Now that I’m relocated in Coos Bay, Oregon, I figured my music store trips would be pretty much a bust for a while. What a surprise to find a store like OrCoast Music here. Besides Orcoast being a Fender dealer (YIPPEE), they have contracted a Chinese company to make Les Pauls and ES-335s for their private label guitar line.

OrCoast LPThese are some very nice copies of what seems to be vintage instruments, as the necks feel more like the old LP necks that I remember. Not as nice as an “LP Vintage Pro” but better than the new LP Standard. The OrCoast Standard (left) has chrome hardware, white pick guard, and a red/yellow sunburst finish. The Custom has Gold hardware, binding on the headstock, a black pick guard, dark knobs and a burgundy/yellow sunburst finish.

I like the attention to detail on these guitars more than most of the copies I’ve played. Cup the neck like you do while playing and you barely feel the fret ends when sliding your hands up and down the neck. The pickups look like standard PAFs but these are hotter and overdrive the front end of an amp nicely. The bridge is a copy of the Gibson standard tune-o-matic.

OrCoast Hollow-BodyOrCoast also has the same company building ES-335 copies in black/red/yellow sunburst finish (right), and a natural finish. Nice neck, great playability, terrific sound. If you remember, I loved the Epiphone “Dot” I played in Alabama. This “Dot” is every bit as good. The neck is a tad better because it’s bound and, once again, no fret ends. If it only came in Cherry!

The finishes on these instruments were pretty impressive. Deep, like there were a zillion coats, with hardly a flaw. Both guitars are made as the originals as well; mahogany neck and body with maple top on the LP, mahogany neck through body with maple top, back and sides on the 335. All have rosewood fretboards and appropriately styled tuners.

The pricing for the Standard LP is $349. The Custom is $379 and the 335’s are $419. More information is available on Orcoast’s website, www.orcoastmusic.com , but if you live within a decent drive of Coos Bay, stop in and see John and Gen and play one of these beauties.

OrCoast is also a dealer for K & K Sound Systems acoustic pickups. These mount inside the guitar, under the bridge so they get the resonance of the whole soundboard. They are easy to install yourself or, if you aren’t friendly with tools, OrCoast can install them for you. John has a couple of these installed and they sound really good, even in an inexpensive guitar. Check them out at the OrCoast website.

How about a ’57 Champ, ’59 Bassman, ’65 Twin Reverb, and more, all rolled into a battery powered amp with built in tuner, tremolo, reverb, chorus, wah, Amplitube Fender LE … USB out for recording. That’s the Fender Mustang Mini. My impressions next issue, along with the Super Champ X2 and more Vox amps.

Doug Knight (71 Articles)

Our “Man on the Street” reporter, with his “What’s New in Music Stores?” series, resides in Coos Bay, OR. You can find him on Friday nights at The Small Events Center at OrCoast Music in Coos Bay.