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  1. #51
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by dcharles View Post
    Really sad to see the current Epiphone putting out this cheap asian stuff using the names of their classic 30s to 50s archtops... Kind of diminishes the standing of the vintage stuff. If I ever get an old Triumph I'll have to differentiate and make clear to people its not one of those cheap new ones!

    Makes me seriously consider getting an old Gibson L-7 instead.
    I agree - that distinction really should be clear. I'd be happy with it for what it is. (I'd love an old Gibson L-7 - no p/u.)

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  3. #52

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    i don't quite get it..epiphone has been the lesser arm of gibson since gibby bought them in the mid 1950's!!..they have been asian made since 1970!!!...46 years of made in asia!!..why the grief now?..if anything the masterbilt series are better quality than the standard epi's...

    think of how many people like their joe pass and broadways and sheratons and casinos..all asian made

    why are these somehow worse?..and without anyone even having tried one out yet...

    weird


    even a 50's pressed spruce top, lam body harmony arch will cost you 500$ now

    cheers

  4. #53

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    I can't seem to find info on the nut width.
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  5. #54

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    Neatomic,

    true, epis have been cheapies for decades. But don't call a cheap pressed top guitar the name of a classic. It's like selling a Gibson 335 or some other higher end guitar under the same name made with far cheaper parts and labor... Change the name!
    Last edited by dcharles; 06-30-2016 at 06:03 PM.

  6. #55

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    Man, even I'm tempted. I've been playing a lot of outdoor gigs of late and Oklahoma isn't known for it's mild summers. While I'm currently working on laminate construction processes I still couldn't build a guitar for what those sell for. I mean I have well more than $900 in materials alone plus my time (which I at least feel is worth something). A Zenith or Deluxe with the old DeArmond Rhythm Chief I have laying around would be a nice little box to use when I don't want to bring one of mine. It's cool with me that these companies are still messing with archtops at all.

  7. #56

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    dc-i take it your not much on modern loar, recording king, guild, gretsch, squier, etc etc either..haha

    thank heavens for rickenbacker!!

    gibsons following modern marketing & production scheme..i hear you, but..


    to me, if it extends the interest in jazz archtops that much longer, then its all good


    cheers

  8. #57

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  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonc View Post
    Man, even I'm tempted. I've been playing a lot of outdoor gigs of late and Oklahoma isn't known for it's mild summers. While I'm currently working on laminate construction processes I still couldn't build a guitar for what those sell for. I mean I have well more than $900 in materials alone plus my time (which I at least feel is worth something). A Zenith or Deluxe with the old DeArmond Rhythm Chief I have laying around would be a nice little box to use when I don't want to bring one of mine. It's cool with me that these companies are still messing with archtops at all.
    to me they're really nice looking things

    delux sunburst f hole please !

  10. #59

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    Haha, you do have me figured out neatomic! I am quite a vintage American brand fanatic.

    I do agree though, more low end archtops accessible to more people is a good thing, even if they are stealing the names of some of my favorite vintage guitars!

  11. #60
    Thank you, David B!

    Liked the music on that video too.

  12. #61

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    I can hardly wait to try these out! And my birthday is in August

    Looks to me like Epiphone may have hit a home run with this series.
    Of course, we'll have to see how they sound & feel, but the concept is quite delectable.
    Nice looking Headstock too. I'm curious about the finish.

    I'm leaning toward the blond round hole with no pickguard.
    It will be fun to see what shows up in town.

  13. #62

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    I think it's interesting that they ship without the pick guards installed. I have no idea why, but I like that. It implies a level of respect for the user's ability to install the thing and decide what they want.

    I am delighted to see Epiphone even thinking there is a market for this. I truly hope they are right!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  14. #63

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    Nice line, although they may be overdoing the retro thing somewhat, will some post-early century designs be added eventually, or will they limit the line to that era where the cutaway had not yet been introduced?

  15. #64
    [QUOTE=dcharles;667016]Really sad to see the current Epiphone putting out this cheap asian stuff using the names of their classic 30s to 50s archtops... Kind of diminishes the standing of the vintage stuff. If I ever get an old Triumph I'll have to differentiate and make clear to people its not one of those cheap new ones!

  16. #65

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    if you want to see a great restoration of an original epi zenith..gut shots and all!! haha..by frans elferink

    he does a regular column at -

    PREPARED GUITAR: Tone Wood Epiphone Zenith restoration


    i never miss his posts there..always good


    cheers

  17. #66

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    There are lots of videos now of these guitars. Like Loar guitars they sound very bright, nothing like this beauty

    “When you’re creating your own ...., man, even the sky ain’t the limit.”
    Miles Davis

  18. #67

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    I'm pretty sure all the clips I've seen so far on YouTube are with roundwounds. Would like to hear what they sound like with flatwounds. And hey, maybe those old Epis sounded a lot brighter too back in '48 when they were brandnew?


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  19. #68

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    What's that? A reasonably priced acoustic archtop with a built in piezo. Hmm. Might actually be quite useful for me, provided it's any good.

    Will have to try it. Don't think they are available on this side of the pond yet.

    BTW I've had my Loar for about 3 years and the sound has opened up a lot IMO.

  20. #69

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    I am super interested in this line of guitars. I have wondered why Epiphone hasn't done this with their Masterbilt line yet. I enjoy playing flat top acoustics quite a bit. I have played a bunch of Masterbilt flat tops and found them to be much nicer than their regular line of acoustics. If that quality and playability is in these arch tops, they should be great.
    I would like to see a video with someone playing jazz on one. Everything that I've seen so far has been country guys.

  21. #70

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    I've yet to hear a nice jazz tone out of a piezo.
    Build bridges, not walls.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by gggomez View Post
    There are lots of videos now of these guitars. Like Loar guitars they sound very bright, nothing like this beauty

    That thing is gorgeous.
    "If you play sweet child 'o mine again...I'm breaking your guitar"

  23. #72
    destinytot Guest
    This thread has prompted me to experiment with EQ settings.

    Long story short, I find I can get the sort of sound I was looking for in these new Epis by rolling off most of the bass when strumming my Sonntag through an AER Compact 60.

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles View Post
    I've yet to hear a nice jazz tone out of a piezo.

    in complete agreement..but nothing that one of these (new guild reissues) couldn't cure


    New Epi Century Stuff-009-9306-049_dearmond_rhythmchief_1100-jpg

    cheers

  25. #74

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    Oh yeah, monkey on a stick!
    Build bridges, not walls.

  26. #75

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    I recently bought an Epi Emperor Regent. It's the only cheap guitar that I own, and I think it's a decent guitar considering it's price point. I was disappointed that it was discontinued and that Epiphone has left such a gaping hole in it's line. These new Masterbilts will hopefully take care of that.

    I also recently bought the "1939 Century" amp that they released as a 2014 limited edition, just for the visual appeal of the veneered cabinet and definitely NOT for it's sound. It's electronics have what I consider to be rather poor frequency response and odd voicing. The sound of this amp is giving me serious pause about what Epiphone considers to be reasonable amplified tone.

    The Century amp is basically a no-tremolo Fender Deluxe circuit that has had it's tonestack pots replaced with fixed resistors in order to shape the tone of the amp. Then the amp has had several high pass and low pass filters added to the circuit to shape the circuit's frequency response to what the guys at Epiphone thinks is a good sound. The result of all of these filters are an amp that has lots of insertion loss and doesn't produce as much voltage gain (that's a geek term for voltage amplification I'm not using the word gain as a euphemism for distortion) as it should. The dynamics and breadth in tone of the amp have been castrated in order to give it one specific tone, and that one tone is not all that great.

    In stock form the amp does not sound all that good. The tone shaping of the circuit makes it a one trick pony that doesn't perform a very good trick. Any 6v6 in fixed bias at 400V should be capable of delivering 22W, but with all the filtering that has been added into the circuit the Epi only delivers 12W. The sound is very tinny, very nasal, with all of the bass starting to roll off at 240 Hz so that there is no meat on the lower strings, just lots of harmonic content that makes roundwound strings sound irritating.

    Right now I'm attacking the amp with a soldering iron and re-voicing the circuit to make it sound more useful. My point is to say that if the guys at Epiphone are shaping the tonal response of these guitars through electronics in the same way that they shaped the tonal response of this amp, I have doubts that I'll ever want to plug one in.

    Can engineers who have never heard the sound of a real Masterbilt guitar or a real EH-185 ever be successful in designing a reissue? Or will this just end up being like the outcome of 4 blind men trying to describe the color pink to one another?

    Based on the oddball sounding circuit in this little Century amp, I'm not inspired with confidence. I'm going to wait to hear reviews from you guys before I take the plunge one one of these guitars.
    Last edited by BeBob; 07-15-2016 at 12:34 AM.
    -- Bob

  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeBob View Post
    Can engineers who have never heard the sound of a real EH-185 ever be successful in designing a reissue?
    Or will this just end up being like the outcome of 4 blind men trying to describe the color pink to one another?


    Close?
    “When a wise man points at the moon the fool considers the finger.”

  28. #77

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    I've noticed recently that Sweetwater & GC are listing a few of these models as "in stock".

    Has anybody here got their hands on one yet? I'm dying to try one out !

  29. #78

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    Nice video from Reverb.com


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  30. #79

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    capo'd zenith with ribbon mic sounded real nice..potential is there!

    cheers

  31. #80

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    I wish they had made the sound holes oval as I think it would add to the retro-aesthetic. There are enough round-hole acoustics.
    Seeking beauty and truth through six strings.

  32. #81

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    Just saw these in Sweetwater's weekly email. I'm infactuated!

    I am, however, disappointed in the lack of jazz musicians playing them in their various vids. This makes me think that either A) their marketing department forgot jazz existed when asked to sell a jazz box guitar, or B) the jazz musicians that they have filmed don't like them. The group in the Airstream seem to all be folk artists treating it like a novelty.

    Still, I want to play one.
    God is great, beer is good, people are crazy.

  33. #82

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    Anyone catch these?





    “When a wise man points at the moon the fool considers the finger.”

  34. #83

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    Any spotted in the UK yet?

  35. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGrandWazoo View Post
    I wish they had made the sound holes oval as I think it would add to the retro-aesthetic. There are enough round-hole acoustics.

    but not archtops!!!

    a round hole archtop is pretty unique these days

    cheers

  36. #85

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    Just wondering if anyone has pulled the trigger on one of these.
    It looks like the Zenith, Olympic, and round-hole Deluxe are in stock on-schedule.
    GC says the F-hole Deluxe is on pre-order for delivery in 2017.
    -- Bob

  37. #86

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    Stopped in at one of the more reputable dealers in town asking about the Epiphone Masterbuilts. They have them on order. Got a good review from one of the guys who went to NAMM. Stated he thought them to be a good value for the dollar.
    We are anxiously waiting.......

  38. #87

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    2017? Maybe I have enough time to sell a couple dust collectors before they become available... With a little left over to upgrade to a reissue deArmond. 8 - )
    God is great, beer is good, people are crazy.

  39. #88

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    Here's a new video from Epiphone demonstrating the Masterbilt Century Zenith Classic archtop with the much-maligned Epiphone Century amp. The tone of the guitar is way different from the other demo, it doesn't sound like a piezo pickup. It could be the guys playing, but the tone reminds me of old acoustic archtop recordings. Somehow they fixed the hum on the amp they are using.


    Last edited by zephyrregent; 08-16-2016 at 09:20 PM.

  40. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by zephyrregent View Post
    Here's a new video from Epiphone demonstrating the Masterbilt Century Zenith Classic archtop with the much-maligned Epiphone Century amp. The tone of the guitar is way different from the other demo, it doesn't sound like a piezo pickup. It could be the guys playing, but the tone reminds me of old acoustic archtop recordings. Somehow they fixed the hum on the amp they are using.


    not a great tone: the high E and B are buzzing...

  41. #90

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    Looks like complete garbage. And those promotional videos are... embarrassing. A dude who knows 3 chords, jeez louise. How hard is it to find someone who knows a thing or two?

  42. #91

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    I got a chance to play a Vintageburst Deluxe F-hole model today. It just came into my favorite local shop.

    Here's some first impressions:

    It's a very attractive guitar, with nice build quality and an interesting semi-gloss finish. Great looking headstock & the tuners seem nice too. Feels solid. On the topic of Feeling solid, the neck is quite a chunk of wood. Surprisingly thick -- I'm guessing some will love it, some won't. I didn't hate it, but I'm not sure I dig it either. I played a couple of Gibson acoustics too for contrast and their necks felt like toothpicks in comparison.

    Acoustic tone was very pleasing, but not as loud as I had hoped for -- I got more volume out of the flattops. I'm wondering if the roundhole Deluxe will be any louder? Regardless, it was fun to play.

    Plugged in is where I suspect many jazzers will be scratching their heads. The piezo pickup sounds just like a piezo pickup and I'm guessing it will leave many players wanting for a humbucker. I like the volume & tone controls -- very nicely done. I played for a bit through a Deluxe Reverb and was surprised to produce a moment of howling feedback at a very modest volume. I'll bet quite a few of these will end up getting traditional floaters installed.

    I didn't take home the Deluxe F-hole, as I'm curious about the roundhole Deluxe and also about the little Olympic. So I'm waiting to take those for a spin when they come in. I'll probably end up taking one home in the end, as I think they are cool and a very good value for the money.

  43. #92
    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go View Post
    Plugged in is where I suspect many jazzers will be scratching their heads. The piezo pickup sounds just like a piezo pickup and I'm guessing it will leave many players wanting for a humbucker. I like the volume & tone controls -- very nicely done. I played for a bit through a Deluxe Reverb and was surprised to produce a moment of howling feedback at a very modest volume. I'll bet quite a few of these will end up getting traditional floaters installed.
    From their marketing they're definitely going for the Indie/Americana set, rather than Jazzers. Which is too bad because these would have made really cool old-timey Jazz guitars. I suppose you could mount a floating mini to it, but it is very much a missed opportunity.

    When these were first announced, I had just bought my AFJ91, and I was all like, "aw man, I shoulda held out." I'll still try one, but from what it seems, I made the right choice.

  44. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhythmjones View Post
    From their marketing they're definitely going for the Indie/Americana set, rather than Jazzers. Which is too bad because these would have made really cool old-timey Jazz guitars. I suppose you could mount a floating mini to it, but it is very much a missed opportunity.

    When these were first announced, I had just bought my AFJ91, and I was all like, "aw man, I shoulda held out." I'll still try one, but from what it seems, I made the right choice.
    Well a piezo archtop could be pretty handy for early jazz stuff, if it sounds good (big if :-))

    I'll be giving these a try...

  45. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go View Post
    I got a chance to play a Vintageburst Deluxe F-hole model today. It just came into my favorite local shop.

    Here's some first impressions:

    It's a very attractive guitar, with nice build quality and an interesting semi-gloss finish. Great looking headstock & the tuners seem nice too. Feels solid. On the topic of Feeling solid, the neck is quite a chunk of wood. Surprisingly thick -- I'm guessing some will love it, some won't. I didn't hate it, but I'm not sure I dig it either. I played a couple of Gibson acoustics too for contrast and their necks felt like toothpicks in comparison.

    Acoustic tone was very pleasing, but not as loud as I had hoped for -- I got more volume out of the flattops. I'm wondering if the roundhole Deluxe will be any louder? Regardless, it was fun to play.

    Plugged in is where I suspect many jazzers will be scratching their heads. The piezo pickup sounds just like a piezo pickup and I'm guessing it will leave many players wanting for a humbucker. I like the volume & tone controls -- very nicely done. I played for a bit through a Deluxe Reverb and was surprised to produce a moment of howling feedback at a very modest volume. I'll bet quite a few of these will end up getting traditional floaters installed.

    I didn't take home the Deluxe F-hole, as I'm curious about the roundhole Deluxe and also about the little Olympic. So I'm waiting to take those for a spin when they come in. I'll probably end up taking one home in the end, as I think they are cool and a very good value for the money.
    How bright was it ?
    The demos all seem very bright

    They look great to me , could they be tamed
    With flatwounds ? And a neck mounted or set-in
    Pickup do you think ?
    More hassle than its worth when one could
    Just get an epi 175 premium or something

    I like mellow

  46. #95

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    know that a piezo works off the vibrations recieved from the guitar within the pickup...really doesn't matter what type of strings you use..even rubberbands..as long as they set off same vibrations within the pickup...

    magnetic pickups work from the actual magnetic vibrations of the strings..why gauge & string material makes huge difference!!

    piezo pickups are realtively recent to guitar amplification...vintage jazz tone was all magnetic pups

    as i wrote ^...these new epi's with a dearmond pup would be way more vintage jazzy

    cheers

  47. #96

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    Not much to love about piezos, so far as I'm concerned. Good against feedback, but even under drastic EQ too clickety for me.

  48. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    know that a piezo works off the vibrations recieved from the guitar within the pickup...really doesn't matter what type of strings you use..even rubberbands..as long as they set off same vibrations within the pickup...

    magnetic pickups work from the actual magnetic vibrations of the strings..why gauge & string material makes huge difference!!

    piezo pickups are realtively recent to guitar amplification...vintage jazz tone was all magnetic pups

    as i wrote ^...these new epi's with a dearmond pup would be way more vintage jazzy

    cheers
    Depends how vintage you mean. I'm talking about the pre-electric era. Also, IMO, magnetic pickup sounds a bit naff for rhythm guitar in jazz. Notice that even during the post war era, rhythm guitar was usually played on an acoustic archtop (people like Jim Hall and Tal Farlow would actually turn the guitar right down, which is great in a small jazz club, but no use at all in the local boozer.)

    The magnetic pickup sound aside, piezo is pretty much the only solution that has worked out so far in my professional life. People try other things, sure, but in general they end up a) with a wall of feedback or b) too quiet for a bar gig, or both. Often the stage is small and cramped, too, meaning you are right up against the amp.

    Sometimes it can be made to work if you have a good sound man who understands and listens to jazz. That's a mighty big if. And in this case, they can mic it themselves.

    I'm also fed up of stupid trailing wires and things that get in the way. I want something that plugs in, works and is consistent even if it's not the best sound in the world. I play a fair number of gigs - i.e. it's my main income - so I appreciate a streamlined set up. Also, others might have more patience for dicking around with mics.
    Last edited by christianm77; 08-26-2016 at 08:19 AM.

  49. #98

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    Christian,

    According to what you just posted, one of these might be just perfect for you

  50. #99

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    These masterbilt archtops look to me as being perfect for attaching a DeArmond 1100 at the neck (monkey stick) and connecting the wire underneath the pickguard to the Shatten kind-a-like pots in the soundhole instead of the piezo and voila. Or, leave everything in working order and attach a Schatten under the pickguard and make an extra output jack in de lower side next to the existing.
    I think either of those might work out fine. These masterbilts have the looks of early days, are brandnew and affordable.
    It will take a while before I can take a look at one of those in real life. Stores with archtop guitars are not so common in the Netherlands.

  51. #100

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go View Post
    Christian,

    According to what you just posted, one of these might be just perfect for you
    I'm expecting them to be pants, but you never know.