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Anybody have a epiphone archtop jazz guitar


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I have an emp regent as well.


Replaced the stock bridge with an ebony on from stewmac. 25$. Big improvement


Use thomastic George benson 14s. My Fav strings for this guitar


Replaced the stock pickup with a P90. I like it but it isnt for everyone. The Korean Kent Armstrong pickup sounds better than the orginal but you gotta frig with it to get it to fit.


Replaced the frequensator with a home made frequensator. Doesnt make a difference tonally but makes restringing easier.


Removed the pickguard. Big improvement in acoustic tone. If anyone had told me that I would never have believed them. Because I am not using a floating pickup I mounted the pots in the body ala Wes L5.


Tuners are crap but they work so I never changed them.


That is all I can add.

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I have 3 of them and two are Emperor IIs.


As far as the comment about removing the pickguard to "improve" acoustic tone..I don't agree, as removing

a suspended pickguard doesn't do that much for the tone.


The rosewood bridge is somewhat intonatable if you slant it slightly with the treble side closer to the

fret board by about an 1/8" of an inch from the bass side which will be 1/8 longer. It's a matter

of trial and error though..

the bridge doesn not have to be exactly parallel... but it does have to be correctly placed for the scale o

f the guitar.


GFS and others do make an individual adjustable t-o-m bridge for archtops, but you might find it a bit brighter

over the rosewood bridge..depending on the strings used.

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I have 3 of them and two are Emperor IIs.


As far as the comment about removing the pickguard to "improve" acoustic tone..I don't agree' date=' as removing

a suspended pickguard doesn't do that much for the tone.




Maybe I am on crack. Wanny try it? [biggrin]

It is suspended but it is still between the top and your ear and it is covering half the lower f hole.

I know it is a stretch but I tried it again and I do notice the difference (and my hearing is sh.. shot .)

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I just bought a Epiphone Emperor Regent and would like some advice concerning fine tuning the guitar and using the best strings ( Tomastik ? ) for the best acoustic sound' date='

Thanks for looking

And a Happy New Year to all Epiphone geaks.[/quote']



If I installed a frequensator tailpiece would I get a better acoustic sound ?

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I am sure from a physics perspective, any change in an instrument, will cause a difference....whether that change can be perceived is another matter.......variables, you can list them..... everyone has different hearing.....I am 50 per cent deaf (accident when I was a child) and struggle with my one good ear.


I know the tone I like, and want....:-)


But, I would have to defer to someone with 100 per cent hearing, and greatly enhanced perceptual abilities with regard to music, with many years of experience in musicianship.


There is a scale here. I watched a psychology programme (I used teach Psychology and Philosophy) about how a famous violinist who had been playing since she was 5 years old could identify tone.


They compared her abilities to the average person in the street.........scary....... how the brains of some people are pre-wired and then subjected to change in the ability to engage with the aural mathematics that is music, through practice and engagement.


Makes me understand, why I have to work hard, given my hearing difficulties and starting to play guitar later in life....

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Hi Joe, thanks for replying your opinion and reflections...

I've been singing and playing guitar for 50 years now and I think my hearing is still pretty good ( i'm sorry about yours and admire yourtenacity)

I was also a music therapist working mainly with the elderly ...

I can hear slight differences in acoustic sound and like you I know the sound I'm looking for.

And yes with good training and practicing and a lot of listening we can possibly evolve our musicienship to very high levels.

I was wondering if you've heard about the frequensator tailpiece being necessary to the guitar sound?

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Hi Yaugnotsac


That's the very point I was trying to make, I have never owned a guitar with a frequensator tailpiece, so could not comment.


I do have on order a new tailpiece from GFS for My emperor II.


I will be keen to see if that makes a perceptual difference (to me), taking off the "birdland" style stock tailpiece (which I hate).


I love the frequensator on the early Sheratons I think they look beautiful.


Aesthetics is one, very important, thing. But, to go back to the main point, I would still want some non-human controlled recording/assessment of the tonal differences to be totally convinced.


Though given your credentials I would defer to your opinion.....:-)

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Makes me understand' date=' why I have to work hard, given my hearing difficulties and starting to play guitar later in life....




It's all in the mind and the 'minds ear", regardless of what problems you may

have with your hearing. I'm sure Rock musicians over the years, don't have

perfect hearing either..I read that sound that is louder than 150db (decibels) can

cause permanent damage to yours ears. Whether standing in front of those

stacked Marshalls over a rock concert will cause your ears to bleed is debatable.


Ok as far subtle sonic differences by removing pickguards or adding a different

tp..it can be argued that you can "hear some difference"...


it all depends on the guitar construction, the mass of the tp used, room acoustics,

your ear, etc..


Whether that pickguard blocks the sound waves escaping from the f-hole is

an interesting experiment for Mythbusters.


FAIK, acoustic arctops have two f-holes holes and they are there for allowing resonance of the top.


The top does vibrate from the strings and the bridge, but that vibration

is coming from the complete top vibrating, both the treble and bass bout.

The f-holes change the resonance point of the top.



As an experiment, ( and I've just tried this on my Joe Pass),

take some green (easy to peel off) painters masking tape and cover both f-holes.


Then strum a chord hard and listen for loudness and tone.

Quickly pull off the tape off one f-hole and strum again at the same force and listen..

you will hear a slight change in resonance.


Strum at the same force again and pull off the tape from the other f-hole,

and you will hear a slight change again with the chord sounding a bit "deeper".


Now as far as the pickguard..I can't see that it will have that much

effect on most acoustic archtops...because it's lifted off the top of

the guitar by about 1/2 inch or so, and only basically covers the top portion

of the f-hole..so I stand by my original statement.


While some sound may project directly out of the f-holes, not all of it comes

from there.

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Love Mythbusters....will always take science over myth and the diversity of human perception.


I am happy with my own subjective position, although imperfect. It is the only one I can ever know....:-)


But I know, what does it for me, is not exactly the way it is for the next person.


We often see things differently given our experiences, we also must accept we will hear things differently because of similar factors.


That is why I need you guys with experience.....and two good ears.......:-)

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Hi Yaugnotsac


That's the very point I was trying to make' date=' I have never owned a guitar with a frequensator tailpiece, so could not comment.

I do have on order a new tailpiece from GFS for My emperor II.

I will be keen to see if that makes a perceptual difference (to me), taking off the "birdland" style stock tailpiece (which I hate).



If you are referring to the GFS Jazz tp, (which I have on my EmpIIs), from my experience, it will not make any real

change in sound from the "lyre style" tp that comes with the JP. The big difference is that it won't rattle like

the JP tailpiece ...and the other bonus is... that you have some string length compensation rather than a flat

string bar...and it just looks so much better.


I love the frequensator on the early Sheratons I think they look beautiful.


Yes it is the characteristic tp that Epiphone is known for. It was designed by Herb Sunshine of Epiphone

in the late 30s and he secured a patent for it at the time. Like it or not, the only drawback is that because

the bass string section of the tp is so much longer, some string sets don't provide enough string length

on the "D" string for a complete wrap of the wound portion of the string..it will still wrap but you are

only wrapping the steel core of the string.


Johnny Smith, a well know jazz guitarist played Epiphone for a while, ( as well as Guild and Gibson)

nd he apparently fiddled with the string lengths on the frequensator to suit his tastes.

Some players have been rumoured to flip the string sections as an experiment, making the treble strings

longer..I don't know about that as it defeats the purpose of string length compensation and intonation to

some degree.


I have a picture of the patent on the frequensator and in it there were other designs proposed, a sectional

curved string bar..much more elegant and providing some more string length compensation that I would

like to see. I may still try making one someday from that design as I replaced my frequensator on the

Broadway with a massive L5 style art deco tp to provide more damping mass to the strings.



BTW..I have been playing Epiphone (and other makes) for over 40 yrs, worked in an Epiphone

dealership in my youth and repaired instruments.

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This is a very interesting thread for me.


I was born deaf. Had major reconstructive surgery at age 5 to "restore" hearing in my right ear.


When I was 30, An attempt to restore hearing in my left ear failed, and the thinking by the doctors regarding the right ear was that I would be lucky if it lasted until I was 20.


I am now 45, and still have so so hearing on the right.


So in regards to jazz archtop guitars, I am always looking for that tone. Can't always hear it, unplugged that is. That was the reason for the question. The zephyr regent in my avatar is the nicest acoustic tone jazz body I have played, (IMHO) from epiphone. The mahogony back and sides really push the sound, as opposed to the maple back and sides on most of the other hollowbody models on offer.


The tailpiece, strings, bridge type, all have some influence, but so does the type of wood the body is made of. In addition the thickness of the body has an impact as well, the zephyr, es-175 Reissue are close to 4" body thickness, really push the sound.


Have owned an emporer, joe pass, and sheraton, and a dot.

(Would really like to get a broadway someday)


When I first started playing, 25+ years ago, good advice on these type of guitars was given to me by a friend, play them unplugged first, don't worry about the amp, you'll get a much better idea if it is the right instrument for you.


As my abilities and tastes have changed with my age, I have grown very fond of these more pure jazz archtop types, floating pickups, tone and volumn knobs in the pickguard etc. Installing pickups in the body, and heavy bigsbys etc etc, just restrict the sound board of the guitar. In my opinion, those things just emphasize the electric nature of the guitar, while at the same time takiing away from the acoustic potential, again just my opinion.


If acoustic sound is what your after, unplugged that is, maybe a syncromatic 100 or 400 is what your looking for.

The Godin 5th ave is nice, super thin soundboard, no baggage.



Just my 2 cents worth.

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Hey Smips65


As William Blake said "What is the price of experience? Do men buy it for a song? Or wisdom for a dance in the street?" no the price is long, sustained, trial and error and hard work.


Plenty of guys who have traveled the road in this thread. I am just setting out....


Never bought my Emperor II for Jazz, more for a Duke Robillard type blues vibe, if you get my drift, hollow bodied blues.


Getting that type of sound out of there at the minute and I am well happy.


I have a Levin acoustic which I have ordered a floating pickup for, and I have plans to make three pickguards for this guitar, 1 just acoustic pickguard, one with a neck pickguard mounted floater and a third with neck and bridge attached to the pickguard.


I have never thought of my Joe Pass Emperor II as a Jazz box really.


But my 1959 Levin is my long term project in this direction.


Here it is




and here is a guy using a Levin 335 like mine with with an added pickup from an old Gibson ES175 and a great amp they make in Sweden the Elmwood, model Modena M60....so this tone is achievable for me with my Levin, when I want to go there....Though those Elmwood amps are really expensive......





But in saying all that check this out....a young music student from Brazil. I contacted him and asked him about his set up in this youtube clip....he is using a recent build Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor II, made within the last two years......, stock pickups, and playing through a Fender Blues Junior.........as Dan said it is mostly in the thumb I suppose.......



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check these out


4000 swedish krona is $560



6000 swedish krona is $840



I bought my Levin 335 acoustic here in Sweden for 4000 swedish krona $560. Bought mine in Gothenburg from a guy whose grandfather worked in the old Levin factory. Some people on this site who may own Martins that may have been made in same factory.....:-)


check out the price of this one 2,332 US dollars in Australia, it is 1958, mine is 1959 and the same condition as mine, but it has a pickguard my came without...




a little information about Levin as a company:


In 1973 when Martin bought Levin, and the Levin became the headquarters for Martin Guitars and their Japan import brand Sigma Guitars in Europe, as well as actually producing a run of some 200 Martin D-18 acoustic guitars, which were labelled "LD-18 - Made In Gothenburg, Sweden". In 1981 the last guitar was built in the Gothenburg facility and parts of the inventory and the brand were bought by Svensk Musik AB, who started producing Levin classical guitars in a factory owned by former guitarneck supplier Hans Persson. Hans's son Lennart is still producing guitars for "Svenska Levin AB" in his fathers workshop outside Mariestad Sweden.

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IMO' date=' the frequensator does nothing to improve the acoustic sound...but it looks

very Epiphonesque. I had a frequensator on the Broadway. I took it off and

put my own custom designed art deco tp on it.[/quote']


I frigged around alot with my TP. Actually build a benedetto style TP out of maple (an old piece of flooring [confused]

No difference in tone that I could find. I also changed my bass fork for a longer brass one to make restringing easier.

Taking an inch of the bass didnt change the sound. I didnt notice a diff in playability but I use 14s and dont bend alot on the bass strings anyway


Really big point that many people miss. The EmpReg is an entry level guitar with a plywood top.

I love mine but only because it a) looks VERY cool and [confused] has a 17in body and 25 1/2 in scale

Acoustic tone is nothing to write home about but for 500$ used I am not complaining (aside from the dead spot at the 12th fret D string :/


If you were to try a frequensator on an better guitar with a solid top you would probably be able to hear more of the differences. You would hear more of a diff replacing the bridge (although the stock bridge has a single foot which is cool in itself)

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Just had a thought, I agree, I don't think of the Joe Pass model as a jazz box either, kind of a contradiction, considering the namesake.


I think that is why since I have modified my "Joe Pass" I refer to it as my Epiphone Emperor II it is great versatile guitar with the Duncan SH-2n and SH-4 JB, I am really enjoying it.


For my needs, I have taken it down a path away, from its marketed niche as a entry level Jazz Box.


I have a great guitar, it is an Epiphone Emperor II. I have yet more things on order to further modify this one......:-)

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