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BHjazzman

Epiphone Zephyr Regent - Change pickup to 57 Classic?

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I just bought a 1999 Epiphone Zephyr Regent. Like an ES165 with one Humbucker. Nice playing jazzbox, but I want to change the pickup to a Classic 57 to get the most out of this guitar. Should I do this? I am not sure. However, while I had thought I might just buy an ES165 instead, I want to see if I can get that result and sound by simply changing to a 57. Any thoughts.

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This guitar gets universally excellent reviews - I regret not getting one when they were available. I got the Epi 175 instead. Still a good guitar though. I've changed to Gibson 57's, and the strings to 12's. Well worth doing I would have thought. You can always refitt he OEM pup if you decide to trade it on.

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[biggrin]

Your considering trading the Zephyr in on the Es-165, or just buying it outright?

They actually are subtly different.

The Zephyr is one of the few jazzboxes made with Mahogany back and sides, while most others are Maple.
Many have installed the 57 in them, and were pleased with the results. I have not done this, I was actually considering a Benedetto instead.

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I tried a 175 and a ZepReg side by side last year.
Might have been that one ZR but I doubt it. VERY WARM and dark sounding.
I noticed the Mahogany back and sides. I mentioned it to the guy at the shop.. he shrugged. [biggrin]

A 165 now doesnt have a regular humbucker. It has a BJB floating pickup.
Anything before 2001 (or 2004.. I dont remember) has a 490R pickup (so even if you find one, unless it has been switched out you still need to pickup a classic 57).

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Wow, I thank you all for your input. And I thank Epiphone and Gibson for providing this forum.

My 1999 Zehpyr Regent was produced in Korea at the Peerless factory. They did a fine job, the wood seems good but there is a little waveyness on the top bout where it flattens out, but it is ok for an instrument in this price range. It is a 1999 model, I bought it from a major act player who had only used it on a few sessions. He told me it rarely came out of the case and it was perfect, not a mark or scratch. It had been setup by a tech to the stars here in Los Angeles, but I am going to have the same tech go over it again. Everyone's input about changing the pup to a 57 Classic has convinced me and I am going to order a 57 Classic and have him install it at that time, dress the frets, etc. There is a slight fret buzz 6th fret on the low E.

As far as strings are concerned, I had put D'Addario 11's - 11,15,22,30,40,50 Chrome Flatwounds on it, but the tension was causing extreme relief, plus the G - 22 was high in the nut. I don't want to mess up the nut, or go at the trussrod until I am settled in with this ZR, so I changed to Thomastik 11's - 11,15,19,25,35,47, less tension and relief. Although, the 11 - 50's did have a meaty tone and feel and I may return to them when I see the tech.

I also have a Gibson '76 Les Paul Deluxe - Natural, 1 of 3 produced that year, and I believe it is the ONLY '76 LP Deluxe - Natural fitted with full size pups, Deluxes' with full size humbuckers say Standard on the Truss cover, mine does. I have put Thomastik 13,17,21,28,39,53 on it, Rich Sound but a little stiff.

For my Zephyr Regent, my goal is to get that warm dark sound of the ES165, Herb Ellis, without breaking the bank. I have seen a 2001 ES165 Herb Ellis available for $1850, a 2003 with the floating pup for $1500. I prefer the 2001.

I paid $470 for my 1999 Zephyr Regent, I will order a 57 Classic - $110, plus the install - 40, fret dress - 50, and any setup - 60 will bring me to around $750 or so. A pretty good value overall. I just want to feel that I am not chasing my tail.

Thanks again and Play On...

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[quote=BHjazzman]Wow, I thank you all for your input. And I thank Epiphone and Gibson for providing this forum.


As far as strings are concerned, I had put D'Addario 11's - 11,15,22,30,40,50 Chrome Flatwounds on it, but the tension was causing extreme relief, plus the G - 22 was high in the nut. I don't want to mess up the nut, or go at the trussrod until I am settled in with this ZR, so I changed to Thomastik 11's - 11,15,19,25,35,47, less tension and relief. Although, the 11 - 50's did have a meaty tone and feel and I may return to them when I see the tech.

I also have a Gibson '76 Les Paul Deluxe - Natural, 1 of 3 produced that year, and I believe it is the ONLY '76 LP Deluxe - Natural fitted with full size pups, Deluxes' with full size humbuckers say Standard on the Truss cover, mine does. I have put Thomastik 13,17,21,28,39,53 on it, Rich Sound but a little stiff.

For my Zephyr Regent, my goal is to get that warm dark sound of the ES165, Herb Ellis, without breaking the bank. I have seen a 2001 ES165 Herb Ellis available for $1850, a 2003 with the floating pup for $1500. I prefer the 2001.

I paid $470 for my 1999 Zephyr Regent, I will order a 57 Classic - $110, plus the install - 40, fret dress - 50, and any setup - 60 will bring me to around $750 or so. A pretty good value overall. I just want to feel that I am not chasing my tail.

Thanks again and Play On...

1999 Epiphone Zephyr Regent
1976 Les Paul Deluxe - Natural with full size Humbuckers
1980 Ibanez AS50
1997 Rickenbacker 330 MapleGlow
2009 Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Bass - short scale



[/quote]


I would love a pic of that '76 Lester, we all love pics here...

I have D'addario chromes on my ZepReg, 13-56, and had very little TR issues. They have a Maple neck, as opposed to the Es-175 Mahogany neck. Might need to check the frets out, tiny bit a filing may be in order. I am swapping out the metal bridge for a Rosewood bridge.


@SamBooka. It wasn't just the one you tried, I think they are all "smokey" Which I actually like myself. I hardly ever have the tone on any of my gits up past 2.

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I picked up my ES-165 today!! The gentleman who sold it kindly put DAdd Flat11s on it. They sound better than I expected. Needless to say they are going the garbage tomorrow [cool]

It has a gibson Classic 57 but I havent really plugged it in yet.

(actually, the owner who changed the pickup out left the reciept in the case.. it is a Classic 57 Plus.. never heard of the plus part.. I will have to google)

Cheers

Drew

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Hello Guys,
I put a pic of my Zephyr Regent and 1976 LP Deluxe - Natural in my avatar pic.
SamBooka, Great hearing of your ES 165 purchase. I am envious... what year is it? I'm sure you are digging it. I see your posting about the 57 Classic Plus vs the 57 Classic. Let us know how it sounds.
However, I am really loving my Zephyr Regent, it is dark and smokey. I did a session with it last Friday and it recorded beautifully.
A little history. I am a keyboard player and producer from Kansas City, but have been in Los Angeles since 1972 playing club dates, sessions, and producing. I produce radio commercials and sound design for film and TV. I do voice over for clients across the country. I have played professionally for 45 years and have played with notable artists such as Big Joe Turner, Albert Collins, Joe Houston, Mary Wells, O.C. Smith, Pat Metheny (back in K.C. before he got HUGE), John Hatton, Rob Whitsitt, and many more.
Since I am mainly a keyboard player, I play guitar to mainly fill out the session. Between my Les Paul Deluxe, Zephyr Regent and other guitars I have it covered most of the time. But, I do call in other excellent guitarist and am always thrilled to do so.

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my 165 sounds nothing like the ZepReg I played.
I am still getting used to it but the 165 is very open bright sounding.
If I hadnt sworn off buying new guitars I would grab one.
Then pick up a ES125 .. then a beater 70s strat..
And a Marshall Class5 would be nice too. maybe an AC4 w/10"...

Ok. I will stop now.

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SamBooka,
Never stop... ah, so many guitars, so little money...
My ZepReg sounds brighter when unamped, but darker when plugged. What year is the 165? And what amp are you using?

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Hey Old Bob,
From your 1st post. I had seen a ZR about a year ago, but did not get it, then they were discontinued... I felt like it was the one that got away. So when I found this one, I had to jump. i'm glad I did, but I still think about a ES 165 like SamBooka just picked up.

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[quote=SamBooka]my 165 sounds nothing like the ZepReg I played.
I am still getting used to it but the 165 is very open bright sounding.
[/quote]

:-({|=

That's what I was talking about with respect to the materials.

Es-165.....all maple

ZepReg....Mahogany back and sides, maple sound board.

Mahogany being a softer wood, absorbs and won't bounce back like maple, so a softer darker tone, plugged or unplugged.

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Yeah.. pickups is pickups.. I swap them out (and pots,) so whatever PUs are in there doesnt make a big diff to me, they will be gone in a few weeks lol. I tried 4 different neck PUs in my telecaster before I found the one. Even then, I have a CCRider I will probably pop in there in the next couple of weeks.

The guys in music shops look at me cross-eyed when I DONT want to plug in to try a guitar (even solidbodies). That tells you more about a guitar than the pickups or the amp. The mahogany definitely makes a difference.

The EPI 175 is a poor mans gibson ES175 (so is the 165 lol)
The ZepReg is NOT a poor mans 165. It really is its own beast. Too bad they discontinued a unique (even among Gibbys) guitar. The ZepRegs will still pop up on ebay/CL so it isnt too late to get one. They made them for almost 10 years. Dont think a 165 is an upgrade from a ZepReg. Like I say.. totally different beast.

My main amp is a Princeton Reverb clone. I changed the OT so it would be single ended (4-6 watts, like a champ) but still have reverb. No vibrato yet but someday I will get that working too.

EDIT: BTW the 165 is a 96.

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[quote=smips65][confused]

That's what I was talking about with respect to the materials.

Es-165.....all maple

ZepReg....Mahogany back and sides, maple sound board.

Mahogany being a softer wood, absorbs and won't bounce back like maple, so a softer darker tone, plugged or unplugged.


[/quote]

The ES-175 is also maple sides/back..but formed and pressed maple and so is the top. There is nothing
carved on the ES-175 except the neck..and the headstock.

That being said (and I watched them being made at the Gibson factory in Memphis)..the type of plywood
and thickness is what makes the difference in the acoustic tone of the guitar. This will impart some of
the tone on the strings vibrating acoustically which then get picked up by the respective pickups.

The type of strings and manufacture does make a difference as well as the pickups used.
Maple is harder than mahogany, so the treble of the strings will be ehnanced more than on
a mahogany back/sides which will tend to absorb more treble but enhance the midrange/bass
response.

Each type of wood used has different densities and acoustic properties, so if that ES-175 (165)
was made the same way, same thicknesses, it would sound different if made with maple, birch,
mahogany, rosewood or any other exotic wood..assuming of course, you can get exotic plywoods.

If the top is hand carved, tapped for resonance (like a violin) and a carved solid back, (like an L5)
it will sound sonically different again from a pressed/formed plywood guitar.

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[quote=BHjazzman]Hey Guys,
I just saw a Zephyr Regent with a 57 Classic and a Polytone Mini Brute on Houston CL for 550. Now... That's the deal of the day![/quote]


Any updates? Are you gunna take it for a test drive? Inquiring minds want to know, so far as I'm aware, there is only 2 of us ZepReg owners here....

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Hey smips65,
I guess we "are" the only ZepReg Owners here. I say we are the lucky ones though. And thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with your Zephyr Regent. I also thank SamBooka for his insight and bravery in working his instruments into shape to match his own taste. I am getting a 57 and am investigating whether to change out the pots too. But, simply love mine so far, still a few little things I want to address, but, I dig this jazzbox. Mine was made at Peerless, Were they all made there? My serial number starts with R means Peerless. Wiki info - Epiphone
The one I saw is in Houston CL, is too far for me, but someone in the area or willing to risk the shipping could find a great value there. I do have the listing address if someone is interested in picking up this fine instrument with a 57, changed tailpiece, and a Mini Brute.
I really think these ZR are cool guitars. I am also looking for a jazz amp, looking at Evans and Polytone. Or even a Princeton Reverb or ? But again I am looking for a dark sound for jazz recording sessions mainly. Not so much for gigs. Any ideas or suggestions? Gee, now I wish I'd gone for the Houston CL, Nice drive...

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[cool]

Mine is an Indonesian made, but I seriously have yet to touch an ES-175 reissue epi, or authentic Gibby that touches it.
I had even considered trading it in on a Sig Steve Howe 175, and found it wanting. But that's me, I guess.
I still have the stock p'up in it, and since I play 25% plugged, it hasn't been a serious concern just yet.

BrianH and I were discussing small mods on the acoustic forum here, I am fashioning an Ebony and Rosewood bridge for mine, I really detest the metal bridge. So far, unplugged, it quiets the guitar more than I like, but plugged, it's much warmer, if that's possible, but my ears tell me so....

With respect to amps, and jazz, my personal opinion, can't go wrong with a Roland Jazz Chorus.

Old school advice given to me long ago, big bottem guitar, needs a big head amp. Them little squack boxes just won't do 'em right.

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Roland JC, nice choice. I have only played my ZR direct in my studio. I've been using a MotionSound K 200 and my mixer/PA rig for my live keyboard rig so I play guitar thru it, but not the ZR yet.
My ZR is also still stock, it recorded so welllast week, I can only hope it does as well after a 57 change. If not, I'll change it back and be happy with it being stock.
This Zephyr Regent is my first Archtop and I am still getting use to the depth of the body, but I find it light and comfortable. I had played the JP, Epi 175, an ES125, PT35NT, Broadway, and I thought the ZR to be a practical, affordable, and nice playing guitar overall. Price was right as well. I am so surprised they discontinued it.

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[quote=BHjazzman]Smips65,
Any thoughts on Epiphone and Gibson amps? Epiphone Zephyr Regent, It seems like there must be something there... [/quote]

jazzman you should already know what your after, given the name. Dark/Warm/Smokey/Bluesy

I personally have always lusted after a single pup large bodied girl myself. Mininum requirements for an amp, be it whatever manufacturer:

Tube
Gain control
Reverb
Power adjustments

I play alot like one of my heros, Herb Ellis, very loud, very high gain, and very soft/quick with the fingers.
Since I've always hated that fingerprint noise on strings while sliding, have always used [b]very thick flatwounds [/b]on all my guitars, chunky neck, thicker the frets, all the better.

Even the pic below, my Lester is strung with flats, 13-56, it's just they way I personally like my gits to sound.

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Update. I have taken my Zephyr Regent to a Tech in Hollywood, Neely Guitars. David Neely, leveled, crowned and polished the frets, adjusted the truss and set up this box to a Tee. It plays better, generally sounds better, and is more enjoyable to play all round. I am still going to put in a 57 though. But, I would suggest that a Pro Setup and any fret work that is needed to be done, be done by a Pro.
He saw things I had not seen to be a problem but were, and saw things that were a problem that only a well seasoned and experienced tech would know about. This Zephyr Regent now plays like its more expensive Gibby cousins.
Well spent money if you ask me.
I'll keep you posted on the 57 and amp (most likely a Polytone Mega Brute) situation.

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Hey, hello fellow Epiphone Zephyr Regent fans. I bought mine several years ago, and have also wondered about putting in a Classic 57 pickup. There used to be a post on YouTube of a fellow that put 57's in the 175 reissue, a before and after thing. Sounded pretty good to me. I have also thought of the P-94 that Gibson makes as a direct replacement for the humbucker. Maybe more of a Kessell tone. Who knows until you try.

Great guitar. The only I had to do was put a different bridge on it, as the one that came with it was too narrow, and the strings did not line up over the pickup screws, and the string spacing was too close together for me, as well. I went with an ebony bridge and put very light notches in it to hole the strings in place. It could use an output jack replacement, but all else is fine. Before I bought it, I was reading reviews of it, and even there, it was stated that it would probably be discontinued. Too bad, because there isn't anything to take its place in the lineup.

Les

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Good morning. Welcome Les to the forum. It has been noted by Sambooka that when you change a pickup to a 57 or other, then a pot and cap change with the same values might help as well. Sambooka - Should the replacement pots and caps, and I suppose be Gibson pieces? What's the difference in the pots and caps that are OEM in these guitars? I see pots for 3 to 6 dollars, how much better are they than the Epiphone pots and caps?

Thanks All...

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Epi ZR owner here. :-) I got mine a few years ago and have gotten some good use out of it. I really love the neck profile on this guitar, it's really comfortable.

BH - if you ever change the pickup to the '57, please post the results. I am considering doing the same thing in search of an elusive 175 sound out of this guitar, but I don't know if that is going to do it or end up being worth the expense. Like someone else said, I think this is just a different beast altogether, and from that perspective, the stock pickup doesn't really sound that bad. Very nice guitar, but I think the mahogany body and whatever the neck is just gives it more of a different sound from a 175 than a pickup is going to change.

Mine has the same characteristic that you described, in that it is brighter sounding when unamplified, but darker when amped. I just put new strings on and it's almost like an acoustic guitar unplugged now! I tried flatwound chromes when I first got the guitar, but I found those were too muddy when amped, while the E and B strings were still bright, which just made it sound weird and unbalanced. I'm thinking the perfect strings for this guitar might be these D'Addario vintage nickel strings:

http://bit.ly/9PqiGY

which it seems *should* provide a little closer to 175 tone without getting too muddy like the flatwounds, and also without being too bright like these new round wounds (I used XL115Ws). But I haven't tried the EPN21s yet, so it's still just a theory. ;-)

Anyway, really interesting guitar. I'm not really sure how to classify it. Unplugged it almost seems like it could be a big band/Freddie Green sounding guitar, except for the body size, then you amp it and it gets a totally different dark and a little creamy sounding, but still not really in 175 territory. Whatever it is, it's interesting - I'm always surprised by the tones that come out of it, even a couple of years later.

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