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1938 Epiphone Masterbilt Deluxe

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Serial #: 12674, Masterbilt label

Body size at lower bout: 17" Scale length: 25 1/2". Nut width: 1 10/16"

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

Hardware: Original hardware includes engraved Epiphone segmented trapeze tailpiece, adjustable truss rod, Brazilian rosewood bridge base with replacement saddle. Vintage correct hardware includes hand antiqued gold open-back Grover Sta-Tite 18x1 tuners; bound tortoise pickguard. Pick Up The World Powerstrip piezo pickup with 1/4" jack.

Notes: In 1936, Epi debuted its redesigned professional series guitars with an upsized body, 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 for only a three full years until 1939, 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 featured the asymmetrical Masterbilt headstock with an ornate tree-of-life inlay, segmented 'fan style' cloud inlays, extra binding at the edges of the fingerboard, a new streamlined bound tortoise pickguard, and bound f-holes. These instruments were also fitted with the rare segmented trapeze tailpiece, and boasted a feature new in this model year: an adjustable truss rod, machined with a square terminus, a predecessor to Epi's later hex-key adjuster.

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 spruce top is handcarved and tap-tuned to extraordinarily fine tolerances. The multi-ply binding is original and tight to the body, and the fingerboard binding is made of Pyralin, an attractive celluloid variant, and contains no side dots. A hand antiqued set of gold Grover butterbean tuners have been installed, and the pickguard is triple bound in dark tortoise in the exact factory contour.

The neck profile is a delight to hold, with a slim, contemporary neck profile, and the Brazilian rosewood fingerboard has smooth low action over fine pro fretwork. The original sunburst finish is well weathered, but remarkably free of pick, buckle and thumbwear. A single short grainline crack near the treble waist on the back has been professionally resealed, and some spot lacquer touchup has been applied near the waists and endblock on the back, and near a 1/4" jack on the side, which is connected to a Pick Up The World Powerstrip pickup positioned under the bridge foot. Weighing barely over 6lb, the guitar is nicely lightweight and balanced, with a fine high neck angle and bridge, and a brilliant, focused voice, with excellent volume and projection.

Fan inlay Deluxes are rarely seen on the vintage market, especially with the adjustable truss rod and pre-Frequensator tailpiece. A rare combination of the most desirable features Epi had to offer: 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 brown Cedar Creek plush lined arched hardshell case.











































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