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  #16  
Old 09-20-2021, 06:13 AM
Spats Davenport Spats Davenport is offline
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That is a supremely beautiful guitar!
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  #17  
Old 09-21-2021, 12:25 AM
radiofm74 radiofm74 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spats Davenport View Post
That is a supremely beautiful guitar!
I share your view

I can say that it plays and sounds as magnificent as it looks.

There is a new dimension to this guitar that I was not used to. If strummed hard my two other archtops will "top out" pretty soon. The top limit is much higher with the De Luxe: if the drummer behaves, I could probably hang in there acoustically in my jazz bands for 4/bar comping. But this requires that I work more on my right hand.
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  #18  
Old 09-23-2021, 03:10 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Wow!

Congratulations on a cool guitar! Good for you!

- Glenn
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  #19  
Old 09-24-2021, 10:13 AM
Dotneck Dotneck is offline
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Good for you. I’ve had a couple old Epiphone arch tops. They are wonderful. Yours is a gorgeous time machine.
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  #20  
Old 09-25-2021, 09:06 AM
radiofm74 radiofm74 is offline
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Bucky Pizzarelli had a thing for old Epiphone DeLuxes. They were his favorites along with a faithful DeAngelico and his 7-string guitars (Gretsch, then Benedetto). He started out on one (exhibit #1) and in his later years acquired a '38 blonde that is close kin to mine (less than 100 serial # younger, but with a swapped-out tailpiece from a couple years prior; exhibit #2 … the expression of pure joy in the picture always moves me).

I discovered days ago that the '38 was the guitar he used exclusively for the record "5 for Freddie". If you'd like to know how a '38 Deluxe sounds acoustically, this is the best document I know. Needless say, the playing is wonderful and a bona fide textbook of rhythm 4/bar and chord melody: https://open.spotify.com/album/5vWYhdWeIbRBOwhXYKAW2P

Hope you enjoy a little good-natured swing!



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  #21  
Old 09-25-2021, 12:11 PM
Mark L Mark L is offline
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Beautiful, beautiful guitar and amp OP! Wow.

In case you or anyone else interested has not seen this book (out of print),
I’ll post the link here:

https://www.amazon.com/Epiphone-Hous...s=books&sr=1-1
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  #22  
Old 09-25-2021, 02:14 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiofm74 View Post
Since starting out in jazz I always wanted a golden era acoustic archtop, and the model I thought was the most beautiful was the 17" Epiphone De Luxe of the late thirties. I located one in Paris during the summer of 2020. Almost a done deal, but then COVID happened and I could not travel. This summer the prospective seller texted me, and after some hesitation I arranged to go. Actually not the seller: the wonderful Romain Vuillemin, without whom the deal would not have been possible. Check out his YouTube channels if you like swing and archtops!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1a...lBig4IFgYSebpQ

Anyway, after a pretty nourished exchange of information I go to Paris and in the same afternoon get to try the 1938 Deluxe I was going for, a 1934 16" Deluxe also for sale, and some not-for-sale guitars (an early 30s 16" L-5, a later 17" L-5, a 1939 Emperor, a 1960s De Luxe cutaway, and a 1942 D'Angelico Excel). Even though the 1934 was a true tone beast, I chose the 1938. Even in such exalted company, it was the best archtop I've laid hands on (well… on par with the 16" L-5, '39 Emperor and D'Angelico… all so different … and far beyond any other archtop I had tried until that day).

More in detail: the guitar is the best musical instrument I've ever played. It plays wonderful, sounds wonderful (both acoustically and electrically), and looks wonderful. The neck is a supremely comfortable big soft "V", straight as an arrow. The fretboard is also extremely comfortable, with a 1 11/16 nut. The sound is sweet and strong, with impressive note separation – almost lute-like, when you play above the end of the fretboard. There is an impressive evenness to the notes, and no dead spots, wolfs or buzzes all along the fretboard. A paragon of "quality". While playing it you don't have the impression that it's terribly loud – the '34 16" seemed louder. But as I was sitting in front of Romain playing both guitars I realised what an extraordinary projection and dynamic capabilities my '38 has: all that Romain would give it with his strong right hand, she would give back without ever getting shrill. Sitting close in front it was so loud. Last thing: it's surprisingly lightweight for such a big instrument.

The Adjustable Rhythm Chief it came with is an interesting middle ground between my FHC and Rhythm Chief 1000: hotter than the 1000, but a little more refined than the FHC. I've had to learn how to dial it in with tone and volume – doesn't work like my others – but it has wonderful sounds in it. Indeed, unlike the FHC it works very well with (while responding differently to) all my main amps: black, brown and octal.

Nerdy stuff:
- as stated, the fundamentals are strong: a fantastic neck and a sound sonorous body devoid of any cracks or repairs. To me this is all that matters.
- some appointments have been replaced (inlays – all but one I think; frequensator; most likely the body binding). We never discussed this but the frets seem far too pristine for an 83 yo guitar, I am thankful that the job was made so well and without ruining the binding. The bridge is (uncharacteristically) the original one.
- It's an open question whether it's a refin. I have no horse in the race as I don't mean to ever part ways with this guitar so could not care less about its market value, but I'm of course intrigued. The only thing I'm positive about is that it's very old, well-worn finish. The owner, based on the idea that Epiphone introduced blondes only in '39, thinks that it was refinished right that year or shortly thereafter, after the owner realised he liked blonde guitars better. Nice theory. I'm not sure. Epiphone made blond an optional finish for its top models in '38 already, and as Romain pointed out to me the back is highly figured and would more naturally be used for a translucent finish than for sunburst. His '39 burst Emperor had considerably plainer wood. All in all, I'm inclined to think that it's a factory blonde.
- she came with a very old and beat-up (but sound) case. I have no way to tell whether it's the original one: over 83 years so much can happen. It certainly is period, and it fits the guitar like a glove. Epiphone would introduce the € marking in cases only on the following year so it's absence is not relevant.
- she's from when Epi Stathopoulo was still around the factory. For some reason this matters to me.

I've been living symbiotically with her since acquiring her last Tuesday. I've played it every day, had a rehearsal (wow), today full set-up, and first gig on the 30th. What a marvellous instrument



I'm In Love With Your 1938 Epiphone Deluxe, and that amp, Rocks, too!--Enjoy!
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  #23  
Old 09-25-2021, 04:00 PM
radiofm74 radiofm74 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
Beautiful, beautiful guitar and amp OP! Wow.

In case you or anyone else interested has not seen this book (out of print),
I’ll post the link here:

https://www.amazon.com/Epiphone-Hous...s=books&sr=1-1
My favorite guitar book!
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  #24  
Old 09-25-2021, 04:17 PM
radiofm74 radiofm74 is offline
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Thanks a lot everybody!
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  #25  
Old 09-30-2021, 08:28 PM
Jopapa Jopapa is offline
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Gorgeous. Wow.
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  #26  
Old 10-02-2021, 09:44 PM
Dave Richard Dave Richard is offline
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The OP's '38 Deluxe is gorgeous. I've owned, or now own, numerous vintage Epis: my first, was a '39 Zenith, which, after a neck reset and refret, turned out to be a superb guitar. But I sold it, to acquire others: I currently own(among others) a '35 Zenith, '35 Spartan, '34 Spartan roundhole, and '36 Triumph. The f-hole guitars are all superb.
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  #27  
Old 10-03-2021, 03:57 PM
radiofm74 radiofm74 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Richard View Post
The OP's '38 Deluxe is gorgeous. I've owned, or now own, numerous vintage Epis: my first, was a '39 Zenith, which, after a neck reset and refret, turned out to be a superb guitar. But I sold it, to acquire others: I currently own(among others) a '35 Zenith, '35 Spartan, '34 Spartan roundhole, and '36 Triumph. The f-hole guitars are all superb.
Yes, those old NY ladies are the best arch tops I've come across so far! Congrats on your wonderful collection!
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  #28  
Old 10-03-2021, 03:59 PM
radiofm74 radiofm74 is offline
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I'm afraid I did this again and now the '38 Epi has a companion amp for gigs: a mint "Custom '57" Pro that was being sold at an irresistible price near my place. What can I say? The perfect amp for the big band guitarist! Barney Kessel sounds ar big band volume un-mic'd. I gigged it once already and it's terrific. Sounds amazing with Fender guitars too… a beast to lug around in public transports for someone with a bad back like me, hence the little cart. Now I'm done acquiring gear for quite some time…







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  #29  
Old 10-04-2021, 08:01 AM
Dotneck Dotneck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
In case you or anyone else interested has not seen this book (out of print),
I’ll post the link here:

https://www.amazon.com/Epiphone-Hous...s=books&sr=1-1
I haven’t looked at that book in quite a while…but I’d like to report that my name shows up in the acknowledgments. I provided a bunch of photos to FF as he was researching his book. My Epi photos were made when I went through my archtop phase (although none of my photographs ever ended up in the book).
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