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1988 Gibson/Epiphone Nouveau Spotlight (PRS Lawsuit Model)

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Posted 6 years ago

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This is a 1988 Gibson/Epiphone Nouveau Spotlight (PRS Lawsuit Model) recently found at a Toledo, Ohio area guitar store. This is the guitar that Gibson/Epiphone had to quit making after something less than probably 2,500 were produced. No one seems to know exactly how many were manufactured. In my opinion, this guitar plays better than the Paul Reed Smith guitars that it was built to compete with, having played both.
It has a solid (not veneer) carved curly maple top (mine being more flamed than curly.) It has two EMG Select humbucking pickups, a three way selector, volume and tone pots with a pull coil splitter on the tone pot.
Body and neck are mahogany and the neck is neck-through rather than set in or bolt on. Fret board is something that Epiphone called "Ebanol". It has chevron inlays. It had both a standard string nut as well as a locking nut above that. Mine was missing the locking nut when I bought it. I replaced it with a modern one that I modified to work properly. The head stock has both Epiphone and Gibson inlaid on it. The tremolo is this guitars weak point. It came with a Steinberger KB model tremolo which was poorly engineered and misunderstood by purchasers of the guitar with many being bent beyond use due to wrong adjustment of the tension spring and locking unit during the tuning process. The tremolo had weak posts and post pedestals which bent towards the pickups when misused or incorrectly adjusted. This particular guitar also had bent posts. I bought this guitar to play, not to collect, so I fixed the problems with it. Now it plays like it is brand new with perfect intonation. I would post a link to how I fixed it but I'm afraid that might violate this boards rules. If interested in how I did it search online for that subject. The last picture shows the guitar as it looks now (several months later.) I have replaced the old volume and tone knobs with new abalone topped ones from Stew Mac and I have also replaced the standard three way selector switch with a blend pot which actually blends the two pickups instead of just selecting between the one at a time or both at once. I also got another abalone knob for this new function as well as a position indicator which aligns with the knob set-screw and center detent to show midway between the two pickups. I also completely shielded the pickup cavities and control cavities with copper tape as well as the EMG pickups which are now covered in the tape totally. Then I completely re-powder coated the bridge and locking nut to look like new as well as the strap buttons which were chrome before. I also replaced the pickup surround cover screws and back cover plate screws with brand new black ones from Stew Mac as well as a new 6 mm replacement whammy bar. This guitar plays fast and easy just like a more modern metal axe like my Ibanez 350 DX and I wouldn't sell it for under $5,000 dollars with it set up perfect like I have it for myself.

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