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1945 Epiphone Broadway with Epi Pickguard Pickup
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Serial #: 52874, New York label
Body size at lower bout: 17 3/8" Scale length: 25 1/2" Neck width at nut: 1 11/16"
Finish: sunburst finish, nitrocellulose lacquer type.
Materials: Handcarved, bookmatched solid Adirondack spruce top; solid carved flame maple back and sides; solid cherry neck with walnut centerstripe; Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with block mother of pearl inlay; adjustable compensated Brazilian rosewood bridge, pearl vine peghead inlay, triple-bound top, bound fingerboard, back and headstock.
Hardware: Original hardware includes gold 16X1 epsilon logo Epi tuners; Pat. Pend. Frequensator tailpiece; Epiphone R-1 Spectrum double pickup cutaway pickguard assembly, with screw-on mini-connector cable, adjustable hex-key truss rod under fingerboard. 40's vintage Epiphone Brazilian rosewood bridge.
Notes: In June of 1948, Gibson debuted a "Finger Rest Pickup" on an L-7 model at the NAMM music industry trade show. This unit, now known as the "McCarty" pickup after Gibson's chief engineer, incorporated one or two floating P-90 pickups into a custom pickguard designed to convert acoustic archtops for electric play. Around the same time, one of the Epiphone partners, Frixo, designed a double floating pickguard pickup system for his own '47 Emperor, using a pair of Epi "Tone Spectrum" single coil pickups.
By November of 1950, the Epiphone conversion pickup was listed in the company's price list as the "Epiphone Spectrum Pickup in Pickguard Unit" and came in single and double versions, for cutaway or non-cutaway guitars. Like the McCarty, the Spectrum could be ordered as a factory option on a new guitar, or added as an aftermarket part. The McCarty pickup remained in Gibson's catalog until 1970, and was a popular option for their carved top guitars. The Spectrum pickup, by contrast, is now so rare that even the most diligent collectors have never even seen one, much less had the opportunity to play one of the fabled units.
This sunburst beauty left the New York factory just after the war, with the pickup assembly added sometime thereafter. Made of polished black bakelite, this "R-1" model has volume and tone controls, and a screw-on mini-jack of the type used on postwar DeArmond pickups. The single coil pickup has adjustable poles, like the DeArmond 1100 Rhythm Chief, and is remarkably similar in tone, with the clear airy responsiveness and a slight microphonic quality that captures some of the soundboard resonance in addition to the magnetic response of the strings. Completely self-contained and non-invasive, the entire Spectrum unit may be detached without a trace by removing just three small screws.
Unplugged, the guitar is a classic Epi; so acoustically powerful that one wonders how often the pickup was required in the first place. This fine example has been carefully maintained without cracks, and only minimal playwear and some light scattered checking in the original dark sunburst lacquer finish. The solid pearl block inlay at the 7th fret has been professionally replaced, and a bit of older overspray is visible on the neck. The adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge is a 40's vintage Epiphone part, with the correct gold thumbwheels. The solid carved back has attractive flame figure, contrasting handsomely with the solid cherry neck with walnut and maple centerstripe. Action is smooth and low over freshly dressed pro fretwork, and the neck has a comfy medium C profile, quite contemporary in feel. Rare as they come, this guitar is no mere wall hanger, but rather a highly versatile and deeply expressive performer.
Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished; trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation set; string slots at nut and bridge inspected and recut as necessary; bridge foot contour inspected and fit to top as necessary; bridge radius inspected and recurved as necessary; bridge wheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.
This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel strings (.013-.056). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.
Case: Original deluxe arched Epiphone logo plush lined hardshell case
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