1936 Epiphone Zenith, Sunburst


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Charming mid-thirties New York Masterbilt Epiphone Zenith in great condition. Save for some period replacement tuners the guitar is in great original condition and plays with no issues.

Introduced in 1931 alongside the other Masterbilt instrruments in the Epiphone Catalog the Zenith was initially a 13 5/8” wide; 19" long Concert size model with a carved spruce top and Maple back and sides. By the mid 30’s it had increased in size to a 16 3/8” wide; 20 1/4” long Grand Auditorium instrument comparable size to a Gibson L-7.

This guitar dates to 1936 on spec and with the revised serial number list. It features the 16 3/8” wide body that the Zenit would feature from 1936 until the model was discontinued in 1954. The top is carved Spruce with Cello f-holes. The back and sides are Walnut and the neck is Mahogany with a contrasting centre stripe. The Rosewood fingerboard has dot inlays with twin dots at the 7th fret. The graceful Headstock has the rounded centre point with inlayed Epiphone Script logo and Stickpin appointment. The pickguard is the correct, simple short black type used until 1939 and the bridge and tailpiece are the correct rosewood and trapeze type that pre-dates the trademark Epiphone Frequensator tailpiece.

A great example of mid-thirties New York Epiphone craftsmanship and a wonderfully built guitar it feels great and plays issue free. The neck is a mid C/soft V that fits the hand comfortably with a contemporary nut width. The depth at the 1st fret is 22.9mm. The guitar has had the neck reset and offers good geometry with a good neck angle. Currently strung with roundwound strings it has a versatile voice that will work for most styles. A real shop favourite it’s become a go to if we get a spare minute or two..

Thirties archtops in general offer whole lot of vintage guitar for not a huge amount of money, so if you’ve ever been tempted by a guitar of this type this old Epiphone might be the one! The guitar comes with what looks to be a later sixties case.