Since Gibson started using the Epiphone brand for it's imported guitars in 1970 and the name has unfortunately been associated with high-production Asian imports ever since. But that doesn't mean all Epiphone models made overseas are alike, and in the '90s Gibson even made a few Epiphone archtops in the US again. This example, part of the Imperial Series, was made in Japan at the Fujigen workshop but while these high-quality fully carved archtops were well received the rising price of the yen versus the US dollar doomed the project barely a year after it was begun. Less than 50 were produced, and we don't know for sure how many were finished in antique natural, like this one, and how many were sunburst. Gryphon sold this one when new but we were never able to get another. Once you play this one you'll understand why acoustic archtop fans got excited, the Imperial Series reissue of the mid-'30s Emperor was the best-sounding new Epiphone archtop since the early 1950s.

This example has very light finish wear (assorted small shallow scratches to the lacquer) but almost no fret wear. No cracks or repairs, all parts are original. The TKL case has wear to its tweed covering, we're not sure if it's the case Gibson supplied with it when new.

stock no. 54868

ModelEmperor Natural (Imperial Series)
Topcarved Spruce
Back and sides carved maple back
Frets to body14
Nut width1 11/16"
Scale length25 5/8"
Bridge materialrosewood
Fretboard MaterialEbony
Neck materialMaple
Bracingtone bar
Electronicsnone
Neck profileC/D
Total frets20
TunersGotoh
CaseHardshell
Serial NoG920059
Bindingcelluloid