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Epiphone B5 value?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by suet, May 5, 2004.


  1. suet

    suet

    Apr 26, 2004
    I've got an Epiphone B5 model upright. It's the model that's blond, with the grapevine design etched on the tuner plates. It's had a heel block repair, is a tad chewed up on some of the edges, and has one worn area on the finish, but is sound, well set up, does not need any work and plays great. Any knowledge of its value would be appreciated.
    sue t
     
  2. I've seen Epiphones in good shape fetch on the high side of $3K. According to some knowledgable luthiers in Nashville they are generally regarded as far superior to Kays and almost as good as the old American Standards.
     
  3. pathdoc2

    pathdoc2

    Oct 16, 2002
    Allen, TX
    I will be picking up a badly damaged Epiphone 1950's upright today. The top is cracked from f hole to f hole. The neck is also splitting apart. I hope to have it fully restored. I was able to purchase for $320. I think it will be a fine instrument again once the restoration is complete. I'm not sure of the model number. Does anyone else have anymore info on these basses?
     
  4. wayne williams

    wayne williams

    May 11, 2004
    I have owned and enjoyed Epi Basses since the mid sixties. Bass models ranged from B-1 at the student end to B-5 at high end. The B-4 pictured on page 89 of Walter Carter Book on the Epiphone Co was mine from the mid sixties to the mid nineties when I located a mint condition B-5. The model number is on the ID plate on the tailpiece. The B-5 will also have it stamped into the tuning machine plate. The book "Gruhns guide to Vintage Guitar" has a good description of EPI Bass models on page 42, that will help if your I.D. plate is missing. Both of my Basses have the serial number stamped into the end of the fingerboard. The B-4 is 2057 B-5 is 2052. I have not done the research to know for sure, but I think both are 1951. In my opinion the Epis are among the very best.... Keep on pick'in!!!
     
  5. pathdoc2

    pathdoc2

    Oct 16, 2002
    Allen, TX
    Thanks for the info. It's deeply appreciated. I'll check the model number later today.
     
  6. pathdoc2

    pathdoc2

    Oct 16, 2002
    Allen, TX
    I just picked up the Epiphone and its a B4. Serial number 1620. The top has some very serious issues and I hope it can be saved. It has delaminated and started to crack in between the F holes. Also the midline joint at the scroll had separated about 1/8 inch. The nut is rosewood as is the fingerboard and endpin holder (not sure of proper name). The tailpiece is maple and has the epiphone logo. The bass is more of a shallow model. Once fixed up this could be a very cool instrument.
     
  7. wayne williams

    wayne williams

    May 11, 2004
    WOW!!! it turned out to be a B-4. That will be an exellent bass. From your description,it sounds like all the parts are from the proper materials, indicating that it is original,and correct. Was the serial number on the end of the fingerboard? I have seen one other Epi that did not have any serial number that I could find. I wonder if that particular bass may have had a replacement fingerboard installed at some previous time. I think, from the serial number, of this one compared to the numbers on the ones I have owned, we can asume that yours is from much before 1951. Regarding the damage, I dont think the scroll will be much of a problem to repair, the top damage makes me wonder if the bass bar has come un-glued or is broken. Could this bass been used or even just brought up to pitch with no sound post or bass bar.? That could result in this kind of damage. Hope you can find a qualified bass luthier on your area. Without seeing the damage, it is hard to make recommendations, but I think saving the original top should be priority one... To the best of my knowledge all Epi bass models were the same size, which is slightly smaller than other three quarter basses......Keep on pick'in!!!!!!
     
  8. pathdoc2

    pathdoc2

    Oct 16, 2002
    Allen, TX
    The serial number was located on the headstock on the side kinda of close to the nut. I have the bass in for an estimate and I have a second very respected luthier who is willing to do the repairs if the first one doesn't want to. I didn't see any numbers on the rosewood fingerboard, which was about to fall off. I do think the bass bar is off or broken. Soundpost was still present but in the wrong location. There was evidence of a previously attempted nonprofessional repair. Lastly it will need a new bridge. The old one had cracked and been previously glued. Overall I'm pleased to have found this bass. Again thanks for your comments and information.
     
  9. wayne williams

    wayne williams

    May 11, 2004
    Sounds like you have matters well in hand. Please keep me informed as things progress..As you can tell,I just love this kind of stuff.......Keep on pick'in!!!!!!!!
     
  10. pathdoc2

    pathdoc2

    Oct 16, 2002
    Allen, TX
    First shop doesn't want to attempt the repairs. They felt the bass wasn't worth the trouble. I'll be bringing it to a different luthier on Wednesday afternoon.
     
  11. It sounds like this bass has been seriously wet (water damaged) at one time or another. The only reason most shops will turn down a job is because they don't want it coming back it to come back and haunt them for months or years in the future. Ask about a written guarantee. You might not get it, but just asking will help you find out just how confident the repairer is that the repairs are going to hold up after the instrument leaves the shop. If the shop isn't willing to guarantee the work for a reasonable length of time (3-6 months minimum) don't throw more money in this potential money pit.
     
  12. pathdoc2

    pathdoc2

    Oct 16, 2002
    Allen, TX
    Advice much appreciated. If the top isn't repairable I may put a replacement top on the bass. I know thats not ideal but at least the instrument would be playable again.
     
  13. I would be concerned about more than just the top. That neck/scroll would be a major concern of mine. BTW - putting on a new top on a bass is not a trivial item especially when factory parts haven't been available for 40 years or so. Watch out for that money pit.
     
  14. pathdoc2

    pathdoc2

    Oct 16, 2002
    Allen, TX
    Bob,
    My other thought is I may offer this instrument to a luthier in trade for just about anything. I'm sure the parts have some value. I'll know more on Wednesday afternoon.
     
  15. pathdoc2

    pathdoc2

    Oct 16, 2002
    Allen, TX
    I took the bass to a well respected local luthier named David Graham. He feels certain he can repair this bass. I'll post pics once the repairs have been made.
     
  16. pathdoc2

    pathdoc2

    Oct 16, 2002
    Allen, TX
    Very bad news. The luthier who is working on the B4 says he is having a very very difficult time removing the top. Seems someone has already removed it and didn't use the correct glue. I may need to have a new top made. This could be very costly. Anyone know if a replacement top suitable for this bass is available? Engleheardt maybe?
     
  17. Sounds like that money pit is going to get deep.
     
  18. Jim Ingraham

    Jim Ingraham

    Nov 14, 2002
    Shillington
    Thanks for this info. I've had an Epi B4 for over 20 years and I periodically post here trying to find info about it. The serial has especially eluded me as some have said to look inside and some on the headstock but sure enough there stamped on the bottom of fingerboard is #1980. Is there a way to date it from this number.
    Also i took it in to my local repair shop to ask about appraisal value but they didnt seem to know much. Just that a 50's era plywood would probably be worth 1500 or so.
    Anyway, I love mine... it sounds great, plays like butter and I love the way it looks. even if it is a little beat up around the edges:
    [​IMG]
    Id love to see some pics of anyone elses as Ive never seen another one
     
  19. I've always enjoyed playing and looking at Epi's. They're really fun basses. It seems that some have neck/block issues, especially in the button/neck heel area. I was gonna buy one just for fun, but could never find someone dumb enough to let one go for a sensible price. :crying:
     
  20. pathdoc2

    pathdoc2

    Oct 16, 2002
    Allen, TX
    That sunburst finish is really cool. I thought they were all blondes.