Museum: Archtop Guitars

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1934 Epiphone Masterbilt Broadway

Serial # 7262. An early Epiphone Masterbilt Broadway, with a tremendous voice, great looks, and excellent playability. The model was introduced in 1931, produced until the late 1950's, and saw many design changes through this period. This 1934 model has a triple-bound 16-1/2" wide body of carved spruce and walnut, with segmented F holes. The neck is a 5 piece mahogany/maple/walnut laminate, and features a bound rosewood fingerboard with pearloid block markers. The headstock overlay is the early 'banner' style, with engraved pearloid blocks and floral vine. The neck doesn't have an adjustable truss-rod, but does have a steel reinforcement. The adjustable bridge and pickguard are simple --rosewood and Bakelite, and the tuners are the enclosed high-ratio gears that were introduced in 1939. They are original to the guitar, however, despite being introduced 5 years after this guitar was built and serial numbered.

With the exception of the late 1930's non-original tailpiece this Masterbilt Broadway is completely original and unaltered. It's in remarkable condition, and shows very little playwear. There are no cracks or repairs, the original finish is beautiful, and the binding is perfect. The guitar's neck angle is good, and the instrument is nicely set up with its bridge in the middle of its height range. Original frets are only lightly worn, but a heavy attack with bring out some fret buzzes on the bass strings up past the 10th fret.

The guitar has a surprisingly loud, full, and throaty voice. String balance is exceptional, and the walnut back and sides impart a warmth not generally associated with carved instruments. The neck is phenomenally comfortable, too, with a fairly modern round feel, nicely radiussed fingerboard and a 111/16" nut.

With original hardshell case

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