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1932 Epiphone Royal Masterbilt
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Serial #: 5725, gold "Art Instrument" label
Body size at lower bout: 15 1/2". Scale length: 25.4" Nut Width: 1 3/4"
Finish: Original sunburst finish, nitrocellulose type
Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top, mahogany neck with maple centerstripe, mahogany back and sides, Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, mother-of-pearl dot fingerboard inlays; Masterbilt script peghead inlay in gold leaf.
Hardware: Original hardware includes contoured bakelite pickguard; nickel trapeze tailpiece, nickel open-back three-on-a-plate tuners. Compensated adjustable rosewood bridge.
Notes: Introduced in 1932, the Royal is one of the rarest and shortest lived Epiphone models, built only through the following year, and discontinued from the catalog by 1934. With its serial number of 5725 stamped in the back near the label, this historic example is to our knowledge the earliest Royal model documented to date.
This rare bird shows the classic design features of the earliest Epis, including segmented 3 piece f-holes, Masterbilt headstock, 1 3/4" nut and 9" fingerboard radius. Of particular note is the opulent figured mahogany back, a rare variant with pronounced longitudinal ribbons of deep flame. This gleaming example has been preserved in exceptionally fine condition, with all original sunburst finish, and no cracks, pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear. Topping it off is the original pickguard in gleaming black bakelite, original nickel trapeze tailpiece, original open back tuners, even the original fitted Epiphone deluxe hardshell case.
The ornately engraved Masterbilt peghead shows the Royal logo in a floral pattern, outlined in gold leaf. With its generous 1 3/4" fingerboard, and well aged soundboard, this sweet guitar is fun to play, with a big bright voice with clarity and projection far outmatching its size. One of the earliest, and certainly finest surviving specimens of this vanishingly rare model, this guitar is a rare opportunity to own a uniquely playable and historically important instrument from the dawn of the Epiphone Corporation, "Builders of Art Musical Instruments".
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; 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-.057). 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 plush lined hardshell case.