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.


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!

Cherie 48 said…
Hi Jake,

My friend, Jon, the guitar's owner, sent me these photos. I am amazed and thrilled. The guitar belonged to my father. He loved it, and enjoyed playing it so much. Unfortunately he lost the tips of a few fingers in an accident with a table saw and was unable to play as much, but still tried. He bought it used from a Springfield, MA music store (I don't remember the name). My dad passed away in 2003 and the guitar has been sitting in its case for several years. It was meant to be played and I knew Jon would appreciate it. I've heard him play it several times since he brought it to its new home, most of it after your skilled work. I can see you loved it as much as Jon and my dad. Thank you so much for restoring it back to its original beauty and giving it a new life and allowing it to bring joy, with Jon's skilled playing, to anyone one who hears it. It gives me great joy to hear it play when I visit Jon and his wife in Vermont. My dad would be so happy. Thank you. Cherie, Chicopee, Mass.