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Jind

Another Epiphone strat identification with a twist (Kahler Flyer Bridge)

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So a recent conversation on another forum reminded me of a guitar that I have literally had in the back of my closet for probably 15 years. It's been in a case, unused, and quite franky it's one of those things that I honestly can't remember how I came to possess. I had a serious medical issue several years back and my memory is not what it used to be. I think it may have been a friends that quit playing and asked me if I wanted it - but I could be wrong.

 

Anyways - like many other posts here it is one of those 80's Epiphone strat models that people have issues identifying, but this one is a bit different from all the others that I've found when searching for information on it. I've seen lots of people with S series or PRO series - I've seen images of a lot with standard strat type tremolo units and some with the Floyd rose II or Schaller units as well, but this one has a factory installed Kahler Flyer bridge - it clearly is a Kahler tremolo, not a pseudo copy. It has a H/S/S configuration and the headstock simply says "Epiphone' with no truss rod cover. I looked under the pickguard and it has all original components (it needs some work as the pots are extremely scratchy and the switch has dropouts) - the serial number lookup indicates that it was manufactured in Korea in 1985, but I truly have no idea beyond that quick lookup.

 

As I said - I've seen a bunch of Epiphone strats, but never one with a Kahler Flyer that was factory installed. Any assistance would be appreciated.

 

 

 

Here are a few pictures.

 

100_0377.jpg

 

100_0379.jpg

 

100_0381.jpg

 

100_0374.jpg

 

Any assistance would be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

 

Jind

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So a recent conversation on another forum reminded me of a guitar that I have literally had in the back of my closet for probably 15 years. It's been in a case' date=' unused, and quite franky it's one of those things that I honestly can't remember how I came to possess. I had a serious medical issue several years back and my memory is not what it used to be. I think it may have been a friends that quit playing and asked me if I wanted it - but I could be wrong.

 

Anyways - like many other posts here it is one of those 80's Epiphone strat models that people have issues identifying, but this one is a bit different from all the others that I've found when searching for information on it. I've seen lots of people with S series or PRO series - I've seen images of a lot with standard strat type tremolo units and some with the Floyd rose II or Schaller units as well, but this one has a factory installed Kahler Flyer bridge - it clearly is a Kahler tremolo, not a pseudo copy. It has a H/S/S configuration and the headstock simply says "Epiphone' with no truss rod cover. I looked under the pickguard and it has all original components (it needs some work as the pots are extremely scratchy and the switch has dropouts) - the serial number lookup indicates that it was manufactured in Korea in 1985, but I truly have no idea beyond that quick lookup.

 

As I said - I've seen a bunch of Epiphone strats, but never one with a Kahler Flyer that was factory installed. Any assistance would be appreciated.

 

Pix Deleted

 

Any assistance would be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

 

Jind[/quote']

 

In the 1986 price list, Kahlers were available as an option on the S series guitars for an additional $80 in chrome or $100 in black.

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In the 1986 price list' date=' Kahlers were available as an option on the S series guitars for an additional $80 in chrome or $100 in black.

[/quote']

 

Look at the logo on the headstock. Never seen anything like it on a S-series strat. I was under the assumption that the S-series started in 1986...the oldest I've ever found on the net including reviews and the like.

 

From the info I've gathered, everything below the S-500 had vintage-style trems. The 500 & up had the better trem systems plus the shark fin inlays on the fingerboard. We know its not a 310, and the 400 was said to have traditional strat appointments, which I would assume includes the bridge. Of all the S-series guitars, I've never actually seen a 400, so I suppose it could be that - with the upgraded bridge. It has the typical sparkle paint like the S-series had.

But that logo is quite perplexing.

 

I've never seen one quite like it. You got me stumped.

My only conclusion would be: its definately not a 310 and the inlays & lack of allen key holder tells me its not a 500. Its got to be a 400.

 

Still curious about the headstock logo.

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Thanks for the reply's. I wish for the life of me that I could remember where and when I acquired this guitar - the only certainty is that I did not buy it new as I know all the guitars that I've bought at music stores. It does seem to be a bit of an oddity. As I noted it has been in the back of my closet for probably 15 years or so - honestly I had forgotten about it. I restrung it this afternoon and have been playing it for the past couple of hours - it has some issues with it's electronics; a slight crackling when switching pickup positions and perhaps a clunky jack, but I'm amazed that after so many years of non-use, it is in perfect intonation with new strings. The action is perfect (for me at least) as well. I feel like I've gotten a new guitar. I'm sure I will be doing some work on it in the near future as I was just looking at information on the Kahler Flyer bridge and upgrade info over at kahlerparts.com - it appears that you can upgrade the Flyer bridge to Pro specs pretty easily.

 

Did you know that you can turn your Flyer into a Pro by simply upgrading the saddle sets to the 2300 Series Saddles? All cams and saddles in our 2200 and 2300 series are interchangeable, including the 2230 Stud Mount and 2330 Flat mount Flyers. Feel free to upgrade your Flyers......go pro!

 

 

I'm really looking forward to seeing if anyone else has any information - once again, thanks for the information.

 

Jind

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Look at the logo on the headstock. Never seen anything like it on a S-series strat. I was under the assumption that the S-series started in 1986...the oldest I've ever found on the net including reviews and the like.

 

From the info I've gathered' date=' everything below the S-500 had vintage-style trems. The 500 & up had the better trem systems plus the shark fin inlays on the fingerboard. We know its not a 310, and the 400 was said to have traditional strat appointments, which I would assume includes the bridge. Of all the S-series guitars, I've never actually seen a 400, so I suppose it could be that - with the upgraded bridge. It has the typical sparkle paint like the S-series had.

But that logo is quite perplexing.

 

I've never seen one quite like it. You got me stumped.

My only conclusion would be: its definately not a 310 and the inlays & lack of allen key holder tells me its not a 500. Its got to be a 400.

 

Still curious about the headstock logo.[/quote']

 

According to Walter Carter's book, the 1986 price list shows all the S series with a base price which includes the standard trem. The Bennder vibrola (usually found on the 400 & up) was and additional $30 (chrome) or $50 (black). As I noted before, the Kahler was an additional $80 (chrome) or $100 (black). I believe your correct, the guitar in question appears to be an S-400 with the Kahler upgrade.

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According to Walter Carter's book' date=' the 1986 price list shows all the S series with a base price which includes the standard trem. The Bennder vibrola (usually found on the 400 & up) was and additional $30 (chrome) or $50 (black). As I noted before, the Kahler was an additional $80 (chrome) or $100 (black). I believe your correct, the guitar in question appears to be an S-400 with the Kahler upgrade. [/quote']

 

As noted in the original post, the serial number comes up as manufactured in 1985 - would that be for the 1986 market? So I guess the question is, is a 1986 model that happened to be built in 1985? Or is it a 1985 with the upgrades and was it even available as an option or model in 1985?

 

I really appreciate all the help - thank you once again,

 

Jind

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As noted in the original post' date=' the serial number comes up as manufactured in 1985 - would that be for the 1986 market? So I guess the question is, is a 1986 model that happened to be built in 1985? Or is it a 1985 with the upgrades and was it even available as an option or model in 1985?

 

I really appreciate all the help - thank you once again,

 

Jind

[/quote']

 

The serial # decoder is not always accurate, especially with pre 92 models. Even though some models of Epiphones were made in Korea before 1986, it wasn't until the new owners of Gibson took over in January 1986 that the new models started production. As Robin the Hood stated, this series began production in 1986 by all accounts.

 

The earliest S series guitars had pointy Jackson style headstocks with an Epiphone by Gibson logo. In 1988, the headstock was rounded off and the by Gibson was dropped in 1989. So based on that info, and the assumption that your guitar in an S-400, I would place the date as a late 1988 or early 1989 ('88 was officially the last year of the S-400). Since it had the Kahler, I'm going to guess it was a special order that wasn't filled until the new logos were available making it one of the last S-400s made.

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I was just looking through the Wiki article on the S-series over at http://epi.p3net.net/wiki/index.php/S-400 and while going through the information there I think I may have figured out a bit more possibly. My Epiphone has a 21 fret fretboard but it looks like most of the ones from the later part of the 80's had 22 frets, but the information appears to be a bit conflicting as to what was offered. I was wondering if the price list showed any offering as to fret count? I wonder if that would help date it. but like jerrymac mentioned it very well may have been a special order so who knows.

 

Thanks again for helping me out,

 

Jind

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This is an S-400 currently at a New England store. It has the same frets as yours.

 

epis400.jpg

Sheila

 

Did it mention the year where you saw this? Just wondering.

 

Thanks by the way,

 

Jind

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Did it mention the year where you saw this? Just wondering.

 

Thanks by the way' date='

 

Jind

[/quote']

Jind, no they don't list a lot of info on each guitar as they deal in used gear.

 

The store it is in is closed so I called the Boston store and they show that the guitar sold today - of course! It was only $120 and listed in GOOD condition.

 

But I'll keep my eye out - I usually do!

Sheila

 

EDIT They have a couple of other Epiphone S-types. Have a look:

 

http://www.daddys.com/listing.php?categoryId=&attributes=;nophoto:all-gear&query=epiphone&page=1&sortBy=

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Some had 21 frets, some had 22 frets and some had 24 frets (probably on the higher end models).

I'm not sure how they determined which ones got how many frets, but I've seen later models with 21 frets.

 

The wiki's info isnt really conflicting. It is just incomplete/innacurate. If you look at the pic on the wiki, the guitar clearly has 21 frets, although the wiki states 22 and ONLY 22. They also claim that the S-500 was basswood, but it wasnt. It was laminate just like the rest of them. Not sure where they got that info...

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I was just looking through the Wiki article on the S-series over at http://epi.p3net.net/wiki/index.php/S-400 and while going through the information there I think I may have figured out a bit more possibly. My Epiphone has a 21 fret fretboard but it looks like most of the ones from the later part of the 80's had 22 frets' date=' but the information appears to be a bit conflicting as to what was offered. I was wondering if the price list showed any offering as to fret count? I wonder if that would help date it. but like jerrymac mentioned it very well may have been a special order so who knows.

 

Thanks again for helping me out,

 

Jind[/quote']

 

I thought I did a pretty good job pinning down the year for you. They were only made for approximately 3 years, and it really doesn't make a difference if it's an '86 or an '88. It is what it is, and the best evidence is the headstock. If it were an early one, the headstock would look like the one Shelia posted:

 

epis400.jpg

 

Yours has the non pointy end and does not say by Gibson. That dates it to 1989 (approximately), making it one of the last S-400s made. You're lucky, they were discontinued in 1989 (according to Blue Book), so knowing the headstock changed just as the guitar ended it's run narrows the time span. But once again, what difference does it make??? Maybe the body was made in 1986, the neck in 1988, and it was assembled in 1989!!! It is what it is.

 

RobinTheHood was right when he said, "...wiki's info isnt really conflicting. It is just incomplete/innacurate." What you've got to realize is that this is not an exact science. People share resources, make observations, draw conclusions. Sometimes it's not 100% correct. So treat it as a guide more than Gospel fact.

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Hi Jind, I can probably fill you in on that guitar. The Kahler Flyer was installed by a wonderful luthier in Columbus Ohio. I bought that guitar used from a pawn shop in Columbus Ohio in 1992. Before I took it home, I took it to the German Villiage Music Haus and had it set up by one of the greatest luthiers in the country. I had him install that Kahler Flyer, the guitar still looks just like it did when I pawned it in 1993. I used this guitar as my back up guitar when playing out. The down side to the Kahler, if you break a string you're done, the whole guitar goes out of tune. My main guitar was an Ibanez with a Kahler Flyer I had installed on that as well, when I broke a string on the Ibanez I had the Epiphone for a back up. While on hiatus from my band I pawned the guitar, the pawn shop actually sold it before my pawn ticket was due. I showed up a few days before the pawn was due to retrieve the guitar and they had already sold it. I had never had a problem with a pawn shop until that day. I have never stepped foot into a pawn shop since. Anyhow, that is how the Kahler came to be on that guitar. Glad to see someone appreciating it.

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I have the exact same guitar, with black kahler flyer. been trying to identify it also. i bought it brand new way back in 1984/ 85, i added an emg back then. I have no paperwork. supposedly they wernt even made till 86. i dont trust the serial number lookup it  claims 1985 for mine. swear i got it in 84 but who knows.  i think they are pre S series. Thing still plays and sounds great.

guitar.jpg

Edited by dell982
add pic

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On 10/20/2019 at 3:17 AM, dell982 said:

I have the exact same guitar, with black kahler flyer. been trying to identify it also. i bought it brand new way back in 1984/ 85, i added an emg back then. I have no paperwork. supposedly they wernt even made till 86. i dont trust the serial number lookup it  claims 1985 for mine. swear i got it in 84 but who knows.  i think they are pre S series. Thing still plays and sounds great.

guitar.jpg

The neck is definitely from 1984-85. It could be an explorer neck on a S-500. Though the paint looks like it matches.  Hard to say on this.

Edited by RobinTheHood

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