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Epiphone bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by BassGreaser, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I have a chance to buy an Epiphone for $800. I checked it out, and it looks to be in great condition. THe bass has a rosewood finger board, and still has the stock wood endpin. It will need a neck reset. But the inside looks very good! How long were these basses made for? How can I find out more about this bass? I tried the threads, and didn't really find anything...Looking forward to seeing what you guys have to say:D
  2. I have seen a couple and played one quite a bit. It was a very nice instrument. It was my Nashville luthier's opinion that Epiphones are far superior to Kays and probably the equal of the American Standards. The one I played was for sale (asking price about $3k). Your $800 could be a very good deal if the neck set in not too expensive. You may want to examine the fingerboard as well to see if it needs any work.
  3. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    If it's in good shape that's a steal. I've seen them anywhere from 1800 to 4500. So yeah I'd jump on that. If it's in good shape
  4. I, also, searched for one link in particular where we went inside and out concerning Epiphones. Anyway, i'm partial to them for several reasons other than sound and to me they are the best sounding American laminated basses. They have real carved scrolls and real purfling, as opposed to glued on scroll volutes and decaled or painted on purfling, and the last one I saw had an extra turn on the scroll. I like the F hole pattern and shape. The machines are cool and adding all this up, to me, puts other laminated basses in this country to shame! The New American Standard is an exception.
    Bob Branstetter mentioned on that other thread from last year that there was a possible connection of Epiphone and the great jazz guitarist George VanEpps (CK.SPELL ) You might try a search using Georges name as a last result when you're trying for info.
    For $800, i'd give it a shot. It would be fun for me!
  5. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    When I checked this bass out, the F-holes look huge conpared to my strunal. The fingerboard looks fine, and everything else looks o be in order on this bass. I was thinking about selling my Strunal hybrid 5/20 to get this bass...is this a wise idea? or should i keep the strunal
  6. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    If it where me? I'd keep the hybrid and set it up for jazz/classical and get the Epi and set it up with guts and high action and slap it like it owes you money.
    But that's just me
  7. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    hmmmm....not a bad idea! :D
  8. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Joe -- as others have said, if the neck reset won't set you back too much, nab that bass while you can.

    Now Paul... are you implying that OLD American Standards were not also great plybasses?
  9. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Epiphone was an instrument company formed by a Greek family in the late 19th century. They made violins, mandolins, guitars and the like. They existed independently until being bought out by CMI (Gibson) in the mid 1950s.

    I am all but certain that I have read in some history publication that one of the sons of the founder was actually named "Epi-something-something-opolos" (very Greek) and thus the name Epiphone or "Epi's sound."

    They made a bunch of basses before Gibson bought them. The question is how many were made after. I am not sure that it matters, as Epiphone didn't become Gibson's Asian-made budget line until much later in history.

    Epiphone guitars and other instruments from even the early and mid 60s are great. If you can find an old flattop troubador, you really have something. I see plenty of old A-style Epiphone mandolins at festivals. They hold their own with anything.

    I add this only to say that all of the old Epiphone stuff was of good quality and craftsmanship and isn't worthy of even being compared to the label today.

    As for comparing an Epiphone bass to an old AS, well, it might sound any better, but it sure is a heck of a lot easier to play.
  10. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    "As for comparing an Epiphone bass to an old AS, well, it might sound any better, but it sure is a heck of a lot easier to play."

    Well, I don't know if I just got lucky or what, but even with the longer scale length (and huge shoulders), my old AS was one of the best- and easiest-playing basses I've ever come across. Period. And I'm not a particularly huge fella at 6' tall.
  11. Steve Azola

    Steve Azola Azola Basses

    Jan 23, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    I have had several Epis (2 at the moment) and they are not always great sounding. Not really sure why they vary so much. The construction is very good, but they're built somewhat on the fragile side. They are easy to play due to the small neck and generally smaller size for a 3/4 bass.

    According to George Gruhen, Production started around 1940. Production records were not really kept until the Gibson buyout in 1958. There were about 350 basses made from '58 ending in 1964. Most of them will have "Kalamazoo" stamped on the machines, indicating a Gibson Epi. Earlier basses have a New York stamp on the higher end models.

    I'm always on the lookout for American plywoods, especially Epis, sort of a hobby of mine. I usually have a half dozen (Kays, Epis, etc.) or so hanging around. If you don't want this one let me know. Or if you need some work done, I'm just up the hill from you.

  12. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Steve you have PM....
  13. freemole

    freemole Supporting Member

    May 24, 2003
    i was told the major reason gibson bought epiphone was specifically for their basses. they were well built and highly sought after.

    if anyone is interested...
    i have a 1958 epiphone in mint condition, all original - even the george van eps adjustable bridge - for sale. i'll send pics.
  14. Certainly not. Especially what with the adventures in ugliness on this Forum by Durrl and Donosaurus and their sworn testaments on the sound. Also, i've known many AS basses in my life that were fantastic. I've just got a thing for Epiphones. In fact, i'm in the process of trying to buy one just for kicks!
    If Freemole and I can do a deal great, but I told him I'd pay extra for him to keep the metal bridge! Also have a line on one here in town.
  15. pathdoc2


    Oct 16, 2002
    McKinney, TX
    I'm pleased to let you guys know that I found a 1950's Epiphone upright in an antique store in Plano, TX. The bass is in pretty bad shape but I do believe it can be restored. I'll let everyone know how it turns out.
  16. jonas


    Dec 9, 2003
    Frankfurt am Main/Germany
    Kontrabass-Atelier, Lando Music (Germany), "Das Kontrabass-Buch"
    what does a george van eps bridge look like? is there something special with it? I know that george van eps is (was?) a guitar player …
  17. The Van Eps bass bridge was one of the first if not the first adjustable bridge available for the doublebass. It didn't look much different than the ones we have today except that it had a small diameter wheel with spokes coming out instead of the solid larger diameter wheels we see today.

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