1970s Japan-made Epiphone Nova-245 12-String Guitar

Thanks to the Epi Wiki, I can date this from 1976-1979. It's an Epiphone "Nova series" 245 model and it came in via a friend who wanted to get it up and running. This one was made in Japan and is entirely laminate but in very good condition for a 12-string of its age. I'm guessing this is partly due to the fact that someone had added a trapeze tailpiece (for no real practical reason?) at the endblock. I took that off, assessed it, and decided it'd play fine without it -- and it does. 

Work included a fret level/dress, string ramping and adjustment at the bridge, intonation and adjustment of the saddle, a good cleaning, installation if a lipstick pickup (requested) in the soundhole, and general setup. I found a clever way to ground the strings, too: copper shielding tape was applied under the bridge in a couple layers so that the ball ends made contact with it and I ran a grounding wire for the pickup off of that.

There's some weird sanding marks on the top but the guitar is otherwise very clean. I think Epi was going after a Guild vibe with this guitar style. Except for the bridge and oval soundhole, it's really close in other regards to a mini-jumbo Guild body.

The truss worked fine but I did excavate the cavity for it a little more so it'd be easier to adjust in the future. The tuners, amazingly, seem to hold alright.

Ironically, unlike many fancier Gibsons of the time, this guitar used real pearl in the board rather than pearloid material.

My friend had this lipstick pickup in his parts stash over here so I installed it very simply and fast for him. It sounds sweet plugged-in but will be even better once it's setup with nickel-wound strings that have a more balanced output.

I scrounged all the available random dotted pins from my parts bin to fill otu the bridge. If you look closely you can see I've compensated for each string to try to keep it in better tune up the neck. Also note the string ramps which have allowed proper back-angle on the (very low) saddle. Action is perfect, though, at 1/16" at the 12th fret treble and 3/32" bass.

Laminate rosewood is one the back and sides.


Unknown said…
I have the same 12 string. In fact, this post helped me decide to buy it when I first saw it. How does it sound with the lipstick pickup in it? I'm thinking about doing the same thing.
I have the same acoustic 12 string. Mine plays and sounds great and seems to be in excellent condition given its age. The neck is a little rough and the shape of it is a little difficult to get a clear sound, i.e., when playing Stairway to Heaven when I bar the strings they sometimes are a little bit muted but overall it sounds great. My wife likes the sound better than the Martin or Taylor 6 strings I own. My guitar has almost the same serial number as the one you show here, serial#471870 and the original tuning keys had been replaced with Sperzil Chrome tuners. They stay in tune pretty well overall. I have not installed a pickup but have tried a Dean Markley that works okay to play through my Fishman Loudbox Mini. Would you recommend installing a tuner to this guitar?