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1935 Epiphone Broadway Masterbilt
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Serial #: 8866, white Long Island label.
Body size at lower bout: 16 1/2" Scale length: 25 1/2". Nut width: 1 11/16" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .87/1.03
Materials: Hand carved solid Adirondack spruce top; solid bookmatched black walnut back and sides; 5 piece mahogany neck with maple centerstripes; solid ebony fingerboard with block mother of pearl inlay; triple-bound body; bound neck.
Hardware: Original hardware includes gold Waverly open back tuners and bound bakelite pickguard. Vintage Epiphone Frequensator tailpiece, compensated adjustable compensated ebony bridge.
Notes: If you're one of the lucky owners of a prewar Martin, you might have wondered what an archtop might sound like if it too was made of Brazilian Rosewood. But because of the cost, weight and difficulty in working this exotic hardwood, rosewood has never been commonly used on archtop guitars. However, between 1931 and 1939, the Epiphone Company, alone among major builders, produced it's upscale Broadway model with back and sides of solid black walnut.
The result was a guitar with unusually attractive looks, but more. The voice of these unique guitars is absolutely unique among acoustic jazz guitars. The hard, thin walnut back and sides produce a tone that is distinctly more brilliant than ordinary maple guitars. The mids and highs have exceptional projection and a brilliant bell-like tone, making these guitars particularly well suited for acoustic lead guitar. And with a hand carved Adirondack spruce soundboard, the cutting power on these instruments is simply phenomenal, with the warmth and sustain of finely aged wood.
This rare transitional model is seen only in part of this model year, and is one of the last with the original 16 1/2" body, and asymmetrical Masterbilt headstock. Unlike previous models, the f-holes are one piece, and the headstock is bound. By the end of the year, the Broadway had been upsized to 17 1/2" and the delicate soundholes greatly enlarged.
This fine example is in excellent condition, without wood cracks, pick, buckle or thumbwear. The handsome amber sunburst is masterfully applied, and some light scattered checking and some older lacquer cracks would suggest it is now at least several decades in age. A gold Pat.Pending Frequensator tailpiece has been fitted to the instrument, along with the original gold Waverly tuners and bound bakelite pickguard. The neck has a gentle C profile, easy in the hand, with smooth low action over a fresh high precision setup. The voice is open, bright, and brilliantly clear, with excellent balance across the range. And loud, with excellent projection and dynamic range. The prewar black Epiphone plush lined hardshell case is included: worn but original, with one latch in need of repair.
A remarkable example of a very rare, highly playable, and exceptional sounding instrument. One only: call now.
Setup: 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-.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.