The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Archtops

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 03-04-2023, 12:58 AM
maxnaegele maxnaegele is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 134
Default '96 Epiphone Howard Roberts HR-1 review

I've owned and played a lot of very good guitars ( flat tops, arch tops and classical) in my life ( I'm a 74 year old advanced finger style guitarist).

I recently purchased an Epi '96 HR-1. I think it's a very, very good instrument despite being an Epiphone. I owned a mid '90's pre Joe Pass Emperor years ago and it was equally as well built.

Gibson was sold to an Ecuadorian beer outfit in '69. The fellows who purchased Gibson in the late '80's opened an Epiphone office in Korea in the early '90's. Prior to this Epiphones were being built in the Samick factory with little over sight.

It was at this point, mid '90's, where Epiphone had a more hands on involvement in the design and quality control of their product and the sales of their guitars took off. I think by the time Epiphones were built in China the quality went to ****.

I was thinking of replacing the original mini humbuker pu with something much more pricy like a SD but man Epiphone was the creator of the mini humbucker so why would I do that?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-05-2023, 08:46 AM
The Old Gaffer The Old Gaffer is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,161
Default

I donít think a pickup swap will net you much, but up grading the wiring harness, pots, capacitors and jack would be a worthwhile endeavor if they are still the typical Asian components of that era.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-05-2023, 09:26 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Staten Island, NY - for now
Posts: 14,101
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxnaegele View Post
...The fellows who purchased Gibson in the late '80's opened an Epiphone office in Korea in the early '90's...

It was at this point, mid '90's, where Epiphone had a more hands-on involvement in the design and quality control of their product and the sales of their guitars took off. I think by the time Epiphones were built in China the quality went to ****...
The quality of the mid-90's Epis established them as top dog in the entry-level through intermediate market - a position they sadly relinquished circa 2008 when they went over to Chinese manufacture, one which Gretsch would assume when they went to Korean (ironically, Samick) production and similarly forfeit when they too farmed out their 5400/5600-Series Electromatics to MIC production over the last few years...

IME the only post-1970 import Epiphones that exceed the quality of the pre-2008 MIK instruments are the Japanese-built Elite/Elitist line: better than much of what parent company Gibson was producing, at a mere fraction of the price - small wonder they were discontinued...

Frankly, I don't believe upgrades would yield sufficient return to justify their cost - and as long as everything sounds/functions as it should I wouldn't change a thing...
__________________
"Mistaking silence for weakness and contempt for fear is the final, fatal error of a fool"
- Sicilian proverb (paraphrased)
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-06-2023, 03:49 PM
maxnaegele maxnaegele is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 134
Default

My wife and I lost everything we owned in a wildfire 4 years ago. We were insured and within 41/2 months I built us a new house.

Of course I lost 40 years of lessons, notes, books, music several very nice guitars, amps everything. So when I went about purchasing new guitars I purchased a Sawdosky Jim Hall and an Ephiphone Sheraton Elitist both of which I ended up selling. I played classical music for 20 years then started studying jazz for a year or two and switched my style of playing to modern fingerstyle playing neither of which these two guitars were well suited for.

I wound up playing a '94 Taylor 612c, which is a great instrument. I lost mine in the fire. Unfortunately over the past several years the steel string started tearing up my nails so I switched to a Furch GSn-1 hybrid which is a great guitar. I'd been playing the Furch for a couple of years when I decided that I like to adding some chord melody stuff to my set list enter the Howard Roberts HR-1.

I use .11's and my nails have held up good so far. After reading a bit about the history of the Howard Roberts I learned that Epiphone originally built the HR for a few years in the '60's with a carved top a a volume and tone control.

Gibson brought the line back and manufacturing them in the '70's for about 7 years or so. The Gibson models were laminated just like the Epiphone's that were built in Samick between '95 and '98. I learned as well that Epiphone had invented the Mini Humbucker and when the new owners of Gibson purchased Gibson in the late '80's they inherited all of Epiphone including the patent to the mini Humbucker. In the early '90s Gibson opened up an office in Korea and brought their own people to supervise and improve the Epiphone line. That was a big deal and you can see and hear the results if you've ever owned an Epiphone built in the mid to late '90's. Kinda like the Taylors built in the same time period compared to the Taylors built after 1999.

The bottom line is the Gibson Howard Roberts models are really not that much different than the HR-1 reissue built in Samick They have the same tone woods, have laminate sides, back and top and have the same Epiphone mini humbucker. The Gibson's have a ebony fingerboard and a mid range control but other than that they are fundamentally the same guitar.

As you pointed out the wiring and pots could be upgraded but the pots on my guitar are fine. The guitar sounds great just as good as the Jim Hall or the Elitist. A used Gibson HR sells for $3500 - $4000. I bought mine for $875 and I bet you'd have a hard time telling one from the other. At least not $3,000 worth.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Archtops

Thread Tools





All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:43 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=