Re: "Drifter" Les Paul copy Vintage & need info

Posted by Paul Clark on Tue, 05/04/04 - 03:04:39.

I too just bought a Drifter Les Paul copy, and I've been looking around the net for details.

It appears that the Drifter was a name used by Conn for several of their guitars, including our Les Paul-style electrics, some classical guitars, and even some twelve-strings.

Conn is better known for making student band instruments, trumpets and saxophones and the like. Compared to Selmer, Conn was more an entry-level brand. But one thing that I think is important is that compared with many cheaper guitars, Conn was a company devoted to making instruments that students could play and study on, not just trendy junk. the Drifter seems to be a rather traditionally made guitar compared to many cheap imports of the time- good action and intonation, real binding at the edges, etc.

Conn also owned Epiphone in 1953-5, and when they began making guitars again (in the 60's & 70's?) they seemed to be trying to make a quality product. Although it is safe to say Conn is more cheaply made, enthusiastic Conn acoustic owners compare them favorably with Martins and Taylors, . "Made in Japan. I purchased it new in the early 70s. Conn band instruments for awhile was trying to put out a superior quality guitar...and they did. At the time I compared it to Martins and Gibsons and chose it. Just sounded better. Georgeous guitar!! "

Nowdays Conn has merged with Selmer, it's upscale counterpart, and boith of them are owned by the parent company of Steinway (the piano makers).

I found that with a bit of attention, I was able to set up my Drifter Les Paul with good action and intonation (though I had to mount the bridge backwards, screws forward, to do it). It has a good consistent action up and down the neck, and is very playable.

Since the Drifter is such a Gibson clone, I'd recommend that Driferites looking for parts consider trying Gibson or other Les Paul clone bridge parts.

: I recently acquired a maroon Les Paul copy with the name "Drifter" on the top. It was in an estate that was from the 60s.
: If anyone has any information on this guitar I would love to hear about it. thanks a ton pete

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