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1937 Epiphone Broadway Masterbilt
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Serial #: 12402, Epiphone Masterbilt label
Body size at lower bout: 17 1/4" Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 21/32" Neck depth: .93/1.02, 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 gold hardware includes slotted Epiphone logo trapeze tailpiece, Waverly open back tuners, compensated adjustable rosewood bridge. Vintage correct Mirabella bound tortoise pickguard.
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. 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. Along with the prewar asymmetrical Masterbilt headstock, the instrument is also fitted with its original gold Waverly oval key tuners, and a vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard. Most distinctively, the guitar is equipped with a very scarce slotted Epiphone logo trapeze tailpiece. Soundly brazed at the retainer, this art deco rarity is seen for only than two years on this model.
At just 5lb 7oz the instrument is exceptionally light in weight, and nimbly balanced on the lap or the strap. The original sunburst finish is notably free of pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, showing mostly some scattered incidental lacquer nicks on the top and back. The body has been expertly rebound by Mirabella, who also crafted the vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard. Apart from a single tight grainline crack soundly cleated at the treble f-hole, the instrument shows no other structural repairs, and has excellent neck angle and bridge height.
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.
One of our most sought-after models, a remarkable example of 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 (.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: Deluxe heavy duty arched black plush lined hardshell case.
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