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1950 Epiphone Emperor Regent
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Serial #: 60928 Body size at lower bout: 18 1/2" Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut: 1 11/16" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .90/.97
Materials: Highly figured solid flame maple back, neck and sides; solid carved quartersawn bookmatched spruce top; 9-piece maple-walnut neck; 9-ply body binding; triple-bound heel cap, neck binding, f-holes and head stock; solid ebony fingerboard with "split-block" mother of pearl and abalone inlay; ornate pearl tree-of-life peghead inlay.
Hardware: Original gold hardware includes Pat. Pend. Frequensator tailpiece, epsilon-logo 16X1 tuners, hex-key truss rod. Adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge, vintage correct multi-bound tortoise pickguard. Vintage gold DeArmond Model 1100 Adjustable Rhythm Chief pickup, with thumbwheel volume and tone controls and 1/4" endpin jack.
Notes: The glory of the Epiphone line, the Emperor was introduced in 1935 as the largest and most costly instrument the company ever made. Epiphone produced several prototype cutaway examples as early as 1941, but for reasons unknown, dawdled until 1949 to add them to the regular catalog, a full decade after Gibson started offering the cutaway Super 400.
The Emperor Cutaway (or "Regent") model, had a run of just five years until the last known example was crafted in 1954. As a consequence, the Emperor Regent remains one of the rarest and most desirable guitars of the classic era. With its massive 18 1/2" lower bout, this mammoth guitar was the largest production archtop of its time. Though bigger even than the mighty Super 400, the Emperor is paradoxically more comfortable to hold, as the upper bout is a full inch smaller than its Gibson counterpart. In addition, the extended Emperor cutaway offers several frets more access in the uppermost register than the S-400.
Premium priced over sunburst examples, the cutaway Emperor in natural finish was the most expensive offering in the Epi catalog. Not to mention the most spectacular, as the most vividly figured tonewood was generally reserved for the blonde guitars, which showcase it to greatest advantage. And this magnificent instrument is no exception, with its rich, warmly ambered nitro lacquer finish. The back, sides and neck are carved of gorgeous bubble maple, and lavished with a full nine plies of binding. And from one of the final years for the graceful prewar peghead, its ornate tree-of-life inlay is unencumbered by a truss rod cover, with its hex-key truss rod mounted at the end of the fingerboard.
From a fine private collection, the instrument remains equipped with its original gold hardware, including the epsilon-logo 16:1 tuners, and Pat. Pend Frequensator tailpiece. A special plus is the vintage DeArmond Model 1100 Adjustable Rhythm Chief pickup, the most coveted of floating pickups, with it's superlative 50's classic bop era tone. A pair of thumbwell volume and tone controls are mounted to the vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard, and connected to a 1/4" endpin jack.
The original blonde finish is ambered to a deep honey color, with fairly light playwear overall, mostly confined to some pickwear near the low 'E' string, and some scattered incidental dings. The multi-ply binding is all tight to the body, and the original gold Frequensator tailpiece remains in excellent condition. Out of sight under the pickguard, a single short hairline crack has been soundly resealed, and the neck heel shows an older repair that's been inspected and certified by our shop. With excellent neck angle, bridge height and fine pro fretwork, the guitar simply thunders under the pick, with its hand-graduated bookmatched spruce soundboard now vigorously played-in for over seven decades.
The traditional medium C profile neck has a solid, gentle feel, with smooth low action over a fresh, high-precision setup, with it's dark Brazilian rosewood fingerboard graced with split-block pearl inlays inset with lustrous Paua abalone. With its massive acoustic projection, buttery lower register, and clear, brilliant highs, this guitar is a true big band cannon, with exceptional headroom and dynamic range, and cutting power to burn.
An instrument of exceptional rarity, performance, and appeal, this remarkable find is a outstanding opportunity for the player seeking the ultimate in acoustic archtop performance, unplugged or through the amp. And all ensconced in its original deluxe brown Lifton epsilon-logo plush lined hardshell case. It's good to be the Emperor: our last one went before we could hardly turn around. One only, call now.
Setup: 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. Action is set at 4-5/64" at the 12th fret, with medium gauge phosphor bronze strings.