Sunday, June 12, 2011

Epiphone Joe Perry Boneyard Les Paul


Aloha!

I am as much of a guitar snob as the next guy and am often quick to sniff at a cheap instrument and buy something more expensive on general principle, but this imported Epiphone is no joke. Today’s pick is the Joe Perry Epiphone Boneyard model which was introduced in 2004, and were discontinued a few years ago.

Joe Perry is an American icon and guitar hero (to me, anyway), and I’ve had a couple of his Gibson signature models over the years. But when I saw his Boneyard Epiphone back in 2005 I had to head down to Guitar Center and try one out.

And I was amazed, especially when comparing it to the guitars that Gibson is crapping out of its American division.

You can see that the Boneyard is a Les Paul model, with its traditional body shape and layout of components. And it is a distinctive-looking Les Paul with a super-flamed out tiger maple top that has been tinted orange-y to really bring out the grain.

The list of specs for this guitar is as impressive as its top. It has a mahogany body and neck that have both been finished in satin black. The rosewood fretboard has trapezoidal inlays and the same cream-colored binding as the body. The tuners are Epiphone-marked Kluson replicas, and the bridge is standard Les Paul fare. And check out that juvenile Boneyard logo on the headstock!

They did not bother to include a pickguard with these, which was probably the right choice given the looks of this guitar.

The electronics are a step beyond what you would find on other Epiphones, as they installed Gibson USA Burstbuckers on the Boneyard. They chose to put a model 2 in the rhythm position and a more gnarly model 3 at the bridge. An extra-cool feature is if you put that orange pickup selector tip in the middle position (both pickups on) you will find that the pickups are wired out of phase (ala Peter Green)

This is a solid collection of parts, and Epiphone’s Chinese factory did a fab job of sticking them together. I am continually astonished that the public continues buying $2500 Gibson Les Pauls with lumpy fretboards and hillbilly smile frets when there are much better alternatives out there for less money.

This Boneyard had a fantastic neck with perfect frets and a pretty low action right out of the box. It has a C profile and its thickness is right in the middle between the 50’s and 60’s neck profiles that are so popular. This translates into a lot smoother playing experience for me, which is worth a bunch because I am a horrible guitarist.

The tone is killer if you are looking for the classic blues/rock sound, especially with the selector in the middle position. The out of phase Burstbuckers are just magical in this guitar. It has more of a processed sound than I was expecting in the middle position, almost like there is a wah or phaser in the loop. The other positions provide traditional Les Paul sounds, so you can get plenty of overdrive and crunch.

This one is pretty light for a Les Paul, coming in just a hair over 8 pounds, which is lighter than the Telecaster I am playing right now. Then again, maybe that says more about how ungodly heavy my Telecaster is.

When the Epiphone Boneyard guitars were new their street price was around $700 (with no case), which is pricy for an Epiphone Les Paul. But, as I said earlier, these guitars were discontinued, and they seem to be very hard to find now. I have not seen any pop up on eBay recently, so the guys that bought them must be holding on to them.

Mahalo!

3 comments:

  1. LOVE Love love mine. You can't have it! =-D

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  2. Phil-can't have mine either.

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  3. I'm looking to put mine up on EBAY in a week or so. I bought it in it's year of issue, 2004, and its in MINT condition. Didn't play it much, just admired it. They are pretty rare to see on EBAY, so I'm hoping to fetch a nice price, or I'm just keeping it.

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