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1937 Epiphone Masterbilt Deluxe

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Serial #: 12201, Masterbilt label

Body size at lower bout: 17" Scale length: 25 1/2". Nut width: 1 11/16"

Materials: Solid bookmatched hand carved Adirondack spruce top; solid hand carved tiger flame maple back; flame maple neck with 3-ply walnut/maple centerstripe; solid rosewood fingerboard with mother of pearl 'cloud' inlays; ornate tree-of-life mother-of-pearl peghead inlay, multi-bound fingerboard, headstock and soundholes.

Hardware: Vintage correct hand-antiqued gold hardware includes Grover Sta-Tite 18x1 tuners, long-tail Frequensator tailpiece, bound tortoise pickguard. Adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge with compensated ebony saddle; adjustable truss rod; vintage De Armond FHC floating pickup with volume control and cable.

Notes: In 1935, Epiphone debuted its redesigned professional series guitars with upsized bodies, larger f-holes, and a new streamlined script logo and inlay designs. Regarded by many as the pinnacle of Epiphone design, these transitional models were produced only until 1938, making instruments of this vintage some of the scarcest examples of Epiphone's Golden Era.

Originally christened the Super Deluxe, this guitar was the top of the 17" line, and aimed squarely at its only real competitor, the Gibson L-5. This new Deluxe featured the asymmetrical Masterbilt headstock with an ornate tree-of-life inlay, cloud inlays, extra binding at the edges of the fingerboard, a new streamlined bound tortoise pickguard, and bound f-holes. The year this handsome guitar was crafted Epiphone introduced their signature 'Frequensator' tailpiece as well.

Epi's craftsmen saved their most eye-catching tonewood for their glamorous flagship model. The back, sides and neck are carved from handsomely figured flame maple under an elegant dark sunburst. The bookmatched quartersawn Adirondack spruce top is handcarved and tap-tuned to extraordinarily fine tolerances, and the multi-ply binding is tight to the body. A set of vintage correct antique gold Grover Sta-Tite tuners have been installed, with smooth modern 18x1 gearing, and the pickguard is triple bound in dark tortoise in the exact factory contour.

Weighing barely 6lb, the guitar is wonderfully lightweight and balanced, with a fine high neck angle and bridge, and a warm, focused voice, with excellent balance and projection. The neck is a delight to hold, with a remarkably contemporary profile, and smooth low action with a fresh high-precision setup over fine high fretwork. An adjustable truss rod allows the fingerboard relief to be set to precise tolerances for the most meticulous modern player. The handsome sunburst finish is remarkably free of pick, buckle and thumbwear, with a bit of older overspray to the neck, and the cloud fingerboard inlays recently re-installed in deeply ambered mother of pearl. A special plus is the genuine vintage De Armond FHC pickup, with volume control and cable, the original floating pickup, and the epitome of vintage swing-era tone.

Produced in much smaller numbers than their Gibson counterparts, prewar Epiphone Deluxes are rarely seen on the vintage market, and this fine example combines prewar tone and styling with easy modern playability. And the clouds, those glorious clouds. One only, call now.

Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished as necessary; 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 arched plush lined hardshell case.











































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