A reader’s curious preschooler finds an old guitar in a spare room. The reader smartly inquiries about its value before handing it over to a 4-year-old.
I acquired this Epiphone from a friend in the mid 2000s (serial number S93050042), when I thought I was going to become a rock star, but it has sat in my spare bedroom for well over a decade now, mostly collecting dust. My 4-year-old son is showing some interest in it and I’m wondering if I could let him mess around on it or if it is worth enough to keep it from getting beat up too bad. What is this worth today and do you think it is a good beginner guitar for my son?
Jerry in Battle Lake, MN
There is that old proverb “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but don’t let that stop you from finding your inner rock star again and learning to play yourself! Your Epiphone is a PR7E and comes from their long-running Presentation series of acoustic instruments—first introduced in the late 1970s. Let’s talk some Epiphone history.
In 1957, Chicago Musical Instrument Co. (CMI), who, at the time, owned Gibson, bought Epiphone and merged operations with Gibson at their Kalamazoo factory. Both Gibson and Epiphone produced U.S.-built instruments throughout the rest of the 1950s and 1960s—some very similar and some unique to each brand.
As instrument manufacturers overseas became more prevalent, Gibson and Epiphone’s then-new owner ECL (later renamed Norlin) decided to outsource production of Epiphone instruments to Japan in the 1970s. This drew a distinct line in the sand for the two brands, between beginner/intermediate (Epiphone) and advanced/professional (Gibson).
Norlin then began moving production from Japan to Korea in the late 1970s, and by the mid-1980s, all Epiphones were built in Korea. (Today, instruments from Japan and Korea are generally regarded as some of the higher-quality imports, but that wasn’t necessarily the case back in the 1970s.) Beginning in 1997, Epiphone moved all its production to China and Indonesia. While some special Epiphone runs have been produced in the U.S., most of their instruments are still either budget variations of their Gibson cousins or beginner/intermediate guitars that Gibson doesn’t produce.
Epiphone’s line of guitars varied greatly through the ’70s, but the Presentation series of acoustics quickly became established in their catalog. Early PR models (PR 725, PR 735, PR 745, etc.) featured traditional-dreadnought body shapes with varying levels of wood and trim.
After the acoustic-electric trend gained momentum in the ’80s, thinner-bodied acoustics designed to be amplified flourished.
As acoustic-electric guitars became more popular in the 1980s, several manufacturers, such as Washburn and Epiphone, began producing thinner acoustics that were specifically designed to be amplified. The PR7E (along with its cousin, the PR-5E) falls into this camp. It’s a thin-body acoustic with onboard electronics and a sharp Venetian cutaway for upper-fretboard access. Introduced in the early 1990s, it featured a bird’s-eye-maple body, a mahogany neck, a 20-fret rosewood fretboard with diamond-shaped inlays, a rosewood bridge, gold hardware, a piezo bridge pickup, and an onboard 3-band EQ with mid sweep. It was available in natural, transparent black, orange sunburst, or heritage cherry sunburst, which is what your guitar is finished in. The PR-5E was very similar, but it had a mahogany back and sides, and a less elaborate, figured-maple top. The PR7E was produced through 2002 and the PR-5E is still offered today with a street price of $350.
There are quite a few of these guitars floating around in the used marketplace today, and a PR7E in excellent condition is worth between $275 and $325. The serial number tells us your guitar was built in 1993, which tells us it was built in Korea and helps with the value.
You can certainly buy a beginner guitar for much less than that today, but the important thing to consider is that this guitar has a full 25 1/2" scale, so your son likely wouldn’t be able to wrap his arms around it. For now, I’d suggest you find him a 3/4- or even a 1/2-sized guitar to play around with, and when it’s time for him to graduate to a bigger/better model, your PR7E will fit the bill perfectly. This isn’t a treasure in terms of monetary value, but it’s a well-built beginner guitar and we all have to start somewhere. Who knows? Maybe you could give it another shot and learn to play while your son does!
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Flare is a dual-function pedal with a tube-like booster and a 1970s-style ring modulator effect that can be played separately or together.
Flare’s ring modulator is based on the iconic tone of the original Dan Armstrong Green Ringer. This vintage classic was made famous by Frank Zappa who loved the unusual modulations created by generating a harmonic octave over notes. Messiah’s version offers two control knobs: a “Sparkle” tone attenuator and output Level control. Its taupe-gold body, purple and green knobs and stick-figure rock ’n’ roller holding up a flame convey an appropriately rockin’70s vibe.
In a unique twist, Messiah’s Flare pairs the ringer with a warm tube-style boost instead of a fuzz. Flare feeds the booster into the ringer for an extra punch, while preserving the Green Ringerspirit. The ringer side also turns any fuzz into an octafuzz, and it has the ability to quiet signal background noise fed through it.
The booster side features a single Boost knob to control the MOSFET circuit, making it very tube-amp-friendly with a warm, organic boost and gain of up to 32dB.
The pedal is a distinct improvement over the 1970s pedal that inspired it. “Most ringer pedals don’t track well,” Tom Hejda, owner of Messiah Guitars. “The player can’t rely on repeating the same effect even with the most consistently played notes. We carefully matched the components, so our ringer follows your every move, producing that slightly dirty octave you expect on demand.”
Messiah developed this vintage octave pedal with flexible features so that people who love that messy, dirty Zappa-esque sound can get there with ease but there’s also something for those who have not fallen in love with fuzz or the Green Ringer alone. Flare offers an array of sonic options while retaining simplicity in the controls.
Each Flair Pedal Includes:
- 3 control knobs: Boost, Sparkle, and Level
- Two effects – Ring Modulator and Boost – can be used together or separately
- Space-saving top side jacks
- Durable, cast aluminum alloy 125B enclosure with fun artwork
- Easy to see, illuminated True-bypass foot switch
- Standard 9V pedal power input
Flare Pedal Demo
Messiah Guitars pedals are designed with an explorative player in mind. Like their custom guitars and amplifiers, Messiah’s pedals are hand-crafted in Los Angeles for a long life with guaranteed quality.
Flare retails for $199.00 and can be purchased directly at Messiah Guitars or you can hear it in person at Impulse Music Co. in Canyon Country, CA.
For more information, please visit messiahguitars.com.
This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal.
If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and QUACKS like a duck, then it must be a duck. That's how we came up with the name for our new envelope filter. This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal. Trevor explains how this is possible in the launch video, as well as gives a demo on Le Canard’s operation.
The attack control determines how quickly the filter responds to the envelope, and the decay sets how quickly the filter releases afterward. The range controls which frequency spectrum the filter does its magic on. Add to this relay-based full-bypass switching with failsafe, and you've got one crazy little quacky beast. It is so expressive that you'll want to give up on your rocker-wah forever.
The MayFly Le Canard envelope filter features:
- Super fast responding envelope follower. Touch it and it jumps!
- Range control to dial in the character of the filter
- Attack control to control how fast the filter moves on that first touch
- Release control to control how slowly the filter slides back to baseline
- Full bypass using relays with Fail SafeTM (automatically switches to bypass if the pedal loses power)
- Cast aluminum enclosure with groovy artwork
- MSRP $149 USD ($199 CAD)
Introducing the MayFly Le Canard Envelope Filter
All MayFly pedals are hand-made in Canada.
For more information, please visit mayflyaudio.com.
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more.
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.