Back for sale. I’m rationalising my small family of instruments and have decided to let go of my 1939 Epiphone Broadway.
Need to raise funds but would consider a lesser priced arch top with pickups in it or a nice 335.
Pre-war Epiphones are one of the reasons Gibson opted to buy out their competitor and deemed to be some of the best Archtops ever made. Their answer to Gibson’s motto of ‘only a gibson is good enough’ was ‘when only the best will do!’.
This one is a joy to play, is very well set up and has a beautiful 1940s swing jazz tone with a lot of bark and cuts through like you would expect such an instrument to.
The equivalent instrument in the Gibson line in 1939 was the L-12. A good pre-war L-12 runs north of £5-6k nowadays. The Epiphone is generally deemed to be the better instrument in pre-war circles. I've never had the opportunity to compare.
This one is likely one of the first ones to come out of New York with a centre parted headstock and maple back and sides. According to the Epi reference book I have Epi Stathopoulo would have personally checked over this instrument before it left the workshop. Not many were made.
The top is hand carved Adirondack Spruce according to 1930s documentation and solid curly maple hand carved back and sides. Brazilian rosewood fretboard (not subject to cites due to age). Neck is mahogany with maple and walnut sandwich for stability. It has a truss rod though I probably wouldn't play with it. The neck is dead straight, is stable and plays faultlessly with 12 flatwounds.
The guitar currently has upgraded (and reversible install) Waverley tuners and its original retired Grovers are in the original Epiphone branded Lifton case. The guitar has been refretted, the frequensator arms replaced. Original tailpiece has been repaired as is the case with almost every pre-war epi with it.
I suspect the neck has had some clear lacquer over sprayed at some point many decades ago to protect wood from wear, the whole guitar glows under blacklight at a similar shade.
Pickguard is likely later replacement as originals were self destructing. Bridge looks like could be 40s/50s replacement (though I have seen this particular bridge model listed as an Epiphone bridge) and is well set up and intonated. I have since had an exact copy rosewood bridge made by a luthier, to the original Epiphione engineer's plans I was able to source.
The whole instrument has little marks and touch ups from 82 years of playing.
Sale will include some rare bits that make up a nice collectors set, an original 1939 George Van Eps Epiphone Guitar Method and a set of old stock frequensator arms.
£3500 - I’m not particularly keen on posting this one but I would be willing to travel to hand deliver depending on distance. I’m based in Swansea, South Wales. - now gone