NGD- Epi LP Special 1 P90, TV yellow

beerbelly

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I've been reading great reviews on these, so I pulled the trigger and it just arrived. These photos were taken right after unboxing.
First, it came triple boxed, so no shipping issues. Second, I'm blown away by the quality in this price range. This is a multipiece solid mahogany body (see control cavity), unlike many Epis with veneer tops & backs over something in between. I see no scarf joint on the neck; it looks to be 1 piece mahogany. The fretboard is dark, with little grain showing; it may be dyed. Jumbo frets, with only a few sharp edges. The controls are full size, with Alpha pots, a full size Switchcraft-style switch and clean, shiny solder joints. The finish is see-through matte, very thin. If you ever owned an AXL Bulldog, this is the same type finish. It looks great.
It definitely needs a set up, which I expected; the action is sky high, and the pickups & bridge need to be lowered. I've already ordered some 3-on-a-plate tuners with white buttons based on the poor reviews of the stock ones, and will put on some D'Addario 10's. That's all I plan to do.
I've owned many Gibsons- LPs, LP Juniors, SGs and SG Juniors. I only have one left, a very special 1964 SG Junior that I'll never sell. I wanted something inexpensive that I could mess around with, but this guitar far exceeds my expectations so far, and I can't wait to set it up & play it.

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DrBGood

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These are great little guitars, I have two of them. I predict that 40 years from now, they'll end up as desirable as the 50's Jrs are today. I got my TV Yellow 2012 five years ago and still play it almost every day to this day. I got a second one for the summer cottage, it's the only guitar I play there for 3 months and it's fills my needs.

As for the P90 Special 1 construction.

- it does have veneer on both sides and the contour is painted opaque. That's why you can't see any joint, bet they're there. Look at this one I stripped. You can see one joint in the cutaway, there are two more, so four pieces body.

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- neck does have a scarf joint but it's well hidden.

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- switch is a common Epiphone. Be sure to spray it like once a year with Deoxit or something similar (cleaning-lubricating spray can), Same with pots, and everything will work flawlessly for years.

If you change the strings to 10's (I think it comes with 9's), you might have to widen the nut slots so they don't catch in there and make you think it doesn't keep tune.

Also, try to keep the lighning bolt bridge, I believe it's part of the tone of that guitar. Ask me how I know ...
It takes time to adjust it properly, but with patience you can get pretty close to perfection.

Here's my TV Yellow with adjustable saddles bridge. Didn't take long to go back to a lighning bolt.

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beerbelly

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Hey DrBGood, nice to hear from you; we crossed paths on my '64 SG Junior refinish. I'm wanting to believe Epiphone when they say the body is solid mahogany (multipiece for sure, but maybe no veneer??), and there seems to be some clues. The control cavity definitely shows mahogany, and a few of these photos indicate no veneer:

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If the neck is scarfed, they did a great job disguising it, and it's likely a stronger neck for it. I've got a few more mods in mind already- a TUSQ nut, a metal jack plate and maybe an LP-style pickguard. And I'm with you on keeping the lightning bolt bridge; I like 'em on these simple guitars.

At any rate, I'm very impressed with this one, and it'll be a fun one to play with.
 

DrBGood

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The body is all mahogany, but it does have veneer. Really thin veneer that feathers at the edge.

You have proof right here with grain that changes direction, that yours is a multi pieces too. You would see those seams on top or bottom if there was no veneer.

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Here's the red one I stripped.

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beerbelly

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I spent some time today doing some set up and correcting an issue with the pickup height. I wondered why the bridge & pickups sat so high, and found out the pickup covers had a very slight flare on the bottom edge, so they wouldn't sit down in the cavity; they were catching on the edge. Still passed "Gabor's" QC! I filed the flare off the edges so they dropped down in the cavities, and then the bridge could be lowered. In fact, it's decked, giving me nice low action. I removed the neck, leveled & polished the frets and cleaned & oiled the board. I also tightened the truss rod to take out some bow, and now it's a completely different guitar. And it intonates almost perfectly, just a hair flat on the A string. The G tuner is shot- won't hold tune for more than a few minutes. But I expected this kind of stuff from the reviews, and I can fix it myself. It's gonna be a great guitar when it's all sorted.

But jeez, those strings are horrible, stiff like baling wire. So I picked up some D'Addario 10's, and will put them on when my new tuners and TUSQ nut get here.
 

none2low

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Fun little guitars!! Picked one up on a whim. Mine played really well once set-up properly. Sold mine as I played other guitars more, but what's not to like...

Lightweight, P90's, wraptail and a comfortable 50's C shape neck. :applause:
 

beerbelly

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Those Chinese are doing a pretty good job of matching up veneer to the grain of the wood; they fooled me, and I build guitars, but I guess that's the point. I would swear this is a 3-piece solid mahogany body.

I'm thinking of making an LP-style pickguard, and I need some opinions.
A. No
B. Tortoise
C. 5-ply black

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wildhawk1

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I've played a lot of gigs with a lot of guitars over the years and a TV yellow Special 1 and sunburst Special 2 are among them.

Tuners had to go on the Special 1. Once that was done it was good to go.

They're a reminder how once upon a time cork sniffers wouldn't be caught with the now sought after and highly praised beginner Junior guitars.

In the right hands price tags don't matter.
 

beerbelly

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Well, I had to try one; it's just stuck on with a couple pieces of double-sided Scotch tape for now before drilling holes (if any). Tomorrow I'll make a tort one, so I can switch back & forth until I decide what I like (if either).

It's not putting me off, but that's probably because it's new.

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none2low

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Since you're making the guards yourself, maybe try the tort one in a '56 LP Special style (with the wing that extends between the P90's)
 

beerbelly

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Since you're making the guards yourself, maybe try the tort one in a '56 LP Special style (with the wing that extends between the P90's)
I was never a fan of those guards; the angle looks odd to me.
 

DrBGood

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To me that guitar won't look good with any guard.

The LP Special 1 is a blingless textbook example of a minimalist exercise in P90 flavour. It's why I like to keep the lightning bolt simple no nonsense wraparound and the poker chip gone.

It's like the Telecaster of LPs :naughty:

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beerbelly

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I decided to go with the black one. The 5 ply really pops, and the guitar looks too plain now without it.

I don't gig, so I just stuck it on with double-sided Scotch tape, no drilling. Best of all worlds; I can swap or remove any time. And even a Tele has a pickguard! :p
 


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