1940 Epiphone Zenith Carved-Top Archtop Guitar





Man, I've had a lot of pretty old New York Epiphones in this year! This is the most "traditional-looking" one in my book -- it's what I think of when I think of old Epiphone carved-tops. The sunburst is generous and fades quickly to black, it has a "voluptuous" body, and a super-fast, modern-feeling neck and long scale. It's also the typical spruce-over-ply-walnut that I'm used to seeing.

This gorgeous plank is a local customer's guitar and sounds tops. It didn't need much to get it going -- a fret level/dress, adjustments to the bridge, hanger solution for the tailpiece, and setup. It's now all done, plays on-the-dot, has a functional truss rod, and has both crunch and zip to its sound. It had some old work done to it -- a good repair job to a long top on the crack and a little overpsray -- but was otherwise original when it came in.


Epiphone bodies tend to be just a little wider than their Gibson competitors. This one is 16 3/8" at the lower bout rather than a straight 16" width.


The pearl in the headstock is nice and tidy. The nut is 1 5/8" and bone and the neck profile is a modern, fast, soft C/V hybrid shape. It handles a lot like a late '50s guitar.


The board and bridge are both rosewood and the board has a steep-ish radius that feels around 10" or so.


I love the firestripe pickguard and the cute metal bracket it sits-on at the neck.



The bridge base got a mild shave to allow more action-adjustment room and the bridge topper got some extra compensation.


The tailpiece's hanger-portion for the trapeze was damaged in two places. I initially tried to attach a rosewood block to replace it but the bent part of the tail had a break in it, too. My quick solution is inelegant but not obvious at first glance -- just a piece cut off an old hinge from the upstairs furniture-workshop hardware bin.




The Grover tuners work just fine but a couple are a bit bent.


The two-piece mahogany neck is perfectly stable despite many years, a long 25 1/2" scale length, and 54w-12 strings.






The serial number on the label corresponds to 1940 via the NY Epi Registry.

Comments

Unknown said…
Don't know what you mean by "typical spruce over ply walnut." Din't ALL the Epi archtops from this period have carved tops?
Jake Wildwood said…
I mean that it's a carved top over ply walnut back/sides. Sorry for the confusion!
daverepair said…
As I understand it, all acoustic archtop Epiphones, made by the original company, had carved tops, but: during the wartime years, some had poplar tops. All electric archtops, though, had laminated tops.

Another nice Epiphone, Jake! More, more!
Tjkeng7 said…
What value would a guitar like this have?