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1938 Epiphone Broadway
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Serial #: 13179, Masterbilt Epiphone label
Body size at lower bout: 17 3/8", Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 11/16"
Finish: Sunburst finish, nitrocellulose lacquer type
Materials: Hand carved solid spruce top; figured bookmatched black walnut back and sides; 5 piece laminated mahogany neck with maple centerstripes; Brazilian 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 adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge with compensated saddle, original adjustable truss rod. Vintage correct gold hardware includes Grover Sta-Tite open-back butterbean tuners, Pat. Pend Frequensator-stamped tailpiece, bound firestripe pickguard, Armstrong Floating PAF pickup with volume and tone controls, endpin jack.
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 jazz 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. Delicate, 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,
This fine old guitar is just three serial numbers away from the last one we sold, not long ago. The wide grain of the soundboard is strongly suggestive of Adirondack spruce, with back and sides of figured black walnut. Along with the prewar asymmetrical Masterbilt headstock, the instrument is also fitted with one of the earliest Epiphone adjustable truss rods, with the square nipple under the end of the fingerboard.
The formal dark sunburst finish is all original, and the original multiply binding is tight to the body. A vintage correct set of gold 18:1 Grover Sta-Tite tuners is installed, along with a Pat. Pending stamped Frequensator tailpiece, and a gorgeous firestripe pickguard from an original template. The slim light vee profile neck has fine recent fretwork with smooth low action, with a fresh high-precision setup and excellent bridge height.
A small patch of typical pickwear is visible on the treble side of the guard, and a short crack near the bass f-hole has been soundly resealed and touched up. The voice is clear, bright and powerful, with excellent balance throughout the range, and volume to burn, all transmitted faithfully to the amp with the floating Armstrong PAF pickup, an outstanding performer with either nickel or bronze wound strings.
A remarkable example of a rare, highly playable, and glorious sounding instrument from Epiphone's greatest era. One only: call now.
Setup: The frets have been precision levelled, recrowned and polished; 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 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: Worn original brown Epiphone arched plush lined hardshell case.
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