12/16/2016

1935 Epiphone Olympic Archtop Guitar





While this 00-sized (14 1/2" lower bout) Olympic isn't quite the same machine as Dave Rawlings' prized 13" guitar, it does get you in the ballpark of the same sort of tone and drive. It actually reminds me a lot of a good Gibson L-30 but with a lot more punch and bite. It's also a beautiful guitar -- with a honey-brown sunburst, carved spruce top, and solid mahogany back and sides -- capped-off with a classic deco-era, no-frills vibe.

This one is a customer's guitar and, while I mentioned an Epi archtop coming up for sale, this one is not it. It came to me almost ready-to-go as it'd had some good repairs by a well-known luthier (refret, fretboard extension fix, and whatnot), but I did need to nudge the setup a bit as the string radius at the bridge did not match the fretboard (action height at the 12th fret was 1/16" E and E and 3/32" ADGB when it came in -- where it should be 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE), the B string wasn't compensated at the saddle, and the nut (because of the mismatched radius) needed a hair of attention. It's now breezily playing-away and chunking out jazz rhythms.



The headstock looks great on this -- minimalist and classy.


The Brazilian rosewood board is also excellent and has been freshly leveled/dressed in the recent past.






There's a repaired hairline crack under the tailpiece.



As you can see, the mahogany on that back has some interesting wavy grain. I wish that I'd had a sunny day when I shot these pics as it really pops in sunlight.



The neck angle is good and it has a 2-piece mahogany neck.






Originally, a truss rod would've peeked out from under this fretboard extension. Apparently in the past someone inexpertly cut-through the original rod and so the last guy to work on this replaced the extension and probably shored-up the loss of the rod in the neck, too, as the neck is dead straight when strung ti pitch.

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