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1939 Epiphone Emperor
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Body size at lower bout: 18 3/8" Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 11/16"
Materials: Highly figured tiger flame maple back, sides and neck; hand carved solid spruce top; 7-piece maple-walnut neck; 7-ply ivoroid body binding; triple-bound heel cap, neck binding, f-holes and head stock; solid Brazilian fingerboard with "split-block" mother of pearl inlay; ornate pearl tree-of-life peghead inlay.
Hardware: Original hardware includes Pat. Pend. Frequensator tailpiece and 16X1 Epsilon-logo tuners, adjustable compensated rosewood bridge, adjustable truss rod at fingerboard extension. Epiphone epsilon logo nickel 16x1 tuners. Vintage correct triple bound tortoise shell pickguard.
Notes: Massive. Rich. Commanding. The experience of playing a genuine prewar Epiphone Emperor is not soon forgotten. Built to lay an unshakeable foundation for the most raucous horn section, the Emperor produces a rich, buttery pulse like no other. But the big guitar is not merely a rhythm machine. It's lightly carved soundboard ranges effortlessly through the range of the fretboard with brilliant clarity and projection. Small wonder many veteran players regard the Epiphone Emperor as the finest big band guitar of all time.
She's a very rare example of a prewar Masterbilt Emperor, the glory of the Epiphone line. Distinctive early features include the large cello style soundholes, segmented fingerboard inlays, and the classic asymmetrical Masterbilt headstock with extended 5 branch tree of life inlay, and pearl triangle above the nut.
Body and neck show extravagantly figured fiddleback maple, and the solid Adirondack soundboard is carved to exceptionally fine tolerances. Original hardware includes gold Pat Pend Frequensator tailpiece, epsilon logo nickel 16x1 Epi tuners, serial numbered Brazilian rosewood bridge with scalloped base for lighter weight and solid fit. Finally, the guitar is pickup- ready with a pre-installed endpin jack.
A well maintained instrument, she is without pick, buckle or fingerboard wear, and shows the honest thumbwear of a well loved professional grade instrument. The ornate 9-ply body binding is all tight to the body and in excellent condition, and the tailpiece bend remains perfectly intact. The top and sides show several soundly repaired grainline cracks, and we believe the warmly aged amber blonde finish was applied at least half a century ago.
The multi-bound 1 11/16" fingerboard has smooth low action over fine pro frets, and the comfy gentle C neck profile is amazingly contemporary, neither clubby nor veed in any way. Remarkably, this massive 18 3/8" body, second only to the Stromberg Master 400 in size, weighs in at a mere 6 lb. 5 oz. The lightly carved, well aged tonewood combined with years of careful play combine to produce an instrument of surpassing volume and rich, cavernous resonance. The mids and lows are buttery and clear, and the high register is brilliant with natural reverb. And she's loud. Really, really loud: with projection and headroom to burn.
One of our most requested models, this is our first prewar Emperor in many a moon, and comes complete with with brown Lifton plush lined hard shell case in excellent condition.
Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished; trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; 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; bridge wheels 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 arched Lifton hardshell case with pink plush lining.