Epiphone Wilshire-12 SB-432-12 12 String Solid Body Electric Guitar (1967)

Epiphone  Wilshire-12 SB-432-12 12 String Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1967)
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Item # 11948
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Epiphone Wilshire-12 SB-432-12 Model 12 String Solid Body Electric Guitar (1967), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 000902, cherry lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

This is one of the rarest of 1960's Kalamazoo-made Epiphones, the 12-string version of the Wilshire model. The entire Epiphone catalog was pretty much treated as a "second line" by CMI in the 1960s, and some of the instruments pretty much slipped through the cracks of history. This is a prime example of an overlooked great design, one of the very few solidbody 12-strings Gibson ever issued and a unique playing and sounding guitar.

Generally The SB-432-12 is the same as the more familiar 6-string Wilshire, with a non-vibrato block 12-string tailpiece (thankfully!) and the long double sided headstock to distinguish it. This model first appeared early in 1966 as the electric 12-string craze was already starting to wane. Only very limited numbers were shipped: 135 in 1966, 43 in 1967 and a final 5 in 1968 making for a grand total of 183. This guitar is stamped as a Factory Second, so it may be the 184th one, as it is unclear whether seconds were included in those totals. At any rate this is a very rare instrument!

The Epiphone mini-humbucking pickups are quite well suited to a 12-string format, but only rarely used in this context. Combined with the solid mahogany body and neck this makes for a crisp and clearer-toned instrument, but quite capable of cranking up to breakup level if desired. The neck is quite slim (typical for the period) but chunkier back-to-front than some from this period. Other features are the same as the standard Wilshire with a dark cherry finish overall, Tune-O-Matic bridge and the one-switch, 4-knob wiring rig fitted with the specific Epiphone barrel knobs of the time.

This is a cool and very useful electric 12, lighter and handier than many with its own distinctive sound and feel. The only other soildbody Gibson 12-string from this period is the Firebird XII, which is also great sounding but of course is rather larger with a more eccentric feel for many players. This is simply a very cool and overlooked mid-'60's Gibson 12-string, a really neat find for the electric 12-string connoisseur.
Overall length is 39 3/4 in. (101 cm.), 13 1/8 in. (33.3 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 9/16 in. (40 mm.).

This guitar is fairly clean overall and all original, showing some fairly random wear. The very deep cherry finish has hardly any fade, but does show a couple of deep dings into the wood on the top as the heaviest wear, probably "case lid bites". Overall the rest of the guitar shows mostly some small chips, dings and scuffs. There are no headstock or heel cracks, some very light chipping is visible along the heel but the joint is completely solid.

All fittings are original except the saddles on the original bridge have been replaced; the originals are in the case but were somewhat sloppily notched long ago. The pickguard has no cracks and very little of the common shrinkage. The nut has been replaced and the original frets crowned with very little subsequent wear. The neck is nice and straight and this is a great playing and sounding electric 12, a cool obscurity waiting to be rediscovered. Excellent - Condition.