Epiphone has unveiled a treat for blues fans on both sides of the Atlantic, digging into the paint cupboard for a pair of European and US exclusive finishes for its BB King Lucille model.
The European market sees Lucille looking positively bridal in Bone White, while a Cherry model is released for the US.
The Epiphone BB King Lucille is a big favourite at MusicRadar. Modelled after the most iconic blues guitar in history, presenting the classic Gibson semi-hollow electric at a more accessible price point, and that gold hardware and block inlay sure looked good against the Ebony finish.
For a blues or jazz player, it was a no-brainer, a must-audition. But please don’t make us choose between original Ebony, Cherry and Bone White. At least the specs are the same, so it is simply a question of which Lucille wears its finish best?
There’s something timelessly classic about the Ebony model, the black tux with gold cufflinks giving it a regal bearing, nothing less than what the King of the Blues deserves. But then Bone White looks so clean and cool, and Cherry, well, Cherry always looks good on a ES-335 body shape.
Whichever finish you choose, you’ve got a serious electric guitar for the money. The finish is tip-top. It’s heavy, a bit of a beast in that regard, but then some players dig that.
The body comprises a five-ply maple and poplar laminate, buttressed with spruce bracing and maple centre block to nix feedback. BB King was not a fan of feedback. He went one step further in trying to eliminate it from his rig and requested no f-holes on his Lucille.
He also prized intonation, as anyone with his vibrato and feel should. Instead of the typical tailpiece, his and these Epiphone Lucilles are fitted with a tune-o-matic bridge and a P-6 fine-tuning tailpiece. Grover Rotomatic tuners with kidney bean-style buttons keep things solid.
The Epiphone BB King Lucille has a pair of Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers, volume and tone controls for each pickup and a three-way pickup selector, and there’s the 6-way Varitone switch acting as a notch filter. It can help dial in cool tones but if it causes fright it’s not big deal; position 1 on the chicken-head dial bypasses the switch.
The Bone White Lucille is available now across Europe, priced £849 / €945 street, with the Cherry model priced $949 street in the US.
See Epiphone for more details.