I apologize in advance for telling you folks what some of you already know and others of you don’t want to know, but it’s stuff which anybody who is considering bidding on this guitar ought to know, so here goes:
Gibson introduced the C-0 classical or folk guitar in 1962 as a kind of junior partner to the popular C-1, with the same solid spruce top and solid mahogany back, sides, and neck. It had top body binding, a decal rosette, a rosewood wrap-around bridge and fingerboard, a slotted headstock, and three-per-side nickel tuners. Its smaller dimensions (14 1/4” lower bout, with a 25 ½” scale) and nylon strings allowed Gibson to use straight-across ladder bracing on the top as well as the back, and to use a single piece mahogany back with no center seam.
However, in 1958 Gibson had acquired the Epiphone trademark and equipment, lock, stock, and barrel, and as the Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars says, “It was decided that Epiphone would be re-established as a first-rate guitar manufacturer, so that Gibson’s parent company, CMI, could offer a product comparable in every way to Gibson....Gibson was (in effect) competing with itself,” selling virtually identical models of guitar. All were built at the Gibson plant in Kalamazoo to the same high standards, in many cases by the same designers and craftsmen, but with different labels and model numbers. While this situation only lasted until 1969, when most Epiphone production was shifted abroad, the Epiphone guitars produced during this period look and perform almost exactly like their Gibson counterparts, and are therefore highly prized by players and collectors alike.
The Kalamazoo era is when this particular guitar was made: the label designates it as an Epiphone EC30 Madrid, but it is the spitting image of the Gibson C-0 described above, plus the zero fret later dropped by Gibson. The serial number (160102) suggests that in the Gibson/Epiphone serialization “system” it was produced in 1964. You can tell at a glance—as well as with a chord or two—that the DNA of this guitar is 98% Gibson; it looks like a C-0, plays and sounds like a C-0, and is a truly fine little instrument.
I hope that you’re still with me—perhaps thinking that if it’s really like a 1964 Gibson, this thing’s worth serious consideration, and you’re right. The aged and seasoned woods are thoroughly opened up, and it sounds great. Structurally, it is now in excellent condition: several cracks in the back have been professionally repaired, the action has been set up at a very comfortable level, and the original tuners work fine. It seems to be all original, except for the nut which is clearly a replacement.
Cosmetically, it is in very good shape: the original binding is intact, and the headstock has only the slight corner dings expected after over fifty years. As I hope the pictures indicate, the finish is more beautiful than ever, with relatively few scratches or bruises, and just enough “crazing” to “let the sound out,” as my old luthier says. Even the rosette decal is in excellent shape. It looks more like a well-cared-for guitar from the 1990s or so than a remarkable example of 1960s American guitar-making at its best.
The case is possibly the original chip board case, but it’s admittedly not in as good condition as the guitar, with some tearing and unravelling around the top. It is in adequate shape, inside and out, it fits the guitar perfectly, and obviously affords some protection for this quality vintage instrument. However, if you love this guitar as much as I believe you will, you will probably consider getting a quality hard shell case.
Buyer pays a flat rate of $55 for insurance and shipping to the lower 48 states; shipping costs elsewhere will be negotiated as necessary. Payment by Paypal is preferred; cashier’s checks are acceptable, but checks must clear before the guitar will be shipped.
I have tried to be perfectly clear and accurate in describing this vintage guitar, so its return will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was egregiously misrepresented in this listing. Please ask any questions you might have before offering to buy it.
Thank you for your interest in this cool Epiphone/Gibson guitar.
Payments by Paypal, cashier’s checks, money orders, or personal checks are acceptable, but all payments must clear my bank before the guitar will be shipped. I will CONSIDER reasonable offers, even including installment payments and trade-ins, but generally since I already attempt to price my guitars very competitively, unusual deals must be unusually sweet.
From henceforth [that's how retired English teachers talk], insurance and shipping to the lower 48 states is $55 due to constantly rising shipping costs unless a specific listing says otherwise; shipping costs elsewhere will be negotiated as necessary. I have sold guitars to Russia, Japan, Australia, and over 50 other countries, as well as almost every state in the USA. Since some of my guitars travel thousands of miles, I take care to use lots of packing materials, protect the neck inside the case, and of course de-tune the strings.
I make every effort to describe and illustrate each guitar and case with scrupulous accuracy. However, many of my instruments are well-played vintage items which are many years old, and I am not a luthier. One should assume that any guitar will require some set-up to satisfy your personal requirements, and that not every flaw or ding will be seen/recognized/described in the listing. Thus the return of an instrument will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was egregiously misrepresented in this listing. Please read the listing carefully, check out the pictures, and ask any questions you might have before offering to buy.