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 1946 Epiphone Spartan

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Serial #: 55124, blue New York label

Body size at lower bout: 16 3/8" Scale length: 25 1/2"

Finish: Original dark tobacco sunburst finish, nitrocellulose lacquer type

Materials: Hand carved solid spruce top; solid black walnut back and sides; one piece mahogany neck; Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with enamel inlay; single-bound body, bound fingerboard and headstock; original bone nut.

Hardware: Original hardware includes Epi nickel trapeze tailpiece with Brazilian rosewood crossbar; original Waverly open back tuners, adjustable hex-key truss rod. Vintage correct thick contoured tortoise pickguard, compensated adjustable ebony bridge.

Notes: One of the scarcest models in the Epiphone line, the Spartan was introduced in 1934 as a round hole archtop with a maple body, roughly equivalent to the Gibson L-4. By 1936 the model was converted to f-holes and became Epi's top-of-the line 16" guitar. Like the legendary prewar Broadway, the Spartan's was the only other Epi model constructed with back and sides of black walnut, an unusually resonant material that produces a notably clear, bright voice, not unlike Brazilian rosewood. When the walnut Broadway was discontinued in 1939, the Spartan became the sole Epiphone model built of this hard, handsome tonewood, and indeed the only professional grade walnut archtop of its day. By the dawn of the 50's, the electric pickup had all but drowned out the loudest acoustic archtops, and the Spartan, never produced in large quantities, disappeared altogether.

This remarkable example is noteworthy in having a back and sides of solid black walnut, in contrast to the laminate construction usually seen in the postwar era. A well maintained example, the guitar is remarkably free of pick, buckle, thumb and fingerboard wear, showing chiefly some scattered finish wear and some lacquer checking on the sides and back. A single short grainline crack has been soundly resealed at the treble soundhole, and all binding is original and tight to the body.

The voice is exceptionally powerful: bright, forward and stunningly clear, with projection leaving many larger guitars in the dust. Smooth low action over freshly dressed fretwork, gentle C profile neck sits easily in the hand. We are always delighted to turn up a Spartan, and this rare all-solid postwar guitar is as wonderful sounding an example of this rare model as we've seen in many a moon. Call now.

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 (.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: Original Epihone arched brown plushlined hardshell case.






















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