Epiphone gets ready to party
Summer NAMM invades Epiphone's hometown of Nashville this month. The National Association of Music Merchants' bi-annual get-together taking place July 17-19 in downtown Music City. If you're not familiar with NAMM, it's not only a debut-ball for new designs and vintage reissues but also an opportunity for everyone in the business to check out the competition and try to get a handle on what's happening in the wild and woolly world of instrument mercantile.
Avid readers of Epiphone.com already have had a sneak peak at some of the House of Stathopoulo's new instruments for 2014, many of which are hitting stores this summer. For those of you who think cutting edge instrument design stopped at 1960 when the Les Paul (briefly!) went out of production, we're here to remind you that Epiphone has been using NAMM to ruffle feathers and freak out competitors for 80 years and this year will be no exception. The industry gets the first day or so to check out what's going on and after that, the public gets a walk-through. Expect lots of photos to come streaming your way.
Among the killer instruments that we're excited to show off this summer are the 2014 Ltd. Ed. Anniversary Models. Epiphone celebrates the 50th anniversary of the British Invasion with the Ltd. Edition "Union Jack" Sheraton Outfit in an Alpine White finish. The new "Union Jack" Sheraton comes with Gibson USA mini-humbuckers, CTS potentiometers, and Grover 18:1 ratio machine heads.
Another favorite is from Joe Bonamassa, who is well known as a vintage guitar fan. However he's also squarely in Epiphone's camp too and has been utilizing our high quality Ltd. Ed. series to give fans around the world the chance appreciate a grade-A \ Les Paul Standard, Bonamassa style. The new Ltd. Ed. Joe Bonamassa Les Paul Standard is hard to beat. It has an incredible Pelham Blue finish, Gibson USA Burstbucker humbuckers, premium hardware, Grover 18:1 machine heads, and Epiphone Straplocks.
Epiphone's Art Deco masterpiece, the Century, returns as the Ltd. Edition 75th Anniversary Inspired by "1939" Century Amp with a classic 1930s era cabinet design, redesigned 18-watt electronics driven by two 6V6 and two 12AX7 tubes, a 12" speaker, a Master Volume with pull "boost" mode, Master tone, Bright, Normal, and Dark inputs, an Extension Speaker Output, Footswitch Jack, and Internal Bias Adjustment. And that's just a sampling. Check out the full scoop including the return of the legendary doubleneck G-1275, a new Jack Casady Signature Bass, and much more.
Epiphone also introduced two new models to the lineup, the Casino Coupe and the LP Express. The Coupe is the legendary Casino reborn in an ES-339 body size. It's still a hollowbody and it's still got killer P-90 pickups. The LP Express is the little Les Paul that roars with a small profile that’s easy to travel with but has all of the Les Paul tone you've come to count on.
This summer you should also be on the look out for the Les Paul Classic-T and FT-350SCE acoustic/electric, both featuring the Min-ETune™ system, the only proven system to keep your guitar tuned to standard pitch as well as alternate tunings quickly and accurately. A guitar with Min-ETune feels the same, looks the same (the unit mounts onto the back of your guitar's headstock), and plays the same. But most importantly, it sounds the same since Min-ETune works by tuning the actual strings, not by digital trickery that degrades your tone.
For those who don’t believe it works, take a deep breath, withhold your skepticism, and try it. Not only are these first class guitars (we are Epiphone after all) but the speed at which Min-ETune goes from open turnings to "Drop-D" and back to standard is fantastic. With a properly set up guitar, it's a game-changer for guitarists who like to use different tunings on stage. Don't knock it until you try it.
NAMM has been a platform for instrument launches since the 1930s. Even then, Epiphone guitars were considered to be among the best in the world (just like they are today!) and Epi Stathopoulo, the Walt Disney of instrument design, enjoyed the patronage of the most respected players on the scene. During this time, Epiphone went inter-continental with a distribution deal with Handcraft Ltd. of London, and a new Epiphone showroom opened at 142 West 14th Street in a seven-story beaux-arts style building near Little Italy. The new building included an advertised "state-of-the-art" research and development laboratory. The first floor was both the company's headquarters and a hangout for musicians who jammed on Saturday afternoons in a window display set up at street-level. The leading guitarists of the time like Al Caiola, Harry Volpe, and a young Les Paul jammed as people listened from the sidewalk. In many ways, the modern Epiphone is everything Epi dreamed of. And as for being part of Gibson Brands, Epi would probably chuckle at that too, since both companies kept one another in check in those early years, constantly pushing forward to give players superb instruments at a price they could afford. Walter Carter, the author of last year's excellent history of Epiphone, The Epiphone Guitar Book, knows the scoop. Check out his store Carter Vintage if you're headed to Nashville for the big party.
NAMM will be full of surprises and we can't wait to show what we've got cooking. We've got some pretty great artists coming in as well. So keep your eyes peeled to Epiphone.com for updates from the floor and probably a few helpful hints from Mr. Epiphone himself.