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Epiphone Announces The Les Paul Ultra-II

Published: Fri February 08, 2008  News Feed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Nashville, Tennessee) The Epiphone Guitar Company of Nashville, TN. announced the introduction of the new Les Paul “Ultra-II” electric guitar. Based upon Epiphone’s top-selling Les Paul Ultra, the new Ultra-II adds a proprietary NanoMag™ low-impedance pickup embedded into the fingerboard and custom electronics to create a Les Paul that is not only capable of blistering, electric guitar riffs but also shimmering acoustic-like tones and when combined, greatly expanded frequency range and tonal capabilities.

The Ultra-II in Midnight Ebony.

First, the new Ultra-II is all Les Paul. It’s pair of Alnico Classic™ magnetic humbucking pickups combined with traditional LP design let’s you rock like legendary Les Paul players. However, the Ultra’s body is strategically chambered to not only reduce the weight, but to add subtle acoustic overtones. Taking advantage of this design, Epiphone teamed up with the premier German acoustic pickup maker, Shadow to take the Ultra to the next level. The result is the Ultra-II.

The goal of the Ultra-II was to create a more versatile guitar that was capable of not only real Les Paul tone, but also acoustic-like qualities but without adding a lot of controls and changing the overall appearance of the legendary Les Paul. Unlike other instruments that attempt to create a completely new guitar design, Epiphone went about this differently by starting with a proven, electric guitar design and adding to it.


At the heart of the Ultra-II is the NanoMag pickup. Referring to its small size and its composition, the NanoMag is a completely new kind of magnetic pickup that combines 3 Samarium-Cobalt magnets with on-board, active electronics to produce a low-impedance pickup with absolute linear response and an uncharacteristically wide frequency range. Voiced specifically for the Ultra-II, the NanoMag is embedded in the fingerboard after the 22nd fret. Positioned at this harmonic-rich “sweet spot, the Nanomag is able to capture all the harmonics - from the lowest to the highest - with incredible accuracy. All with ZERO noise or artificial coloration. This again is different from all other acoustic pickup technology.


The Ultra-II’s NanoMag pickup mounted just beyond the 22nd fret.

Front mounted controls for the Ultra-II remain in the standard LP locations. However, function is changed to Neck Volume (magnetic), Bridge Volume (magnetic), Master Tone and NanoMag volume. Controls specifically for the NanoMag, as well as the 9-volt battery compartment are discreetly mounted on the back of the instrument on the control cavity plate.

The Ultra-II’s NanoMag EQ control panel on the back of the guitar.

Using the back controls, you can set the treble, bass and gain of the NanoMag. Once you find the settings you want, you generally won’t make many changes to them. However, the control is there if you need it.

The Ultra-II also adds true stereo outputs that allow you to either combine its Alnico Classic humbuckers with the NanoMag output or, separate the two for mixing possibilities. Both options allow the use of standard ¼” instrument cables. With this, the player can route the magnetic pickups to a standard electric guitar amplifier and the NanoMag to an acoustic guitar amp or the PA. Using the front mounted volume controls, unlimited blending and mixing of the two signals is possible.

The Ultra-II’s stereo outputs work with ordinary ¼” cables.

Long time Ultra player, Nancy Wilson was instrumental in the testing of the Ultra-II. Her live performances with Heart as well as her extensive film scoring made her a perfect partner. “I am extremely happy about the new Ultra-II. I've never liked a lot of complex sound choices, especially on stage, but this guitar is just versatile without being confusing. There are 5 or 6 sounds I can switch between in the course of one song and it really bridges the gap between acoustic and electric. That is especially great for me as I usually have to choose between one or the other on a song by song basis. This guitar is awesome!” said Nancy.

The new Ultra-II will make its initial public debut at the Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA in January 2008. Projected U.S. MSRP is $1,165 with optional hard case available for $115. Available colors are Faded Cherry Sunburst and Midnight Ebony. The Ultra-II will be available at authorized Epiphone retailers worldwide beginning in the first quarter of 2008.


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