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Discussion Starter #1
Eastwood guitars has become known as a company that takes vintage designs, and rereleases them, with a few modern improvements. They will even do custom reissues, if enough folks plunk down a deposit.

So, with things like the Joe Bonamassa Firebird, and now this Lee Malia RD Custom ( Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Lee Malia RD Custom Artisan Outfit ), it<s starting to look like Gibson is using the Epiphone label to reissue some models that they don't expect to have high demand for. If they turn out an Epiphone LP Recording, I am so there! Who knows, maybe they'll release an Epiphone Marauder, or S-1, or - saints preserve us - a Sonax.
 

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That's actually a good move on Gibson's part. They can add a little prestige to the Epi brand by making them the exclusive producer of unique and desirable models. Kind of like Fender did with their MIM line
 

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If an epiphone RD bass surfaces, I am so in. Their more recent models have been a lot more interesting to me than what Gibson has offered in a while.
 

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I like that RD bass, but it's too much in the vein of the Lrist Novoselic bass Gibson released a few years back. I want an RD artist with the correct pickups. I'm sure the price on the Eastwood is more than reasonable though.
 

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If the Bonamassa Firebird is any indication of where they're headed, I can't wait to get my hands on the announced Thunderbird Vintage Reissue.
 

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Eastwood guitars has become known as a company that takes vintage designs, and rereleases them, with a few modern improvements. They will even do custom reissues, if enough folks plunk down a deposit.

So, with things like the Joe Bonamassa Firebird, and now this Lee Malia RD Custom ( Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Lee Malia RD Custom Artisan Outfit ), it<s starting to look like Gibson is using the Epiphone label to reissue some models that they don't expect to have high demand for. If they turn out an Epiphone LP Recording, I am so there! Who knows, maybe they'll release an Epiphone Marauder, or S-1, or - saints preserve us - a Sonax.
A Marauder (or S1) would be cool and would fit the biz model well as regards candidates. A Sonex likewise (they were great guitars; I love my Custom; my favorite standard size exposed coil humbuckers of all time which are not the same as the Standard model; yeah it's heavy - so is a real Les Paul). An LP Recording (as much as I wish otherwise) is a nonstarting proposition (and which Gibson already reissued a year or 2 ago, and it sucked for too much money, and there wasn't a big enough market for them in the first place; the bass version was always much more popular). The reason for that, and why I would be very hesitant to jump on the bandwagon of any other such "reissue," is the pickups. They just won't be the same, and that was the coolest thing about these models; none of them had standard type Gibby pups; they were all experiments. Short lived and unappreciated in their time unfortunately.

Take the LP Rec reissue as an example. The original had LoZ pickups designed by Les himself (which he used live until his death) and a very complex and wonderful circuit made possible by them (both treble and bass tone controls, the Decade control which was an updated varitone, a transformer to bring the whole thing up to HiZ for use with regular guitar amps if you're anal like that or want hi gain preamp overdrive - the bass version had , in addition to all this, minus the Decade, bigger versions of the guitar pickup that were tapped like an output transformer for underwound, regular and overwound sounds controlled by a switch). The versatility was unrivaled on any guitar of the time (and a top 5 competitor since at the very least).

What about the reissue? Standard Gibson buckers but made to fit in covers that looked like the original pups. HiZ standard circuit and they stuck a Jensen transformer in there (very heavy - bigger than the original, though, to be fair; much better) to make it have a DI output.... basically a regular LP with vintage style cosmetics and a built in DI (see the recent LP Burstdriver; same lame ass thing). And then they had the audacity to say 'true to Les' vision' in the marketing hype. Rolling in his grave.... oh and they priced it at 2x what a real vintage one cost.

Same thing when they reissued the G3 bass (except that was actually priced somewhat reasonably IIRC)- they actually went to the trouble of designing a new pickup instead of reissuing the original blade style Bill Lawrence ones (which were amazingly good; also used in the S1 guitar - coulda been 2 birds 1 stone there). The new pickup was decent, but the original was really cool and unique. The pickups, unlike the LP Rec, would have been no more complicated or expensive to manufacture, and you'd save on design costs. ... so I do get why they didn't reissue the LP Rec pups; if it was too hard they should have just avoided the whole project (do it right or go home).

The only guitar mentioned that could be reissued and not be disappointing to anyone who loves the original is the Sonex - you could put some modern dirty fingers in there and it kinda would be close enough. Especially if you go for Sonex Standard vs Custom (or Artist, which was a whole other ball of wax entirely).

Additionally, Gibson would never allow Epi to reissue such a top of the line, flagship model like the LP Rec.

Oh but the JB FB and this RD you say? Well, the FB is only a 1; do you think they'd do a VII? Hell no (they saved that for a Gibson reissue: Gibson Custom - 20th Anniversary 1965 Firebird VII Reissue ). As for the RD, that isn't actually a reissue. It is the RD shape, but not an actual reissue of an existing model. The 1977 RD Custom did not have binding (that was the later-era RD Artist CMT version in the last few years - curly maple top), and the pickups and circuit are different (in this case, interesting and maybe better). That's why both the JB FB and this RD was/will likely be successful; they aren't reissues of high end guitars that had to be faithful (though the FB is pretty faithful, I doubt he pickup is all that great or better than modern Gibby/EPi FB pups, not sure if any/much difference; it just worked out that they still make those).

If they, either Gibson or Epi, are going to keep reissuing classic models (vs vintage inspired Sig models - I have no issues with the FB or RD - they're not calling them 'reissues' like the LP Rec), they really need to start being more accurate as to the electronics, because it is the pickups, more so than any other component in an electric guitar (including wood) that make the largest contribution to the sound of the instrument.

Heck, if they did reissue some of these with vintage-accurate pickups, they could do a good business selling the pups alone (e.g. LP Rec bass pups are always in demand; glad I got my spares years ago cuz I can';t afford them now). The G3/S1 pups are also well regarded and not cheap on ebay (though still within reach). It would be feasible considerring what they could charge for them (if they did it right).

Sorry about the TLDR, but I have thought about this a lot, and love these vintage models which are now unobtainable to me. Glad I was able to grab what I got when I did.
 

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If an epiphone RD bass surfaces, I am so in. Their more recent models have been a lot more interesting to me than what Gibson has offered in a while.
Recent reissue/sig or high end Epis cost $999

Actual vintage RD: $1500

Don't wait for a reissue in shape only (that isn't all that likely to appear), get a real one with the Moog circuit (I have one, and they are great).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Don't know what TLDR is, but I do appreciate the thought you have obviously put into this.

Looking at the Eastwood site, I hadn't realized just how many custom reissues they've made. The advantage they have over Epiphone is that Eastwood has no "brand", as such, and is pretty much at liberty to market reissues of whatever oddball make and model they want, with the exception of big-brand models from makers still in production. By contrast, Gibson would be limited to Epi reissues of only things Gibson (or Epiphone) has made in past, which is a much narrower body of work.
 

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TLDR (Too Long; Didn't Read).

If the Bonamassa Firebird is any indication of where they're headed, I can't wait to get my hands on the announced Thunderbird Vintage Reissue.
Yes, that is looking good. The Thunderbird (even more so than the Firebird) is a weird anomaly with Gibson/Epi in that they have always done them well (if not always completely historically accurate... and Epi had some lower end models that used the look only - some bolt ons and the P/J rev model from the late 80s/90s).
 

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Is Epiphone turning into GIbson's Eastwood?

No, Gibson is just marketing both brands are hard as they can to retain as much market share as possible amidst a global influx of competition.
 
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