Once in a while, I’ll get on a kick where I just want to find a Tele-style guitar that’s different from the ones I own.
Once in a while, I’ll get on
a kick where I just want
to find a Tele-style guitar that’s
different from the ones I own.
I found this guitar some time
ago during one of my daily eBay
searches. It’s a 1996 Korean-built
Epiphone solidbody that definitely
strayed into Fender territory.
I liked the blonde color and
maple fretboard—an unusual
twist for Epiphone. This particular
guitar also came with GFS
pickups, which I had heard
great things about. The auction
also included the original Epi
pickups, as well as a hardshell
case. I figured this would be
a great time to audition some
GFS pickups and get an unusual
T-style at the same time. So
I lay waiting in the bushes for
the auction’s final seconds and
pulled the trigger, snatching
victory from all other bidders.
Actually, it turns out I was the
only bidder, and I snagged the
guitar for $175, plus $40 shipping.
When I paid the seller
with PayPal, I reminded him to
also include the original pickups,
which was fortuitous.
When the guitar arrived, it
looked really cool but had very
heavy strings on it. I immediately
changed them, but as I
did, part of the nut broke off
under the low E. Bummer! It
was a clean break though, and
luckily I was able to Super
Glue it back on. I used a clamp
and let it sit overnight. In the
meantime, I emailed the seller,
explained the nut problem, and
asked for a $25 partial refund
to replace the nut. However, it
turned out the seller was having
hard times and sounded destitute,
so I dropped the issue.
The next day, when I removed
the clamp and finished restringing
the guitar, I was treated to a
really sweet-playing instrument.
However, when I plugged it in
I was a bit underwhelmed with
the sound. The tone was good,
but it didn’t have quite enough
balls. I decided to revert to the
original Epiphone pickups, and
when I reinstalled them, I liked
the sound much better. The Epi
pickups were hotter and they gave
the guitar a nice, spanky tone.
Bottom Feeder tip #2872:
When buying a modified guitar,
always ask for the original parts
if they’re available.
I ended up selling the
GFS pickups for $40 and the
hardshell case for $50 (I’m a
gig-bag guy), bringing the total
cost of the guitar with shipping
down from $215 to $125.
All right, that’s more in my
Bottom Feeder Tip #678:
Don’t be afraid to sell off extra
parts you don’t need. They can
pay the way for more cheap
guitars down the road.
So is it a keeper? Sure—for
now anyway. It’s an unusual
Epiphone, it plays great, sounds
pretty good, and has a cool vibe.
Plus this purchase allowed me to
check out some new pickups I had
heard about. Yeah, I’m happy.
is a founding
member of the
trio. He also does guitar
clinics promoting his
namesake G&L signature
model 6-string, and produces
artists and bands at his studio in
Asheville, North Carolina. You can contact
Will on Facebook and at willray.biz.