Epiphone Deluxe Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1946)

Epiphone  Deluxe Arch Top Acoustic Guitar  (1946)

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Item # 8201
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Epiphone Deluxe Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1946), made in New York City, serial # 54680, sunburst lacquer finish, curly maple back and sides, spruce top; laminated maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

Original high-end acoustic arch-top Epiphone guitars were very popular among professional users when new but nice examples are surprisingly hard to find today. This Deluxe model from 1946is both 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.

At the time, 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 great example of the more refined, "perfected" swing-era Deluxe. The 5-piece laminated neck is slimmer than 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 and fairly subtle sunburst showing off a bit of curl on the maple back. The sound is both rich and powerful, with the definition Epiphones are known for. 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.
 
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.). Overall this is a great playing and relatively clean example of a just-postwar Deluxe. Some parts have been replaced over time-the tuners are Grover Imperials (common for this period but not used as stock by Epiphone). The pickguard is an accurate reproduction, the bridge is a period Gibson rosewood piece and the Frequensator tailpiece is the correct style but not an original period piece. The guitar shows no cracks or major repair, while the finish has wear in the typical places for a well-played guitar. There are scratches and some dings to the top, a chunk of belt-buckle wear to the back of the body and the neck finish is worn down to the wood on both sides.

There is one very small screw hole in the side just above the neck heel, but no other scars from pickups or added strap buttons as commonly seen on older archtops. The neck angle is excellent-it appears to have been reset some time ago-a very clean and solid job. The frets look to have been replaced at the same time with wire quite close to the original, and show very little subsequent wear. While not an all-original example, this Deluxe has a huge open sound and we would rate it as one of the best sounding and playing of this swing-era classic we have had. Excellent - Condition.