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Old 11-07-2020, 07:03 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Staten Island, NY - for now
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Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
As embarrassing as it is, my bad: Mike Thompson thought it would be funny to lead me on, and I have no one to blame but myself.

He owns no such Epiphone.

Sorry for the misleading posts.

Howard Emerson
No problem - with an attitude like his he wouldn't have fit in too well with the AGF community anyway; great pic though, and a fascinating instrument regardless of its rightful owner...

Originally Posted by mc1 View Post
Thank You, Steve, for the lengthy reply. I understand what you mean now. I'm a fan of Eddie Lang and Tony Mottola, etc. I just think of them as jazz guitar pioneers...
Here's a couple of samples of "classical archtop" from back in the day:

- and a few from modern revivalists keeping this historic style alive:

Interesting side note: Although barely visible in the picture, Harry Volpe's guitar is a prewar Gretsch Synchromatic 400 with a triangular center soundhole (Django's playing the cats' eye version) - similar in concept to the above Epiphones, and heard to great effect on the YouTube clip. Inasmuch as both Volpe and Johnny Smith had made the move from Gretsch to Epiphone around that time (as a consequence of Gretsch's use of unstable kiln-dried woods in the postwar period, resulting in twisted/warped necks and cracked bodies - hope we all remembered to humidify today, folks... ), it's well within the realm of possibility that this was the inspiration for the Emperor Concert; as the two were fixtures on the New York studio/club circuit, knew each other, and often participated in jams with other A-list players, Smith would have been quite familiar with Volpe's guitar and its unique visual/sonic properties - even through the primitive recording equipment/techniques the sweetness of the trebles and rich, woody bass/midrange one would anticipate in a guitar of this size/type can be clearly heard, and in conjunction with Volpe's technical prowess further substantiates my earlier comments about being a true virtuoso instrument. By the mid-1950's Volpe had gone to an FT-210 Deluxe, a 17" cutaway flattop instrument with a pressed arched back (a technique adopted by erstwhile competitor Guild for many of its iconic flattop guitars, and still in use to this day), as his main acoustic instrument; here's a blonde example (Volpe's was sunburst):

"Mistaking silence for weakness and contempt for fear is the final, fatal error of a fool"
- Sicilian proverb (paraphrased)

Last edited by Steve DeRosa; 11-08-2020 at 10:06 AM.
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