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1931 Epiphone Royal
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Serial #: 5227, stamped on inner back
Body size at lower bout: 15 1/2". Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 3/4" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .90/1.09
Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top, solid mahogany neck, arched ribbon mahogany back and sides, rosewood fingerboard, engraved and inlaid Bakelite headstock facing.
Hardware: Original nickel wrap-over trapeze tailpiece, original rosewood bridge foot with newer rosewood saddle, aged nickel Golden Age open-back three-on-a-plate tuners, prewar style teardrop Bakelite pickguard with nickel bracket; K&K Pure Mini soundboard pickup with Vintage Jack endpin jack.
Notes: How often do you get a chance to own the first one...of anything?
Introduced in 1931, the Royal is one of the rarest and shortest lived Epiphone archtops. Positioned between the popular Triumph and Blackstone models, the Royal appears in the 1932 Epiphone catalog, but was discontinued by 1934. With its serial number in the early 5000s, this historic guitar is from the very first flight of Epiphone archtops, and appears to be the earliest six string version of the model known to date.
Epiphones from this first model year are the rarest known, and only a handful have surfaced as of this writing. This pioneering guitar shows design features of the earliest Epis, including the double banner Masterbilt headstock, small segmented f-holes, and the widely tapered fingerboard with double dots at the seventh fret. The gleaming polished Bakelite facing is engraved in ornate gold leaf script, and with a soundboard hand graduated of solid Adirondack spruce, the back and sides are crafted of arched, laterally figured ribbon mahogany.
Meticulously restored, this remarkable find is free of pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, with its lustrous original tobacco sunburst finish protected with a light overcoat of vintage correct true nitro lacquer. Several top cracks have been splinted and cleated, and fine pro fretwork has been newly installed on the generously radiused solid rosewood fingerboard. The original wrap-over tailpiece remains in place, along with a vintage correct polished Bakelite teardrop pickguard, and smooth, precise Golden Age 15:1 tuners in authentic period style.
At an astounding 4lb 5oz, the guitar is one of the lightest acoustic archtops we've ever held, and simply floats on the lap or the strap. With its well aged, hand graduated soundboard, this rarest of birds has a wonderfully clear, open voice, with truly aggressive cutting power. Neck angle and bridge height are both excellent, and with its generous 1 3/4" fingerboard, the guitar has smooth low action over a fresh high precision setup. A special plus, the guitar is fitted with a K&K Pure Mini soundboard pickup with Vintage Jack non-invasive endpin jack.
Handsome and historic, this groundbreaking wonder is poised at the very dawn of the modern archtop guitar. Be the first on your block, to own the first off the block. One only: call now.
Setup: Bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation strobe tuned; 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; bridgewheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.
This instrument is strung with medium gauge bronze strings (.013-.056). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 5/64" 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: Deluxe black plush lined hardshell case.