Pick of the Month - March 2001
1962 Dwight

Now here's an odd thing; an Epiphone guitar, made by the Gibson company and shipped with somebody else's name on it! This is a rare example of a clutch of about 75 instruments specially ordered by U.S. retail store Dwight in the early 60's. It's basically an Epiphone SB533 Coronet, identical in every aspect except for the logo on the headstock and the letter "D" in place of the traditional Epi "slashed C" on the scratch-plate.

With its simple Gibson wrap-over stud bridge and raunchy P.90 pick-up mounted on a mahogany body 1 3/8" deep, it sounds great, though the skinny body is somewhat thrown out of balance by the wide but slender neck. The symmetrical headstock houses some cheapo 3-on-a-plate open-backed tuner strips with brass cogs and barrels, and a nylon nut.

The Coronet (look again at that pick-guard!) was the Epiphone equivalent of Gibson's Les Paul and SG Juniors, though lacking the hooligan buzz-saw tones of the former and the bell-like twang of the latter and their big, chubby necks. My Matchless amp loves it; for power-pop rhythm and clean chord work, they're the perfect team. It can be a frustrating instrument to solo on, due to the shallowness and width of the neck and a lack of power around the upper frets.

Gibson went on to produce another 35 Dwights in 1967, though by this time the design had changed slightly to include an asymmetrical body design and single-sided "bat's wing" headstock. Of the Dwight company itself, I know nothing, other than they don't have a web-site! Are they still in business? What did they sell? Were they based in Michigan, or were they a national chain? Could any kind reader/former customer/employee out there clue me in via these pages?

Recording debut: Would have been the solo on That's Really Super, Supergirl (XTC), May 1986 - worked out on this guitar, but lost out to Eric Clapton's SG - instead had to wait for Crocodile (solo, XTC), July 1991