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Epiphone Deluxe Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1946)
Epiphone Deluxe Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1946), made in New York City, serial # 54679, natural lacquer finish, curly maple back and sides, spruce top; laminated maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown hard shell case.
Original high-end acoustic arch-top Epiphone guitars were popular among professional users when new, but nice examples can be surprisingly hard to find today. This Deluxe from 1946 is a treat for the vintage arch-top enthusiast and an extremely fine player's instrument. At the time this guitar was built, the Stathopoulo family maintained their guitar building operation on the second floor of a large loft building on West 14th street where Epiphone, Inc. operated an integrated factory and showroom in the heart of swing-era New York.
In 1946 The Deluxe, as well as the inch-larger and even fancier Emperor, was among the very finest orchestral guitars available along with the Gibson L-5 and Super 400 and individually built creations from John D'Angelico (about 20 minutes walk downtown), Willy Wilkanowski (a subway ride out to Greenpoint, Brooklyn), and Elmer Stromberg (a few hours north in Boston). The Epiphone company had been headed up by Epaminondas ("Epi") Stathopoulo until his death in 1943. By all accounts he was an extremely fastidious and dedicated man, who personally inspected every instrument produced. All high-end carved-top Epiphone guitars are fine instruments, and were often preferred by the era's top players to anything else available.
This Deluxe carries a serial number dating it to 1946, just after the end WWII. This was a high production period for Epiphone, likely due to a backlog of orders held off during wartime. It is a well-played but still great example of the more refined, "perfected" swing-era Deluxe. The 5-piece laminated neck is slimmer than some of the older models with just a hint of a "V" profile. The 17 3/8" wide body is bound in 5-ply celluloid and the finish is a deep "smoky" natural blonde showing off the stunning burl figure on the maple back. The sound is smooth and powerful, with the definition Epiphones are known for.
This guitar has been in one family since new, bought just after WWII and then played and enjoyed for generations. It is set up with a vintage DeArmond Rhythm Chief pickup with the control box mounted to the pickguard. Currently the action is set fairly low and the instrument optimized as an amplified guitar but this could be easily altered as desired. We are always pleased to offer these top-line Epiphones; they are not only great guitars, but a huge part of the New York area musical heritage. This one came from the original owner's family and has a fantastic vibe as well as a wonderful sound and feel.
Overall length is 42 in. (106.7 cm.), 17 3/8 in. (44.1 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).
This guitar has been played extensively but was also very well-cared for over several generations. It remains all original except for the addition of the DeArmond pickup, which is attached by the typical bracket to the side of the neck with a small cutout to the upper edge of the pickguard. There is finish wear from play over most of the instrument including small dents and dings; the finish is heavily worn down to the wood on the back of the neck, heel area, and lover side.
The tailpiece shows a typical repair at the bend of the baseplate, and the original stamped lettering is gone from that area. The frets were replaced long ago; they are fairly small wire as were the originals and quite playable. This Deluxe sings with a very warm sound for a swing era archtop and has both the physical and sonic character of a long-played and well-loved guitar. It comes with the original case and a great photo reprint showing the original owner with the guitar "back in the day" that is definitely worth 1000 words. Excellent - Condition.
Item # 8957
Prices subject to change without notice.
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