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Help: Info on Vintage Epiphone Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fishmonger, Aug 18, 2004.


  1. fishmonger

    fishmonger

    Aug 18, 2004
    Hi,

    My Dad has recently acquired an Epiphone Bass from a friend and I am trying to find out more information about it.

    It looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can just see the blue label inside the bottom f-hole which lists the model as "5120" but does not say what style it is (that bit of the label is blank). The label says its made in Kalamazoo and has a serial number 63993 which acccording to the Gibson site dates it at 1963.

    There is another number 0096844 engraved in the plate that bolts the neck to the body on the back of the guitar.

    It's basically unused for nearly 30 years and is in good nick considering it's (apparent) age with just the odd ding and scratch but I think it's missing its metal scratch guard (you can see the screw hole to the left of the neck pickup on the above pic).

    Some more pics:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Any info on what it is, if it's any goo, value, etc. greatly appreciated. You can assume I know nothing about bass guitars.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Beammeup

    Beammeup

    Oct 7, 2002
    Denmark
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Yep, it's a Japanese made model from the early 1970s as Beammeup wrote. Value is only about $100, note that the one on eBay went for a whopping $112.50.

    That one your Dad got is really clean, but it's still not a very valuable bass. If it plays and sounds good, then enjoy it!
     
  4. Beammeup

    Beammeup

    Oct 7, 2002
    Denmark
    Hi Fishmonger, You gotted PM'ed ;)
     
  5. emor

    emor

    May 16, 2004
    kcmo
    Wow. What a coincidence. I've been wondering what the model # of that one is. It is the same model as my first bass that I acquired in 1972. I sold it the following year to buy a Fender Jazz (also long since gone, alas).


    I would love to have it back, if only because it was my first.
     
  6. emor

    emor

    May 16, 2004
    kcmo
    Would your dad like to sell it?
     
  7. emor

    emor

    May 16, 2004
    kcmo
    A little more info...

    As you noted, it is missing the pickguard; but also missing is a hard felt string mute that could be engaged/disengaged by means of a lever. Note the differences in the bridges between yours and the ebay, which apparently didn't have this feature.
    Mine had a black pickguard, but w/o the "E".


    (edit: The ebay description states that the bridge has been replaced.)
     
  8. fishmonger

    fishmonger

    Aug 18, 2004
    Many thanks for your help.

    One more question, as I am sure my Dad will be asking me this when I speak to him, why does a 1970s Japanese guitar have a 1963 serial number (according to the Gibson site) and a label saying made in Kalamazoo?

    He's not looking to sell I'm afraid as he tells me he's learning to play (a claim that causes my Mother to roll her eyes). Meanwhile my nephew has just started playing bass and has formed a band so I suspect he might well end up with it.

    Thanks again.
     
  9. 4string4ever

    4string4ever Guest

    Apr 18, 2004
    Orlando, Florida
    I never thought I'd see one of those again!!

    I borrowed one of those from the guitar player I was playing with in the mid 70's. Used it for about 6 months. Oh, the memories....... :rolleyes:
     
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Epiphone was bought by Gibson in the late 1950s and US production was stopped in the late 1960s. The name then became used for cheap imports, at that time being made in Japan.

    The reason the sticker says Kalamazoo is because that's where Gibson was based at the time (they moved to Nashville in the 1980s).

    Dating by serial number only is known to be unreliable, it has to be balanced by other data. Trust me, it was made in Japan during the 1970s, I was buying my first bass and amp back then and saw them new in music shops.
     
  11. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess I'm Your New Dad

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    I just purchased one of these, except the serial number starts with a 69...does that make it a '79?
     
  12. 77jazzbass

    77jazzbass Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    Las Vegas, NV
    wow, this post is only 3-years old and over the past year I've seen more than a handful of the Epiphone EA-260's go for over $500!
     
  13. gweimer

    gweimer

    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    It just amazes me what these are selling for. Here's a hint - if they list it in Ebay as "vintage Epiphone" without listing the model, it's probably the really awful Japanese junk. Those EA-260's are just plain horrible. After the first year, the Japanese had cut production costs so much that they damaged the name for over 20 years. I have the first year neck-through they made. It never had a name, but I've seen it referenced as an ET-285. It's usually called a Newport, but has 2 pickups like an Embassy. They built a nice bass, but didn't account for any neck relief. By the time you string them up, the strings are usually in the next county. What I did with mine was have the bridge area routed, and dropped the bridge into the body about 3/32". That made it reasonably playable, and using TI Rounds on it made it pretty nice.
     
  14. lm420

    lm420

    Jul 5, 2011
    I just acquired an Epiphone EZ-260 but the previous owner claims that he got the Bass around 1963 before Epiphone moved to Japan in 1970. He really is sure that he bought it around 1963 and my problem is, mine doesn't have any serial number but only the model number and the Epiphone Guarantee sticker found inside the hollow body. I am attaching some pics for your viewing. Please help, I am also confused. Could this be a prototype?Log In | Facebook