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1950 Epiphone Triumph Regent, C-1 Spectrum Pickguard Pickup
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Serial #: 61066, New York label
Body size at lower bout: 17 3/8" Scale length: 25 1/2" Neck width at nut: 1 11/16" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .88/1.05
Materials: Handcarved, bookmatched solid spruce top; solid carved maple back; tiger flame maple sides; 5 piece cherry neck with walnut centerstripe; Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with diamond mother of pearl inlay; adjustable compensated rosewood bridge, pearl peghead inlay, triple-bound top, bound fingerboard, back and headstock.
Hardware: Original nickel hardware includes 16X1 epsilon logo Epi tuners, Pat. Pend. Frequensator tailpiece, adjustable compensated rosewood bridge, Epiphone C-1 Spectrum pickup cutaway pickguard assembly, with tone and volume controls, endpin jack
Notes: In June of 1948, Gibson debuted a "Finger Rest Pickup" on an L-7 model at the NAMM music industry trade show. This unit, now known as the "McCarty" pickup after Gibson's chief engineer, incorporated one or two floating P-90 pickups into a custom pickguard designed to convert acoustic archtops for electric play. Around the same time, one of the Epiphone partners, Frixo, designed a double floating pickguard pickup system for his own '47 Emperor, using a pair of Epi "Tone Spectrum" single coil pickups.
By November of 1950, the Epiphone conversion pickup was listed in the company's price list as the "Epiphone Spectrum Pickup in Pickguard Unit" and came in single and double versions, for cutaway or non-cutaway guitars. Like the McCarty, the Spectrum could be ordered as a factory option on a new guitar, or added as an aftermarket part. The McCarty pickup remained in Gibson's catalog until 1970, and was a popular option for their carved top guitars. The Spectrum pickup, by contrast, is now so scarce that even the most diligent collectors have rarely even seen one, much less had the opportunity to play one of the elusive units.
Meantime, Epiphone debuted its new Triumph Regent model in 1949. The cutaway version of Epis most popular professional archtop, the Triumph Regent was manufactured in New York for only about three years, and is accordingly a much scarcer item than either the non-cutaway Triumph, or its competitor, the Gibson L-7C. The Epiphone cutaway design was deeper than Gibson's, allowing greater access to the uppermost frets, and cutaway Epis generally tend to have greater acoustic projection than their Kalamazoo rivals as well.
This stunning blonde beauty is from tthe second model year, and is one of the most pristine examples we have seen here to date. The Spectrum pickup is a "C-1" model, with volume and tone controls, and is fitted to a vintage correct black bakelite pickguard fabricated from an original template at our shop. The single coil pickup has adjustable poles, like the DeArmond 1100 Rhythm Chief, and is remarkably similar in tone, with the clear airy responsiveness and a slight microphonic quality, that capture some of the acoustic resonance of the soundboard, in addition to the magnetic response of the strings alone. Completely self-contained and non-invasive, the entire Spectrum unit may be detached without a trace by removing just three small screws and disconnecting the wire to the endpin jack.
Unplugged, the guitar is a classic Epi; so acoustically powerful that one wonders how often the pickup was required in the first place. Triumph Regents are among the very few cutaway guitars that can compare favorably in volume with their noncutaway contemporaries. (It's only a pity Epiphone didn't make more of them. Production tapered off sharply after 1953, and dwindled to a mere handful by the firm's demise in 1956.)
This remarkable instrument has been preserved in truly astounding condition, free of pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear. The tailpiece is solid, and the original amber blonde finish looks much as it must have when it first left the factory during the Truman administration. The solid carved back has attractive birdseye figure, and the cherry wood neck is laminated with walnut centerstripes. The original multi-ply binding has a few tiny shims on the back, with just a trace of flaked finish near the bass waist. Action is smooth and low over freshly dressed original fretwork, and the neck has a comfy medium C profile, quite contemporary in feel. And the original brown Epiphone hardshell case is every bit as fine as the guitar itself.
A rare opportunity to acquire a truly pioneering instrument, in gleaming condition, from the dawn of the modern jazz guitar. One only: 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; bridge wheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.
This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel roundwound 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.
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