About a Girl -1973 Epiphone ET270 Electric Guitar

OK, so here’s another example of an early Kurt Kobain guitar, and if you’ve read my other posts you’ve probably gathered that I really dug Nirvana and Kurt.  His early guitar choices were based on his constant poverty, but the guy did recognize good sounding guitars!  When I saw Nirvana in 89, he was playing a Univox Hi-Flier, so it wasn’t until years later that I realized he ever even played this model!  There’s an excellent site called Kurt’s Equipment, and it’s really cool reading.  Kurt used his Epiphone early on with Nirvana, during the “Bleach” era.

These guitars are totally under-rated and are one of my favorite Japanese imports.  In fact, many of my favorite Japanese guitars came from the Matsumoku guitar factory.  They just made some excellent instruments during the 60s, 70s, and 80s.  These guitars have a really cool “bass boost” switch that totally increases the output.  In catalogs it was labeled as a tone switch, but that darn switch really boosts the output!  I’ve seen a lot of rhythm/solo switches that don’t seem to do too much, but this effect is profound!  The pickups are really special, measuring out at a healthy 9.44k at the bridge, and 9.09k at the neck.  I friggin’ LOVE these pickups!!

Of course these guitars were made in Japan at the famous Matsumoku factory. One sorta sad part of the story is that Epiphone production shifted to Japan after the Norlin Corp. closed the Kalamazoo Michigan Gibson plant.  Leave it to the corporations!!!

This model was the first solid body offering for the Japanese Epiphones, and was introduced around 1970.  It was initially called model 1802T but then changed to the more commonly known ET 270.  This was the most affordable solid body Epiphone and cost $159 in 1974.  All the other Epiphone solid bodies came equipped with humbuckers, but I REALLY prefer these single coils!  The prices on the other guitars were: ET275 $174.50, ET278 $189, ET290 $220.  These were actually sorta high prices for Japanese imports.  In the early 70s a new Fender Mustang ran around $200, but of course those were still being made in the USA.

The backstory of this guitar reads like this- one of my first steady girlfriends bought this guitar for me!  She was pretty cool, but she spent money quicker than you can say “boo.”  She had this interesting habit of going shopping every Saturday morning and racking up her credit card bills.  Then every year for her birthday her mom would pay off her credit bill.  I’d never seen anything like it!  She bought stuff for me all the time and really spoiled me!  I went from two guitars to five in like one year!  I think she was the main reason for my guitar addiction, and this guitar was actually a christmas present for me.  I had seen this Epiphone hanging on a store wall for a long time and she knew I wanted it, and that christmas she bought it for me!  Nothing’s better than a guitar for a present!

And there’s that famous Matsumoku neck plate again.  In the 70s serial numbers began to appear but I haven’t tried to decipher the code.  Someone out there has probably already done it!  Apparently these guitars only came in red, and are often described as being a ET270 “T”, although in the literature I’ve seen I can’t find any reference to that “T” suffix.  Who knows?

Anyway, the tuners had already been changed when I got this guitar but years later I had Dano Dave put on these mini-Grovers.  And Dave did just about all the other work on this one too!  Refret, check!  Neck alignment, check!  Rewire, check!  You know Dano also flips the magnets on many vintage Japanese guitars so that the in-between position is hum-cancelling!  Pretty crafty!  Mike Dugan did a great demo on this one, and he really shows the range that these instruments are capable of.  There are a lot of demos of these on the net, and you know 90% of them have dudes playing Nirvana songs!  We can do better than that…


30 thoughts on “About a Girl -1973 Epiphone ET270 Electric Guitar

  1. Nick says:

    Awesome, this was my first guitar that my father gave me when I first started playing, and I never found out what model it was until now. Thanks! I love this guitar!

  2. Kenneth Conant says:

    I had one of these. It was the first electric guitar I owned and it was given to me by my father for christmas. I latter traded it in for a Gibson Marauder. Many times I wish that I had kept the Epiphone. I have looked all over for information on it and finally found it here. Great to see one once again.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is also my first guitar, and I still own it. It’s had some fret work over the years, and plays wonderfully. My problem is that the white pickup covers have deteriorated over time. I’ve never seen these pickups before or since, but would love to find a way to replace the covers.

    The guitar plays wonderfully – those pickups give a wonderful semi-hot sound. I’ll never sell this guitar.

    1. david higgs, says:

      Hi sorry about late reply, i too have a epi 270 electric, bought in 1976, 37 years ago, just restored it with new pick ups, and tuners,
      plays better than any guitar I have, thankyou for sorting out the
      puzzle for me, keep rockin, higgo dave.

  4. Bob W says:

    I also bought mine new way back when. I sold it to my brother, who later sold it back to me. My pickup covers have also begun to disintegrate, and I’ve never been able to find replacements. Mine plays great to this day, thanks to little luthier work when my brother owned it.

  5. Steve says:

    i’m online looking up the model for this guitar which my best girlfriend also bought for me over 20 yrs ago. i’m looking to fix it up to pass on to my now 16 yr old daughter. awesome thin neck on these guitars! p/u covers are toast as well.

  6. Patrick McKinney says:

    This was the first guitar I ever owned… a gift from my parents, christmas 1982. Still have it today (damn, almost 45 years old)! My guitar was slightly modded by the previous owner, as the black pickguard was replaced by an all wood pickguard. Aside from replacing the nut and a couple saddle springs, she’s still stock, still rockin’! Although I was never a fan of Nirvana (or Kurt C…. sorry) its certainly an interesting conversation piece. Nice to belong to this small club.

  7. Roni K. Aguirre says:

    This is the first and only electric guitar I’ve ever owned. My parents gave it to me as a graduation present from junior high school in 1973. I still have it and still love it! Until now I didn’t know what the model was. I lost the tremolo bar some time ago and am looking for a replacement if anyone knows where I might find one.

  8. Brian Ward says:

    This was my first guitar too. It was my dad’s that he bought back in ’73 or ’74. He gave it to me for my 14 birthday and told me if I practiced and got better he’d buy me a new one for my next birthday. It’s a nice little guitar but it had definitely seen better days. Some dings on the body, and the nut had been chipped and we had to cut a new slot for the low E string. I had popped it off with the hopes of replacing it but never found a replacement nut. I just found it today while doing some cleaning around the house and decided to fix it up. You can never have too many guitars around right? I was wondering if anyone knows a good place to find a replacement nut, or what size or model I should look for.

  9. Leftover Cees says:

    once in 1972 I owned myself an et270 Epiphone guitar , , and really believe me this an awesome guitar !!!!…. why I sold guitar ? and buyed an Gibson SG whome was difficult to tune ??????

  10. Subtersonic says:

    This was my first guitar! I bought it about 15 years ago from a flea market for around 50 bucks. I never knew it’s model number until now, thank you. I was really surprised to find out it’s this old. I’m really fond of it and I really like it’s bridge.

  11. shawn says:

    i really want an epiphone et 270! do they exist for lefties? left handed or right handed doesnt matter, i just need one!:) please reply

  12. stirling fox says:

    Yes,ive had two of these one I got on a road trip to Kansas city from a pawn shop for 100 dollars,it didn’t have the epi logo on the pick hard or the truss rod cover,the other on I got for the same price from some guy I used to work with,he got it at a vintage trade show ,this one was in mint and hade all the episode markings ,the logo on the pick hard and the truss rod cover,the first I don’t no were it was made couse it had no serial numbers on the neck plate,the second on was all Japanese,you no the little switch they have are low cut filters,when you switch it on it goes all treble sounding,the necks on them are three piece maple and are great,I think they are one of the best playing guitars out there from this range and era,well I had to sell them both and I miss them so if any one has one for sell let me know please,I love this guitar, foxsdrummer1@gmail. Com

  13. freerange says:

    Uncle Mat made almost the same guitar for Gretsch’s Dorado budget line with a natural finish. The model number was 5895 or 5985. pups were different, but the body shape and the rest of the hardware was the same. The 1802t you mention had the more regular F style neck and headstock.

  14. JOhnny says:

    I found one in the garbage at a yard sale missing a few parts , tremolo bar and the spring screw adjustment for the G string. Any idea where in the world I would find these parts?

  15. Andrew Hunt says:

    Great post, my dad had one between 1973-75 then sold it due to not being in bands. All I have is a few blurry photos of him on stage playing it…he still raves how good a guitar it was/is even today. If I see one I’d buy it no matter how bashed it is…it looks sooo good.I knew nothing about the model name but do now.
    Great post and very jealous lol.

  16. Randy says:

    Hello I just found one of these (for $10.00 at a garage sale) but it has a fender headstock. It is a Granada brand. I heard it was from a Conservatory music guitar from Canada but it has the made in Japan steel adjustable neck plate. Any advise on how to age it? The serial number is 4468273. I’m going to fix it up and play it. It’s missing the tremolo bar too. Please contact me if you know.

    1. jeremyklaver says:

      I have one of these as well. You’re correct that they were branded Granada by a music conservatory in Calgary, Alberta. To my knowledge there isn’t information available to age it exactly, but it would have been made in the same years as this Epiphone. The Matsumoku factory made variations on this model for several brands. Early 1970’s probably?

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