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1955 Epiphone Deluxe Cutaway

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Serial #: 69139, blue NY label

Body size at lower bout: 17 3/8" Scale length: 25 1/2" Fingerboard width at nut: 1 11/16"

Finish: Original sunburst finish, nitrocellulose lacquer type.

Materials: Handcarved, bookmatched solid bearclaw spruce top; fiddleback maple back and sides; tiger maple neck with 3 piece center stripe; Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with mother of pearl cloud inlay; Brazilian rosewood bridge, pearl 'Dogwood blossom' peghead inlay, 9-ply body binding, 3-ply headstock binding; bound f-holes, solid bone nut.

Hardware: All original gold hardware includes 16x1 Epsilon logo tuners, Pat.Pend. Frequensator tailpiece and pickguard bracket; triple bound tortoise pickguard, adjustable truss rod, compensated adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge. Gold DeArmond 1100 pickup with volume control and 1/8" mini-jack.

Notes: Nineteen. Total. So describes the entire number of the Epiphone Deluxe Cutaways (or Regent models) to be documented to date, on the most comprehensive New York Epiphone database. We all knew that Deluxes in general were much rarer than than their closest competitor, the Gibson L-5. But those seeking Deluxe styling in a cutaway guitar have discovered that these models are scarce to the vanishing point. Years could pass before we saw even a single example hit the market. And why?

For reasons unclear, Epiphone dawdled on regular production of cutaway guitars until the late 40's, leaving the field to Gibson for almost a decade. This inexplicable delay meant that Epiphone acoustic cutaways, especially the top-of-the line models, remain some of the rarest production archtops in the world. Indeed the entire production run of these magnificent instruments spanned a mere six years, from 1949 to 1955. And in some of those years not a single example left the factory at all.

This spectacular guitar is from the very last batch of Deluxe Cutaways, built just months before the plant closed its doors for good. Of the five known examples in that final issue, this guitar has the second-to-last serial number recorded as of this writing. It's also one of only two known examples of this model inlaid with the 'Dogwood blossom' peghead inlay, more commonly seen on Epi's massive FT-210 Deluxe flat top guitars, and a few Broadway Regents as well.

Once displayed in the private Tokyo showroom of legendary collector Akira Tsumura, this guitar is featured in color plates on pages 43 and 44 of his book: Guitars, The Tsumura Collection (Kodansha, 1987). The soundboard is carved of exceptionally vivid bearclaw spruce, with deep crossgrain figure interlacing the top. The back and sides are crafted of cello-grade fiddleback maple, deftly bookmatched, while the neck is graced with wide rollers of intense tiger flame.

Immaculately maintained, the instrument has all-original sunburst finish, shaded subtly from rim to rim. The guitar shows no cracks, and is astoundlingly free of playwear of any kind. Indeed, even the typical light finish checking almost universal in guitars of this vintage is almost completely absent. The gold hardware is all original as well, including the trademark epsilon logo tuners, and Pat. Pend Frequensator tailpiece, still solid after some six decades. Even the original transparent tortoise pickguard remains intact, a minor miracle with this notoriously volatile material.

A final bonus is the vintage gold DeArmond 1100 Adjustable Rhythm Chief, the original floating pickup, and pursued at a king's ransom today. The gold mini-jack output is discreetly tucked beneath the pickguard, which holds the volume control as well. The deep Epiphone cutaway (2 frets more than L-5C) allows unrestricted access to the uppermost reaches of the fingerboard, which is inset with the classic cloud inlays, a signature of the model since the mid-30's. The neck has a fine solid C profile, gently rounded and notably comfortable in the hand, and the original medium frets remain in place.

The voice has the clarity and punch typical of the model, with powerful projection, and bell-like brilliance in the upper register. Epi's last hurrah, and surely one of the finest surviving examples of this fabled model: a fitting legacy of a builder who helped define the modern jazz guitar. 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 phosphor bronze strings (.013-.056). 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: Deluxe arched plush lined hardshell case.




















































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