Find of the Week: 1963 Echoplex "Brown Box" EP-1

As most effects enthusiasts will know, the Maestro Echoplex is one of the most iconic guitar effects of all time. Designed and built by Mike Battle, the first iteration of the Echoplex made its debut in the early 1960s and quickly caught on with guitarists for its portability, expansive echo capabilities, and gritty tonal character.

Over the following years, the Echoplex evolved in its design and build, eventually exchanging its hard-to-service vacuum tubes with more reliable solid state circuitry for the EP-3. While the EP-3 will still run you a good bit of money today, they do tend to be more readily available (and affordable) than their rare older siblings. That's why it's so incredible that not only an Echoplex EP-1 but a "Brown Box" EP-1 was found on Reverb this week.

"This Echoplex is one of the first 20 that left Battle's bench in 1963," the listing from Great Lakes Music reads. "I recently exchanged messages with his grandson, Bart Postlewait, at Hartville Music in Ohio. He confirmed that 20 brown dental toolkit boxes were modified and vinyled to house the first batch and that he'd only seen one in his life."

1963 Echoplex
1963 Echoplex
1963 Echoplex "Brown Box" EP-1. Photo by Great Lakes Music.

This specific Echoplex is so early that while it's technically considered an EP-1, you could very well call it a prototype. The few technicians who have serviced both a Brown Box EP-1 and the later EP-1s (which are housed in the more common grey boxes) can confirm that the circuitry differs just slightly with these models.

Great Lakes Music also specifies that there are no serial numbers or markings of that nature on this early unit, but that the pots "date to the 16th week of 1963." Amazingly, all of the components are stock (including the two-prong AC cord), but the unit has been recently serviced with a thorough deep cleaning and a little necessary maintenance, like loading new ATR tape and replacing the belt.

Great Lakes Music writes that after heavy research that included speaking with some well-known Echoplex technicians, there are only four of these Brown Box models still known to exist. If you want own a true piece of effects and rock 'n' roll history, here's your chance.

Be sure to check out the full listing here. The seller is open to offers and is willing to ship outside of the US.

comments powered by Disqus

Reverb Gives

Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music.

Carbon-Offset Shipping

Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments.

Oops, looks like you forgot something. Please check the fields highlighted in red.