Thoughts about converting a '64 Riviera to stop tailpiece anyone?

Bluefinger

Member
Messages
37
ok ... here's the situation:

I have a very nice '64 Epi Riviera in original condition as far as I can tell. One of the Mini PAFs has been rewound because a coil was damaged and the pots have been changed but that's it.
I love the guitar enough to not let it got but I don't love it enough to actually play it on a regular basis. I think the no.1 reason for this is the frequensator tailpiece. I love trapeze style tailpieces on archtops but on 335 style guitars a stop tailpiece makes more sense to me sonically. So I am in this situation that I want to convert the guitar to something I really like on one hand and on the other hand I don't want to butcher a vintage guitar in close to original condition. It doesn't make sense to khave such an expensive guitar and not play it but I can't make up my mind which way to go.
I know it'S my decision but some thoughts would be appreciated that might change my point of view ...
 

swiveltung

Member
Messages
14,496
It's all about if you like it. I would hate to see you mod it though. interestingly, the one Gibson 335 I really bonded with was a trapeze tailpiece. So not sure if the stop type really makes a big difference. Actually... make that two, I had a lawsuit Japanese one that was great also and had the trapeze too.
 

bluegrif

Member
Messages
4,819
I wouldn't do it. But then again, I have no problem with trapeze tailpieces, which is what's on my only current semi, and ES135.

I'd say, rather than drastically devalue the guitar, sell it and shop for something that already has the stop tail. Vintage Epiphones are great guitars and I, for one, would love to have an early 60s model in original condition.
 

scott

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,881
If you do convert it I think you will be disappointed if you are looking for a different sound.
It will will make little difference to the tone of the guitar. At least not enough to transform it into something you will want to play on a regular basis if you don't already like it now.
I wouldn't do it, its not worth it.
 

55GibsonLPJR

Member
Messages
750
Been there and did it on a 67'.....bad idea...Don't do it, it changes the sound (value too but tone is what I go by). Those tailpieces like to see a minimum of 11 gauge strings to work correctly.
 

evaporatus

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
445
I have a 67 Epi Riviera all original in great shape. I would never mod it due to its loss in value. That being said, I do have a 71 ES 355 TD that my brother in law had a stop tailpiece installed 30 years ago because he played jazz with heavy gauge strings & the sideways whammy always went out of tune. He sold it to me 15 years ago. Its a great player...

Bottom line: do what you feel is best for you
 

100% Zulu Boy

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
319
I know it'S my decision but some thoughts would be appreciated that might change my point of view ...
Yep, true, it's your guitar, and if you modify it you may make your guitar more playable and you'd also help make my '67 more valuable, frequensator tailpiece and skinny neck and all. :)

All joking aside I think the string length behind the bridge adds something cool to the tone, and I also think that if you were to modify it with a stop tailpiece you wouldn't end up with a 335 -- the mini's on mine are bright and funky and don't sound anything like a PAF.

So I'm in the "don't modify it" camp, not because of what it is but because what it is probably wont ever be what you want it to be. The Epi Rivera is an amazing instrument; it was the guitar of choice for Otis Rush and Magic Sam, and John Lee Hooker played a really similar Sheraton model. I love the way mine sounds and plays; it's not the best vintage guitar I've ever played but for what it is it's really damn cool and gets sounds I can't find on any other guitar I own.

Best,

~j
 
Messages
5,094
One of the reasons I won't change the Frequensator tailpiece on my 1967 Epiphone Riviera is because my Riviera plays well and sounds good just the way it is.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,223
don't discount the bigsby!

the increased down-angle behind the bridge of a bigsby with the roller bar will make an otherwise "loosey-goosey" feeling hollowbody have a tighter feel, a bit closer to a stop bar.

is this epi a semi-hollow? if so i suppose one could do the mod (and take the hit to the resale value); you could always scrounge up a "custom made" bowling trophy plaque to cover up the stop bar holes if you went back to the trapeze tailpiece or the bigsby.
 

Jimmy MAck

Member
Messages
767
I had the good fortune to find a used '64 Riviera, in the 80's, lower in value because the tuners were changed, and... it had a
stop bar already installed. Just about the best guitar I ever owned. The tone from that guitar always turned heads, I got many compliments. It did a number of things very well. In a clean Twin Reverb, I easily had the Beatles' Casino tone (same wood from the same factory at the time). But, it did not have that PAF sound, because of the mini-hums.

IMO, the stop bar was magic for that guitar. I play blues and jazz. Sustain and sweeeeet tone.

But, I had to sell it. Despite the "quoted" value of it, and its magnificent tone, people didn't want to pay what I thought it was worth. ( It wasn't a Gibson )

It's a tough call.
 

HayekFan

Member
Messages
1,526
don't discount the bigsby!

the increased down-angle behind the bridge of a bigsby with the roller bar will make an otherwise "loosey-goosey" feeling hollowbody have a tighter feel, a bit closer to a stop bar.
The catch is that the Bigsby also adds extra string length behind the bridge, which I'm finding affects the bending feel more than the break angle does, and not in a good way. I say this based on doing comparisons using setups like this:



(All three strings are .010".)
 
Last edited:

Bluefinger

Member
Messages
37
Thanks everybody ... I guess the reason why I haven't done it yet is that it makes me feel uncomfortable and if it doesn't work out the way i expect there's no way back. I guess it will be my only collector's piece as i cannot part with it for some reason. I have sold so many guitars but somehow I like this one even tho I hardly ever play it. Looks like everything will stay the way it is ...
 

55GibsonLPJR

Member
Messages
750
Thanks everybody ... I guess the reason why I haven't done it yet is that it makes me feel uncomfortable and if it doesn't work out the way i expect there's no way back. I guess it will be my only collector's piece as i cannot part with it for some reason. I have sold so many guitars but somehow I like this one even tho I hardly ever play it. Looks like everything will stay the way it is ...
Smart and Don't forget you can try different trapeze style tailpieces too.
 




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