This spectacular guitar is from the very last batch of Deluxe Cutaways, built just months before the plant closed its doors for good. Of the five known examples in that final issue, this guitar has the second-to-last serial number recorded as of this writing. It's also one of only two known examples of this model inlaid with the 'Dogwood blossom' peghead inlay, more commonly seen on Epi's massive FT-210 Deluxe flat top guitars, and a few Broadway Regents as well.
Once displayed in the private Tokyo showroom of legendary collector Akira Tsumura, this guitar is featured in color plates on pages 43 and 44 of his book: Guitars, The Tsumura Collection (Kodansha, 1987). The soundboard is carved of exceptionally vivid bearclaw spruce, with deep crossgrain figure interlacing the top. The back and sides are crafted of cello-grade fiddleback maple, deftly bookmatched, while the neck is graced with wide rollers of intense tiger flame.
Immaculately maintained, the instrument has all-original sunburst finish, shaded subtly from rim to rim. The guitar shows no cracks, and is astoundlingly free of playwear of any kind. Indeed, even the typical light finish checking almost universal in guitars of this vintage is almost completely absent. The gold hardware is original as well, including the trademark epsilon logo tuners, and Pat. Pend Frequensator tailpiece, still solid after some six decades. Even the original transparent tortoise pickguard remains intact, a minor miracle with this notoriously volatile material.
A final bonus is the vintage gold DeArmond 1100 Adjustable Rhythm Chief, the original floating pickup, and pursued at a king's ransom today. The gold mini-jack output is discreetly tucked beneath the pickguard, which holds the volume control as well. The deep Epiphone cutaway (2 frets more than L-5C) allows unrestricted access to the uppermost reaches of the fingerboard, which is inset with the classic cloud inlays, a signature of the model since the mid-30's. The neck has a fine solid C profile, gently rounded and notably comfortable in the hand, and the original medium frets remain in place.
The voice has the clarity and punch typical of the model, with powerful projection, and bell-like brilliance in the upper register. All nestled neatly in the deluxe brown Epiphone hardshell case, with the epsilon logo raised in plush under the lid. Epi's last hurrah, and surely one of the finest surviving examples of this fabled model: a fitting legacy of a builder who helped define the modern jazz guitar. Call now.
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