EPIPHONE | SOLID BODY GUITARS | OLYMPIC SPECIAL

Epiphone Olympic Special

SB721 single pickup solid-body guitar

Model Olympic Special SB721
Available 1963-1969
Pickups One Melody Maker PU380 single coil pickup
Scale 24 3/4"
Body Mahogany. 12 3/4" wide, 17 1/4" long, 1 3/8" thick
Neck One-piece mahogany, rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays. No binding, 22 frets.
Hardware 1 volume and 1 tone control. Metal offset bridge with vibrola tailpiece on the SB721V. Plastic enclosed strip tuners.
Finishes Sunburst and custom colours: Sunset Yellow, California Coral, Pacific Blue

The Epiphone Olympic Special is not that well known an instrument - often being confused with the Epiphone Olympic, but with very good reason; the Special actually evolved from the Olympic in 1963. A 1961-63 Olympic basically is a 1963-64 Olympic Special, though outside those time periods there are distinct differences. Just under 3000 Epiphone Olympic Specials were shipped between 1963 and 1969. For a break-down of the production stats, see the Epiphone Olympic Special shipping totals.

Epiphone Olympic Special: evolution

The solid body Epiphone Olympic (not the Olympic Special) first appeared on the market in 1960. Like so many Epiphone guitars of the time, it was closely related to an equivalent guitar model, in this case the Gibson Melody Maker. Gibson parent company CMI, had just purchased Epiphone, and had moved production from the Epiphone plant in Philadelphia, to Gibson's facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Epiphone had never built solid body guitars, and a new range of guitars was introduced. The same business model was used as Gibson's other lines: have one basic guitar model, and offer several incarnations, with increasingly better hardware and appointments at a range of different prices. The first models were the Coronet and Crestwood Custom, followed by the Wilshire and Olympic in 1960. Having being based on the Melody Maker, the Olympic was different to all the other Epiphone solid bodies. In 1960 this was a single cutaway Les Paul style guitar. Both these models were updated to the double cutaway style in 1962.

Then in 1963 the rest of the Epiphone solid body range got a makeover: less 'round' with an extended top horn and wonderful batwing headstock. This is the classic style most-associated with Epiphone solid bodies. But the Olympic was also given this new body style. The old Melody Maker-style Olympic was not deleted however, instead was renamed the Olympic Special. Only the single pickup version was available, but with an optional Maestro Vibrola.

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Epiphone Olympic Special: second version

All other Epiphone models remained unchanged until production moved to Japan in 1970, but the Olympic Special was the one exception. In 1964 the cutaways were re-shaped somewhat; less symmetrical, with a slightly longer top horn, and with better upper fretboard access. The neck joined the body at the 18th fret, rather than the 16th fret of the previous style.

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Epiphone Olympic Special catalogue appearances

Epiphone 1964 full line catalogue
1964 full line catalogue
This was the first catalogue appearance of the Olympic Special
Epiphone 1966 full line catalogue
1966 full line catalog

Epiphone is proud to present solid body instruments that offer the depth, the sharp treble, the biting tone and the virility that all guitarists seek from a solid body instrument
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Epiphone Olympic for sale

1964 Epiphone Olympic (#EPE0206)

LOVELAND, OHIO, 45140, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$2195

1964 Epiphone Olympic, Sunburst, Double cut, 1 & 11 / 16 inches wide at the nut, Black single pickup, Stud tailpiece, Excellent condition, Non original soft case, $2, 195 “At Gary’s Classic Guitars we professionally clean, setup & pro pack for safe transit of your new guitar to your door! We would love to earn your business ”... more

Vintage 1965 Red Epiphone Olympic Bat Wing Headstock

PORT CHARLOTTE, FLORIDA, 33948, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$859

This is a 1965 Epiphone Olympic It has the Red Finish There is wear, scratches, nicks, finish wear, dings etc The guitar is light, weighs only 5 pounds 15 ounces Looks very Vintage There is a ding on the back at the bottom(pictured)Please look at all the pictures as to condition as this is Sold as Is Comes with the Tremolo Arm Tremolo looks nickel, bridge looks chrome I know 65 was a transitional year when Gibson switched from nickel plating to chrome Comes with the vintage case pictured The ... more

Epiphone Olympic 1960’s

PHOENIX, ARIZONA, 85013, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1299

A 1960’s Epiphone Olympic in good condition for its age. The guitar head and neck crack, that was professionally repaired by J&M Guitar, it was also routed out for a hambucker, but the original pickups have been put back in, and a new pick guard was made to look like the original. The control knobs are not original, and the guitar has its share of dings and scratches, but nothing out of the ordinary for a 50-year-old Guitar. Plays and sounds great, has minimal fret wear, and does not include a... more

Epiphone Olympic Vintage 1963 Electric Guitar Melody Maker

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO, 87505, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1099

Epiphone Olympic Vintage 1963 Electric Guitar Made in USASame as Gibson Melody Maker of the same year only with way cooler original tortoise pickguardGood vintage condition with common signs of age and use Finish checking, dings, nicks and normal handling / playing marks Straight neck with functional truss rodAverage fret wear, mostly on the first fewResonant and very lightSerial number 146061I see no cracks or signs of repairs Appears original. Plays and sounds goodIncludes Line 6 gig bag ... more

1965 Vintage Epiphone Olympic Guitar - Cherry Finish w / New Hard Shell Case NICE!

NORTH TONAWANDA, NEW YORK, 14120, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$859

1965 Vintage Epiphone Olympic Guitar - Cherry Finish w / New Hard Shell Case NICE! 1965 Epiphone Olympic Guitar Cherry Finish with New Hard Shell Case Cherry Finish, Single Pickup, New Tremolo, Bat Wing Headstock, Larger Rounded Depth Profile, and Original Kluson Tuners (high "E" is slightly bent). A Nice & Tidy Players Guitar, She Sounds and Plays Great. The Usual Play and Age Wear with an Area of Some Surface Belt Buckle Scratches on the Back of the body. No cracks or crack repairs. There is a... more

Epiphone 1964 Cherry Olympic Body & Neck

GLASSBORO, NEW JERSEY, 08028, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$399

Gibson Dependable Home of the most First and most Dependable Gibson parts on Ebay U S.A. and Worldwide Bidders Welcomed Please note that we do not participate in Ebay's Global Shipping Program Out international buyers will not be required to pay import fees upfront during checkout through Ebay. How many of you Gibson fans out there have always wanted to build yourselves that awesome Gibson project guitar, but didn’t want to spend the money on a Gibson guitar only to dismantle it. Well, here is... more

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