(February 1, 2008) - In 2005, Epiphone introduced the first-ever Les Paul with a chambered body, calling it the Les Paul Ultra. To begin 2008, Epiphone is expanding on the model with the Les Paul Ultra II. Keeping the chambered body, Epiphone takes the innovation a step further by adding a Nanomag acoustic pickup, embedded in the fingerboard, for a range of sounds never before possible through a Les Paul.
The NanoMag pickup sits just above the Alnico Classic humbucker embedded below the 22nd fret in the fingerboard. Click for larger picture.
The NanoMag pickup works together or seperately from the Alnico Classic humbuckers at the bridge and neck. The acoustic pickup combines three Samarium-Cobalt magnets with on-board, active electronics. The positioning at the 22nd fret makes for a harmonic-rich "sweet spot," complimenting fingerpicking like no other pickup on an electric guitar. The pickup has separate controls for volume on the front of the guitar and treble, bass and gain on the back of the guitar.
The Ultra II has two outputs so you can obtain true stereo sound when combining the humbuckers and the NanoMag or separating them for mixing the signal later. With the separate outputs, the humbuckers' signal can be routed to your favorite electric guitar amp, while the NanoMag signal is routed to your favorite acoustic guitar amp. Of course, one input is set to mono if you prefer one cord for all signals. Either way, the volume controls on the top of the guitar allow you to mix the signals from the pickups for an array of tones. Wondering how it sounds? Epiphone put their money where there mouth is with this video
demonstrating the tonal capabilities of the guitar and its unique pickup system.
- Body: Chambered mahogany body
- Top: Quilted maple top
- Neck: Mahogany, slim taper, satin finish, glued, set
- Fingerboard: Rosewood 12" radius, 22 Medium Jumbo frets
- Scale: 24.75"
- Nut Width: 1.65"
- Neck Pickup: Alnico Classic, NanoMag
- Bridge Pickup: Anico Classic Plus
- Bridge: Locktone Tune-o-matic
- Tailpiece: LockTone Stopbar
- Controls: Neck Volume, Bridge Volume, NanoMag Volume, Master Tone, 3-Way Toggle, NanoMag Treble, NanoMag Bass, NanoMag Gain
- Output Jack: 1/4" Mono, 1/4" Stereo
- Power: 9V Battery
- Tuners: Grover Die-Cast
- Hardware: Gold
- Binding: Body and neck
- Finishes: Midnight Ebony or Faded Cherry Burst
- MSRP: $1165
The guitar already has one famous fan in Nancy Wilson of Heart. On Epiphone's website she says, "I am extremely happy about the new Ultra II. I've never liked a lot of complex sound choices, especially on stage, but this guitar is just versatile without being confusing. There are five or six sounds I can switch between in the course of one song and it really bridges the gap between acoustic and electric. That is especially great for me as I usually have to choose between one or the other on a song by song basis. This guitar is awesome!"
Epiphone is giving away a Midnight Ebony Les Paul Ultra II signed by Nancy Wilson in conjunction with the release of the guitar, packaged with a ton of other gear including an Epiphone amp, Eminence Speakers, Gibson humbuckers plus other goodies.
The guitar was on display for dealers at NAMM but is being unveiled to the public for the first time today. For more information on the guitar's unique electronics and close up pictures of all of the controls, visit the Ultra II website at epiphone.com/ultraII