The Epiphone Deluxe was introduced in 1931 as a competitor to the Gibson L-5 16-inch acoustic archtop. This was at about the same time Gibson started to introduce time saving measures such as kerfed braces rather than fully carved and fitted top braces. In this way in particular, the early-mid 1930s Epiphones have what would generally be considered superior build quality to the comparable Gibson.
This example is among the last of the 16-inch Deluxes Epiphone would make, showing all of the features that were typical of the 1934 guitar, including headstock and inlays. Like the Gibson L-5 in 1935 the Deluxe would become a 17-inch guitar. This on shows striking flamed maple used for the back and birdseye maple on the side. The neck is 5-ply made predominantly of flamed maple and has the volute on the back of the headstock that would soon no longer be a feature of Epiphones. This guitar was clearly professionally retopped with a new fine piece of carved, graduated spruce and was refinished, likely at the same time. All of the work is of very fine quality, but the top and finish were not done at the Epiphone factory in the 1930s. This gives the guitar a somewhat more modern than vintage sound, which is still very punchy with a mid-range focus that seems shifted a bit higher than a typical 16-inch Deluxe.
The guitar plays very nicely with no issues. The guitar is free of cracks. All of the wood of the body and neck are original, other than the previously described top. The tuners have been replaced with modern Schaller machines, which while not looking the vintage part almost assuredly perform much better. The bridge appears to be a replacement and the original plain trapeze tailpiece has been replaced with a later Epiphone Frequensator. The finish is in excellent condition other than light surface scratches, a few minute lacquer chips along the binding, and a small lacquer chip on the side.
The guitar comes with a similar era hardshell case which may or may not be original to the guitar. It shows a fair amount of wear, but is in pretty solid condition with all working hinges and latches. It also appears to have had a couple of the metal feet replaced that are on the back.
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