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NGD: Epiphone Zephyr Blues DeLuxe

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Devanatha, Sep 3, 2020.

  1. Devanatha

    Devanatha Tele-Meister

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    MIK, Peerless, 2001. Individual volume controls, master tone. No pickup switch. Solid maple with flame maple veneer, maple neck, rosewood fretboard.

    I've always wanted a big jazzbox with P90s, but can't justify getting a vintage Gibson. I got a good deal on this one, and it is actually a very good instrument. I think it was Epiphone's top of the line archtop, or at least close to it. Materials are very nice, the finish impeccable, frets really good (hardly any wear), pots of high quality, hardware decent. The only thing not quite after my taste is the pickups. While they're AlNiCo units, they're wound too hot for my liking. I measured around 11.5 kΩ on all three, which is 50 percent hotter than a typical 50s unit. They're all right for bluesier styles or overdriven sounds, but for a traditional jazz tone, they're too boomy. With volume on 8 or less they sound better, but still not quite there. Will upgrade.

    The greatest surprise is the sound of the pickups combined. I'd thought that I'd mostly use the neck pickup on this, but there are so much more to be had here. The inbetween "Strat" positions sound like a punchy, less quacky Strat, the neck and bridge together sounds like a larger-than-life Jazzmaster, but the brightest star is the combination of all three. Shimmering, warm and bright. Small adjustments on the individual tone controls makes a lot more difference than expected, there is a very broad spectrum of usable sounds here. Even more so with better pickups, obviously.

    As a Fender-man, I really love the 25.5" scale. It definitely has an impact on the sound; this guitar is somewhat punchier and clearer with more presence than a similar 24.75" scale guitar, because of the increased tension. When compared to my 1989 Epiphone Emperor, this is very obvious. The Zephyr also feels more stable and solid, partly for the same reason (but it is clearly a superior instrument to the Emperor in every way).

    The electronics have so-called 50s wiring, making the sound stay crisp when reducing volume. This has the drawback of making the tone control pretty much useless when volume is not on full. I will probably rewire to modern wiring with fine-tuned treble bleeds when I change pickups.

    The intonation was really off when I got it, but that was quickly fixed. I've also changed the thin roundwounds it came with for my favourite set of strings, Thomastik-Infeld JS112 (flatwounds).

    I am very satisfied with this purchase!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    As they say up in Boston, “That’s wicked cool!”

    :cool::cool::cool:
     
  3. neilshane

    neilshane Tele-Meister

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    Gorgeous instrument! Well done!
     
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  4. rsclosson

    rsclosson Tele-Afflicted

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    Beautiful!!
     
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  5. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Poster Extraordinaire

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    What a looker!
     
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  6. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Subbing...interested to hear it, especially after mods. I recommend before and after video comparison, if you're down for that. Happy NGD and congrats!
     
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  7. Jake909

    Jake909 Tele-Meister

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    Outstanding instrument. A "looker" indeed. Keep us posted about your selection for new p'ups. Like your choice of strings.
     
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  8. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    Congrats! I have a Zephyr Regent MIK model that is a one pup humbucker ES-165/175 knock off. Excellent guitar. You can tell the difference between it and a Gibson, but for 1/4 the price it is a fantastic guitar.
     
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  9. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Very cool, I bought a 2 pickup version last year, for that long scale. But I found the thing just too damn big for me to deal with at a gig at my age! Wore me out. But it was a work of art for sure.
    The other weird thing ( I had a thread here about it) is I couldn't find a set of strings with a low E long enough for the guitar! With that Epi tailpiece they were all too short. I did finally find a set, ... can't remember... Pearse?
     
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  10. Deeve

    Deeve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Good grief! What's not to like about this?
    HNJBD

    Peace - Deeve
     
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  11. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    That is awesome!
     
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  12. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    These are the kinds of Epiphones that I like. I don't like the standard LP type with the usual Epiphone headstock, but stuff like this is mega-cool.
     
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  13. 39martind18

    39martind18 Friend of Leo's

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    Just simply gorgeous! If it sounds half as good as it looks, it'll be a keeper!
     
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  14. Devanatha

    Devanatha Tele-Meister

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    Thanks! Yes, I just thought about doing that. I've changed a lot of pickups in my life, but never gotten around to make an actual before/after comparison. This time, I think I will take the time to do it.
     
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  15. Devanatha

    Devanatha Tele-Meister

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    Thank you! After I discovered Thomastik-Infeld strings some years ago, I now have them on all my good guitars. Expensive, but worth it.
     
  16. ale.istotle

    ale.istotle Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Great looking guitar. Also, love that water view - wow.
     
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  17. Devanatha

    Devanatha Tele-Meister

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    Indeed! In this case, we're talking less than 1/10th of the price. The cheapest Gibson ES-5 on Reverb is close to USD 8000, I paid the equivalent of USD 700 for this guitar.
     
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  18. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

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    Outstanding Dev!!!
    I’m wondering how THAT found it’s way to your neck of the woods?
    Epiphone has really really got their “Vintage Sunburst” together!!!
    That is a Beauty - for any time period.
    - stan
     
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  19. Jlwctn

    Jlwctn Tele-Meister

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    The Frequensator- Epiphone Tradition.
     
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  20. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

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    I am in total agreement with You lammie.
    There is No Way I’d buy a Gibson when I can get three of four choice Epiphones. Same reasoning for not dropping my
    hard earned Dollar on a Fender.

    PRS SE, Epiphone and Squier are “the standard” for what I
    need. The Hedge Fund Dudes can have the 3-5K and up
    stuff.*


    *We all need to tip our caps to the concert violinists who let
    the bankers keep the Strads and found alternatives that did NOT have to be given back to the bank after a performance.
    They’re the ones who really led the way.
    Well - Them and Duke Robillard that is. :D:D
     
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