Nowadays, most players know Epiphone mostly as Gibson's affordable, off-shore sister brand. But before Gibson acquired them in 1957, Epiphone was Gibson's biggest rival in the archtop guitar market. Handmade in New York City, early Epiphone archtops are among the finest archtop guitars ever made.
In the 1930s, the Epiphone Masterbilt archtops quickly rose to popularity during the "Big Band" era when players needed a guitar with warm woody tone, wide tonal range, and punchy volume that could cut through any mix. As players needed additional volume to compete with louder instruments, archtop models were outfitted with electric guitar pickups, but that dramatically changed the direction of the archtop guitar sound. Inspired by the original acoustic archtops of the '30s—but outfitted with sleek electronics—the Epiphone Century Collection is the first line of archtop acoustic-electric guitars designed to be played and amplified as true acoustic instruments.
At 17" across on the lower bout, the Epiphone Masterbilt De Luxe packs incredible punch as a rhythm instrument. It has strong, full tone capable of cutting through any mix. While it sounds fantastic unplugged, its cutting-edge eSonic HD preamp system and Shadow NanoFlex HD under-saddle pickup make its amplified tone sound just like it does unplugged. This system does an exellent job accurately capturing the guitar's natural acoustic tone. Plus, it has easy-to-access controls for Master Volume and Master EQ mounted just inside the lower f-hole.
- Finish: Vintage Sunburst Aged Gloss
- Hardware: Aged Nickel
- Top: Solid Spruce w/ Parallel Tone Bar Bracing
- Back & Sides: Laminated Flame Maple
- Body Dimensions: Lower Bout - 17", Waist - 10-1/4", Body Length - 21"
- Scale Length: 25-1/2"
Nut: Bone, 1-11/16"
- Neck: 5-piece Laminated Hard Maple/Mahogany
- Neck Profile: Rounded "C" shape
- Bridge: Floating Adjustable Ebonoid w/ Compensated, Artificial Bone saddle
- Pickup: Shadow NanoFlex HD; Under-saddle
- Preamp: eSonic HD
- Onboard Controls: Master Volume & Master EQ
- Tuning Machines: Historic Epiphone Reissue Tuners with Marboloid "Crown" buttons (18:1 ratio)
- Tailpiece: Historic Epiphone Reissue Trapeze
This 2016 Epiphone Masterbilt Century Collection De Luxe shows only the faintest signs of playwear and use (see photos). It is in excellent condition with no history of repairs or issues. It is a fantastic player with nice low action and an affordable way to bring archtop tone to your collection. It includes a hardshell Epiphone case.