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  1. #1

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    I've been looking for an all carved walnut backed Spartan for a while now. I like the simpler aesthetics and the general resale price seems like steal for one from one of the all carved years. I sort of never thought I would see one like this, let alone this clean! I couldn't be happier. The guitar sounds incredible. It must have sat under a bed for decades. All of the case latches even work!
    After some research on the NY Epiphone website I think it might have been one of the last ones made too. I am thinking of getting a new pickguard made so I can mount electronics to it without drilling into the guitar. Any floating pickup recommendations? Also, my apologies for the oddly rotated photos. No matter how I rotate them before uploading it seems to randomly decide what it's going to do.

    1949 Epiphone Spartan-fullsizerender-jpg
    1949 Epiphone Spartan-fullsizerender_1-jpg


    1949 Epiphone Spartan-img_7174-jpg

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  3. #2

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    Very nice Epi ! Enjoy your new friend.

  4. #3

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    That's a great find! Congratulations, and play it in good health!

  5. #4

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    Wow !. What a beauty. Congratulations.

  6. #5

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    That's quite a rare model. I'd love to see a shot of the walnut back when you get the chance. Congrats!

  7. #6

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    From one vintage Epi owner to another, Congrats on your great find!



    Enjoy,

    Mark

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Klatu
    That's quite a rare model. I'd love to see a shot of the walnut back when you get the chance. Congrats!
    Yeah, I had been looking for a while. I added it to my Reverb alert list just a month ago and was totally surprised when one came up not long after. The back is painted brown so you can't tell without looking inside.

    1949 Epiphone Spartan-img_7187-1-jpg

  9. #8
    Actually, it looks like the sides might be mahogany... Huh...
    1949 Epiphone Spartan-img_7189-jpg
    Last edited by petermelton; 02-15-2017 at 08:07 PM.

  10. #9

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    Congratulations, that's a great guitar! I have a couple old Epis and I'll never let them go.

  11. #10

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    Beautiful! I saw that listed on Reverb, the price was very good.
    I think your guitar may be 'Primavera' wood, a lighter colored, mahogany- looking wood. Epiphone began using that wood on some guitars in the 1940's.

  12. #11

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    Is that cellophane tape inside, stuck to the top? Wonder how that got there.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Richard
    Beautiful! I saw that listed on Reverb, the price was very good.
    I think your guitar may be 'Primavera' wood, a lighter colored, mahogany- looking wood. Epiphone began using that wood on some guitars in the 1940's.
    Edited:
    Thanks! That pictures kinda makes it look like primavera but I'm fairly certain that it is walnut. I could be wrong. It's hard to capture with a cell phone because the flash washes it out, but the wood is dark brown and looks just like walnut to me. Or did they stain the primavera brown on the insides brown?

    1949 Epiphone Spartan-img_7190-jpg
    Last edited by petermelton; 02-16-2017 at 12:38 AM. Reason: Looked again with better light.

  14. #13

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    Very nice looking Epiphone Spartan - congrats! Indeed a late example - 1949 was the last year Epiphone made this model.

    Interesting inside pictures, too - looks like walnut which was typically used on sunburst finish Spartans of that period. Primavera (white mahogany) I have only seen on blonde examples.

    The strips visible inside next to the f-holes are standard - applied in the factory before cutting the holes to stabilize the wood / prevent cracking I think. Another interesting constructional detail: The body seems to have been assembled using solid lining made of wood laminates instead of the more common kerfed linings - I have seen this feature on some 1950s Epis, but never noticed it on earlier examples such as this one.

    Felix
    Last edited by Masterbilt; 02-16-2017 at 02:57 AM.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    Is that cellophane tape inside, stuck to the top? Wonder how that got there.
    Some makers glue gaze web on the inside of the f-holes to prevent cracking along the grain at these vulnarable locacions and the "tape" in this guitar is placed exactly there. In his old promo video Jim Triggs can be seen doing this and he explains why.

  16. #15

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    Very beautiful! I don't have much use for a guitar without pickup, but I wouldn't mind owning this just for on the couch!

    I am surprised to see no kerfed lining inside on the side/top/back connection, but rather what looks to be a solid formed rim. Didn't know that, thanks for showing.

    Enjoy it in good health!

  17. #16

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    Very nice Peter. Wish I'd seen it. Enjoy her,I know I would.

  18. #17

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    Assuming that is a walnut-backed Epiphone, it should an acoustic cannon.
    Anything but a microphone on it would be a bit a shame, but whatever you do please don't drill anything.

  19. #18

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    Congrats & enjoy

  20. #19

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    What a beautiful Sunburst specimen!

    From Archtop.com

    1946 Epiphone Spartan


    One of the scarcest models in the Epiphone line, the Spartan was introduced in 1934 as a round hole archtop with a maple body, roughly equivalent to the Gibson L-4. By 1936 the model was converted to f-holes and became Epi's top-of-the line 16" guitar. Like the legendary prewar Broadway, the Spartan's was the only other Epi model constructed with back and sides of black walnut, an unusually resonant material that produces a notably clear, bright voice, not unlike Brazilian rosewood. When the walnut Broadway was discontinued in 1939, the Spartan became the sole Epiphone model built of this hard, handsome tonewood, and indeed the only professional grade walnut archtop of its day. By the dawn of the 50's, the electric pickup had all but drowned out the loudest acoustic archtops, and the Spartan, never produced in large quantities, disappeared altogether.

  21. #20

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    It's a beauty. Happy NGD! Congratulations and wishes for many great tunes and enjoyable playing. These old girls are mighty fine. I've played one of the walnut prewar broadways and I still remember that fine sound. Lovely!

    S

  22. #21

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    Way to go! I have an earlier Spartan that I love. I have a Kent Armstrong single coil pickup on it (Joe Vinkow and Archtop.com sells it). Very happy with it.

  23. #22

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    Yes, the photo thru the f-hole clearly shows it to be black walnut. Thanks to Felix for pointing out that primavera was used only on the blonde Spartans. Again, you scored a beaut!

  24. #23

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  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Masterbilt
    Very nice looking Epiphone Spartan - congrats! Indeed a late example - 1949 was the last year Epiphone made this model.

    Interesting inside pictures, too - looks like walnut which was typically used on sunburst finish Spartans of that period. Primavera (white mahogany) I have only seen on blonde examples.

    The strips visible inside next to the f-holes are standard - applied in the factory before cutting the holes to stabilize the wood / prevent cracking I think. Another interesting constructional detail: The body seems to have been assembled using solid lining made of wood laminates instead of the more common kerfed linings - I have seen this feature on some 1950s Epis, but never noticed it on earlier examples such as this one.

    Felix
    Thank you for all of that information. This guitar is incredibly sensitive to right hand placement and dynamics. It's teaching me a lot. I am having a great time trying to figure it out. Is there a big tonal difference between solid lining and kerfed lining? I wonder why they switched it on this one.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by petermelton
    Is there a big tonal difference between solid lining and kerfed lining? I wonder why they switched it on this one.
    I checked my data about vintage Epiphones - it seems that there was a changeover in the lining type from kerfed to solid on many if not most Epis, just around the time your Spartan was made (1949) . I don't know the reason. But I don't think there is much of a tonal difference.

    Felix