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restore an Epiphone plywood?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by hemhaw, Jul 22, 2005.

  1. hemhaw


    Dec 12, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    Ok, so I've nervously purchased a Epiphone plywood for $250.
    It's definitely in need of work. I'm taking it to a luthier next week but would like some feedback from the knowledgeable ones here (I have also taken some time searching through the relevant threads before posting).

    On the good side of things the neck has had no damage and the top and back have no cracks.

    On the bad side, it need a new bridge, new tailpiece wire, soundpost, and probably a new fingerboard. Also the ribs have had some damage which have been repaired poorly but are stable. All this I expected.

    My biggest concern is some sinking of the top. It has obviously been under tension for some time with a sound post that is too short. The top has sunk where the bridge feet were so the top bulges in the middle (the top is sort of a V shape in the middle; I'll try to take some pics this weekend). There is also a small bulges in the back where the sound post was.

    I'll have a better idea next week but am wondering if anyone could tell me what is involved and how costly the top repair may be.

    I of course will need to decide if the bass is worth all the repair costs it will need.

    Any advise would greatly be appreciate.
  2. hemhaw


    Dec 12, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    Here are some pics.
    The light is poor.
    I should be able to get better ones soon.
  3. hemhaw


    Dec 12, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    And a couple more:
  4. I wouldn't be too nervous man. These basses, as you may know are becoming real collectors items. I've always had a thing for 'em myself and i'm an old purist. I love thier look, the big effs, the extra turn on the scroll volutes. As you said, the pics are too dark to see things, but it doesn't look too bad to me.
    I'd get in touch with some Eppy owners who have restored ones . I think we have some people on this board who have Eppie's that are pretty cherry. The tailpiece is pretty important from a collectors veiw-point because they have that brass crest screwed on. How are the machines? Do they have the etching on them?
    I'll be looking forward to some better pics!
    Best of luck.
  5. From the sinking you describe on the top and the protrusion at the soundpost, it sounds like maybe the bass took a hard knock on the bridge. My first bass had some indentation visible under the bridge feet and a hairline sound post crack at the back in the outside veneer, probably from some kind of bridge collision also. It's a matter of degree as to how serious something like that is. You mention that the top is sinking under both bridge feet. This indicates that there may be a problem with the bass bar, because the bridge foot on the treble side is usually the one to sink. Sinking on the bass side is usually at the terminal points of the bass bar. Or, the bridge foot could have been misaligned with the bass bar. Still, at $250, a salvageable American plywood (Epi's are rare compared to Kay branded basses) might be a safe bet. Some members here have wound up with very nice classic plywoods after some serious work. Good luck making it playable.
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    For what you paid, I'd guess you could put as much as $2,500-3K in it and still be OK on it if you had to sell. Those basses are of the same mojo as Kays, but IMO, look, play and sound better. They are much more rare. I have only seen them four or five of them for sale (in good playing condition and varying cosmetically) for as much as $4K and as little as $1,500.

    If you can find #s to get a date confirmation, it will help you in determining it's projected value after restoration. Basses made before Gibson bought out Epiphone are generally more desirable than those made after.

    I think this may be for collectability reasons only, as I have seen a couple from both before and after, and I can't tell the difference.