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1953 Epiphone Emperor
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Serial #: 65289
Body size at lower bout: 18 1/2" Body depth: 3 1/4" Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut: 1 11/16"
Materials: Highly figured bookmatched flame maple back and sides; hand carved solid spruce top; 7-piece maple-walnut neck; 13-ply ivoroid 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 in stained holly headstock facing.
Hardware: 100% original gold hardware includes Pat. Pend. Frequensator tailpiece; epsilon-logo 16X1 tuners; compensated adjustable rosewood bridge, bound tortoise shell pickguard, hex-key truss rod.
Notes: We're always delighted when an Epiphone Emperor crosses the threshold here at archtop.com. A perennial favorite, these guitars consistently outperform the typical Super 400 in clarity, projection and sheer acoustic power. Indeed, one must look to the better D'Angelico New Yorkers to find super jumbo archtops of comparable resonance and depth. Lucky owners have known this for generations, and now the rest of the world is starting to grasp the exceptional performance of these monumental masterpieces, as well as their incomparable value.
The pinacle of the Epiphone line, the Emperor was the largest and most costly instrument produced in the New York workshop. With its massive 18 1/2" lower bout, this top-of-the-line instrument remains the largest archtop to be built in a production factory. Yet due to its slightly smaller upper bout, many players find the Emperor body markedly easier to hold than its somewhat bulkier Gibson counterpart.
The back, sides and neck of this spectacular instrument are carved of exceptionally figured fiddleback maple, and the soundboard is hand-graduated from solid quarter-sawn bookmatched spruce, with Adirondack type grain structure. Remarkable for any instrument, this behemoth is bound with no less than 13 plies of original binding, an astonishing feat of luthiery in any era. The fingerboard is illuminated with abalone of exceptionally vivid color, and the guitar remains graced with its handsome original bound swirl tortoise pickguard, rare enough on guitars of this vintage.
Lovingly maintained, the instrument is free of cracks, and remains remarkably free of pick or buckle wear. A fairly late example, this instrument is fitted with some refinements welcome to the modern player as well, including the head-mounted truss rod, and the fully compensated original bridge saddle, both absent in earlier versions of the model. Apart from a few incidental lacquer nicks, and a few areas where the binding has been re-tightened to the body, the instrument appears much as it did when it left the factory over six decades ago.
Action is smooth and low over fine original fretwork, and a fresh high-precision setup. The gentle C profile neck is quite contemporary in feel, and shows the smooth thumbwear of a professionally played instrument, a clue to its commanding voice. Full, throaty and wide open after decades of vigorous work in the rhythm section, the guitar is an acoustic powerhouse, with projection and resonance that is utterly cavernous in depth. Finally, this magesterial instrument remains nestled in its original brown Lifton case, with the deep blue plush under the lid.
An instrument extraordinary in both performance and beauty, this guitar is a rare opportunity for the demanding player unwilling to settle for anything less than the biggest tone in the room. 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.
Case: Original Epiphone deluxe brown Lifton arched plush lined hardshell case.