1963 Epiphone Sorrento E452T

Thinline semi acoustic

Epiphone Sorrento main page | 1963 Sorrento E452T | 1966 Sorrento E452T

1963 Epiphone Sorrento

Epiphone produced the Sorrento between 1960 and 1969. This 1963 example represents a typical mid-period instrument: it has an inlaid Epiphone logo with oval neck markers (1960/61 guitars often had the metal Epiphone 'V' pinned to the headstock, and dot markers); yet it still has the older pre-Gibson headstock shape (post 1964, most Epiphone semi acoustics had the exagerated curve 'cola bottle' headstock style, compare with a 1966 Sorrento) In construction it is rather similar to the example pictured on page 3 of the 1964 Epiphone catalogue; though without the tortoiseshell scratchplate. Like all Sorrentos it had a maple top, back and sides, mahogany 24 3/4" scale neck, and rosewood fretboard. The September 1963 US list price for this guitar was $230. At the same time, the twin pickup version was listed at $295.

The Sorrento was fitted with one or two Epiphone mini-humbuckers, each with a volume and tone control. This example has black/silver Gibson bell knobs, though others used gold. As a single pickup guitar in Epiphone's Royal Olive finish it has model designation E452T. Epiphone had used the name Shaded to describe their burst finish for many years, but when Epiphone production started at the Kalamazoo plant, new names appeared for specific colour bursts, such as Royal Olive and Royal Tan. By the mid 60s, however, all bursts were lumped together again, as 'Shaded'. The sides and back of guitars with the Shaded finishes (but not Natural or Cherry) had a translucent Walnut stain, with single ply cream binding picking out the edge.

Hardware is all nickel plated at this time, including pickup cover. This would be upgraded to chrome by 1965. The bridge and tailpiece are the same as fitted to the Gibson equivalent ES-125TC model; i.e. tune-o-matic bridge with free floating rosewood base and bail-type tailpiece.

Sorrentos produced between 1960 and 1964 typically had this 'old style' Epiphone headstock shape, though the earliest examples did not have the inlaid pearl Epiphone logo as shown; the logo was on a metal plate pinned to the headstock. Note also the plain truss rod cover. Compare this headstock shape with the much curvier example on this 1966 Sorrento.
Like the majority of Gibson and Epiphone guitars of this period, the neck is one-piece mahogany with the serial number stamped into the reverse at the top. Tuning keys are individual closed gear Kluson MH-320V with oval plastic buttons. Again, these were changed to similar 'Keystone' button Klusons towards the end of the decade.
1963 Epiphone Sorrento

The oval pearl neck inlays were a feature previously used by Epiphone prior to Gibson ownership (for example on the Epiphone Devon acoustic), but only appeared on the Sorrento from mid 1961. The earliest examples had simple dot inlays. This was another feature that distinguished the Sorrento from the Gibson ES-125TC - along with the pickup - Gibson ES-125 thinlines were fitted with a single coil P90; the Sorrento a mini humbucker.

Images courtesey of Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar

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