martes, 30 de marzo de 2010

The History of the Epiphone Genesis

1979 Japan AD

The History of the Epiphone Genesis is full of mysteries and perhaps that is just one of its charms. 
Currently much discussion about where they were manufactured and wood were used, which is beyond dispute is his high quality,  and for many people it is without doubt, the best "solidbody" guitar built by Epiphone.

The Epiphone Genesis was designed in 1978 by Jim Walker, while it was the Director of Marketing for Gibson Guitar Corporation  (1977/1983).
Walker was one of the original builders of the early Hamer Guitars pioneers on  boutique guitars,  completely "handmade" they were amazing high-end instruments,  before   "Custom Shop" divitions exists.    
he was hired by Gibson to revitalize the Epiphone line.

The  prototypes was built with the help of his friend and mentor John Montgomery on the same basement workshop, where they  built those first legendary Hamerbuilt "at request" for  renowned guitarplayers from big bands like "Cheap Trick, Jethro Tull The Police or  Gary Moore. 

The idea was revalue the Epiphone brand and reposition it as  manufacturer of "high-quality" instruments.
At that time, like today,   Epiphone  belonged to Gibson  and it was his "second brand"  they built a  lower quality instruments, compared with those of the Gibson line,  and during the first half of  70s the Epiphone line had lost prestige and sales, and needed  reverse the situation. 
The Norlin/Gibson people,  wants to "boost"  the Epiphone line and they needs a new  "Flagship",

That was the mission of  Jim Walker,  and the Gibson Design Team given the necessary support   to take the project forward.  Jim  works very closely  with Bruce Bolen and shared a great friendship with him, he was the head of the Gibson R&D during the planning,  design and production  of the Genesis.

This is how the Genesis is born,  as a new "beginning" for the Epiphone brand and hence its name.

They wanted was to build a real quality guitar,  powerfull and versatile,  that will remain in history and put it back  Epiphone between the big ones.

The  prototypes  was rendered at the Gibson Kalamazoo plant, and later the "blueprints" were sent to Japan.  to  Shiro Arai founder and head  of Aria, ( at that time in Japan  the labor cost in half but  was of exceptional quality,  to even better than in USA )

1979 Japan Catalag (Japan edition prototype)

Even though the original idea was producing the Genesis  in Japan, due to the volatility of the  yen /dollar relationship  at the time,   the mass production  was made on the Pearl Drums plant  in Taiwan.

The  Genesis is a solid body electric guitar with a excellent construction,  finish and  sound quality, which can be used for the most diverse styles (from Jazz  to Rock  or  Metal)

It is a  very solid, about 10 pounds (4.5 kg)   similar to the Gibson Les Paul of the Norlin days with a powerful warm  full-bodied sound   with an extraordinary sustain attributes that have made it stand out over the years, and little by little they are giving fame to model.


Mahogany Body with Carved Top,
Epiphone vintage  headstock
3+3 Gotoh tuners.

The  "highlights" design  are

The double cutway ,
the neck joins to body  on 19th fret
that facilitates access to upper tones on the last frets on  6 strings
(a nice advantage over the Les Paul) this design givs a lot of playbility like an SG

Other nice opition us  the coiltap switch
which "turns" the humbuckers into a "single coil",
something quite new at that time in the Gibson brands family
this feature gives to the guitar  a very nice cleans sounds, improving versatility
 (another key advantage over the normal  Les Paul)
in other words you can says that the Genesis  is a Les Paul with somes  "small improvements"


one of the most lauded virtues of Genesis is his neck
long and thick

59 style profile.
mahogany neck
Rosewood fingerboard with binding
1 - 11/16" at fingerboard nut
Fully adjustable trus rod
24 - 3/4" scale
Joins body to 19th fret
22 frets

The Genesis  had 2 powerfull  humbucker pickups probably built by Maxon,  suplier of pickups for Ibanez, Greco and Aria, buliders of the amazin  "Super 58"

The Genesis came with   "Tune-o-Matic" bridge,  ABR-1 type manufacturated by Gotoh

2 volume controls and
1 master tone control.

Models and Features:
Genesis Series had 3 diferent models

                                                               1979  US  catalog image

          In the picture above you can see the 3 diferents models of the Genesis Series guitar
 For many years this was the only  image that you could find,  and the only picture that Gibson had in its records of the Genesis guitar series. 

*The curious thing on this picture we see some "strange" details,  the pickups has only 2 height-adjustment screws,  (like american Pick-ups)
the Deluxe unit dont have binding on the headstock and the Standard have tulip tuners.
these features were never included in the  production units.

The "normal"  Genesis built by Pearl  and sold worldwide are significantly different, as
 you can see on the pictures below


Specs by model. (Pearl regular production units)

-"Standard"(Entry level)
Simple binding  on top, dot markers on the fingerboard, Chrome Hardware
exposed pickups, black speed knobs
1980  Standard (Cherry)

-"DeLuxe"(mid level)
Double Binding on top,  simple binding on the back of the body and  the  headstock
trapezoidal fret markers and chrome hardware.
exposed pickups, golden speed knobs
1980 Deluxe (Sunburst)

-"Custom" (high end)
Triple binding on the top, double binding on the back and  the headstock and
simple binding on the sides of the fretboard with "nibs"
Abalone "block"  fretboard markers
exposed pickups, golden speed knobs
1980 Custom (sunburst)

The Epiphone Genesis came in 3 colors:
Sunburst, Cherry  and   Black.
In  Sunburst was 2 options,  sunburst and dark suburst.

The Epiphone Genesis has not a great commercial success and  it was produces for only 3 years  
1979 -1980 and  1981
was discontinued because the yen/crisis of early 80s, turns  the production so much expensive.

This Guitars today are quite sought after by some collectors and guitar players  because as we all know the big brands have fallen sharply as the scarcity of woods and the prices of good instruments are becoming more unattainable, and often continue lowering spec and increasing prices. 
The genesis   is an instrument built to the  "old school"  fully solid and have that special "mojo" from the  vintage instruments, qualities that give it a special appeal in ours days. 
Without doubt this guitar is many steps above the Epiphone guitars of today and also some models produced by Gibson 

Check the Jim Walker¨s  Interview for more info

Link:  knowing-creator-interview-to-jim-walker

                                                                 1979  USA Genesis Custom AD ( Pearl production units)

                                   Standard (cherry)  -  Deluxe (sunburst)  -  Custom (darksunburst)
                                                          (production units bulit  by Pearl)

                                                                                                                                    Thanks Brian!


Double Binding  headstock (Custom)

 3 layers  Freatboard Binding with "nibs"

Double "Cutway"  19th Fret joint.

 "Coil Tap" Switch for Single coil sounds

Triple binding on the top (Custom)

Specs 1979 catalog 


click on the images to full size

1979 Genesis Japan catalog (front &back)

1979 Genesis Japan catalog (interior)

Audio Tests (You Tube)


1979 Genesis Custom  sound test (dirty)

 1980 Genesis Standard sound test 

1980 Deluxe both pickups & coil split mode

A beautyfull blues song recorded with a Epiphone Genesis Deluxe

3 comentarios:

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  2. La verdad hace 10 años que me acompaña y es la mejor viola y compañera que he tenido y me cuesta mucho cambiarla. AGUANTE GENESIS!!!

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