One of the nicest Epiphone Emperors Gryphon has had, and to our recollection the best-sounding. Yes, there are earlier versions, or ones with more figure to the maple, but this is so original, and so unmodified, that the step-back-in-time vibe is a delight. And while we try not to rave about tone (since it's so subjective), this Emperor will have even flattop diehards questioning if maybe an archtop like this wouldn't be a good idea after all. You want loud chop chords to drive a swing band? No problem, but if you pick just off the end of the fingerboard you can also get a mellow, bubbling smooth tone that still has the characteristic archtop definition.

Finish wear to the neck you can see in photos 4, 5, and 6 pretty much speaks for itself: this Epi got played a lot. Thanks to a recent refret it plays like a new guitar, however. The only other finish issue is the deep scratch to the top below the bridge, shown in photo 11. There's wear to the finish on the back, probably from jean rivets and/or shirt buttons, but it's pretty easy to ignore. Original tuners, bridge, pickguard, and tailpiece, and the finish appears original as well. We haven't been able to find any cracks, in fact the recent refret seems to be the only repair (the original frets were saved). There is a speckling of something on the inside back, beneath the f holes. We can't be sure what this is, as there doesn't appear to be any overspray. Spray polish, perhaps? We're just not sure but wanted to mention it for the sake of accuracy.

Despite being an 18 inch archtop, this Emperor is more comfy to play seated than a Super 400 because the curve at the waist is so much more pronounced, allowing the big guitar body to sit lower on your lap. The original case has a fair amount of wear to the edges, as shown, but the interior is very nice.

stock no. 55894

Topcarved Spruce
Back and sidescarved Maple
Frets to body14
Nut width1 11/16"
Scale length25 5/8"
Bridge materialrosewood
Fretboard MaterialEbony
Neck materialMaple (7-Piece)
TunersOriginal Epi
CaseOrig. Hard
Serial No58832
Total frets20