The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    Epiphone Triumph Sunburst 1946 – Chicago Music Exchange

    I'm guessing that anything that isn't wood isn't original, but aside from the switch placement, the slightly askew knob, and the general "you ruined history" vibe, I don't hate this nearly as much as I should. I'm weirdly into it. Love minis and it would be interesting to see how it stacks up against modern guitars for that price.

    Wonder what the thinking was, when it happened and if everything is ok inside. The description didn't explicitly state most of that stuff isn't factory (pick guard looks new, those knobs are 70s era Gibson?, Etc), but they have to know, right? I want to say two pick up guitars of any kind weren't a huge thing in 1946.

    Kinda wish it had filters, though.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    My computer says, my connection isn't safe, so I can't take a look. But my interest is piqued!

  4. #3

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    that's the original guard and tuners

  5. #4
    oh, sweet. i was just looking at the cutouts for the pickups (and the lovely condition) and assumed it was newer.

  6. #5

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    tailpiece is right too

  7. #6

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    Looks good to me!

  8. #7

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    Knobs are fungible. It's a beauty in my book!

  9. #8

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    In 1946 was there such a thing as an Epiphone Triumph with 2 pickups?

  10. #9

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    Not even one

  11. #10

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    Correct me if I'm wrong but the tailpiece appears to be incorrectly installed (very easy to correct). It was designed in the 1930s such that the shorter section should be on the bass side (supposedly to provide a deeper tone for the bass strings) and the longer section of the tailpiece anchors the treble strings (to provide more clarity). All the photos I've seen of the classis Epis with the frequensator tail seem to confirm this. Pretty guitar!

  12. #11

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    I have a frequensator on my Broadway and can attest to the fact that some brands of strings do not have strings with the necessary length to properly utilize the tailpiece-- I have to be particular (thankfully TI flatwounds work). Switching the tailpiece sections would defeat the purpose of the tailpiece design.

  13. #12
    so how (ill) advised is this sort of thing? not from a historical or value perspective, but structurally? i suppose it varies wildly, but i was raised to believe that this kind of thing was a bad idea because of the bracing and such. so these extra holes might not only compromise the voice of the guitar, but also it's structural integrity.

    but if that's not the case, i'm just going to start putting holes in everything, because that's awesome. had this been me, i would have put the switch on the upper bout, i guess. as for knobs... that's a good one. i love the old epiphone carousel ones, but i haven't seen a source for those in years. but the black looks good, as does the chrome, so maybe top hats? i'd have to think about that one. i don't hate the frequensator but i'm wondering if something else would look better, at least.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    Some people switch them because some string sets have too short bass strings.
    In the original Epi catalog text, switching the long and short sections was described as a feature. See page ten:


  15. #14

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    That is one fine looking Epiphone.

    On the minis ... I'd been wondering how minis would do in a thin hollowbody. Found a used Epi Sorrento '62 RI a couple weeks ago. Had tried one new in 2012 or so. Was quite unimpressed. This one - from the same year - is different. Many things to love, the minihums most of all. Powerful, lots of volume. Jazz on the neck only, with tone rolled off a bit. Big twang in the middle position.

    If that older Epi sounds anything like this newer one, someone will be getting a great sounding guitar.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevo58
    In the original Epi catalog text, switching the long and short sections was described as a feature. See page ten:

    Thanks for that info, Steven. I had read about Herb Sunshine's work with Epiphone in the late 1930s (he also patented some pickup modifications at that time) and his interest was in the long bass/short treble sound. You'll note that the catalog also shows that arrangement in all of the pictures.

    It's nice to know that the marketers for Epi were quick to show the tailpiece can be arranged either way for a variety of sounds - and I thought marketing like that was a relatively new phenomenon! LOL!

    Much appreciated!!

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    tailpiece is right too
    LOL! Except they reversed the arms. Short one goes on the bass side.

    Sarcasm aside...

    $2.5k is a ridiculous price for this guitar. Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto has a 39 Triumph that hasn't been tastelessly compromised for under $2k.

    From a resale perspective, this guitar is worthless. You personally might find some of these features attractive but don't expect to find a buyer for it. Did you notice the neck is out of spec? (1) The heel shape is wrong for 1946. (2) Epiphone truss rods in 1946 are accessible under the fingerboard extension, not the headstock.

    From a purely structural standpoint, cutting the braces near the neck for a pickup might not do that much damage, but cutting them right in the middle of the body is plain idiotic. You might wonder if they were cut, but think about it. A triumph is a student-grade guitar. Opening the back to move the braces to make room for the pickup is an extremely expensive task. Do you think whoever did this mod was willing to pay significantly more for the mods than they did for the guitar? I think it's more likely the braces were hacked. I guess you can ask CME directly about the braces, and you will want to ask for pictures rather than take their word.

    Given my experience with CME, there is plenty that they are hiding, too. They once sent me a guitar (Triumph coincidentally) with a long, undisclosed crack running diagonally on the back. When I confronted them, they said it was a seam separation. I happened to be at Eric Schoenberg's shop when they sent that response, and we both rolled our eyes at the stupendous lack of integrity. I also bought a 175 from them that had a major chemical burn on the finish that they intentionally left undisclosed and chose not to photograph. Both guitars came with CME's silly "Inspection Report" in the case attesting to the integrity of the instrument.

    Personally, I think this buying this guitar is equivalent to going to an ATM, withdrawing 2.5k, taking it home, and dropping it all in the paper shredder.

    Having said all that, if you play this guitar and it inspires you personally, I support you having what brings you joy.

  18. #17
    they don't always seem the most knowledgeable and/or forthwith about things, but i haven't had experiences as bad as the ones above. there's clearly a fair bit of info missing regarding this specific guitar, and they may (or may not) be able/willing to provide it.

    but judging by the amount of (very specific) mods done to it and the wear on the back of the neck, somebody liked the guitar. the guitar must be a winner (or was until they modded it ). impossible to say. but epis are bad ass, minis are bad ass and this is cheaper than what a comparable modern hollowbody would run you (not that such a thing exists); maybe a gretsch anniversary comes closest?

    not the first thing i'd go after, but if you want something different, here you are.

    couple of bigsbies never hurt anyone, though. love the bound headstock, too.

  19. #18

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    It does seem rather an odd bird. Noncut double pickup Triumph from the '40's.

  20. #19

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    Cool old guitar. According to one of the serial number decoder sites, it could be:
    -1946 - Production Number: 55485

    -1960 - Production Number: 55485
    -1962 - Production Number: 55485

    What's the rumpus? Given the feature set (truss rod style, hardware style), it looks like an older guitar that was refurbished by Gibson, or a newer guitar that was put together by Gibson/Epi with a leftover non-cutaway body. Doesn't really matter - it's a fully carved big bodied electrified archtop with great features, not a collector piece, in great condition, for not a lot of money - I'm sure CMI would entertain offers. I bet it sounds great and maybe plays great.

    As far as CMI goes, well, caveat emptor plus some detailed pix...

  21. #20

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    Somewhat OT, but I played a Loar LH500 yesterday (used), and that is one fine guitar. Very well made, plays well.

    “The Loar” LH500 Hollowbody (pre-owned) | morganmusiconline

    THAT would be a great option for getting the mojo vibe and modding, without breaking the bank.