6/20/2013

c.1965 Epiphone FT-30 Caballero Guitar


This guitar was traded-in to me and I was happy for that as a friend in town has been requesting a smaller-bodied 60s Gibson product like this for a couple years now. This "Epiphone" model is actually the same as a Gibson LG-0 from the same time but with a different headstock shape and pickguard. I'm also guessing that the finish is a little darker, too, since most LG-0s I've had a chance to work on or play have had a medium-light natural mahogany finish vs. the darker coat on this guy.

The serial number marks this as a '65.


Just like an LG-0, the construction is all-solid mahogany with a rosewood fretboard, short 24 3/4" scale, and ladder bracing. This makes for a balanced, mellow sort of tone that has that sort of "Americana thunk" sound in the lower register like even the x-braced B-25s and J-45stend to have. The ladder bracing gives it a distinctly 1930s-guitar voice, though, which I like a lot.


This headstock is long! The tuners are unoriginal but I will applaud the fella who replaced them in the use of oval rather than those terrible trapezoidal-y buttons.


A bit of cleaning, a fret level/dress, and small amount of setup were all this guitar needed. It played nicely out of the box, but plays perfect now. The new owner is really happy with the feel as she needs a pretty slinky touch to her guitars.


Someone replaced the (original) plastic bridge (yuck?) with this Martin-style ebony one. A matching "belly up" bridge would have been ideal but this works just fine (note the outline of the old bridge's "foot"). The off-color "dot" in front of the bridge was where Gibson had a bolt in the original bridge. This came with a bridge pin shoved in it -- I took that out and back-filled and patched it from behind.



Plenty of use-wear throughout, but still kickin!







Unlike the later Epis, these were made right alongside Gibson products in the Kalamazoo factory.

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