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1939 Epiphone Triumph Masterbilt

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Serial #: 15223, New York Masterbilt label

Body size at lower bout: 17 3/8" Scale length: 25 1/2". Nut width: 1 11/16" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .91/.99

Materials: Solid bookmatched hand graduated Adirondack spruce top; solid hand graduated flame maple back; Honduran mahogany neck with 3-ply walnut/maple centerstripe; Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with mother of pearl diamond inlays; prewar "snowflake" mother-of-pearl peghead inlay, 3-ply top binding, bound fingerboard and headstock.

Hardware: Original hardware includes Waverly open back tuners, compensated adjustable rosewood bridge, bound nitrocellulose tortoise pickguard, adjustable truss rod, period Epiphone Pat. Pend. Frequensator tailpiece. Soundboard transducer pickup with 1/4" endpin mounted jack installed.

Notes: The Epiphone Triumph was introduced in 1932, becoming Epi's most popular full sized guitar until the company closed in the mid 50's. Priced competitively with the Gibson L-7, the Triumph is structurally identical to the upscale Epi Deluxe and Broadway models. This fine example is a rare transitional model: one of the very first with the center-dip headstock, and the among the last with the prewar Masterbilt label.

The fine grained bookmatched solid spruce top is carved of Appalachian (red) spruce, North America's most highly prized tonewood, now virtually unobtainable in these dimensions. The body shows fine open rollers of tiger flame maple, and is more rounded than later examples, with cello-style soundholes distinctly larger as well. The fingerboard is crafted of solid Brazilian rosewood, and the pearl work includes the graceful prewar snowflake peghead inlay, inlaid with exceptional skill.

Epi fingerboards narrowed a bit in the late 30's, but this guitar has the full 1 11/16" nut width, long standard for professional archtop guitars. Remarkably, the original bound tortoise pickguard is preserved in excellent condition, with the striking firestripe pattern now unavailable for decades. The stamped Pat. Pend. Frequensator is in excellent condition, rock solid at the bend, with plating so fine we figure it to be of somewhat later vintage. Finally, this guitar is fitted with Epi's earliest adjustable truss rod, with a square terminus accessible under the end of the fingerboard.

A veteran player, the guitar has been well maintained, with its original sunburst finish remarkably free of buckle or thumb wear. A patch of pickwear near the low E string is visible, with some weathering in the lacquer elsewhere, not uncommon in older Epi finishes. All multiply binding is tight to the body, and the instrument shows excellent neck angle and bridge height, with plenty of clearance for bridge adjustment. The neck is has the prewar gently veed profile, with smooth low action over fine original fretwork, with a fresh high precision setup.

At just 5lb 7oz, the guitar is exceptionally lightweight for a full size archtop, with excellent balance on the lap or the strap, and a clue to its fine open tone. The voice is notably clear, bright and vibrant, with excellent projection, and the deeply resonant tone of fine grained Adirondack spruce, aged for the better part of a century. A special plus: the guitar is supplied with a compact soundboard transducer pickup, with a 1/4" endpin mounted jack. Affixed with a non-reactive putty, the pickup may be removed or re-installed with ease.

Handsome to behold, and rewarding to play, this prewar classic is a fine example of one of the rarest versions of Epiphone's most popular professional guitar. One only: call now.

Case: Period black plush lined arched hardshell case.

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; bridgewheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.

This instrument is strung with medium gauge bronze strings. 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: Period arched plush lined hardshell case.






















































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