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Epiphone Riviera opinions?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Craig Williams, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Tele-Meister

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    I had one of these some time ago and a magic guitar. I don't normally like humbuckers but the mini buckers are so much brighter and clearer. As it turned out was a made in China model about 2012 from memory. One of the most enjoyable and sounding guitars I have ever played and the neck was amazing. I like low actions and these Chinese made Epis are incredibly easy to set up. Anyway, as luck would have it moved it on and regretted it ever since.

    Had the chance to grab another today which I did, unfortunately sight unseen but did as much due diligence as I could. I am hoping it will be as good as the last one. I have had Korean Epis....Sheratons, BB king and was never impressed with them. Always sounded soulless and flat. The Chinese Epis I have played have all been amazing. What are other peoples thoughts?
     
  2. JIMMY JAZZMAN

    JIMMY JAZZMAN Tele-Meister

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    Traded mine. Was too harsh and very limiting on genres of music, one could play.
     
  3. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've owned ( since the mid '90's) 6 different Epiphones ( Dots, Sheraton, Casino, LP, Alley Kat) and except for 2 of them, they were eye candy, heavy, and toneless ( they had no zing, and lost any clarity unless the Volume knobs were cranked- frustrating!)

    I guess I kept buying and selling, thinking " This will be the one!" ( I am mainly a Fender/single coil guy)

    Fast forward to 10 years ago, a guitar collector buddy of mine gets a real Gibson '61 SG reissue and a '68 Super Reverb ( he has a bunch of cool amps) and I completely fell in love with an SG, having never really played one before.

    So almost every time I'd come over to his house for a BBQ Jam, I'd ask for the SG. and swore I was gonna get one asap.

    It took years, but this year I got ( from the improved Epi Chinese line, which started around 2013) a 2018 Epi SG-400 Pro, absolutely beautiful with upgraded PAF-style pickups, pots, and a great build.

    Could not be happier! Next year, maybe the Epi LP Special P-90!
    20200624_094148.jpg
     
  4. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I bought my first Epiphone Riviera in 1966, from Park Music in St. Louis park, MN. The guitar was made in USA, and was a year old when I bought it. It was a beautiful light sunburst color with a factory installed Bigsby. This was perhaps the finest guitar I have ever owned. This is the one I miss the most and wish I hadn't sold it so many years ago. It played great and sounded like no other guitar since. What a dumb kid I was to sell it. I would pay what it takes in a heartbeat to get that one back.
     
    Drew617 likes this.
  5. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have since, had several Chinese and Korean Epiphones. Nice build quality, but all sounded quite lifeless to me. They just couldn't compare to my old USA made Epiphone Riviera.
    However, the only exception to that statement would be a really nice Epiphone ES-175 Premium I took in on a trade a couple years ago. The build quality is way above what I had come to expect from a non-USA-built guitar. The neck feels very familiar, very much like my old 60's Riviera. The sound and feel are excellent. This is the only non-USA-built Epiphone I could truly consider a keeper. it's not going anywhere.
     
  6. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Tele-Meister

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    Ahh interesting. I only play soft rock / pop stuff so no overdrive or distortion and I found it to be very sweet and clear.
     
  7. 39martind18

    39martind18 Friend of Leo's

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    Had an original back in the early 80s, until the neck joint was broken in an accident at home. These Epiphones were supposed to be Gibson's B line, but were at least as good, and with the minihums, had their own distinctive voice. My main stage guitar now is a MIJ/USA Sheraton with the Gibson USA minihums. Its sound is extremely versatile, with the clarity of single-coils and the girth of humbuckers, so everything from jazz to blues to classic rock is within reach. High gain styles like metal, etc, are not really in play. An incredible alternative to the 60s Riviera is the Elitist line. These were introduced in the late 90s, as I recall, as a midline between the Epi base models and the upper end Gibsons. Manufactured in Japan, they were about half as expensive as the Gibsons and just about all the quality. I have a 2002 Elitist Riviera 12 string, and it is a superior instrument in all ways, IMHO. YMMV.
     
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  8. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Tele-Meister

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    My friend had a 70s or 80s Made in Japan Epi Casino or Riviera, I forget. One of the really early Japanese ones. Had it since he was a kid basically and at the time would have been a cheapy. But in the 2000's those guitars worth a bit of money. He was at a gig and had an electrical problem, not realizing the value of the guitar and in a desperate situation he cut a hole in the back with a box cutter to get to the wiring before anyone could stop him
     
  9. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I love mini-humbucker Rivieras and Sheratons!
    I agree they are much clearer sounding than their full size ‘bucker brethren.
     
  10. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I have had trouble bonding with various 335 style Epi's myself. However, I'm not convinced it's not just the nature of the type, Gibson or Epi. I must have tried 8-10 Epi's in the last 20 years of the 335 type body and didn't bond with any of them. They tend to be woody and thin unless you can play loud enough to crank things, then they get real sweet. (ie: EC live on 'Tore Down' etc) I did like my '69 ES 335 back in the day, but who knows if I would now?

    The closest I got was a Gibson labeled (matsumoku?) built guitar I bought off Ebay in maybe 2002. Red 355 type with a Gibson headstock and Gibson inlaid logo. But not a Gibson. Pretty rare guitar, I think it was a very early Ibanez lawsuit with Super 58's in it. That thing could be sweet at low volume.
     
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  11. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    had a '67 Riviera for years, loved that thing, played great & sounded great. I found that I couldn't move back and forth between that scale & Fender scale, or something -- my hands got confused when I moved back and forth. One year I just decided to stick with it, and played everything on the Riv, and it was great. But then I moved back toward Fender -- as much for the simple switching as anything else, and the cut in a band mix -- and I got divorced & down the road it went. Still miss it.
     
  12. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    I think you're making your waiting worse without any hope of profiting from our thoughts :p

    You're bound to have people praising MIK, slamming MIK, extolling old USA models, insinuating that standards went up from MIK to MIC, or perhaps down. And it won't help you any because you bought it already! We'll only put bad thoughts in your mind and when the poor thing arrives you'll be ready to find fault with any tiny imperfection.

    Wait for it to arrive without prejudice, and when she's home play it for a few days, set it up, play it some more. Then you'll give us a review. I'm interested as I find Epiphone thinlines – hollow and semi – really nice!
     
  13. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm also a fan of the mini-humbucker. I went a slightly different direction - found a used hollowbody Epi Sorrento - the made in Indonesia reissue of the 1962 Sorrento, from 2012.

    I find the mini-humbuckers (the neck in particular) to have a sweet bell-like tone. I know words used to describe tone are subjective, but I like these a lot. They can also snarl, a little, if coaxed.

    It's been pretty useful doing some of these Zoom shows, as I can use for tunes that would be acoustic guitar oriented otherwise, or for straight up electric. Kinda fun.

    Best of luck with yours.

    And just for laughs, this is what the Epi headstock reminds me of. I don't know why.


    Beaker.jpg
     
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  14. srblue5

    srblue5 Tele-Meister

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    I haven't tried a Rivera, but for what its worth, I've owned a few Epiphone guitars since the early 2000's. Some were MIK but a couple of years ago, I acquired a Gary Clark Jr Casino from a friend. I think it's MIC, although to my knowledge, it has USA pickups and upgraded tuners (and perhaps a few other upgrades that I'm blanking on...).

    I've also tried a number of Epiphone guitars in stores recently (pre-Covid). The only ones that come to mind that I wasn't impressed by were the Epiphone ES-175 (neck too thin for me, didn't like the satin finish, otherwise it was probably decently built) and the Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor (I owned a MIK version, which I also didn't like, so it's probably more to do with the design and overall sound).

    In any case, the ones I've owned or tried have generally been of at least decent quality. The Casino, however, has quickly become one of my go-to guitars. It plays and feels good, stays in tune, and sounds exquisite.
     
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