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  #1  
Old 07-30-2016, 11:09 AM
Mojo21 Mojo21 is offline
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Default The new Epiphone Olympic archtop

Having failed to find one of these in the UK I am eagerly awaiting them to hit UK stores. But I wonder if these Masterbilt re-issue instruments will bring down the price of the original vintage ones?

I just wish that Epiphone would have done some more videos of the century archtop range so that we could all have some idea of how they sound.

Is anyone else going to be looking at them?
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Old 07-30-2016, 12:22 PM
Hot Vibrato Hot Vibrato is offline
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I'm also eager to play the Epi reissue archtops. I'm hopeful that they will sound decent, but I doubt they will compare with the originals tonally*, and certainly not to a degree that would de-value their vintage counterparts. If anything, I think the price of the vintage Epis will go up because of the increased awareness of these guitars among players. The originals are the "real deal", whereas the reissues are imported copies.

*I assume they are made in China (?), and the finish will be the same tone-killing catalyzed polyester as on the Masterbilt flat tops. Also the tops are solid spruce, but not carved (correct me if I'm wrong), which means they're pressed, and the backs and sides are plywood. None of this necessarily means that they will be bad sounding guitars, but it certainly means that they are constructed differently from the vintage ones, and they will therefore sound different.
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Old 07-30-2016, 06:46 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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They aren't a re-issue. If you want the details they are contraning in the topic located just slightly down the page.

As an example, a "re-issue" wouldn't have a big ugly battery box stuck in the lower bout.
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:20 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
They aren't a re-issue. If you want the details they are contraning in the topic located just slightly down the page.

As an example, a "re-issue" wouldn't have a big ugly battery box stuck in the lower bout.
Looking at the f-holes, tuners, headstocks and such, it appears these guitars are not reissues but rather have an assortment of features from the 1930s through the 1950s. The biggest difference is, of course, pressed rather than carved tops. But if Gibson/Epiphone came up with a spot on reproduction of some legendary archtop from a past catalog, you can bet it would put a whole lot larger dent in your bank account than this Masterbilt Century line will. And if these guitars are as good as the Masterbilt flattop line, Epiphone may just have a winner on their hands.
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Old 07-31-2016, 03:21 AM
Mojo21 Mojo21 is offline
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Yes I was indeed wrong to label them as 're-issue' - not sure where I got that from other than the general sense that they are closely based on specific guitars from a bygone time, and therefore cause people to feel that they are buying into the characteristics of what those instruments were. Clever marketing by Epi I guess.

I don't know much about archtops and probably like others have been inspired by the David Rawlings sound and guitar that he plays hence the interest.

They do look good though and I personally can live with the electronics if they prove to be very good. The proof will be in the playing because they are not very expensive but I will know as soon as I pick one up if they are going to be useful to me.

Last edited by Mojo21; 07-31-2016 at 05:56 AM.
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Old 07-31-2016, 07:25 AM
Hot Vibrato Hot Vibrato is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
They aren't a re-issue. If you want the details they are contraning in the topic located just slightly down the page.

As an example, a "re-issue" wouldn't have a big ugly battery box stuck in the lower bout.
The model names are the same as some of the vintage models (so they "re-issued" the model names), but they're definitely not faithful reproductions of the originals. However, Fender's "reissue" amps aren't at all accurately reproduced, with their circuit boards and solid state rectifiers and whatnot, and they're still called "reissues", so I ask you this: Just how accurately must a vintage recreation have to be before it qualifies as a reissue?

I think this is a semantic argument, and it's okay to use the term "re-issue" in this case.
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Old 07-31-2016, 08:14 AM
Mojo21 Mojo21 is offline
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I was going to say it was semantics myself but I suppose we all have different criteria for issues such as this.

I suppose in essence the guitars are more of a 'homage' or 'pastiche' and will perhaps have to be judged on their own merit. In photography (an area I know a lot more about) there have been similar issues, not least the fact that for years and years now photographers have been using old film simulations via plugins and apps - not to mention all the retro looking cameras.

This is what I see happening with guitars: the proliferation of relics and the re introduction of a visual aesthetic which introduces nostalgia into the minds of us all. Nostalgia is a very potent marketing tool.
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Old 07-31-2016, 10:21 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Originally Posted by washy21 View Post
...I suppose in essence the guitars are more of a 'homage' or 'pastiche' and will perhaps have to be judged on their own merit...This is what I see happening with guitars: the proliferation of relics and the re introduction of a visual aesthetic which introduces nostalgia into the minds of us all. Nostalgia is a very potent marketing tool.
Agreed 100%; IMO they're simply trying to evoke the general vibe of an early Epi rather than recreate specific models in historically-accurate detail - a more-expensive proposition by any reckoning and, given the niche market for archtops in general, probably a wise decision until they can get their product into the hands of a broader-based clientele. FYI they do have the capability to produce era-specific models, if they so choose: they already use the '34-38 asymmetrical headstock, '35-56 pearl script logo, post-1939 "bikini" headplate, and Emperor tree-of-life headstock/split-V fingerboard inlay on a number of other instruments, so it may just be a matter of player demand for greater accuracy - which in turn requires a more-informed consumer base...
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Old 08-01-2016, 07:49 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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I haven't noticed anything that I can recall on Epi's website saying these are re-issues.

A re-issue would be a more-or-less faithful re-creation of the original design, which these are not by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, Epi is using "re-invention of the archtop" as a descriptor. They obviously feel that it's necessary to do a few "improvements" in the new "re-invented" models to attract a sufficient market.

Possibly so, but I'd be more inclined to purchase one that was more in keeping with the archival designs that these are patterned (loosely) after. Don't make me go along with whatever a team of "value-added" engineers and designers come up with as "improvements" that are obviously based on economics.

The basic guitars look OK, although I could do with a less-garish headstock decal theme. I'd be perfectly satisfied if they invested the dollars in less flash and window dressing in a solid but basic guitar. Maybe it is, but it's hard to get past all the c**p that's meant to appeal to their target audience.

That, my friends, is a crying shame.
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Old 08-02-2016, 07:16 AM
Hot Vibrato Hot Vibrato is offline
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Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
They obviously feel that it's necessary to do a few "improvements" in the new "re-invented" models to attract a sufficient market.
Like the horrible sounding piezo pickup and the ugly battery box in the lower bout? This series of guitars could inspire a new generation to play archtops, but unfortunately they'll all sound like they're playing Takamines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
...I could do with a less-garish headstock decal theme. I'd be perfectly satisfied if they invested the dollars in less flash and window dressing in a solid but basic guitar.
I think the headstock design is a recreation of the 30's Masterbilt headstock, and not necessarily an "improvement" in an effort to pander to their consumer base.
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Old 08-02-2016, 08:52 AM
Daddyo Daddyo is offline
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To the OPs question - no, these modern guitars will not have a downward effect on the price of vintage Epis. Could increase prices as people start realizing the quality of these vintage instruments.
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Old 08-02-2016, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by washy21 View Post
Having failed to find one of these in the UK I am eagerly awaiting them to hit UK stores. But I wonder if these Masterbilt re-issue instruments will bring down the price of the original vintage ones?

I just wish that Epiphone would have done some more videos of the century archtop range so that we could all have some idea of how they sound.

Is anyone else going to be looking at them?
Here ya go...

http://acousticguitar.com/summer-nam...tric-archtops/
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Old 08-02-2016, 06:10 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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I love the statement at 2:45 where he says "...we kept them acoustic..." and then proceeds to discuss the piezo bridge and electronics built in. Huh?

I don't get how you keep something acoustic by "incorporating a Nanoflex HD pickup".

As I said before, what a shame.

The 41' Triumph is a ringer for my garbage pile pick.

Last edited by Rudy4; 08-02-2016 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 08-02-2016, 06:28 PM
Hot Vibrato Hot Vibrato is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
I love the statement at 2:45 where he says "...we kept them acoustic..." and then proceeds to discuss the piezo bridge and electronics built in. Huh?

I don't get how you keep something acoustic by "incorporating a Nanoflex HD pickup".

As I said before, what a shame.

The 41' Triumph is a ringer for my garbage pile pick.
They could have "kept them acoustic" and installed a suspended magnetic pickup, which would sound way cooler and more appropriate for an archtop guitar than the piezo pickup. I honestly don't get the appeal of the "acoustic electric" sound anyway, and for an archtop it just seems like sacrilege.

Yeah man, that Triumph is sweet! Such a clean one too. My '41 Spartan is the same color, with the firestripe pickguard.
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Old 08-02-2016, 07:01 PM
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Since the most common means of amplifying your acoustic guitar, for the majority of the acoustic market, is by the piezo electric pickup/preamp systems, I understand and agree with Epiphone on this. The market already has a load of "hollow body" archtops with magnetic pickups. The magnetic pickups interact with the strings. The piezo pickups have more sensitivity to the guitar body as a whole, thus the notion of keeping it acoustic. I have heard one demo of the Zenith played very shortly, mic'd by a ribbon microphone. I do not think the piezo takes anything away from the acoustics of the guitar. Mic it, amp it, mix the two methods together. The guitar has promise to be a versatile instrument. You won't even see the preamp/battery box when your play the guitar and you won't have to have the pick guard on to house the volume and tone pots on a magnetic system. Only thing they could have done would have been to make the piezo system passive and you could plug in to the preamp of your choice, from my perspective. The intent of these guitars seems well thought out to me. But it follows what Interests me in a new acoustic based archtop design.
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