-level Japanese imports to compete with the huge influx of cheap imports that was happening at the time. The first of these guitars were simply re-badged Aria models. Your guitar was then known as a 6730E. In 1972 the nomenclature reverted back to using the previously used by Epiphone "FT" (for "flat top") alpha prefix and your guitar then became the FT-145. at various times it was also called the "FT-145 Texan" though it didn't resemble the Kalamazoo-made FT-79 Texan in even the most remote of terms. The FT-145 was made from 1972 until about 1978 and sold for around $110. It was an all-laminated bodied (spruce over mahogany) dreadnought with a heel-less bolt-on neck. The neck pocket design does have a proclivity to collapsing from the glues used drying out and one forum member has even detailed a repair procedure here. These weren't the best guitars but again they weren't the worst and barring any structural damage they can be very viable instruments at the entry/hobbyist level. The current value is probably around $150 and it seems to me like the sunburst ones are a bit more common than the natural ones. Exact dating is nearly impossible but if the guitar has a small blue rectangular interior "Epiphone" label (as you've posted). The guitar was made between 1972 and 1976:

 

133109456_o.jpg

 

A larger white/parchment and more-square label stating "Norlin" indicates a guitar made from 1976 to 1978:

 

label78.jpg

 

 

Here's a catalog scan from 1974 featuring your guitar (upper right)

 

pg2-3-1.jpg

 

The Japanese "FT" line was phased out and replaced by the "PR" line around 1978/1979 but some "FT" models are found even into early 1980.

 

Hope that was of help to you. The guitar will always be worth much more as a keepsake than as a guitar and making it a slide guitar is a possibility but with a proper set up and barring any structural problems, as I said, it can be made into a very viable conventional instrument. Good luck.

 

Larens

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Hey! I'm the resident Expert on FT145s on this here site... but Larens got it right.

 

If your action is high, your FT's neck block may have broken loose. Later versions of the FTs were better built and didn't have this problem. Check this thread for my repair:

 

http://forums.epiphone.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=1100

 

BTW,

<<<<<<<< this is my FT145SB "Texan"

 

 

 

Hey, Larens, from that close up of the 6830E you posted, it appears that one was quite fancy. Rosewood back, and really fancy sound hole perfling. That one might be more on the fanciness scale of a FT150. I have, though, seen plainer 6830s.

 

For other viewers, The "E" at the end of 6830 does not mean 'Electrified', just Epiphone. Some Norlin FT's were suffixed 'E' some not. The Aria nomenclature Epiphones only lasted 6 - 12 months so they are quite uncommon.

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Hey! I'm the resident Expert on FT145s on this here site... but Larens got it right.

 

If your action is high' date=' your FT's neck block may have broken loose. Later versions of the FTs were better built and didn't have this problem. Check this thread for my repair:

 

http://forums.epiphone.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=1100

 

BTW,

<<<<<<<< this is my FT145SB "Texan"

 

 

 

Hey, Larens, from that close up of the 6830E you posted, it appears that one was quite fancy. Rosewood back, and really fancy sound hole perfling. That one might be more on the fanciness scale of a FT150. I have, though, seen plainer 6830s.

 

For other viewers, The "E" at the end of 6830 does not mean 'Electrified', just Epiphone. Some Norlin FT's were suffixed 'E' some not. The Aria nomenclature Epiphones only lasted 6 - 12 months so they are quite uncommon.[/quote']

 

haha, you're being replaced... :-

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  • 1 month later...

Okay. So what makes an FT-145 a Texan?

 

I've got a Norlin FT-145 N in the house. It's five numbers down in the serial from this one:

 

http://www.elderly.com/items/20U-8011.htm

 

For a 30 yo guitar, it looks pretty good. The shine is still there, but it has a small chip and some pressure scratches (the kind that slightly dent the wood, but don't break the surface) on the back. Unfortunately, Chris, the original owner, passed away in the summer of 2008 and his teenage son now has it (he lives with us). I've spent a good two hours on it cleaning up the junk, mainly all over the frets.

 

It is a beautiful guitar and it has a great sound.

Sheila

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Okay. So what makes an FT-145 a Texan?

...Sheila

 

5 letters stamped on the paper.

 

I'm not being flippant, it's just a marketing thing. At some point, in order to generate consumer interest, Epiphone USA decided to resurrect model names used in historic models, "Texan", "Caballero", "Sheraton", etc. then applied them to vaguely similar guitars being made by Matsumoku of Japan. A FT79 'Texan', and a FT145 'Texan' aren't even in the same major league, let alone ball park. Just marketingease.

 

But the FT145SB in my hands has her own special voice that I will never tire of.

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i just picked up a 145 too! sounded fantastic, albeit ridiculous action. unplayable above the 3rd or 4th fret. neck block was loose. i tried to fix it, but whoever was in there before me had already stripped out the screw heads. i tried to drill the heads off but theyre threaded enough to still grab even though the head is gone. now the top is coming loose and im getting frustrated. any hope for this old guitar? it really did sound incredible...

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Your first order of business is to get the neck off. Normally it is done this way: Remove black plastic cover from back of guitar. This black plate sometimes has a white strip where a 'serial' number is stamped. Sometimes not. Either way remove it to reveal 4 holes. At the bottom of these holes are seen the heads of #12 wood screws. These screws need a #2 or #3 phillips screwdriver. Back these out (counter clockwise). In your case they got buggered up and you've drilled them out, i.e. removed or totally destroyed the heads so that a screw driver will not engage... You have a problem. Some how you have to get these screws out. Not knowing how badly they are destroyed, I cannot offer any advice.

 

Once you get the neck off, use my tutorial for resetting and reinforcing the neck block:

 

http://forums.epiphone.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=1100

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Now that the top is coming loose.. you have few options but desperate ones.

 

Once you are sure you've totally drilled off all four heads so that all you see is the shank of the screws... all four. Work a wide screw driver or small pry bar between the neck and neck block next to the top strap button. gently try to pry these two apart. You will likely bugger up some of the wood around the joint, but this is a last ditch effort to get the neck off.

 

Work the tool into the joint, possibly tapping with a hammer or mallet. Once you get a tool in the joint, even a little ways, pry up on the tool, then pry down on the neck against the tool, using the tool as a fulcrum, now pry with the tool again... you should be walking the neck's screws out of their holes. If this doesn't work... chalk it up to experience and save whatever hardware is salvageable, then make a wall hanging out of the rest. Keep the hardware for you next FT guitar.

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ok. i actually did that before i read your reply- i got the neck seperated from the block- the screws(very soft) stayed in the neck. i bent them till they broke off, so ill have to put new screws in a different location. i was thinking three across the front anyway, all pilot holed so as to not split the poor old neck. then two towards the soundhole. im going to have to try a bridge doctor. im actually going to have to remove two braces, top and bottom of sound box, to get the block out, cleaned up as well as the gluing area. its going to take a while i think... 5 kids running around here. is wood glue not the prefered method for the neck block? and the 2" neck block braces as well? thanks for your help, i really apreciate it. great sounding guitar. deserves a little attention.

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You bent, then broke the screws off? #-o You couldn't have grabbed aholt of them with a vise grip or pliers to screw them out. #-o

 

Stick a fork in this one. It's done.

 

Do me a favor... don't ever go anywhere near a guit tar with sharp implements again.[blink][crying]:-({|=

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of course i tried to spin them out! look in my post, i noted that they were soft. they tore when i tried turning them. each one. i dont believe its done at all im just going to fill the existing holes with dowels and glue, then reposition the location of the new screws... dont be so quick to give up on an old guitar! ill get it fixed. i have an idea for a bracing modification based on your original...good luck to you. and me as well.

Darren

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i just re-read my post- i should have written "i twisted till they broke" but i put i bent them... i bent them seperating neck from block... then i tore them trying to twist them out. and i plan to go near many guitars with all sorts of sharp implements!

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hardwood dowels, wood glue, put the neckblock back where it goes, filled in the screw holes, (drilled them out of neck) made new seat for an extra screw... this guitar is ready!!! now im going to make my own version of the jld bridge doctor. i cant wait to play this refreshed beauty!

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im not sure why, but i think i detect a hint of... i have pictures. i used purpleheart to make the braces with. from the stock i made my one-piece les paul out of. yes, one piece. i just wanted to know from experienced epiphone owners the best route to take. ive been around luthierie all my life. i like options. i looked for them here. you know what i got? stick a fork in it this ones done and stay away from guitars etc... yeah. thanks for the help.

Darren

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks to Larens and TommyK for the information on this model.

 

I have had my FT-145 since my Mum bought it for me in 1972. I haven't played it for years: it lives in the attic. Fortunately, because it's all laminate it seems to put up with the temperature changes very well. In fact mine is in very good condition, all things considered. Japanese build quality I guess. After reading this thread I got it down and gave it a twang. It actually sounds quite good for an all laminate instrument. Perhaps I better start treating it better:-"

 

I noticed the brochure Larens posted described the top as "natural spruce". Funny how the marketing language changes over time; I think the current term they use for laminate is "select spruce".

 

BTW; I think it would make a good instrument for slide, simply because it is so easy to raise the action. Just turn those adjusters on the bridge and hey presto - bottleneck action.

 

Poor old FT-145 isn't going to get much of a look in now that I have got the Inspired by Texan though.

Pat

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  • 2 years later...

update: i had to re route the neck pocket to get a better angle for lower action, also to remove the torn up wood that i crushed prying the neck and body apart. the bridge truss adds a great amount of projection to the guitar, very loud, very rich tone. only thong though, and my cousin has an ft-130 and complains of the same thing, is that the strings sound kinda dead after a day or two. i assume its the bolt on neck joint, but mine is tight, perfectly fitted to the neck. anyone else ever experience this?

if i came off as a dinkin y earlier posts, im sorry. i sometimes feel insulted rather easily. ive been working on it. all better!

 

 

heres a couple of pictures one of the bridge truss installed, one of the initial damage to the body from the removal. im sure i can find newer pics...

post-22318-011268100 1333632883_thumb.jpg

post-22318-077237400 1333632903_thumb.jpg

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What did the previous owner do? Glue it in place with Gorilla Glue?

 

Would like to see details of that 'bridge truss. I'm intrigued.

 

 

I've found that if I keep my FT145SB hydrated she projects better.

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