3/01/2017

1972 Epiphone FT-145 Dreadnought Guitar





A friend of mine has been hot on old Gibson-made Epiphone Texans but, for kicks, he bought himself this Japan-import Epiphone instead. 1972 was the first year of production for the FT-145 and it's, more or less, a typical import dreadnought from the time -- entirely ply in the body, sporting a bolt-on neck, and fitted with an adjustable saddle and zero fret. These are actually advantages, in some ways, if they're done correctly -- and fortunately for these early import Epis, the construction was sound.

Before my buddy bought it, this was a one-owner guitar and it came in clean. He wanted a pickup installed so it got a K&K Pure Mini and then I leveled/dressed the frets, compensated the saddle, did a few adjustments, and set it up. He was also chasing after a more fundamental, woody tone (these tend to sound a lot like D-18s), so I pulled the Elixirs that were on it off, stashed them in the case, and used a slightly-used set of D'Addario Nickel Bronze strings (basically they sound like Monels) and that tamed the beast down to a more chunky, Gibson-like sound.


The whole body is ply -- with a ply spruce top and ply mahogany back and sides. The neck is solid mahogany (pieced-together) and the board and bridge are rosewood. Interestingly, the guitar shares  the Gibson 24 3/4" scale length with its stateside brethren.


Unlike slightly-later import Epiphones, the truss rod was installed correctly on this one, with the adjuster terminating beyond the nut and the block plate for the rod just aft of the nut. Sometimes you see these buried 1" into the neck which means there's always an up-bow ("relief") at the first fret.





Like many older guitars, the saddle was compensated at a more-or-less correct angle but the top of the saddle itself was not compensated or adjusted for radius quite correctly. With these details ironed-out, it's a lot more fun to play up the neck. I also set its height so there would be an easy range of up/down travel for minor action adjustments on the fly.










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