Summer NAMM 2016: While Gibson hailed 2016 as its “best year ever”, Epiphone has been noticeably quiet, with the Brent Hinds Flying VCustom the only new model to its name… until these four exciting new electrics were announced.
Most notable is the reappearance of the Century archtop - we'd wager that's largely thanks to Mr James Bay, who's a huge fan of the model - but Les Paul’s "most beautiful electric guitar ever made" ‘tuxedo’ Custom is also seeing a reissue, while two new LPs - one stripped-down, one highly spec’d - are also cause for celebration. Head on through our gallery for the full lowdown…
Epiphone Inspired by '1966' Century Archtop
A faithful reissue of the thinline all-hollowbody archtop, the ‘1966’ Century packs Epiphone’s new P-90 PRO pickups, which offer bobbins manufactured to historic dimensions, with sand-cast Alnico V magnets and ‘50s/’60s-style tin-plated brass base plates.
Elsewhere, the guitar's laminated maple body is paired with a rounded C-shape mahogany neck, plus Wilkinson Vintage machineheads.
We’re thrilled to see this one back in the Epiphone line-up - it’s available from July in Cherry and Vintage Sunburst Aged Gloss finishes.
Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Inspired by '1955' Les Paul Custom Outfit
This suave LP is based on Les Paul’s ‘tuxedo’ Les Paul, which he designed to be the most beautiful electric guitar ever made. Certainly, an Ebony finish and gold hardware never fail to class up the LPC outline, and this Inspired by reissue has been done to historic specs.
The new version offers a mahogany body in an Aged Gloss Ebony finish, along with Gibson USA Soapbar P-90 pickups with gold pole screws - P-90s being Les’s favourite style of pickup for LPs.
Hardware has been given an upgrade, too: Epiphone’s Heavy-Duty Non-Rotating 1/4" output jack, a LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, plus Epiphone Deluxe machineheads are all onboard - in gold, natch.
You can expect this handsome number in July - and don’t worry: a vintage-style hardcase and certificate of authenticity are included.
Epiphone Les Paul Special VE
$149? $149?! Yes, Epiphone has revamped its ultra-affordable, and accordingly, best-selling Les Paul Special for 2016 with a Vintage Edition suffix.
Epiphone’s open-coil humbuckers provide the tones - a 650R in the neck and hotter 700T in the bridge - while the guitar’s body is poplar bolted onto a mahogany neck with 1960s SlimTaper D profile and rosewood fingerboard.
There’s only a single volume and tone knob apiece, but Epiphone hasn’t skimped on hardware, equipping the VE with a LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece plus Epiphone Premium tuners.
The Les Paul Special VE is available from July in a ton of Vintage Worn finishes, including Cherry, Ebony, Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Vintage Sunburst, and Walnut. Tasty.
Epiphone Les Paul Traditional PRO-II
This updated take on Epiphone’s ever-popular LP Traditional PRO offers a traditional mahogany body and carved top, but packs a veritable orchestra of bells and whistles, including coil-splits and a 15dB boost.
Epiphone’s Alnico Classic PRO and PAF-aping ProBucker-3 Alnico II-equipped humbuckers fill the cavities here; coil-split sounds are available on push/pull volume and tone knobs, while pulling the bridge pickup’s tone knob serves up that 15dB boost, which is powered by a 9V battery.
Otherwise, the PRO-II offers Grover machineheads, cream pickguard, nickel LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, plus Epiphone straplocks.
A worthy, tricked-out addition to the LP stable, we reckon. The Les Paul Traditional PRO-II is available from August in Ebony, Desertburst, Ocean Blue, Vintage Sunburst, and Wine Red finishes.