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1933 Epiphone Masterbilt Deluxe

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Serial #: 6918, gold oval "Art Instruments" label

Body size at lower bout: 16 1/2". Scale length: 25 3/4" Nut Width: 1 11/16"

Finish: Sunburst finish, nitrocellulose type

Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top; solid tiger-flame maple back, neck and sides; Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with segmented cloud inlay; ornate vine peghead inlay with scribed banner insets; bound fingerboard and peghead; early 'rope' pattern body binding.

Hardware: Vintage correct hand-antiqued hardware includes Grover Sta-Tite butterbean tuners, grained ivoroid pickguard, and adjustable compensated ebony bridge. Early 30's vintage Epiphone gold over-under tailpiece.

Notes: How much would $275 buy in 1933, the trough of the Depression? A brand new upright piano from Sears Roebuck, delivered. A clean late model Hudson Terraplane. Almost six acres of good Indiana farm land. Or the brand new Epiphone Masterbilt Deluxe, the fanciest, most powerful archtop guitar of its day. The extravagant pearl inlay of the Deluxe made the rival L-5 look drab by contrast. But the secret weapon of Epi's top-of-the line guitar was its uniquely penetrating voice, a result of a dramatic technical innovation. While Gibson stuck with the short scale neck of the 1922 L-5 for over a decade, Epi pioneered the modern long scale 25 1/2" fingerboard, giving it's guitars the projection required to cut through the new bigger bands.

The guitar features some of Epi's most distinctive design features; the asymmetrical, banner-inlay Masterbilt headstock, with laminated bakelite facing on the rear volute; the 'rope' style body binding, and the unique 3 piece f-holes, as found on only the earliest examples of this model. As befits its top-drawer status, the guitar is sumptuously endowed with tiger flame maple, bookmatched in a stunning chevron pattern on the back. The soundboard is handcarved of quartersawn spruce of exceptinally fine grain: this top came from one very big tree.

This example is in superb condition, without pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, and shows exceptional tiger flame maple in the back, sides and neck. It appears this instrument returned to Epiphone in the 1940's, when a hex key adjustable truss rod was installed under a new fingerboard, and a factory sunburst finish applied. A single short hairline crack near the bass soundhole has been soundly cleated long ago, and we've completed the restoration with an authentic gold early '30's Epiphone Deluxe over-under trapeze tailpiece, vintage correct hand-antiqued Grover Sta-Tite butterbean tuners, grained ivoroid pickguard, and compensated adjustable ebony bridge.

Smooth low action over fine pro frets, straight fingerboard with a comfortable 10" radius, and the neck profile is a comfy medium C, neither clubby nor veed as most instruments of the era. Notably well balanced and easy to play, the 16 1/2" body sits comfortably in the lap. Best of all, the voice: clear and brilliant, with powerful projection and deep rich bass belying its compact size. One of our most requested models ever, this Masterbilt Deluxe has the voice to match its sumptuous appearance. Call now.

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: Deluxe black plush lined arched hardshell case.




















































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