Epiphone Riviera P93 Review – 2021 Guide

Craig
| Last Updated: December 21, 2020

Epiphone was reinvented with the release of their Riviera guitar in the 60s, a model that has evolved into a staple for the brand.

Here we’re reviewing the Epiphone Riviera P93, deep-diving all you need to know about this incredible instrument.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Comes with 3 P90 pickups included for sound output
  • Hardware is made from gold to improve overall value
  • Slim tapered neck for easy beginner guitar
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

Epiphone Riviera Custom P93 Semi Hollow Body Electric Guitar

PROS

  • Great Looks
  • Durable Build
  • Solid Hardware
  • Semi-Hollow Body
  • Reasonably Priced

CONS

  • Heavy Weight
  • Adjustments Required

Epiphone Riviera P93 Specs

  • Type of Guitar: Electric (Semi-Acoustic)

  • Body Type: Riviera

  • Number Strings: 6

  • Tonewood: Maple

  • Orientation: Right-Handed

  • Scale Length: 24.75”

  • Color: Wine Red

  • Weight: 8-9 lbs

  • Pickup Type: Epiphone P-90 (dogear)

Pros 

Let’s look at the benefits:

Great Looks

This guitar is a looker! There's no shortage of vintage aesthetics on the Epiphone Riviera P93. This maple body guitar comes in Epiphone’s stunning Wine Red, outfitted with gold hardware, wind cutaways, and trapezoid inlays on the frets. These features work to highlight the iconic Riviera silhouette, standing out on any stage.

Semi-Hollow Body

Something that sets this model apart is its build. This guitar has a semi-hollow body, different from the solid body build you’d find on most electric guitars. This body build is unique to the Riviera and aids this instrument in creating its distinct sound.

This is one of the most important features for Riviera lovers. The tones achievable in a semi-hollow body are hard to replicate everywhere else. Many musicians favor this guitar to produce some unique tones. Even better, a semi-hollow build also offers users some unique approaches to customization. These guitars can handle amplification quite well, expanding their possibilities.

Durable Build

This guitar was built to last. Some players critique Epiphones for their more manufactured builds, hailing from Asia. There’s a belief that American made guitars are the way to go if you want something of a higher quality.

There’s no need to worry about build quality here- the Riviera has been created with solid craftsmanship, despite being manufactured overseas. This maple bodied guitar is surprisingly sturdy for a hollow-bodied guitar, with many reviewers online noting that it has proven to be a durable instrument.

Solid Hardware

The creation of this guitar's unique sound is, of course, aided by some hard-working hardware. This model features the much loved Epiphone P-90 dogear pickups. These will help you achieve some incredible sonic results, producing the vintage charm you’d expect out of this build.

A favorite among Rivera owners is also the inclusion of a Bigsby B700 tailpiece featured on this guitar. This piece truly shines on the Riviera, allowing users to create some pretty incredible sounds. With this piece of hardware, you’ll be able to achieve some unique, vintage-sounding, whammy action.

Reasonably Priced

Most buyers know Epiphone to be a go-to brand for great guitars at a discounted rate. While the Riviera may run higher than other Epiphone models, it’s still a much cheaper option compared to similar semi-hollow models on the market. You can rest assured that you’re buying an iconic instrument at a fair price when shopping for an Epiphone- and this still holds true for the Riviera model.

Cons

However, it comes with some drawbacks, including:

Heavy Weight

Though one might assume a semi-hollow guitar to be lighter, the Riviera P93 is surprisingly hefty. Be sure to invest in a strap for this, especially if you’re one to perform frequently.

This guitar is a heavyweight, which could be an area of concern for some players. Weighing in at around eight pounds, this instrument can be a challenge to handle while standing. If you’re one to play gigs, you will have to learn to manage a heavy load. This makes it unsuitable for beginner players, who may find it difficult to navigate this guitar's weight and size.

Adjustments Required

Some reviewers online have noted that this guitar is a dream to play, after a few adjustments. One common issue with buyers is that the action on this model tends to run too high. While this can be up to player preference, it can be annoying to adjust before diving into playing.

There are some other minor issues that players have found in common. Other reviews have noted that the output jack also tends to loosen, which can be remedied by tightening the nut. A need to dress the frets to remedy minor fret buzzing is also common. And though this is a minor cosmetic flaw, the Epiphone “E” adorns the pickguard and also tends to wear off quite easily.

What Are The Components of the Epiphone Riviera P93?

Pickups

This instrument will come equipped with Epiphone's take on Gibson's legendary P90 single-coil pickup, helping this guitar achieve its unique sound. Many cite the introduction of this pickup and the producer of the tone that has helped to define many genres in their formative years, including blues and rock and roll. With this pickup, you'll be able to achieve some amazing tonal control.

Tailpiece

Another key feature that makes this guitar shine is the inclusion of a Bigsby B700 Tailpiece. This handy little tool can help the player achieve some unique vibrato, further expanding the kinds of sound this guitar is capable of.

As a bonus, the look of this tailpiece makes this guitar shine. It shins proudly on the guitar, adding a unique vintage look. This sort of piece is an interesting inclusion in itself, upping this guitar's value even further.

Bridge

This guitar has a nickel-plated LockTone Tune-o-Matic bridge, a pretty standard inclusion on most Epiphone models. This aluminum piece can provide some solid control, though some users online cite that these bridges can be prone to damage and offer less stability than others on the market. This bridge will get the job done, but it is a common component replaced by those who like to customize their Riviera P93.

What Types of Music is the Epiphone Riviera P93 Best For?

The Riviera has a surprising amount of versatility in sound thanks to its hardware, suiting it to dons of different styles.

Jazz/Soul

Genres that highlight the crisp, clean tones this guitar can produce suit it best, making Jazz and Blues some of the best genres to make this instrument shine. The noise-canceling effect on the middle pickup is especially helpful here in achieving the sound you’re looking to hit.

Classic Rock/Metal

For a semi-hollow instrument, this guitar The P90 pickups can help you achieve some fatter, grungier sounds on this instrument, making it totally suitable for a classic metal sound. Plus, the Brigsby tailpiece can work to add some interesting vibrato to your play.

What Ages and Skill Levels is the Epiphone Riviera P93 Suitable For?

Though this guitar is pretty approachable, it’s best suited for a more intermediate player. The gear and controls on this instrument may be hard for a beginner to navigate. The heavy weight of this guitar may be especially concerning for younger players.

Of course, a beginner could shine on a Riviera, but they may want to consider an easier to control solid body electric before starting out on this model. Experienced players will have a better ability to fully take advantage of this instrument's specs and hardware.

What Makes the Epiphone Riviera P93 Stand Out From the Competition?

This guitar is an Epiphone original, making it stand out from others like it on the market. Everything about this build is unique, including the semi-hollow body, semi-acoustic nature, aesthetic appeal, and unique hardware combination. The Riviera is an iconic fixture in music history and one of Epiphone's most popular offerings.

Other brands, including Gibson, have made similar models, such as the Gibson ES-335, but these come at a much higher price point than the original Riviera. Epiphone is the exclusive manufacturer of the Riviera build, meaning you’re getting as solid a build for the Riviera as you can get at a fraction of the cost of the competition.

Comparison Overview

Let’s take a look at how this guitar compares to some other Epiphone models:

Epiphone Riviera vs Casino

The largest difference between the Riviera and Casino is their build. While the Riviera is a semi-hollow body, the Casino is fully hollow, giving it a much different tone than the Riviera. However, both guitars feature the infamous P-90 single-coil pickup, giving them similar versatility levels in the sounds they can achieve. Though, the Casino lacks the Bigsby tail bar that makes the Rivera shine.

Both guitars are similarly priced, with the Casino running just a touch more expensive. This could be due to mostly popularity- among players. The Casino is most infamous for being favored by Paul McCartney, especially in the days of The Beatles. Both instruments can achieve classic sounds, but if you’re a Beatles person, the Casino may have a bigger draw.

Epiphone Riviera vs Sheraton

The Sheraton was another influential Epiphone model and stood out in its lineup of semi-hollow electric guitars. This guitar is fairly similar to the Riviera, but some key hardware differences set these two models apart.

The Sheraton features ProBucker humbucker pickups, a popular pickup in the 50s and 60s that provide a crisp output. These work differently than the single-coil, P-90 pickups found on the Riviera. According to players online, the Sheraton also tends to have a much thinner neck than the Riviera and is absent from the much-loved Bigsby tail bar.

Conclusion

The Epiphone P-93 Riviera is an iconic instrument that would make a great addition to the collection of any electric lover! Here you are getting a great guitar with a long-lasting build and solid hardware at a super approachable cost. This unique Epiphone offering will always remain a popular choice among guitar players.

People Also Ask

Even though we have given you a ton of information regarding the Epiphone Riviera P93, you may have some questions that you still need to be answered before making the plunge and purchasing your own. Here are the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions.

Is the Epiphone Riviera P93 Hard to Play?

The Epiphone Riviera P93 can be a dream to play! The SlimTaper D profile neck makes it comfortable in hand, and the single-coil pickups and Bigsby tail bar offer some unique approaches to the sounds you achieve. Though these pieces of hardware may be a learning curve for some players, you can play some pretty great notes once you get the hang of it.

How to Care For an Epiphone Riviera P93 Guitar

Basic guitar care can extend the lifetime of this instrument. A good best practice is to invest in a hard-shell case for this guitar to keep it secure and damage-free between plays. Regular cleaning, polishing, and oiling of the frets can also help to maintain this instrument.

How to Date an Epiphone Riviera P93

All Epiphone models are equipped with a serial number on the headstock that can help you learn more about the instrument. By looking at this number up online, you can determine the date it was manufactured, where it was manufactured, and much more.

Who Plays an Epiphone Riviera P93?

The Epiphone Riviera has been a favorite among many legendary guitar players. Some well-known figures who have enjoyed using this model include Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground, Nick Valensi of The Strokes’ and even blues legend Otis Rush. This guitar, and its legendary players, have created some great, genre-defining sounds in their time.

Why is There Only One Color Epiphone Riviera?

Though some custom Rivieras and limited runs from Epiphone have resulted in other Rivera colors, these guitars are infamous for their Wine Red finish. This has become a staple, making the Rivera instantly recognizable on any stage. The iconic red coloring was first introduced on the Riviera 12-string from the 60s and has been an inclusion in the line ever since.

What Do the 4 Knobs on the Epiphone Rivera Do?

The knobs on your Riviera are there to assist you in controlling this instrument's electronics. On the P-93, you’ll find three volume knobs, one for each pickup, as well as a master tone control, making quick adjustments a breeze.

Craig

Hi there, my name is Craig. I took over Gear Savvy in mid-2019 and have had a blast writing content about music ever since. My role here is to steer the ship and ensure readers have the best information available for learning a thing or two. When I’m not working on content, I’m a husband and a dad. I enjoy spending time with my family, playing guitar, or messing around in my woodshop.