1944 Epiphone Blackstone – £1499
The Blackstone was introduced in Epiphone’s original archtop line of 1931, with a 14 3/4″. By 1936 it took it’s final form with the 16 3/8″ lower bout, and the centre-dip headstock appeared in 1939. Epiphone’s most popular 16″ guitar, the Blackstone remained in the catalog continuously until 1949. This particular example is a bit of a curiosity, and may well be a custom order, as I can’t find another with this cream top finish – which appears to be original judging by the quality, ageing and lacquer checking. The other curiosity is the Rosewood strip on the tailpiece, unusual but quite striking. Having said that, it’s a killer guitar, with great tone and playability – the solid Spruce top, figured Maple back and sides giving a big, bright sound, with good clarity and definition. The Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard with trapezoid inlays, and bound body and fingerboard are signs of real quality. Unusually for an arch top of this age, the action is good all the way along the neck, and there are no cracks or repairs. It also comes in the coolest alligator skin case.