Epiphone Zephyr Emperor Regent Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1953)

Epiphone  Zephyr Emperor Regent Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1953)
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Item # 9112
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Epiphone Zephyr Emperor Regent Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1953), made in New York City, serial # 65450, natural lacquer finish, laminated maple body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original brown tolex hard shell case.

Probably the most imposing electric guitar ever created, if only by sheer size, the Epiphone Zephyr Emperor Regent is a stunner to look at and a true 1950s classic. This was the New York company's top of the line instrument in the early 1950s, with all the cosmetic features of the acoustic Emperor mated with extremely elaborate (for the period) electronics.

This is a full 18.5" two-pickup archtop with quite fancy trim, including 5-ply body binding, a multi-bound vine inlaid headstock, and split abalone/pearl blocks on the fingerboard. This model has the newer style truss rod neck reinforcement which is adjusted at the base of the headstock, similar to the Gibson practice. The laminated maple body has a spruce top and carries a lovely honey-natural finish, showing off the back and side grain to good advantage. The neck has a soft "C" profile and feels very comfortable.

The guitar features three gold-plated "New York" single coil pickups mounted in cream plastic surrounds. The proprietary elaborate push-button selector panel allows six different combinations, making for some very interesting sonic possibilities. Inspired by Gibson's three-pickup ES-5 introduced in 1949, Epiphone as always went full out to top the competition and produce the most versatile and visually-striking amplified instrument imaginable in 1950. The sonic palette tends towards a bit brighter than the typical Gibson, with a nice acoustic-y quality to some of the selections.
 
Overall length is 44 in. (111.8 cm.), 18 1/2 in. (47 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

Overall this is a very nice, clean example, with some light wear and minor repair. It is all original except for a nicely done replica pickguard and bracket; most original Epiphone guards of this era crumbled away long ago. The binding is solid overall with a few small splits and repairs but no crumbling or notable deterioration. The heelcap is a replacement. The gold plating shows wear, most notably on the pickup covers and tailpiece base.

There are typical small repairs by the jack and on the tailpiece base, both solidly done but visible. The finish is very clean, with only some minor dings and dents. The frets show some light wear, but the neck angle is excellent. This is a very fine-playing and sounding example of this hugely impressive piece of 1950s opulence. Includes the equally massive original HSC. Overall Excellent Condition.