Japanese Elite Customs

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ripsaw
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:59 pm
Real Name: jimmy

Japanese Elite Customs

Post: # 3996Post ripsaw
Sat Apr 24, 2021 10:00 pm

I had to pull these two Epiphones out of the closet to reach my Collings 290, so I took a couple of pics.

This is a hand-made, first run 'Elite' 335 Dot. I had an original Gibson Cherry 335 Dot in 1968 and I really think this is a better instrument.

This is not an 'Elitist' model but a first-run 'Elite' with a serial number in the six-hundred range.
dot.jpg
It has gold hardware and a Lollar Charlie Christian humbucker pickup - what they now seem to call the 'Novel CC' pickup.

Mine must be an early model. I always talked to Jason on the phone or email, so I'm pretty sure he wound all my pups.

Gold Imperial Bridge pup - it screams.
Last edited by ripsaw on Sat Apr 24, 2021 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ripsaw
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:59 pm
Real Name: jimmy

Re: Japanese Elite Customs

Post: # 3998Post ripsaw
Sat Apr 24, 2021 10:15 pm

This one is an 'Elitist' model. A hand-made L5 with customization by Kerry Char of Portland, Oregon. Kerry is an expert at restoring unique and antique guitars and is a fine craftsman and luthier.
msAnne720.jpg
Mr. Char replaced the bridge and tailpiece with his own designs. I don't remember the wood type but it is heavy and dense - more so than ebony.

The bridge is massive but perfectly tuned - this bad boy sustains forever.

I guess that I should have asked for matching wood knobs - oh well.

The neck pup is the Lollar Imperial Humbucker from the Elite Dot 335. Sounds just like Wes.

The bridge pup is a Lollar 'El Rayo' - Bridge Humbucker. It has a really unique sound.

ripsaw
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:59 pm
Real Name: jimmy

Re: Japanese Elite Customs

Post: # 3999Post ripsaw
Sat Apr 24, 2021 10:22 pm


uponamouse
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:39 pm
Real Name: Tom N

Re: Japanese Elite Customs

Post: # 4002Post uponamouse
Sat Apr 24, 2021 10:59 pm

Quite nice looking! Someday, I must try the Lollar CC pickup.
Cheers, Tom

ripsaw
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:59 pm
Real Name: jimmy

Re: Japanese Elite Customs

Post: # 4009Post ripsaw
Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:35 pm

uponamouse wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 10:59 pm Quite nice looking! Someday, I must try the Lollar CC pickup.
Thank you, Tom :)

These Japanese Epiphones were originally call 'Elite' but they changed the name to 'Elitist' after a trademark conflict with another company. They're not made any longer but I found the 335 Dot on Craigslist for around $1000 - quite the bargain, in my book.

The humbucker CC gets mixed reviews from users. I love the sound of it, myself. The Imperial sounds so good on the L5 that I kept it there & moved the CC to the Dot. The El Rayo is very chimey and really sounds nice on the maple L5.

For me, the Collings/Lollar combo is for folks who want to travel back in time to 1955 - it's the only way to get there from here...

ripsaw
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:59 pm
Real Name: jimmy

Re: Japanese Elite Customs

Post: # 4010Post ripsaw
Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:54 pm

As an additional note, although I did mention it, above - the 335 Dot is an extremely well-made instrument. I had a cherry-red 335 Dot Gibson that I bought new in 1968 - $400! 😪 - and it was a very heavy guitar but this Epi outweighs it by at least a pound - it's solid and sustains forever, which is my personal preference.

Red Oak
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:00 am

Re: Japanese Elite Customs

Post: # 4066Post Red Oak
Tue May 04, 2021 6:18 pm

ripsaw wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 10:15 pm This one is an 'Elitist' model. A hand-made L5 with customization by Kerry Char of Portland, Oregon. Kerry is an expert at restoring unique and antique guitars and is a fine craftsman and luthier.

msAnne720.jpg

Mr. Char replaced the bridge and tailpiece with his own designs. I don't remember the wood type but it is heavy and dense - more so than ebony.

The bridge is massive but perfectly tuned - this bad boy sustains forever.

I guess that I should have asked for matching wood knobs - oh well.

The neck pup is the Lollar Imperial Humbucker from the Elite Dot 335. Sounds just like Wes.

The bridge pup is a Lollar 'El Rayo' - Bridge Humbucker. It has a really unique sound.
What a beautiful guitar.!! Thanks for posting!!

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