Epiphone De Luxe

Introduced in June 1931, the Deluxe was designed to compete with the Gibson L-5. Both guitars carried a  $275 price tag and the De Luxe Masterbilt remained Epiphone’s flagship model from 1931 until late 1935, when the Emperor was introduced.

Measuring 16 3/8 inches across, the body was slightly wider than Gibson’s L-5!

The asymmetrical headstock had a bevelled, multi-layer plastic overlay that was bound at the back and inlaid with flowers, vines and the model name, which appeared on a pearl banner.

The neck was constructed from maple with two dark wood centre strips, while the 20-fret rosewood fingerboard caried a series of mother-of-pearl, diamond and triangle-shaped  inlays.

Details included unbound, three-segment f-holes, black and white trapezoidal purfling around the top and gold-plated hardware. Note the open gear Grover G-98 tuners. The elevated, single-bound pickguard is missing.

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Epiphone De Luxe Masterbilt

Images courtesy of Arlan Ettinger of Guernsey Auctions and photographer Paul Schraub

This 1940 Epiphone DeLuxe (below) was made in New York City. It has a spruce top, 17 3/8-inch maple back and sides and a laminated maple neck with ebony fingerboard. Details include five-ply celluloid binding, gold-plated hardware.

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