1953 Epiphone Century Archtop
This was a beautiful natural blond 1953 Epiphone Century Archtop. It was made in the Epiphone plant in Queens, NY – the same place where Les Paul created “The Log” in 1940, which was his crowning contribution to inventing the electric guitar as we know it.
We bought this guitar from Rivington Guitars in New York City.
This guitar was in fantastic condition and just an absolute joy to play. I was set up with 10s and plays beautifully. It had great low action, and a fantastic neck. It was a joy to play, and the big body gave it super mojo to play. The pickup on the guitar is what is called a New York Pickup. It’s the pickups they used in the Queens plant for these pre-gibson electric archtops. It’s a single coil pickup wound sideways. It has a unique sound – an even and subtle sound. Many say it is the pre-cursor to the P90 – but I need to learn more about what is meant by that. This guitar had a rosewood fretboard and headstock. It had a trapeze tailpiece and octagonal volume and tone controls with peaked facets. It was just a great look.
Everything was original on the guitar except the pick guard and the strap button. The strap button broke when shipping me the guitar. We put a new one on. The old one was still in the case and will stay with the guitar. The pick guard came off of a 1950s Harmony. It gives the guitar a great unique look. There is a tiny corner of the pick guard that is broken, just as it meets the pickup. It’s like just centimeter of the corner. The biggest thing missing would probably be the brand plate from the headstock. These guitars had a bikini style brand plate, and you can see on the guitar where it once was. You can find these for sale from this era of Epiphone, as they came off pretty easily.
All the electronics work well, our luthier cleaned the pots and dated them to the late 40s. All original and working wonderfully well.
The serial number was written on the back wall in side the guitar, which Epiphone did up until the mid 1950s, when they then switched to using a label. This guitar was just a beautiful authentic piece of American guitar history, as well as a super great player (could be your main gigging instrument if you’re professional player). For its combination of those two things, we would rate it at the top of any vintage instrument we have owned.