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Custom finishes on Epiphone Kalamazoo? [ Rivoli / EB2 ]

Custom finishes on Epiphone Kalamazoo? [ Rivoli / EB2 ]
« on: February 09, 2010, 08:49:55 PM »
Did Gibson do custom finishes for the Epiphone stuff back in the 60s?
For example the Rivoli was only sold as sunburst, natural, and red I think, yet sometimes people offer them in black or white and say they were made to customers specifications at the Kalamazoo factory.
 
The way I understand it, the Epiphone brand existed to avoid the dealer licences and to be able to sell single instruments at a slightly higher price than the Gibson stuff (I think the Epiphone Rivoli cost $30 or so more than the Gibson EB-2) instead of a whole batch of Gibson instruments.
 
So if anyone ordered a custom instrument from the Kalamazoo factory (if that was even possible in those days), wouldn't it be more logical that it would be branded Gibson instead of Epiphone?
 
 
I'm asking because I bought an Epiphone Rivoli from '63 in black, and I must say it really looks original, or it was a really really carefully done refinish, because binding is totally unaffected.
 
 
 
cheers,
C.

gronk

Custom finishes on Epiphone Kalamazoo? [ Rivoli / EB2 ]
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 12:54:01 AM »
That the '63 with 2 pickup routs? Ah so it was you who outbid me damnit! Was bidding mid song during a gig...not the easiest haha! Congratz on the win!

Can't answer your question but interested to see more pix and what you're gonna do to it. And if you ever wanna sell... ;)
I could fall asleep at night as a rock n roll star...

Custom finishes on Epiphone Kalamazoo? [ Rivoli / EB2 ]
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2010, 01:37:40 AM »
Yep that one.
If it has mojo I will keep it, and probably put 2 Hammon Dark Stars in it, and change the wiring completely
If I turn out not liking it too much, I will try restore it, and sell it :)

But I really hope this will turn into my new main axe, because I think black is the coolest color for that 335 body shape.

cheers,
C.

Custom finishes on Epiphone Kalamazoo? [ Rivoli / EB2 ]
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2010, 10:26:36 AM »
I just found out that the Gibson EB-2 was discontinued from 61-64.
So all the semi-hollow basses from 63 that left the Kalamazoo factory were Rivolis

jules

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Black Rivoli
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2010, 02:55:48 PM »
Gibson did indeed do custom colours, on a special-order basis. I have seen images of a special-order white EB2, EB3 etc. These were not listed as such on the released shipping figures, so nobody knows exactly how many there were. Although they are certainly not common. It is often the case that sellers will imply a custom colour (which increases value) rather than admit a refin (which reduces value)
 
Quote
The way I understand it, the Epiphone brand existed to avoid the dealer licences and to be able to sell single instruments at a slightly higher price than the Gibson stuff (I think the Epiphone Rivoli cost $30 or so more than the Gibson EB-2)

 
yes, there were limits to how many Gibson stockists they would have in an area, they could increase this by having Epiphone stockists too. Prices were sometimes a little higher, sometimes lower, sometimes the same as equivalent Gibson models, but differences were typically small.
 
Quote
So if anyone ordered a custom instrument from the Kalamazoo factory (if that was even possible in those days), wouldn't it be more logical that it would be branded Gibson instead of Epiphone?

 
I think you could get either. Some players who had an affinity for Epiphone jazz guitars, for example may have preferred an Epi. But, I can not recall any custom coloured Epiphone off hand.

We are talking about this one?
Epiphone Rivoli
 
As it happens, that was 5 minutes from my house, so I went to have a look.
 
Unfortunately, I can tell you this is neither a custom colour (look how much paint spray got on the label) nor an original two-pickup. It would originally have been a regular one-pickup Sunburst Epiphone Rivoli.
 
I noted that two pots are dated 1960, two are new. The tone-choke button was replaced for a three-way switch. So it is one hole short on the front if you want to put the tone-choke button back in. The choke itself is still there under the bridge though.
 
It does look good in black, and the refin has been well done. With two pickups would make a great player, too. I quite fancied this myself: it will certainly look good on stage, and I hope you can find all the parts to resurrect this bass. It's certainly worth doing, and playing out.

Custom finishes on Epiphone Kalamazoo? [ Rivoli / EB2 ]
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2010, 03:12:01 PM »
Thanks for all the info, Jules!
Sounds stupid, but I'm kind of glad that now I know neither the color nor the pickup routing is original.

This way I finally have a well aged beautiful instrument. No museum piece, but one that I can modify without remorse and turn into a great player with lots of mojo! And for a great price too.

These old Gibson shortscale basses appeal to me construction-wise, but I think the wiring is seriously flawed.
I will not go as far as putting even more pick up routs in it, but I kind of like what Mike Watt is doing :-D

cheers,
C.

Custom finishes on Epiphone Kalamazoo? [ Rivoli / EB2 ]
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2010, 11:42:15 PM »
Is anyone still interested in this bass? It's a lovely instrument, but I can't find the time to fix this up. Put some new Thomastik Jazz Flats on it and sounds beautiful even dry.

Custom finishes on Epiphone Kalamazoo? [ Rivoli / EB2 ]
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2010, 06:18:42 PM »
I'd also consider a swap with a 60s Mustang in ready to play condition. I don't mind slight modifications, as longs as it's not a really ugly refinish.

gronk

Custom finishes on Epiphone Kalamazoo? [ Rivoli / EB2 ]
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2010, 10:44:39 AM »
Hullo just thought I'd check to show whats become of this bass...Had some pickups fitted to keep that Gibson look...sounds amazing with infinite sustain! 60s mudbucker in the neck, repro in the bridge, on the lookout for a vintage replacement. Then wired up les paul stylee for simplicity. Just need a case is anyone has found any info!!!
I could fall asleep at night as a rock n roll star...

 

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