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1987 Epiphone Nouveau Archtop NVJ-SB

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SN#: 7830069

Body size at lower bout: 16" Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut width: 1 11/16" Body depth: 3" Neck depth: .83/.90, 1st/10th frets

Materials: Arched spruce laminate top; arched figured maple laminate body; 3 piece maple neck with adjustable truss rod; solid rosewood fingerboard; 5-ply bound top; bound headstock and fingerboard.

Hardware: 100% original gold hardware includes full size floating humbucking pickup; 5 ply beveled black pickguard; T-bar tailpiece; adjustable compensated ebony bridge; Schaller M6 style tuners.

Notes: Since the debut of Gibson's ES-175 in 1949, the 16" cutaway archtop has been the workhorse of the journeyman jazz guitarist. One of the first to refine the concept was Jimmy D'Aquisto, who slimmed the depth of the body in the 70's to improve player comfort, added the handsome Venetian cutaway and streamlined soundholes, and retained the laminate body and built in pickup for improved sustain and feedback resistance. Now, a new generation of players and builders have rediscovered the design, making the 16" electric jazz box an indispensable tool for the working pro.

It's one thing to have a guitar arrive here that we've never handled at some point over the decades. But to see one we've never even heard of before is quite another. You will search for this model on Epiphone or Gibson's websites in vain. Nary a word in Vintage Guitar publications. It appears in none of the Epiphone books, and has no page in Wikipedia. So what gives?

After Gibson was sold by Norlin in 1986, its new owners wasted no time with their ambitious plans for revival and expansion. The following year, they introduced a small line of instruments with parts fabricated in Japan, then sent to Nashville for assembly, with US electronics and fittings. Dubbed 'Nouveau By Gibson', a PRS style solid body guitar was produced, alone with this handsome little archtop, loosely based on D'Aquisto's celebrated Jim Hall gig guitar.

It's comfy 16" contour is easy to hold, and at just 6lb 3oz is nicely well balanced on the lap or the strap. The full depth laminate body deters feedback, and is resistant to variations in temperature and humidity. And apart from the classic Howard Roberts Model, this intriguing guitar is the only Gibson archtop fitted with a full size floating humbucking pickup, As EMG is said to have fabricated the pickups for the solid body Spolight Nouveau, we figure its likely they made this one as well.

The neck profile is particularly inviting, with smooth low action over a fresh high precision setup. This gleaming example is in 100% original condition, without apparent playwear, with a subtle two-tone sunburst and distinctive inlays in the solid rosewood fingerboard. A perfect gig guitar for the working player, but perhaps a little too far ahead ot its time. By 1989, this exceeingly rare model had vanished without a trace.

So leave your D'Aquisto at home, and take this happy rarity to the gig. Truly a best buy: one only, call now.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel flatwound strings. The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 5/64" 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: Epiphone logo black arched plush lined hardshell case.



















































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