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Epiphone Broadway NA


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GUITAR: 2006 Epiphone Broadway NA (Natural)

PRICE PAID: € 650,- new

FROM: Local dealer

ORIGIN: Made in Korea (Unsung plant)




Bridge Pickup - Epiphone 57CH(G) humbucker

Neck Pickup - Epiphone 57CH(G) humbucker

17" hollow body arch top, laminated spruce top, laminated maple sides and back

Set maple neck, C-profile

Rosewood fingerboard with block & triangle inlays

20 Frets

Tortoise pickguard

Clear high gloss PU finish

Factory string gauge 0.11-0.49 (changed to 0.12-0.53)

5-ply bindings around top, back, fretboard, headstock and pickguard

Gold hardware

Floating rosewood bridge with Frequensator tailpiece

Grover Rotomatics tuners

Black/silver reflector knobs (changed to gold top hat knobs)

2 Vol. 2 Tone controls

3-way selector switch

25.5" (648mm) scale




NA (Natural) (Note: Broadways manufactured in U.S.A. and Japan were available in other colors as well)




On the first (and even the second) look this guitar looks much more expensive than it actually is. The 5-ply bindings all around the guitar, the grape-vine inlay on the headstock, the fretboard inlays and last not least the plain but beautiful harmonious wood grain give the impression of pure luxury.


The build quality is outstanding, even without considering the price tag. Not a single flaw in the finish, all hardware is set accurate, the fretwork is done nicely as well. The neck is straight as can be (this is not self-evident, when you watched a couple of Broadway/Emperor guitars) I saw some Broadways manufactured in China last year, but this one is superior in terms of build quality.


The neck profile is a more chunky C-profile, I guess some people would call this a 50s neck. I bit thicker as on the Dot or on my Riviera. This meets the character of the guitar very well, and it contributes to its tone as well I guess. The neck is very comfortable to play.


The body has slightly over 17" width, a big "jazz mama" [smile] However the sides are "only" a bit over 3 inches high. So although the body is wide, it nevertheless allows a comfortable playing position.


The paint work is very well done. No flaws as I stated above, and nicely buffed all around. No marks from buffing like you can find them easily on other high gloss budget guitars.


The hardware is Epiphone standard, very usable all in all. No actual need to change anything, but if you can spend the money you may want to change e.g. the tuning machines for U.S.A. Grovers with 18:1 ratio. The Grover Super Rotomatics or Imperial tuners would fit the guitar nicely, as you can see on Broadway Elitist guitars (that were already shipped with them). The controls run smoothly, the PU switch does not feel as solid as an U.S.A. made Switchcraft, but it does the job.


The setup was done very nicely by the dealer I got the guitar from. Intonation is accurate (although the bridge is not adjustable). The action is high, at least if you got used to e.g. an ultra low action Les Paul. But guitars of this type need a certain string gauge. Setting the action on the higher side results in no fret buzz at all, no matter how hard you pick. And the notes come out with clear attack, just like engraved.




Played acoustically the sound is not as full as you might expect from a 17" full hollow body guitar. Compared to an acoustic guitar it misses a lot of bottom end. I guess this is for two reasons: The top is laminated, so it does not vibrate as a solid spruce top would do. The second reason is the 3" body thickness - this guitar simply has not the volume of e.g. an EJ-200 jumbo acoustic guitar. On the other hand this makes the guitar less prone to feedback (although it feeds back noticeable earlier as e.g. an ES-335, but way later than my acoustic jumbo with pickup).


Another nice thing: Guitars of this type tend to have a loud and clear attack, but they have little sustain. Means the tone dies away quickly, at least compared to solid body or even semi hollow body guitars. This results in a very clean, expressive tone, especially if you play fast single note lines or chord progressions. Each note or chord can be heard clearly after each other.


Now lets discuss the amplified sound. Here you'll find the only weak points of the guitar. This is not what I would call a versatile instrument, at least not with the original pickups. Played thru the neck pickup with a clean amp setting it gives a rich, full, creamy jazz tone, just what you expect from this type of guitar. The top end is not as crisp as it could be. Not a big deal when playing that mellow jazz tone, but if you are after a really bright tone it's too muddy. The bridge pickup sounds a bit pale. Lots of mid frequencies, no real bottom, no real crisp top end. And distorted sound of any kind is something the Broadway doesn't enjoy at all [smile] Anyway, this doesn't bother me too much, as I use the guitar mainly for the typical mellow jazz sound, which it does pretty well.

So the pickups are the only subject to change on this guitar. I'm not quite sure now which pickups would fit better, but I guess I will go for the Gibson Classic 57 (like in the Gibson L5), or a pair of Seymour Duncan PAF types. And after all I've learned that there are good reasons why the Wes Montgomery L5 has a neck pickup only [smile]


Another thing that remarkable contributes to the sound of the Broadway are the strings. I tried a couple of string gauges and brands, with astonishing different results. The strings should have a certain thickness, I recommend to use at least 0.12 gauge. Thinner strings may be easier to play, but give a thinner tone as well. The strings that worked out best for me are Thomastik Infelds George Benson signature strings in 0.12-0.53 gauge. This strings are available in 0.14 as well, but that's too heavy even for me [smile]




When I decided to buy a full size arch top jazz guitar, I had a very limited budget (as always...). The guitars that fitted my needs best were the Epiphone Broadway, and a small couple of Ibanez arch tops. I then asked a friend for advice, that has a lot of experience with arch tops. He told me that a good Broadway would beat any Ibanez at the same price tag. But then he also wished me good luck to find a good Broadway. After having played a couple of Broadways and Emperors I knew what he was talking about... Sorry to say, but what I've seen is not what I would put in the term "consistent quality".

Finally I found my guitar at a small local guitar shop, at a time when the korean Broadways were no longer available for some time. Now I play the guitar for app. 2 years, and I can say this is one of the best guitar purchases I ever did. It is still a pleasure to pick it up, play it, or just have a close look to all that carefully crafted details. I was never tempted to replace it with any other arch top, although I've seen and played a couple of other guitars since I bought it.

If you are thinking about buying a Broadway: I can strongly recommend these instruments, but be sure you play the actual instrument and give it a close look. Check if the neck is straight, if the fretwork, binding and finish is done accurately. You may also want to consider a pickup change to give the guitar more versatility in terms of sound. If you find a Broadway that passes the check, there are few jazz guitars at this price tag that can compare with it.





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Dankeschon, Herr Longman!! A BEAUTIFUL Guitar, and a very well-written review. [thumbup]

You can get more out of a personal review than you can from just looking at

a catalog picture or website picture and reading a brief description.


Actually, it's as good as sitting down with the reviewer and actually having

them tell you about the guitar. Grateful for the work, I'll place it in the

Lounge Guitar and Gear review thread immediately...

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I've always said that there's a reason why they call it a "natural" finish. Guitars naturally look better with that finish. This model has been at the top of my "next guitar" list for a while and this particular one is a stunner. Well written review and I gotta say, that guitar is right up there with brianh's Zephyr Blues DeLuxe as guitars I would sell my Ric 12 to get. Enjoy it my friend.

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Thanks for a nicely written detailed review. I had not run across a Korean Broadway, so enjoyed reading your interesting perspective, especially on the tone from the MIK electronics. The Elitist model is another beast entirely, with the Gibson all-USA electronics, she just sings. Beautiful clear tone, from rich and deep to full bright and everything in between. Clean is pure tone, and driven has all the tone you might imagine--great for Jazz through classic rock and roll. Fastest neck in the stable. Unfortunately no longer manufactured, but if you come across one, worthwhile to try one out. Your idea to drop in a set of Classic 57's might have interesting results.

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