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1964 Epiphone Emperor E-112TN
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Serial #: 348115
Body size at lower bout: 18 1/2" Body depth: 1 7/8" Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut: 1 10/16"
Materials: Highly figured bookmatched arched flame maple top and sides; arched birdseye maple back; solid 7-piece maple-walnut neck; 7-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.
Hardware: 100% original gold hardware includes triple mini-humbucking pickups, Pat. Pend. Frequensator tailpiece, Kluson Sealfast tuners, compensated adjustable Tuneomatic bridge, gold reflector cap knobs, 3 way selector switch, bound tortoise pickguard, adjustable truss rod.
Notes: Was there ever a guitar with more superlatives? With its massive 18 1/2" body, the E-112T Emperor was by far the largest thinline guitar ever in regular production. It's also the only triple pickup thinline built by Gibson or Epiphone, and by miles the most expensive. And the numbers don't lie: the E-112T Emperor is undoubtedly the rarest production thinline ever made.
In 1959, just two years after Gibson acquired the Epiphone company, the E-112T made its debut in a batch of just seven examples, all in sunburst finish. None were built the following year, but by '61, the first blonde models appeared in a flight of just half a dozen. By the time this extraordinary guitar left the factory it was one of just three blondes built that final year, out of a mere thirteen total in the model's scant four year history. And that was it. With a price tag over a thousand dollars in 1964, this extravagant model was priced identically to Gibson's most expensive offering, the Super 400CES, which is surely a clue to its extreme scarcity.
The top, sides, and neck of this spectacular instrument contain exceptionally fine tiger flame maple, and the back is interlaced with eye-catching birdseye figure. Like its full depth predecessor, the Zephyr Emperor Regent of the early '50s, the E-112T is fitted with three adjustable pickups, built-in versions of the classic Johnny Smith mini-humbucker, Gibson's most renowned jazz pickup. Dispensing with the bulky push button selector, Gibson designed a unique control system, where the middle switch position activates both neck and middle pickups together. (Interestingly, the volume and tone controls for the bridge pickup are factory installed closest to the bridge.) The triple pickup arrangement allows for a surpassing variety of tonal colors, with excellent warmth and articulation.
Impeccably maintained, the guitar shows no cracks or playwear, and its all-original blonde finish is deeply ambered to a rich golden hue, with just the faintest hint of fine checking here and there. The all- gold hardware is original as well, including the Kluson Sealfast tunerrs and the bound tortoise guard, complete with epislon logo. The gold Frequensator tailpiece is in excellent condition, and the multi-ply binding is all tight to the body. The fingerboard is illuminated with abalone of exceptionally vivid color, with fine original medium jumbo frets and smooth low action, over a gentle D profile neck that is elegantly comfortable. Apart from a strap pin moved from the neck to the heel long ago, and seamlessly fillled, the guitar shows no signs of repair or modification. Even the case is just as pretty as the guitar itself.
If there's a finer surviving specimen of this rare and magisterial instrument, we've yet to see it. A showstopping piece of 20th century guitar history: 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 black plush lined hardshell case.