Epiphone Emperor, Joe Pass, or Swingster,

Discussion in 'Other Cool Guitars' started by Skibbers, Sep 15, 2021.

  1. JBacklund

    JBacklund Gretschie

    I don't know about those other guitars, but I really do like this Swingster thing, though about all I do with it is play relatively soft, finger-picky stuff, and don't have a clue what it would sound like otherwise..
    IMG_20210114_143054279.jpg
     
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  2. RRGuitarCo

    RRGuitarCo Gretschie

    127
    May 23, 2021
    San Diego CA
    Well there's a lot I don't like, but here's my 3 main gripes.
    First off, the finish isn't great. The gold sparkle on the body looks super lumpy because somebody decided not to use a sanding block on the primer that day. Most wouldn't notice this, but I grew up in a body shop and used to restore vintage cars for a living. It really sticks out like a sore thumb to me.
    The other is the electronics, typical cheap epi pots and switches with super bland sounding pickups. Once again, not a terribly big deal to most but this is an expensive guitar, which you'd expect to at least have quality goods in it.
    Lastly, the fretwork wasn't great either. As soon as I got that truss rod straight it started buzzing all over the place. Over 10 frets needed proper leveling. Again, not a huge deal but this is an expensive guitar with the same quality fretwork you get from their $500 guitars.
    I mean, overall it's a good guitar. It'll at least get the job done but I just felt like I had been taken for a fool. Paying over $1K for a $500 guitar. That's my big problem with it. I left the stock Gibson pickups in it because I feel the guitar didn't warrant an upgrade. Right meow, I can go grab the bone stock G5410 rat rod in the other room and it'll BLOW THIS 295 AWAY in every aspect. I only paid $700 for my rat rod.
    If I wasn't a Scotty Moore fan and this 295 didn't look so good hanging on the wall, it would've been sold a long time ago.
     
  3. guitarfarm

    guitarfarm Country Gent


    What an absolutely gorgeous guitar.
     
  4. JLD4133

    JLD4133 Country Gent

    May 10, 2011
    Mequon, WI
    Epiphone makes or has made some very nice archtops. I have had an Epi ES-175 which was an excellent guitar. I currently have a 2003 Peerless-made Riviera, which is absolutely wonderful. At one time I got a big-bodied Epi with the floating pick-up. (Might be called the Emperor Regent? I don't think they make them anymore.) I removed the floating pickup and replaced it with 2 Duncan Antiquity P-90s. Of course this required modifying the body. To me it was the poor man's equivalent of an L-5 with P-90s. I should have kept that one.
     
  5. new6659

    new6659 Country Gent

    Here's my Emperor - seems I don't have a photo of my Zephyr Blues Deluxe

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  6. LesB3

    LesB3 Electromatic

    18
    Aug 17, 2021
    Philadelphia, PA
    I'll second the ZBD (ES-5 copy)... You can still find these for $800 - $900 used though prices have been going up... But it is a BIG guitar... and the controls can be frustrating to dial in sometimes.

    I have one of the new USA Casino's as well and it is phenomenal, though really out of your price range if we're comparing to Swingster's et al.

    I also have an older "FlameKat" which though gaudy, has the mini-HB's that I love. You can probably pick up a used WildKat / AlleyKat / whatever really cheap, though not fully hollow either AFAIK.

    Are the Gretsch 5XXX's fully hollow? I thought only the 2XXX models were...

    Honestly, I'd get a 2420 ($499) and replace the pickups / add a Bigsby (or buy the $599 model that comes with a licensed Bigsby). You could get any humbucker sized oddity you like - T'Armond's, Psyclones (Filter-tron), Phat Cat P-90, etc., pick up some gold Gretschy bits on Reverb (knobs, switch heads, etc.) and you'd have a great looking (and realtively unique) guitar for about $900 - $1,000 max. Already comes with hump inlays and nice classic colors (blond, barrel stain, etc.) I am honestly surprised what the Indonesian factory puts out sometimes, especially for the money.
     
  7. Scott Fraser

    Scott Fraser Country Gent

    Jan 14, 2012
    Los Angeles
    The 5120 & 5420 are fully hollow, with a sound post under the bridge.
     
  8. Scott Fraser

    Scott Fraser Country Gent

    Jan 14, 2012
    Los Angeles
    You essentially made a Broadway out of an Emperor Regent. I believe the Broadway is the only L-5 sized archtop remaining in the Epiphone line.
    I have all three of those models; the Emperor Regent (floating mini-humbucker), the Broadway (two humbuckers), & the Zephyr Blues Deluxe (three P90s). Lovely guitars.
     
  9. JLD4133

    JLD4133 Country Gent

    May 10, 2011
    Mequon, WI
    Yes, but unfortunately, you can't get a Broadway with P-90s!
     
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