1949 Epiphone Blackstone Carved-Top Archtop Guitar

A customer brought this blonde-bombshell Blackstone in just to swap the (non-original) tuners out for some Grover 18:1 Sta-Tites, but I also gave it a going-over at the same time. It's in remarkably-good condition with flashy looks, binding that isn't crumbling, no cracks, and a functional under-board-extension truss rod. The top is carved spruce and the back and sides are figured-maple-veneer ply. Its neck is as you'd expect for an Epi of this time -- really fast, with a 1 5/8" nut width, long scale, and a shallow soft-C/V shape.

My work included compensating the E/B slots at the bridge, fiddling with some mucked-about frets to get them all even (but not a full level/dress job), and a good setup. I don't think the truss had been touched its entire life and some luthier-turned-mouse had nibbled-away at various frets with a file here and there to get cleaner notes in first position.

The guitar is, now, essentially healthy and it punches with a secure low-mids crunch... egads-worthily! It needs one of its bridge adjuster post-holes filled and the post re-seated to get it working again, however, and I sent the owner a long list of Paul Fox-made archtop pickguards to mull-over and grab to replace the now-wobbled original celluloid pickguard.

I always liked that Epi inlay style.

The Sta-Tites are a million-times improvement over the already-replacement Ping-style tuners that were on this. I'm imagining that the buttons crumbled on the original tuners -- hence why they were missing.

1 comment:

Brad Smith said...

Epi archtops are classic whatever the model. The Blackstone is an underappreciated model if ever there was one. Nurtured back to health, they are beautifully playing and sounding instruments, and a far better value than Gibsons. Well done Jake!