Epiphone Broadway Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1939)

Epiphone  Broadway Arch Top Acoustic Guitar  (1939)

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Item # 8355
Prices subject to change without notice.
Epiphone Broadway Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1939), made in New York City, serial # 13599, sunburst lacquer finish, walnut back and sides, spruce top; laminated mahogany & maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.

This Epiphone Broadway is an interesting transitional instrument, made in 1939 just as the features of the model were changing. The body is made of walnut with a carved back; this would be one of the last of the walnut Broadways as the model went to a more common maple construction the same year. The headstock is the earlier mid-1930s style with the offset peak, but the neck is equipped with the newer "thrust rod" Epiphone had just introduced.

The rosewood fingerboard is equipped with real pearl blocks and single-bound, while the body is triple-bound. The neck is quite slim (an Epiphone selling point of the era) and has a profile halfway between a "C" and a "V".

The Broadway was priced at $175 in the late 1930s, just under the DeLuxe in the company's line but a full $100 less expensive. Visually it is relatively austere for a pro-grade archtop from this era, with a subtly elegant look but less overt flash than many. The Broadway made for a high-quality but comparatively affordable guitar and was often favored by period professional users on a more limited budget. These transitional larger-bodied walnut Broadways are fairly rare today, and this is the first we have had in quite some time. We find this is a fairly unique instrument with a lot of sonic possibilities.
Overall length is 41 3/4 in. (106 cm.), 17 3/16 in. (43.7 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 5/16 in. (8.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This is a well-played but substantially unaltered guitar, and a fine example of pre-war Epiphone craftsmanship. The finish shows general wear, most notably to the back of the neck along the spine. There is general checking and numerous dings and dents, the worst being a scrape off the treble side of the bridge where it looks like the bridge was moved under tension with a post protruding underneath.

There is another spot of fairly deep wear on the upper side just above the tailpiece, but overall the finish is original and relatively well-preserved. There is no binding distress anywhere. The neck looks to have likely been reset and the angle is excellent.

As to hardware, the tuners are the original style Grover Sta-Tites but of later vintage and not gold-plated. The pickguard has gone missing and the tailpiece consists of the original two Frequensator tines mounted to a more recent baseplate; the originals have often suffered metal fatigue by now, so this is a commonly seen replacement. The bridge is a 1940s - '50s Gibson adjustable rosewood piece, well-fitted to the top. The frets appear original and in good condition and the guitar plays very well.

This Broadway is a fine playing and excellent sounding guitar with the definition old Epiphones are known for but a mellower quality as well, at least partially due to the unusual walnut body. We are always pleased to offer top-line Epiphones, especially pre-war ones. They are not only great guitars, but a huge part of our New York area musical heritage. Very Good + Condition.