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1936 Epiphone Broadway Masterbilt

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Serial #: 11299, Epiphone Masterbilt label

Body size at lower bout: 17 1/4" Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 10/16" Neck depth: .90/1.01, 1st/10th frets

Materials: Hand carved solid Adirondack spruce top; figured bookmatched black walnut back and sides; 5 piece maple neck with walnut centerstripes; solid rosewood fingerboard with block mother of pearl inlay; abalone vine pattern peghead inlay in bound headstock, triple-bound body, bound fingerboard and headstock.

Hardware: Original hardware includes gold Grover G-98 Sta-Tite tuners (one replaced), and compensated adjustable rosewood bridge with ebony saddle. Vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard, gold Gibson style Frequensator tailpiece.

Notes: Alone among major builders, the Epiphone Company produced it's upscale Broadway model with back and sides of solid black walnut, between 1931 and 1939, The result was a guitar with unusually attractive looks, but more. The voice of these guitars is absolutely unique among acoustic archtop guitars.

The hard, thin walnut back and sides produce a tone that is distinctly more brilliant than ordinary maple bodies. The mids and highs have exceptional projection and a brilliant bell-like tone, making these guitars particularly well suited for acoustic lead guitar. The cutting power on these instruments is simply phenomenal, rivaling that of a resophonic guitar, but with the warmth and sustain of finely aged wood.

Needless to say, we're always on the hunt for these amazing walnut cannons. Upsized from the 16" body of the early 30's, this 17" version of the walnut Broadway was produced for only three short years, between 1936 and 1939. Larger, cello-shaped f-holes made their debut in this variant, replacing the segmented holes of earlier models. The vine headstock inlay and block fingerboard markers in mother-of-pearl lend the guitar a look of understated elegance. The neck profile on Epis of this era is particularly noteworthy. Slim and contemporary, they are notably free of the clubbiness found in many prewar necks,

The grain of the soundboard is typical of Adirondack spruce, with back and sides of handsomely figured black walnut, and a solid maple neck with the prewar asymmetrical Masterbilt headstock. The instrument is fitted with its original gold Grover butterbean tuners, with one later replacement, a vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard, and a Gibson style gold Frequensator tailpiece of later vintage.

At just 5lb 6oz the instrument is exceptionally light in weight, and nimbly balanced on the lap or the strap. The instrument shows little in the way of pick, thumb or fingerboard wear, with all original sunburst finish. Some areas of flaked finish on the back have been touched up with spot lacquer, as has a single grainline crack parallel to the tailpiece. The multi-ply binding is original and tight to the body, the tailipiece is solid at the bend, and the instrument has excellent neck angle and bridge height, with ample room for adjustment.

The neck offers smooth, low action over fine pro fretwork, a gentle light V neck profile, and a fresh high-precision setup. The voice is phenomenally clear and brilliant, combining the projection of a vintage Selmer with the woodiness and versatility of a world-class acoustic archop. The case is original as well, and in solid condition, though somewhat worn in the lining.

A great old player, and a rare, highly playable, and glorious sounding instrument from Epiphone's greatest era. 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. 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.



















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