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20th Century Guitar
1950 Epiphone Emperor Concert

March 1998
by Bianca Soros

Link to Guitar Player Magazine

uring the Big Band era of the forties, the Epiphone archtops were considered by professionals to be the loudest percussive acoustic guitars, capable of rhythms rivaling the neighboring horn section. Epiphone rarely made custom instruments and instead was known as a production-oriented company. Designed by Johnny Smith, this 1950 Epiphone Emperor Concert has an unusual trapezoid sound hole which makes it a powerfully smooth solo instrument. Johnny Smith prevailed on Epiphone to alter the standard Emperor model with three modifications: the trapezoid sound hole replaced the f-hole design; the parallel bracing pattern was widened in the lower bout; and the top was carved more thinly around the sound hole. This 18 ", heavily bound, voluminous beauty has a carved spruce top with maple back and sides. Outfitted with an elegant gold Frequensator tailpiece, 7-ply neck and steel adjustable truss rod, the Concert has the volume of an Epiphone and the tone of a D'Angelico and was used for vocal accompaniment to play classical and jazz melodies.End

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