martes, 30 de marzo de 2010

The History of the Epiphone Genesis


The story of the Epiphone Genesis is full of mysteries, and perhaps that is just one of its charms. It has been much discussed where it was manufactured and what wood was used, what is not discussed, is its high quality, and for many people, no doubt,
it is the best solid body guitar Epiphone ever built.

The Epiphone Genesis was designed in 1978 by Jim Walker, Marketing Director of Gibson Guitar Corporation between 1977 and 1983.
He was one of the original builders of the first Hamer Guitars, pioneers in the world of Boutique Instruments  (Hamer was incredible high-end instruments completely handmade, before  the "Custom Shop" divisions of the big brands)

Walker was hired by Gibson to revitalize the Epiphone line.

The prototypes of the Genesis were built by J.W. himself with the help of his friend and mentor John Montgomery in the same basement workshop, where they built the legendary first  Hamer instruments, for renowned guitar players of bands such as Cheap Trick, Jethro Tull, The Police.
Like today, at that time, Epiphone belonged to Gibson and was become his"second brand", and its production line had moved to Japan,  they built only lower quality instruments (compared to the Gibson line) and during the first half of the 70s, the Epiphone products had lost prestige and sales.

Norlin/Gibson executives wanted to "boost" the Epiphone line and reevaluate the brand to reposition it as a manufacturer of high-quality instruments, and for that, they needed a new "flagship"

That was Jim Walker's mission, and the Gibson design team provided the necessary support to carry out the project.
Walker works very close with Bruce Bolen ( Head of  Gibson R&D Department) and they shared a great friendship,  Bolen supervised and collaborated in
the planning, design, and production of the Genesis.

This is how the Genesis was born, as a new "beginning" for Epiphone,  and hence its name.
They decided to build a real quality guitar, powerful and versatile, that would remain in history and put Epiphone back into the big ones. 
First 3 Prototypes

The prototypes were rendered at the Gibson Kalamazoo plant, and then the "blueprints" were sent to Japan to the founder and head of Aria,  Shiro Arai  (at that time in Japan the cost of labor was half, but it was exceptionally high quality, even better than in the U.S.)
Arai built in Japan a very small series of Genesis identical to the prototypes built by Walker in the U.S 
The Genesis was built at the peak of the "Golden Age" of the Japanese Replicas, today knows as "Lawsuits" like Greco, Aria, Burny, and Tokai.

1979 Japan Catalog

Even though the original idea was producing the Genesis in Japan, the turbulent Yen/Dollar exchange rate at the time, the mass production was made on the Pearl Drums plant in Taiwan.
The mass "Production Units" built by Pearl and sold worldwide are slightly different from the prototypes built by Walker and  Arai.
The production Genesis came with "exposed" pickups (without cover) and  "Speed" style knobs.

The original prototypes and those built by Aria in Japan came with Covered Pickups end Top Hut style knobs.
1979 Japan Poster advertises

  The  Genesis is an electric guitar with an 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 axe, about 10 pounds (4.5 kg)   similar to Les Paul Gibson of that times,  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 a solid reputation.

Models and Features:
           Genesis Series had 3 different models:
Standard   -   Deluxe   -   Custom

Specs by model. (Pearl  production units)

Simple binding  on top, dot markers on the fingerboard, Chrome Hardware
exposed pickups, black "Speed" knobs
1980  Standard (Wine Red)

Double Binding on top, Simple binding on the back of the body and the headstock
trapezoidal Inlays and chrome hardware.
Exposed pickups, golden "Speed" knobs
Chrome Hardware
1980 Deluxe (Sunburst)

-"Custom" (high end)
Triple binding on the body top, double binding on the back and  the headstock and
simple binding on the sides of the fretboard with "nibs"
Abalone "Block"  Inlays
Exposed pickups, golden "Speed" knobs
Gold Hardware
1980 Custom (Sunburst)


Mahogany Body and Neck with Carved Top,
Epiphone "Vintage"  headstock
3+3 Gotoh tuners.

Design Highlights

Double Cutway,
the neck joins to the body  on 19th fret
that's made easier access to upper tones on the last frets
(a nice advantage over the Les Paul) this design gives a lot of playability like an SG

Another nice option is 
Coil-tap 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 crystal cleans sounds, improving versatility
 (another key advantage over the normal  Les Paul)
in other words, the Genesis  is a Les Paul with some "improvements"

One of the most lauded "virtues" of Genesis is his neck
Long and thick
59 style profile.
With a Vintage Epiphone elongated Headstock which contributes greatly to its renowned Sustain
Mahogany with Rosewood fingerboard with binding
1 - 11/16" at fingerboard nut
Fully adjustable truss rod
24 - 3/4" scale
22 frets

The Genesis  had 2 powerfull  humbuckers probably built by Maxon,  supplier of pickups for Aria, Greco, and Ibanez, at this times,   builders of the amazing  "Super 58" (and the Tubescreamer Overdrive Pedal)
There is no record of what type of magnet they have, but it is very possible that it is Alnico V
because they have more output than the vintage PAF.
The information on the catalogs is that the magnets emphasize the mid-range and treble, but that due to their composition, they also deliver a good low end, end they are made an alloy of  Iron, Aluminum, Nickel, and Copper.

 "Tune-o-Matic" bridge,  ABR-1 type like de 50s Gibson

volume controls and
1 master tone control.
The Genesis came in 3 colors:
Wine Red - Black - Sunburst

Sunburts had 2 options
Dark Sunburst - Sunburst 

The guitar was manufactured for 3 years. 1979-1980 and 1981.
The volatility of the Yen significantly increased the production costs of the Genesis making it impossible to maintain the Retail Price and was discontinued.
The Yen crisis not only hurt Genesis but also ended the "Golden Age" of the Japanese Replicas known as "Lawsuits" Aria, Burny, Greco and Tocai.

The Epiphone Genesis has passed the test of time and over the years it has become a "cult" guitar. Unlike other instruments its reputation has not been built through marketing or for having been used by some Guitar Hero, but was Growing through time, from below, The Genesis went from being a virtually unknown guitar to being an instrument sought and valued for its solid construction, great tone, and deep sustain.

Genesis Custom Sound Review

Check the Jim Walker¨s  Interview for more info

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

Double Binding  headstock (Custom)

 3 layers  Fretboard Binding with "nibs"

Triple binding on the top (Custom)

Catalog Images

Click on the images to full size

1979 Genesis Japan catalog (front &back)

1979 Genesis Japan catalog (interior)

Check this threads of  MyLesPaul Forum (the number 1 Guitar forum of the world)

8 comentarios:

  1. Wonderful beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a blog website? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept

  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!!!

  3. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por un administrador del blog.

  4. Great web page - thanks. Does anyone know when/why the Epiphone Genesis guitar was discontinued? All I see out there are used Genesis guitars, and not in great shape. Would love to have one, but only used ones for sale. Ideas? Thanks...

    1. if you have patience, you can pick one in good shape and not too expensive, if you want something more "safe" Reverb, or Vintage & Rare
      maybe you can create an "alert"

    2. Why it was discontinued is explained on this page, the reason was largely economic, the ratio yen dollar suddenly changed in the early 80s and this made the production cost too high

  5. Sadly, Pro Deluxe Genesis reissue was discontinued after 3 years in 2016. But you still may find a new one somewhere online. Love my Vintage Sunburst bought new in 2013! Maybe if enough folks ask, Epi will consider bringing her back.

  6. First of all thank you so much for sharing this post. You provide the best information about Moving services Gibson Guitar Parts