Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Epiphone Crestwood (early 70s)

I decided to write about this guitar tonight because my catch phrase, “man, I wish I had that one back,” especially applies to this guitar. So much so that I recently went looking for another one just like it and bought one for only $200 off Craig’s List. I have no idea whatsoever how I came to even know about Epiphone Crestwoods. They are not by any means a popular model, and besides, I have always been a Telecaster guy since day one. I’ve tried Strats, Rickenbackers, Les Paul Jrs., and even a silver sparkle Gretsch Duo Jet. But I have always come back to Teles. So, when I came across this guitar, it was that same old feeling of “maybe this one will be different.” And this one was.

I’m trying to remember why I ended up selling it. I’m sure it was probably to finance the purchase of something else that I just HAD to have at that exact moment. I think I got this one for a bargain on eBay because it had a little monkey business going on with some of the parts. The stop tailpiece was not original and it had a couple of extra screw holes here and there. But it looked to be set up reasonably well and, on this particular guitar, I could care less about the originality factor. I just wanted to give something else a try.

Oh, and something else caught my attention. Someone had scratched the name “Johnny Ruddy” into the back of the headstock...I’m assuming someone named Johnny Ruddy. Hey Johnny!

This guitar, made in the early 70s, played like a dream and sounded fantastic. I always say it’s somewhere between a Les Paul and a Telecaster, but I think that’s more visual than anything else. The body style reminds me of a Tele if Gibson were trying to make one, but it has two humbuckers and the stop tailpiece and bridge of a Gibson guitar. The neck was all Gibson. I guess they also made Crestwoods back in the 60s in the USA, and those are selling for a small fortune these days. Those have a more Fender-esque, six-on-a-side headstock, while the Japanese-made 70s models sport a much more recognizable 3-on-a-side headstock of a Les Paul or Epiphone acoustic. There are quite a few other Epiphones of this body style with different pick-ups and appointments and, because of a lack of common knowledge of these guitars, people have a hard time differentiating between the models. They show up on eBay as a Crestwood or a Wilshire or an Olympic or an ET-290 or ET-275. The Wilshire and Olympic and Coronet are all different guitars, though pretty similar visually. The guitar I just recently acquired to fix my Crestwood jones is actually an ET-275. It’s got a tremelo and roller bridge thing going on with the cover missing and the trem arm lost in space. For some reason they almost always do.

Anyway, this guitar sounded fantastic and, just like me, I bet somewhere Johnny Ruddy is saying, “Man, I wish I had that one back.”

UPDATE NOVEMBER 3, 2008: As you can see below in the comments, a reader reports that he just bought this exact guitar off eBay recently for $450! How cool that through this website a guitar has actually been tracked through to a new owner. Thanks for leaving the comment!


Kevin said...

Nice! I have an original Crestwood from 1974, given to me by my parents for Christmas, still have it. Your article has inspired me to drag it out and fix it up. Thanks man!

Jaimie Muehlhausen said...

Glad to be of service! - Jaimie

Anonymous said...

i bought the 'johnny ruddy' crestwood recently on ebay for $450 and shipping...I love it.

CaseyEC said...

I have one of these I looked for a while before I found it, but it's my favorite guitar. A friend of my brothers lent me his for a couple of years while I was in high school then he moved to LA. Anyway this guitar has always been perfect for me.

Cody Gaisser said...

This guitar is DEFINITELY an ET-290. One of these has been my main guitar for almost a decade. It's incredible. The body is super light, the neck is very easy to get around on, and it sounds like nothing else. It doesn't have much sustain and the neck pickup sounds kind of bland, but the bridge position sound like nothing else. Sort of bright and well-defined like a Tele or Rickenbacker, dense like a Gibson, and SUPER HOT. I usually don't like hot pickups, but this one smacks the front end of my AC-30 in a beautiful way. Weirdly, it doesn't do that well with a Twin Reverb. I've outfitted mine with a Bigsby and the sounds I get from it are very unique. I'm thinking of blessing it with a TV Jones in the neck position.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your article. I have a black 74 and it plays like a dream. I am looking for the pick guard for my 1974 Crestwood Classic, any ideas where I might find one. You can e-mail me at psycdoc3@yahoo.com. Thanks, Will

Anonymous said...

Guitar with balls!
Bought one onto Ebay Sweden for Eur. 1500. My best guitar everrrrrrrrr!
Rock on, Charles

Albert said...

alaemel535I also have huge regrets that after 20 years in a band I sold my 74 Crestwood for a pittance,I would give anything to be able to buy one again.