Epiphone FT-79 Texan Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1960)

Epiphone  FT-79 Texan Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1960)
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Item # 10309
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Epiphone FT-79 Texan Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1960), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # A-2703, sunburst top, natural back and sides finish, mahogany back and sides, spruce top; laminated mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, brown hard shell case.

The "Guitar of Yesterday"! The Epiphone Texan will forever be remembered as Paul McCartney's 1960's instrument of choice for writing, recording and performing that particular tune, and many others besides. Apart from this indelible Beatle connection The Texan is one of Gibson's more interesting post-war flat tops, the 1960's Epi-logo version of the Gibson J-45/50 but with a longer scale which gives it a correspondingly tighter, more powerful sound.

After Gibson's parent company Chicago Musical Instruments bought the nearly defunct Epiphone operation in 1957, it took them a year or so to come up with a guitar line using the former competitor's name. The samples were shown at NAMM 1958 but production began in earnest for the 1959 model year. This particular Texan is a rare variation, the earliest version of the model made some years earlier than the actual Beatle guitar using some actual Epiphone NY components.

The FT-79 Texan used the body of Gibson's popular J-45 round-shouldered flat top, with a proprietary Epiphone neck and slightly different pickguard. The primary difference from 1960's Texans is the neck itself, built using an Epiphone NY blank, a stock of which was included with CMI's purchase of the company. This is made with a 3-strip mahogany/maple laminate with a slim, noticeably "V" shaped profile quite unlike period Gibson necks and a sharply pointed heel with a celluloid cap.

The wider headstock has the Epiphone name is inlaid at the top in pearl, and a small metal truss rod cover quite differently shaped from Gibson's. The unbound rosewood fingerboard has trapezoid block inlay. The top is finished in a dark sunburst, more Gibson-like than the lighter bursts often seen on Epiphones from the 1960s. It carries a typical Gibson top-belly rosewood bridge and a tortoise celluloid pickguard smaller than the Gibson fitting from 1959, with an epsilon "E" at the lower corner. The top is triple bound with a 3-ply soundhole ring, while the back is single bound.

This is a very fine sounding guitar, one that definitely ranks with Gibson's finest 1950's flat top creations. It is also a relatively rare instrument, with only 125 shipped out in 1960 following 193 in 1959. This guitar has survived in beautiful condition, a great playing and sounding instrument with the original hangtag still included, albeit in a newer case.
Overall length is 41 1/2 in. (105.4 cm.), 16 1/4 in. (41.3 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 15/16 in. (12.5 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 1/4 in. (641 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).
Overall this is a superbly preserved example of this Gibson/Epiphone rarity, showing some minor repair but all original and very clean for a 60+ year old instrument. The finish shows the typical checking, mostly to the top and some typical small dings and scrapes overall. The largest area of loss to the finish is scrape on the lower treble edge of the top, right on the rim. This has been touched up a bit but is still visible. The rest of the finish is relatively clean and there is no sign of the oft-encountered pickwear to the top.

The guitar has several repaired grain cracks on the back, sealed up well but still visible. There is a small lateral split near the tailblock, again completely solid but visible on close inspection. The top has one small sealed grain split in the typical spot on the upper edge of the pickguard. There is a small check line in the celluloid heelcap but it is not pulling up.

The guitar retains all original fittings with no alterations-not even the typical strap button added to the heel. The original bridge has a newer bone saddle but has never been cut down or even re-glued, and the neck has never been reset (nor needed to be). This is an excellent playing and sounding guitar and a super nice example of the rare first generation Texan with a ringing, powerful but still sweet sound. It also offers a unique feel, the product of its mixed New York and Kalamazoo parentage. Overall Excellent Condition.