8/21/2016

1956 Epiphone FT-110 Jumbo Flattop Guitar





The most similar guitar to this that I've worked on was a '51 FT-79 that I thought was simply awesome. This one shares the same design style -- x-braced and jumbo in body shape and with an arched, ply back. Add to that a longer scale (25 1/2") and you've got the reason that this guitar sounds the way it does -- punchy as heck and with a good bark to it that you'd expect from an archtop instrument. Being a flattop, however, cowboy chords sound delicious, too.

This was made shortly before Epi was bought by Gibson and the New York factory was closed. It's survived in decent shape but shows many of the signs of aging -- bits of binding lost or replaced, wear and tear here and there, what appears to perhaps be a replacement pickguard, finish weather-checking and crackle, and the like. My work was to give it a fret level/dress, fill the old pinholes and drill new pinholes (to suit the spacing at the neck), and set it up. I also replaced the mismatched pins with older parts-bin ones and made a new truss cover that doesn't push the strings up and out of their nut slots.


The top is solid spruce over laminate maple back/sides. The top is 16 1/8" at its widest.


The inlay is all pearl and looks great. This one's truss rod works perfectly and the original nut is bone. The nut width is 1 11/16" but feels more like 1 5/8" in the hand. The neck shape is a medium C and feels quite fast.


The board is radiused and rosewood.




Check out the factory-compensated rosewood saddle. I love the idea! Clearly, though, someone messed-up with the spacing of the pins because they were way too wide for the neck. A previous owner had cut slots in the saddle to angle the strings more in-board to line them up with the nut. My holes look like they've been drilled a bit "off," but it's more that the worn old pins I've used to match the aesthetic are a bit funky.





I'm really not sure what the neck is made of. It looks like a very blonde mahogany with a center-strip of something else (walnut?).










The E-branded Lifton case is amazing.



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