This is a vintage 1946 Epiphone Emperor acoustic guitar. This particular example, serial number 55608, is in 100% all original condition and includes the original hard case! Boasted as the flagship model of the prestigious New York Epiphone brand, the exaggerated contours of the Emperor’s body (measuring 18 1/2″ at the lower bout) are the largest to have been built by a production factory, and have since elevated it’s sculpturesque frame to one of the most iconic of all acoustic guitars ever made. While not a masterbuilt version, this incredibly intact Epi Emperor remains in 100% all original condition with absolutely no structural issues whatsoever. It includes both it’s original case, as well as, a small assortment of era-appropriate accessories.
This ’46 Epiphone Emperor features all the same appointments as those pre-war models made just several years prior. Made in New York, NY, this bodacious blonde boasts a beautifully book-matched hand-carved Spruce top, exotic and highly-figured solid Maple back and sides, a 7-piece laminated neck consisting of extremely high-grade flamed maple and 3 strips of walnut, a Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard with Pearl/Abalone V-block inlays, vine peg head inlay, center dip headstock, a 3-ply bound firestripe tortoise elongated pick guard, a Pat. Pend. Frequensator tailpiece, the original adjustable floating bridge with serial number stamped on the bottom (pictured), original gold “e” tuning machines with all original buttons, and the original black case with purple interior. The guitar also includes an original DeArmond FHC-B Rhythm Chief “Monkey on a Stick” sliding pickup, a vintage make-shift leather strap, and a ’50s era instrument cable, all of which were used in conjunction with the instrument by the original owner.
Considered by most to be on par with Gibson’s flagship Super 400, there are those whom believe the Emperor is in some ways superior. The Emperor is a large instrument, and is more intricately crafted, as well as being more ornate. This particular example features an all original Blonde nitrocellulose lacquer finish, and while it displays playing wear in several areas, it appears to have been consistently used, while simultaneously being well-preserved. The original finish retains attractive luster, and has a very light patina. There is one small area where binding shrinkage is visible, in the waist of the back bass side, though it would be rather easy to repair if desired. Otherwise, there are no issues whatsoever. The pickup did not require additional/non-original holes, and the guitar remains 100% original and intact.
The guitar plays perfectly; with an incredibly comfortable neck profile and a super-straight neck, resultantly, the action sits as low as possible, and plays with utter ease. It sounds fantastic, and offers a very unique and serious sound. It happens to perform every bit as good as it looks. The nut width is 1 11/16″ and it weighs an almost unbelievable 6 lbs. 5 oz. The original case has vintage tape all over it, but it’s in fairly good condition.