Epiphone Electar Zephyr Tube Amplifier (1948)

Epiphone  Electar Zephyr Tube Amplifier (1948)
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Item # 12180
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Epiphone Electar Zephyr Model Tube Amplifier (1948), made in New York City, natural maple finish, laminated maple cabinet.

Many vintage amp connoisseurs have a special place in their hearts for these early Epiphone Electar amplifiers, which are not only well engineered and built but housed in some of the most stylish cabinets ever. The Zephyr model was the professional-grade offering in Epiphone's 1951 catalog just below their flagship Dreadnaught model, which was the same amp advertised with slightly more power. Epiphone states; "The artist's acceptance of this amplifier is universal. For tone, beauty of appearance, and ease of portability it is unequalled." The 'harmonic' tremolo-equipped variant is listed in Epiphone's 1948 price-list for $165, which wasn't cheap for the day!

Made just after WWII, this Zephyr features a beautiful cabinet of amber blonde maple with a cutout script "E" logo grille. This was a powerful amp for the 1940s with a smooth warm tone that turns to furious overdrive when cranked. The amp features three inputs, volume and tone controls as well as speed and intensity for the tremolo effect (the speed control having the unusual quirk of working 'backwards' by modern standards). It's powered by two 6L6 power tubes, yielding around 20 watts into a single 12" field coil speaker. Originally designed by future Danelectro maven Nathan Daniel, the Electar Zephyr was a top-quality professional quality amplifier in the '40's, and remains a great gigging amp in the 21st Century.
 
Height is 24 in. (61 cm.), 16 in. (40.6 cm.) width, and 8 3/8 in. (21.3 cm.) deep.

This Zephyr is in very nice condition for its age. The lovely blonde cabinet finish shows moderate wear; the delicately carved-away front panel has typical scuffs and a few small missing pieces of ply and some overall corner and edge-wear. The often banged-up thin aluminum control plate is in excellent shape, preserving all its lettering and showing only minor wear and a slight bend around the input jacks. The grille cloth appears original and has some tearing in the upper right corner that has been thoughtfully patched together. The distinctive aluminum handle is original.

Electrically, the amp is nicely original. The 12" Rola field-coil speaker is original to the amp and bears the code 285-818, dating it to the 18th week of 1948. Both the power and output transformers are original, the latter bearing the code 1578. All pots and other components appear original as well. The amp has otherwise seen our typical maintenance and servicing, including replacement of electrolytic caps, cleaned sockets, pots and jacks, a grounded 3-prong power cord and power tubes biased to spec.

This amplifier sounds absolutely incredible and is road ready for another 80 years of service. Very Good + Condition.