The Epiphone Olympic was a Gibson-made student model solid body Epiphone model produced between 1960 and 1970. The guitar was incredibly popular and was the best selling of all the Epiphone solid body instruments of the 60’s. The Epiphone solid body range paralleled the Gibson range with the Olympic model corresponding with the Melody Maker. Like the Melody Maker the Olympic was offered in single and double pickup configuration and initially shared the same Les Paul style singe-cut body. The asymmetrical body shape of this ’64 example started in late 1963 when the Olympic would join the Crestwood, Wilshire and Coronet in the single non-symmetrical body style.
This 1964 Epiphone Olympic at some point prior to coming to us been converted to Coronet specs with the addition of a single P-90 replacing the original Gibson PU380 ‘Melody Maker’ pickup. The conversion required very little woodworking thanks to the oversized original pickup route. The guitar has had a replacement set of modern Gotoh tuners and Leo Quan ‘Badass’ bridge. A Wilshire style B/W/B three ply is currently fitted. The P-90 is a Kent Armstrong designed SCF-10 with chrome Dogear cover. Both pots are late ’63 and likely original to the guitar. The guitar plays great, the neck has a nice full profile, the nut is the narrower 1 9/16” used by Epiphone from 1964 that feels great with this guitar. This style of Sunburst finish very rare for this model of guitar. The Olympic was offered in Cherry and a cherry/brown burst finish as standard. Optional finishes offered to all the solid body Epiphone Electric models were Sunset Yellow, Pacific Blue and California Coral. The Sunburst of this guitar is more of the style of the Gibson Melody Maker or post ’63 Epiphone SB721 Olympic Special. The finish backlights with no irregularities and we have no reason to doubt the originality of the finish making this one rare instrument.
The guitar sounds fantastic with all the classic P-90 tones and a loud acoustic voice. The guitar weighs a featherweight 6.3lbs and balances nicely. Electric guitars don’t get much simpler than this, a light Honduran Mahogany body and neck, single P90 pickup in the bridge, single volume and tone controls with a wraparound bridge. Despite the simplicity, a good single pickup guitar can be one of the most versatile and intuitive instruments. The conversion to Coronet spec is a real bonus here- all the work has been done, the guitar has suffered no breaks or repairs creating a super cool, unique looking, players grade Gibson-made mid-sixties Epiphone.