Not sure of the era but i think this is a Korean import. I have seen lots of these, most with no brand at all indicated. They are quite inexpensive. Not sure if Gibson just imported them under Epiphone name.
These were imported first from Japan and then from Korea in the early 70's. The Japanese models had a blue label that listed Kalamazoo and Japan on it. The Korean models didn't always have labels. It's most likely laminated wood. This wasn't Epiphones finest hour by any means. Here's a Japanese model.
I appreciate any replies. I have read about the korean and japanese models I dont believe this is laminate wood. I wonder if it could have had a replaced head stock or could have been refinished...although no signs
If you look through this thread you'll note a strong resemblance to the group of mandolins with various brand names on them. There's an electric with the same headstock shape and some of the others linked to might be the same as well. Gibson wasn't making these, they were buying them and having them labeled as Epiphone.
It looks pretty normal for the genre. It's easy to tell if the top is laminated, look at the wood from the side on the f hole.
Do you mean the fret markers? Look at the Japanese model above.
That does look a lot like it. Is it worth a benjamin?
Check eBay for closed auctions, that will give you an idea. They aren't worth a whole lot.
Rover RM-25 has a solid pressed top, available discounted for $88. A step up, I'd say.
Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
Natl Triolian Dobro mando
Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
Stradolin Vega banjolin
Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
Flatiron 3K OM
I call these the $50 begineers or wall hangers. The cheap give-away is that zero fret. A good mandolin is not going to have that fret next to the nut. Hard to set these puppies up correctly. Most of them sound like wet logs in a damp forest. Mostly likely it is a laminate and IMO not worthy of the Epiphone name.
now, back to our regular programming...
sorry guys, I'm a bluegrasser and ain't no bluegrass mandolin that was any count gots a fret next to the nut! And as a general rule with guitars if you see that zero fret it's likely a very cheap guitar and mostly likely an import.
Totally agree this is one of the el-cheapo Epiphones and I have worked on a couple over the years, and they were all laminated. I believe they also did an electric version, with a mag pickup and volume/tone controls drilled through the top. Doubt it made much difference to the 'acoustic' sound in this case....
Re: zero frets, sure, not exactly the height of fashion with bluegrass instruments, but... some quite serious makers do use them. In addition to their use on classical instruments, well respected makers like Fylde have them:
These are highly regarded by Celtic/Folk pickers.
I recall C. F. Martin made one model of a 000 series with a zero fret. Might have been a sig model for someone like Martin Carthy?
So, they do have a place, but not in BG!
Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
Northfield Big Mon #127
Ellis F5 Special #288
'39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.
Here's a Calace guitar (import, though not cheap) from the late '30s with a zero fret.
My mama always said that the thing about 'general rules' wuz that they "t'aint no part of nuttin'" (or whatever it is the man said, but she woulda bean horrifried by hiz pour gramma. ) But it sure has to be 'fun' to make broad sweeping statements!
Ever tried, ever failed, no matter. Try again, fail again, fail better.--Samuel Beckett
I'm sure that the concept of the zero fret is sound, I'm sure there are fine instruments made with them, but I've said it before and I'll say it now, they are a deal killer for me. I just don't like the way they look. I'm with Tom on this one. Call me course and unsophisticated.
Okay point taken but this example it means "cheap" laminated import not worthy of the Epiphone name. Even Gibson didn't go there in the 70's on the F5 and it don't get much worse than that.
(not to add anything to the original discussion, but the Giannini bandolims have zero frets as well.)
1920 Lyon & Healy bowlback
1983 Giannini ABSM1 bandolim
2009 Giannini GBSM3 bandolim
2011 Eastman MD305
well you got a campfire mandolin, ie to play sitting around it, not putting it on it.
[have a zero fret Hodson Djangolin, imported from across 'the pond', FWIW,
rather than the western ocean.. ]
writing about music
is like dancing,
Keith Newell also uses a zero fret, at least on his zouks...almost bought one a few months ago but was skeered by the scale length...that said, I'm generally with Tom on this one...