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1955 Epiphone Emperor
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Serial #: 69126
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: Original gold hardware includes Pat. Pend. Frequensator tailpiece; epsilon-logo 16X1 tuners; hex-key truss rod. Vintage correct bound tortoise shell pickguard, compensated adjustable bridge.
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.
This magnificent guitar was made in the very last batch of non-cutaway Emperors, just months before the firm was dissolved and finally sold to Gibson. 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, of remarkably tight 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 remains astonishly free of pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear. Apart from a single short grainline crack tighly resealed near the bass f-hole, the guitar shows no other cracks or structural repairs. The last version of the model, this instrument is fitted with refinements welcome to the modern player, including the head-mounted truss rod for precise action adjustment, and the fully compensated original bridge, both absent in earlier versions of the model. With all-original fretwork showing little signs of wear, the instrument appears much as it did when it left the factory some six decades ago.
Action is smooth and low with a fresh high-precision setup, and a gentle C profile neck quite contemporary in feel. An acoustic powerhouse, the instrument projects volume and resonance that is utterly cavernous in depth. Finally, this magesterial instrument remains nestled in its original brown Lifton case, with the epsilon logo in raised plush under the lid. Commanding in tone, and rich in history, this guitar is truly the Last Emperor. 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.