Epiphone Limited Edition Peter Frampton "1964" Texan
By Phil O'Keefe |
Peter's other favorite guitar
Peter Frampton is a rock icon who should need no introduction. From The Herd to Humble Pie, and through a long and illustrious solo career, he's been amazing listeners with his songwriting and high-octane guitar performances for over five decades. Many readers will also no doubt be familiar with the amazing story behind his legendary "Phenix" 1954 Les Paul Custom - the guitar pictured on the cover of Frampton Comes Alive! If not, check out the video about the Gibson recreations of it in the Resources section below. It's quite a story! What fewer people know about is the story behind Frampton's 1964 Epiphone Texan acoustic guitar. Purchased shortly after joining Humble Pie, it is the guitar that Peter used to write every song he wrote from 1969 until 1980 and beyond. The original barely survived the 2010 Nashville flood that wiped out so many classic and historically significant guitars, and now Epiphone (which, like Harmony Central, is a Gibson Brand), in partnership with Peter, have released a limited edition run that duplicates Peter's beloved original 1964 Texan. Let's take a look at what it has to offer.
What You Need To Know
- The Ltd. Ed. Peter Frampton "1964" Texan features all solid woods in its construction, including a solid sitka spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides.
- Like the vintage originals from the 1960s, this Texan features a sloped-shoulder dreadnought-sized body, which helps give it a healthy amount of volume and projection, along with the kind of big low end that smaller-bodied acoustics generally can't match.
- The top of the body has three-ply (ivory, black, ivory) binding, while the back has a single ply ivory-colored binding
- The finish appears to be poly, and is high-gloss, and expertly applied, with no defects that I was able to spot.
- The color is what Epiphone refers to as a "Faded Vintageburst", with a orange-red to amber two tone sunburst on the top and dark stained back and sides. It's subjective, but I think it looks very cool. The review unit has considerable silking visible in the spruce top - it really looks and sounds like they used very good quality wood on this instrument.
- The rosette uses a simple ringed motif, while the imitation tortoiseshell pickguard sports a foil Epiphone E logo.
- Inside the soundhole is a vintage style label, complete with the original model number for Texans (FT-79) and the actual serial number (205898) of Peter's vintage Texan; the "real" sequential serial number for each individual guitar in this limited edition is stamped into the wood on the back of the headstock.
- The bridge is a reverse-belly style model made from pau ferro, which is similar in sound and appearance to rosewood, although slightly less red in color and a little denser. The bridge pins are white with abalone dot inlays. The saddle is made of bone, and is uncompensated.
- The glued-in 25.5" scale neck is also mahogany, and is capped with a unbound pau ferro fingerboard with a 12" fingerboard radius and 20 medium jumbo frets. The frets on the review unit are nicely polished, dressed and crowned, with no roughness or sharp edges.
- The neck has a traditional 1960's SlimTaper C-shaped profile and is extremely comfortable to play. It measures 1.62" wide at the nylon nut and is 0.80" thick at the first fret, according to my digital calipers. Players with small to medium sized hands will feel right at home on this guitar.
- The neck has pearloid parallelogram inlays, and there are white dots on the player side of the fingerboard too.
- The classic dovewing-shaped Epiphone headstock carries the Epiphone name in gold, as well as a pearloid inlay in the middle, while the "bullet" shaped two-layer truss rod cover features a large vintage Epiphone E in white. The truss rod itself is a modern 2-way adjustable unit, and a truss rod adjustment wrench is included with the guitar.
- The tuning machines are Schaller M6's with an 18:1 ratio for precise tuning. While not a stock feature on vintage Texans, they are the tuners you'll find on Peter's original guitar, and they provide excellent tuning accuracy, and the overall tuning stability of the guitar is very good.
- The rear of the headstock also features a round Epiphone logo, and a machine-generated replica of Peter Frampton's signature in silver… which is the only visual cue that this is a signature model.
- The rear of the neck features the same dark colored stain as the sides and body of the guitar, and a strap button has been pre-installed on the neck heel.
- The Epiphone Limited Edition Peter Frampton "1964" Texan comes equipped with onboard electronics. The electronics vary depending on which of the two versions of this guitar you opt for. The standard Ltd. Ed. Epiphone Peter Frampton "1964" Texan sent for the review comes equipped with a L.R. Baggs EAS-VTC system, with a pair of rotary controls for volume and tone adjustment mounted at the top edge of the soundhole.
- The Premium Outfit version comes equipped with upgraded electronics in the form of a L.R. Baggs DS-ELE System, which is the same electronics that Peter Frampton has used in his own vintage Texan. This includes both an under-saddle piezo transducer and a small microphone mounted inside the soundhole, and the ability to run the electronics in mono or stereo.
- For both versions, the output jack is mounted in the endpin strap button.
- An unsigned certificate of authenticity is included with the guitar.
- Limited to only 500 guitars, with an additional 100 available in the Premium Outfit (which also includes a hardshell case, Peter Frampton Acoustic Classics CD, the upgraded L.R. Baggs electronics and a hand-signed (by Peter Frampton), as opposed to unsigned certificate of authenticity, the Epiphone Limited Edition Peter Frampton "1964" Texan carries Epiphone's limited lifetime warranty.
- The battery for powering the electronics is located inside the body in a tough nylon bag that's mounted near the neck heel, so you have to reach in through the sound hole in order to replace it, which means slacking or removing the strings is required to do so. An externally-accessible battery compartment near the output jack would have made changing the battery easier, although it wouldn't be "vintage correct" or true to the original.
- With all solid woods, it will be important for owners to give regular attention to making sure it's properly humidified.
- Unless you're eyeing one of the 100 Premium Outfit versions, you'll need to budget for a suitable case since one is not included.
- Due to the limited production numbers, availability is very limited - if you want one, you'll need to move fast or risk missing out.
Ooh baby I love your way! Sorry, but I couldn't resist… but it's true. This is a really cool acoustic guitar all the way around. It's a very balanced sounding instrument, and with the all-solid woods used in its construction (which is somewhat unusual for a limited edition signature model at this price point), it is a guitar that should only get better and better sounding as it ages. With the classic combination of mahogany back and sides coupled with the spruce top, the sound is slightly midrange-forward, as you might expect, but it's still clear in the treble and warm and full in the lows. It's equally well suited for strumming, lead lines and fingerstyle playing - it's a really good general purpose acoustic guitar. And on a personal note, I've enjoyed playing some of the first songs I ever learned how to play (songs from Frampton Comes Alive!) on a guitar inspired by the one that they were originally written on.
Not only is it a looker that sounds good, but the playability is outstanding - this is a very comfortable guitar to play. The neck doesn't have the wider D-profile that you find on a lot of modern Epiphones, and the vintage SlimTaper C-profile, with its less stout shoulders, is more suited to my somewhat smaller than average sized hands. Players with average sized hands should also feel very comfortable with it, but players with very large hands or who like a beefier D or rounded 50s style neck profile should definitely try it before committing to purchasing one since it might be a bit smaller than what they would normally prefer. The inclusion of good-quality onboard electronics mean you won't need to do any modifications to it in order to use it on-stage, and while the battery is a bit harder to reach than some competing models (including other Epiphones) that have a battery compartment that can be accessed without slacking the strings, as long as you don't forget to remove the cable from the output jack when you're not using the guitar, the battery should last quite a while and you won't have to replace it as often. The only other downsides are the fact that you'll need to give it the kind of care that any solid wood guitar requires (buy or make a case humidifier and check it regularly) and you'll also need to budget for a good case unless you're one of the lucky 100 who are able to score one of the Premium Outfit versions.
Every so often I review something that I have to send back due to my current financial circumstances, but that I just know I'm going to kick myself later for not finding a way to purchase it anyway. This is one of those guitars. It's been my daily player since the day it arrived and I've really bonded with it, so It's going to be really hard to send it back, and I'm going to miss it when it's gone. I can see why Peter is so impressed with the job Epiphone did in recreating his vintage original Texan, and why it's become his new favorite acoustic. Give one a try yourself if you get the opportunity, and I'm sure you'll agree. This is an outstanding acoustic guitar that will make a great lifetime musical partner for anyone who purchases one. -HC-
Want to discuss the Epiphone Limited Edition Peter Frampton "1964" Texan or have questions or comments about this review? Then head over to this thread in the Acoustic Guitar forum right here on Harmony Central and join the discussion!
Epiphone Limited Edition Peter Frampton "1964" Texan ($899.00 "street"; Premium Outfit $1,199.00 "street")
Epiphone's product web page
Epiphone's product web page (premium outfit)
You can purchase the Epiphone Limited Edition Peter Frampton "1964" Texan from:
Ltd. Ed. Peter Frampton Epiphone "1964" Texan
1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom "Phenix"
Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines.