97 Epiphone les paul maple body and neck?!?

Norton

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so I just stumbled onto a too cheap not to take home epi les paul. It's an odd one. Solid one piece maple - with a bit of curl and figure and a maple neck.

It's on the lighter side of middle weight but is a snarly snappy sounding guitar. Pickups have a very light stamp/engraved epiphone logo on the lower right side of the baseplate.

Looks like it's got a separate maple cap and an insanely figured maple face. Can't tell if it's a veneer....

It's a factory 2nd 97 saein factory.

Body is aggressively carved with a deep dished edge and the cutaway is a bit sharper than the norm. Long tenon neck set but with deeper pickup routs at the sides of the neck tenon.

So strange. Anyone have similar odd experiences with guitars from
This era?
 

Norton

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Are maple bodies common from this era?

Any ideas on the pickups? It's all stock, at this point
 

Norton

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I think they do these days....at least I've seen veneer when stripping solid color lp's in the past three years or so.

But this weirdo guitar is from 1997.
 

paruwi

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But this weirdo guitar is from 1997.

They didn't use real flamed maple caps in 1997 - they never did

even the few real maple caps are covered with veneer

never heard of any 'one piece' or massive maple body on an Epiphone LP

if it were a maple body it wouldn't be on the 'lighter side' I guess

btw I've never seen this kind of 'long tenon' on an Epi

a pic like the one below would show us more.....
pickup-cavity.jpg
 
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Norton

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Yeah the neck joint is an odd one. The straight on pic I have didn't show the squared off block as clearly.

"Real maple caps?" I don't understand.

The body sure looks like maple and Is definitely 1 piece. Not that it matters. It's just uncommon. You'd think it would be a hefty one but it's not. I'm guessing straight up 8 lbs.

There's also clearly a cap of some kind on top of the body that you can see in the cutaway under the binding.

Super strange.

Any idea What pickups were they putting in these guitars in the late 90's?
 

Norton

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Yes the bridge is on with the saddle screws facing the tailpiece.

End grain sure looks like one piece of wood. Doesn't look like a veneer.
 
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kiko

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Post pics of the front and back of the headstock if you dont mind. This is intriging.
 

paruwi

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"Real maple caps?" I don't understand.

In the marketing language of Epiphone it translates like:

Flamed maple top = veneer over another non specified wood
curved maple top or hard maple top = real maple cap, covered with veneer for the flame look

as said before....

words of a one-piece Epi tells nothing
a picture of the pickup cavity clears most of the ongoing myths.....
 

PierM

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Where do you exactly see a maple body and a maple neck? :)

Do you believe that if it's a real maple top they were spraying the control cavity with black? Eh eh...jokes apart. If this is a maple cap (but it is not), if you sand that black paint from the control cavity, you should see the same flames you have on the top side. In a real maple cap guitar, the control cavity floor is the bottom of the cap.

GibsonLesPaul69Standard82LABEL_zps7bcc977c.jpg


Same goes for the body. I see no maple into those pup cavities.
 

Norton

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I posted pics of the body. It's clearly one piece of wood and if you Zoom in you can see a grain pattern that Sure looks like maple. The grain clearly carries uninterrupted through the end grain and to the vertical edges of the body.

The strangeness of the guitar is one reason I had to pick it up. I mean aside from it being so crazy cheap.

I did a little pickup cavity scrape and it's definitely a veneer'd top. The cap over the body is much softer than the veneer, which is kind of funny. Maybe basswood?

The pickups are a bit strange too. 8.1k and 8.3k With the neck being slightly hotter. I was expecting something closer to the "hotch" hot pickups.

I'll grab some more pics and post them this am.

Any idea When Gibson started to bring their mik runs into spec?
 

61LPSG

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My '97 Epi LP has a 2 piece back... (2 pieces of veneer) :facepalm:. You have to really look closely at the grain to see it. Sneaky Koreans. The body is 4 or 5 pieces, like a butcher block with veneer on top. I can almost guarantee that yours is NOT maple. My neck also "looks like" maple but is the ubiquitous Asian mystery wood.
I got it cheap and it plays like butter . No one else ever looks inside it so I really don't care. Plays better than one of my Gibby's.
 

Norton

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Got it. I'm not around the guitar now. But I'll try to grab a pic like that one It's pretty well painted up but I'll scrape some of that away in the neck pickup cavity.

Guitarcheology!

the end grain sure seems to carry through to the back of the body at every spot. I'm pretty sure it's one chunk of wood. The grain is pretty characteristic of maple too. The top cap? No clue. But I'm guessing basswood. Because it's soft. Flame Veneer ? Yes it is.

61lpsg. Is yours a saein build? The I Is a saein factory code isn't it?
 

Norton

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View media item 101193View media item 101192View media item 101191

Got back to the guitar. Scraped a little paint away from the neck pickup cavity. Definitely a different looking routing channel. Neck looks to be glued in with a clear almost epoxy looking glue. Any ideas on that?

Defitely a veneer flame set on a softer cap which is then set on the body which still looks like maple. At least to me.
 

MikeySixStrings

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I've got a '98 Saein and it has the same neck tenon as yours. As for wood types, I'm not sure. It's a Custom so it's painted and I always assumed it was mahogany.

I have an older (~1990) Samick Epi Les Paul and it definitely does not have a mahogany body. I believe it's either alder or basswood. It's very light in weight and color. My buddy had an early 90's Birdeye Maple top Samick Epi LP and it also had the same light weight and color body wood. But my '92 Samick Epi LP has a mahogany body, so who knows???

Pickups are shit. Change them unless you only plan to play at low bedroom volumes. At any sort of band practice or stage volumes they squeal and feedback something fierce. I don't think they started using the better pickups until the early 2000's, shortly before switching production to China.
 

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