Epiphone Johnny A Custom

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by Michael Montiel, Mar 9, 2020.

  1. Michael Montiel

    Michael Montiel Member

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    Nov 19, 2017
    I have been considering buying an Epiphone Johnny A Custom from Sweetwater for quite some time now, they do not have any locally at any of the guitar stores where I live so I have not been able to put my hands on one to try it out, anyone here own one or played one?
    Any thoughts on quality, playability, possible neck dive?
    Thank you
  2. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Well-Known Member

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    Jul 12, 2016
    Michael Montiel likes this.
  3. Cal Sparks

    Cal Sparks New Member

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    Mar 14, 2020
    I have one as well as a close friend. I believe at $1,600 US retail (list), they were at the time the most expensive Asia Epiphones issued (I have a US built 1961 Epiphone Coronet; just so readers know that there used to be a separate company that Gibson bought. And that guitars were built in Kalamazoo, MI for a while at Gibson’s plant).

    Both mine (and my friend) had the electronics - except for the stock Gibson Classic 57 pups and the pickup switch - professionally changed out (Switchcraft Input Jack, CTS pots, Yellowjacket Caps, Wiring, etc). That added work is not essential, but rather a refinement because I plan to keep the guitar.

    What readers need to know is that I have read of a few QC gaps as blogged others, such as Bigsby not properly aligned when installed. But most seem to be like me, and love them.

    Know that, unlike the Gibson model, you get no choice of factory options. So fortunately the neck happens to fit my hand and playing style perfectly. The neck is a more modern (good) cut. But No option choice of a hard tail or color configurations. I’m happy with that.

    The Epiphone version has a laminated top rather than a carved solid top on the Gibson. (But so does a Gibson ES 335)
    - laminate wood top). I heard Johnny A, who had hand in the Epiphone design, also mentioning it having a different truss today system.

    My luthier has the action low. He trimmed the tremolo spring so that the bar does not extend as far off the guitar, and it provides all the trem I need for what the guirar is used form. (I have my USA 80s PRS Custom for more dramatic trem bar use.)

    A stunning looking guitar. Whenever I play out with it, long time guitarists will tend to come up to ask about it when I’m packing up.

    The tone is very rich. I would say that I get the range of a LP, plus a little more on the warm side - toward an ES model.

    I have read where Gibson Johnny A owners had ordered the Epiphone and also Epiphone Johnny A owners saving up to get a Gibson model.

    Being limited edition, the new ones are gone from the retailers from what I read. Seem to very rare on Reverb, but the Gibson’s seem to be available there.

    Both advertised as Custom Shop models. Is there an Epiphone Custom Shop. There seems to be a special building at their China facility where they build LTD edition and artists models. There also was a kick off ceremony vid with the Epiphone CEO in China that looks to have been taken down. Can anyone find the link?

    All the best!
    Michael Montiel likes this.

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