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unreal77

Epi Riviera p93 makeover

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Hi guys!

 

Haven't been around in like 2 years...

 

 

So I bought a p93 and recently unblinged it...

 

d3ej9.jpg

 

Now I really love it.

 

Nice. Hope you were able to sell the original parts to make up for it.

 

Whoever designed the P93 Riviera needs a big pat on the back... I had to go through a few other Epiphones and ponderings before arriving at the P93 Riv.

 

First I had gotten the 1961 Anniversay Casino; and while I loved the feel of the 'D' neck and the sound of the Gibson P90s, I could not live with the neck join at the 16th fret, which left alot of wasted unaccessible fretboard landlocked onto the body... I had to send it back (they also had sent me the non-Tremotone when I had really ordered the Trem). Next, I got a MIC Casino; same problem, loved the sound, but still could not stand not being able to play licks in the high-register up the neck. I thought the standard Casinos had more upper fret access than the Eltists or the Lennon ones, or even '61, but maybe they don't. So I sold the MIC Casino. The sound is great and they're light, but it's not so great if you plan on playing past the 15th fret.

 

Next, I was Gasing for a 330L reissue Gibby cause I figured it was the longer necked cousin to the Casino. Perfect, right?... But I didn't want to wait that long to save up that much and blow all that $ in one place on a guitar I hadn't played. Maybe, one day.

 

So that brought me to the Riviera. FIrst I looked at the Valensi, but it cost too much in my mind, and I can't deal with the orangeness. That brought me to the P93; I didn't like all the gold hardware on the wine red one, nor did I like the Royale. Then, I noticed it came as a Goldtop!, yes!, which turned out to be the most subdued looking of the bunch; it doesn't have the gold hardware (except on the pickup screws, the pole pieces and the switch).

 

Ordered it (for under $300) and am very happy with the range of sound, the look, and the feel. Love the neck. Love the Casino-shaped neck inlays. Love the upper fret access. The pickup configurations are fun. I like the master tone knob and the Bigsby capability. I don't mind the semi-hollowness vs. the completely hollow nature of the Casino. I've switched the gold-dome knobs out for black witch hats (the Goldtop P93 has different control knobs than the Wine Red one or Royale for some reason). So, for me at least, this P93 model took what I liked about the Casino (the shape, neck inlays, headstock, P90s, neck profile) and wrapped it in a more, to me, practical package, while throwing in a little innovation of its own (the pickup configuration) for good measure.

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I put a roller bridge on my P-93, so the strings wouldn't get hung up in the saddles.

Pretty much a must on Bigsby style trems IMHO.

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Pretty much a must on Bigsby style trems IMHO.

 

Many Bigsby users (including me) disagree. Roller bridges have so many moving parts that they rob tone and sustain, plus they are even more prone to rattles and buzzes than a tune-o-matic type adjustable bridge. The simplest and, for many players, best solution is a one-piece bar bridge, such as a Gretsch rocking bar bridge, Tru-Arc, or Compton. Tru-Arcs are available in four different metals (aluminum, stainless steel, brass and copper), each with its own tonal characteristics. Two of my Bigsbified guitars have Tru-Arcs, and both have noticeably improved tone. The others have Tune-O-Matics or ABR-1's, and I have no problems with strings binding. It's important to make sure the slots are properly cut and finished for optimum Bigsby performance --- any rough edges or burrs on the bridge slots can indeed cause the strings to catch and bind.

 

Of course, this is another subjective observation --- different strokes, as the saying goes.

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Many Bigsby users (including me) disagree. Roller bridges have so many moving parts that they rob tone and sustain, plus they are even more prone to rattles and buzzes than a tune-o-matic type adjustable bridge.

 

I made other experiences with a Goeldo (Duesenberg) roller bridge I mounted on a Riviera Limited Edition, together with a Bigsby B7 (see below). That bridge improved the tone and sustain big time, much louder tone with more top and bottom end. The guitar now has a nice sparkling tone, while it was slightly muddy when I got it new. And no rattles and buzzes at all from the bridge.

 

The simplest and, for many players, best solution is a one-piece bar bridge, such as a Gretsch rocking bar bridge, Tru-Arc, or Compton.

 

I agree that rocking standard bridges can be another fine solution. For example my Duesenberg Starplayer TV has such a bridge, and it delivers both great tone and great tuning stability.

 

rivieramod.jpg

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Many Bigsby users (including me) disagree. Roller bridges have so many moving parts that they rob tone and sustain, plus they are even more prone to rattles and buzzes than a tune-o-matic type adjustable bridge. The simplest and, for many players, best solution is a one-piece bar bridge, such as a Gretsch rocking bar bridge, Tru-Arc, or Compton. Tru-Arcs are available in four different metals (aluminum, stainless steel, brass and copper), each with its own tonal characteristics. Two of my Bigsbified guitars have Tru-Arcs, and both have noticeably improved tone. The others have Tune-O-Matics or ABR-1's, and I have no problems with strings binding. It's important to make sure the slots are properly cut and finished for optimum Bigsby performance --- any rough edges or burrs on the bridge slots can indeed cause the strings to catch and bind.

 

Of course, this is another subjective observation --- different strokes, as the saying goes.

That tone robbing spiel is total bunkum in my experience, they are at least as good at transferring string vibration as any ABR arrangement, and despite how well the slots in an ABR are cut and dressed they will still inflict more wear on the strings than a roller, it's basic physics, and the reverse situation of the strings themselves deepening the slots on an ABR is also true, especially the wound strings. A good solid roller bridge will be a vast improvement over an ABR any day of the week IMHO. Those Tru-Arc bridges would also be an improvement over the ABR, but they will still suffer wear from the strings constantly sliding over them, and even though they are compensated, the lack of intonation adjustment is a deal killer for me.

 

I've fitted a Wilkinson roller bridge on my L5 copy and it's the ducks nuts, brilliant transference of string vibration and sustain for days.

 

Wilkinson Roller Bridge

 

Of course, this is another subjective observation --- different strokes, as the saying goes. (please don't sue me for plagiarism, LOL)

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