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The Guitar that Captured a Classic Presenting the New Ltd Ed Roy Orbison 12-String Acoustic
9.4
Rating
Ltd Ed Roy Orbison Signature 12-String Acoustic
Roy Orbison was famous for his muses, but not all of them were female — or even human. In many cases, his 1962 Epiphone FT 112 “Bard” guitar was inspiration enough for the young talent, as it was the instrument on which he wrote and performed many of his biggest hits, including “(Oh) Pretty Woman.” Now Epiphone is bringing back that classic guitar with the new Limited Edition Roy Orbison 12-String Acoustic. This is an exacting reproduction of Roy’s original guitar — with a spruce top, mahogany body and rosewood fingerboard and bridge — but with some decidedly Orbison touches, among them Orbison’s signature and the first measure of the famous “(Oh) Pretty Woman” riff on the back of the headstock. The guitar also comes with a certificate of authenticity signed by Roy’s widow Barbara Orbison and his son Roy Orbison, Jr. “As a young, brilliant guitar player growing up in West Texas, Roy would have never dreamt that he would one day have his own Epiphone signature guitar named after him,” says Barbara Orbison. “I hope the next generation of artists will feel inspired to write another great rock and roll song thanks to the Epiphone signature Roy Orbison 12-string acoustic guitar.”
Body

Species
Each Roy Orbison 12-String is constructed of a solid spruce top that’s been book matched and reinforced with hand-scalloped bracing. The sides of the guitar are made of two pieces of 5-ply laminated mahogany that has been form bent, and the back is also made of two pieces of solid mahogany.

Design
This square shouldered dreadnought style acoustic is modeled exactly after the original Epiphone Bard. Its hearty combination of premium spruce and mahogany is married with exquisite multi-layer PVC binding along the top of the guitar, and it has a hollow body that is not chambered.

Average Weight
The average weight of the body of a Roy Orbison 12-String is 3.5 lbs.

Tonal Characteristics
This guitar’s spruce top provides a full range of tones, while the mahogany cranks out low and mid-range sounds. Both of these woods owe their exceptional tonal capabilities, in part, to the painstaking process of kiln drying. Dried to exactly a 6% moisture content for optimal tone, this guitar will come to you with the tone you need and the tone that kept Orbison picking it up over and over again.
Finish

Color
The Roy Orbison guitar comes in the classically beautiful Antique Natural gloss finish, just as Roy’s Epiphone “Bard” did. The urethane finish accentuates the beautiful grain patterns of the mahogany body and protects its spruce top.

Surface Texture
Several rounds of vigilant hand-finishing and hand-sanding yield a sleek surface that’s smooth to the touch.

Process
Each square inch of the Roy Orbison 12-String is treated to four coats of premium urethane clear-coat. The guitar gets it finish by hand in a process that demands several coats and many hours. First a sealer coat is applied to the body and neck and then the wood is hand-sanded. Next the body and neck are finished and sanded individually — four times each. Finally the last coat is hand-buffed, yielding a guitar that is structurally strong, sonically optimized and easy on the eyes.
Neck and Headstock

Species
The neck of the Roy Orbison 12-String is constructed from three pieces of mahogany, the hands-down best choice for guitarists who demand a strong but lightweight neck.

Truss Rod
Epiphone's traditional truss rod, found in most all of our guitars, is highly responsive to the individual adjustments you’ll want to make to personalize and optimize string action and sustain. In fact, each guitar comes with an Allen wrench for tweaking the truss rod — a counterclockwise turn loosens, while a clockwise turn tightens. The truss rod cover on this guitar is made of black plastic.

Profile
This acoustic is fitted with Epiphone’s classic 1960s SlimTaper neck for super-fast fretwork and a comfortable feel.

Headstock Angle
The Roy Orbison headstock is carefully angled at 14 degrees, which increases pressure on the strings and helps them stay in the nut slots. An increase in string pressure also means there is no loss of string vibration between the nut and the tuners, which equals better sustain.

Headstock Design
Epiphone is serious about strong headstocks. That’s why we’ve verified that it would take 52.5 lbs. of direct pressure on the headstock of this guitar to separate it from its body. (That’s the weight of four bowling balls!) This headstock honors the classic Epiphone headstock shape but gets added interest on its back with a replica of Roy Orbison’s signature and the notation for the first measure of the “Oh, Pretty Woman” introduction riff.

Average Weight
The average weight of the neck on a Roy Orbison 12-String is 6.6 ounces.
Neck Fit
 

Joint
Epiphone luthiers use what is known as the dovetail joint to hand-fit neck to body so that the two pieces form one solid unit. This joint style has been used in homebuilding and furniture making and has been proven to yield a stronger neck and body than if the instrument was made from a single piece of wood.

Adhesive
The adhesive used to join neck and body on this guitar is Franklin Titebond 50, one of the strongest glues on the market today.

Tolerance
When fitting the neck and body together, we take advantage of our precise measuring equipment so that all angles, pitches and alignments maintain a tolerance within .015 of an inch. Not only does this help to keep your guitar in tune but it also maintains proper string alignment relative to the fingerboard.

Joint Angle Tolerance
0.0° (+/- 15 seconds)
Fingerboard
 
Species
The Roy Orbison 12-String is equipped with a rosewood fingerboard, loved by guitarists the world over for its comfortable playability and mellow tone.

Radius
The 14-inch radius of the fingerboard provides smooth note bending capabilities and eliminates “dead” or “choked out” notes, common occurrences on fingerboards with lesser radiuses.

Frets
The Roy Orbison 12-String sports 20 frets.

Inlays
The pearloid dot inlays that decorate the fingerboard of this acoustic are made of white ABS plastic, giving these classic inlays the mother-of-pearl look you lust for. The neck is also accented by gorgeous antique binding.

Average Weight
The average weight of a rosewood fingerboard is approximately .24 lbs.

Tonal Characteristics
Rosewood is a very popular fingerboard material, known worldwide for its warm tone.
Nut

Material
The nut on the Roy Orbison 12-String is made from PVC plastic.

Width
The width of the nut on this guitar is approximately 1.75”.
Hardware

Tuning Keys
The headstock of this guitar is equipped with small vintage-style tuning keys that are made of die-cast zinc with hardened steel gears. These cream-colored keys are designed to withstand a lifetime of tunings.

Bridge
This guitar features a rosewood, reverse-belly 12-string bridge and a compensated saddle. Compensated saddles have a ridge that alternates between the front and back edge of the saddle; this allows for the different string tensions. This saddle is constructed of molded PVC plastic.

Strap Buttons
The die-cast steel strap buttons are plated in nickel and positioned on the upper horn and butt of the guitar body.
Plastics
 
Pickguard
The pickguard on this guitar is made of imitation tortoise and includes a foil “E” for the Epiphone logo.
Strings
 
Gauge
The Roy Orbison 12-String is fitted with phosphor bronze strings, sizes .010 - .047.
Accessories

Hard Case
Your Roy Orbison 12-String comes protected in a custom hard case with Roy Orbison’s signature and his iconic Ray Ban sunglasses outlined on the case.

Certificate of Authenticity & Photo
The COA for this guitar, which is displayed in a leatherette presentation binder, is hand-signed by Roy’s widow, Barbara Orbison, and Roy’s son, Roy Orbison, Jr. Included with your certificate is a black and white photo of Roy with his “Bard” Epiphone.

Extras
In addition, owners of this guitar get a “sunglasses” lapel pin and a copy of the sheet music for “(Oh) Pretty Woman.”
 
 
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