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Baldrick 01-12-2021 01:14 PM

vintage epiphone classical guitars
I have two Epiphone classical guitars from the 60s, an EC-100 ("Madrid") and an EC-300 ("Barcelona"). The labels in both guitars say "Kalamazoo Michigan" and "Union made".

The 1965 EC-100 is a typical gibson/epiphone product of the time: dovetail neck joint, zeroth fret fretboard, decal rosette, solid spruce top, mahogany back (one piece, appears solid) and sides, 35mm tuner roller spacing, typical gibson/epiphone peghead.

The 1967-68 EC-300 has a spanish heel neckjoint, inlaid rosette, solid spruce top, maple back (two piece) and sides, 39 mm tuner roller spacing, a peghead that is not gibson/epiphone shaped - in other words, typical spanish construction at the time. The only indication that it's an epiphone (other than the label) is the zeroth fret.

Were the top of the line epiphone classical guitars made in Spain? Or did gibson/epiphone bring spanish luthiers to Kalamazoo to build the high end classical guitars? Anyone out there know anything about this?

Thanks, in advance

Steve DeRosa 01-12-2021 02:57 PM

Insofar as I can tell from the info provided - some pics night be helpful if you have them - your guitars were the (much rarer) equivalent of the Gibson C-1 and C-4 classicals, and US-made in the Kalamazoo factory; BTW if you're looking for some really rare Epiphone fare, seek out a 1938-41 Epiphone Concert/Alhambra/Seville classical made in the original New York factory - probably no more than a handful in existence...

Baldrick 01-12-2021 06:22 PM

vintage epiphone classical guitars
Here are some pictures of the vintage epiphone EC-100:

Here are some pictures of the EC-300

The differences are pretty dramatic. Despite the labels, I find it hard to believe they were made in the same factory.
There are equivalent Gibson models to the EC100 - they're pretty common on Reverb, but I've never seen a Gibson classical guitar of that era like the EC-300.

Steve DeRosa 01-12-2021 09:28 PM

As you've discovered, your EC-100 is the Epiphone equivalent of the Gibson C-1 - had a friend who owned the latter when I was in college and it was a nice little guitar, sweet-sounding and very comfortable to play...

Similarly, your EC-300 is the counterpart of the Gibson C-4 as I suspected - here's a photo of the latter showing the same quasi-mid-1800's headstock which, as you state, was not used on any other Kalamazoo instrument (note also the slightly different rosette on the Gibson - possibly a matter of availability, as the upper-end classicals were notoriously slow sellers):

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