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Grandpa's old Spartan Archtop 1934? What's it worth & are they collectible

#1 User is offline   guitar-j 

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 02:40 AM

Hey All, this is my first post here. I"ve got an old Epiphone and I have know idea if it's valuable or collectible.

Best I can tell, it's a '34 Spartan, archtop with the round soundhole. The serial is 7807. It's a pretty cool body style, like a grand auditorium or something, and nice sunburst finish. It belonged to my grandfather who purchased it from the factory in New York when he was living there. I never met him, but as the stories go, he was quite the player (especially after a few drinks).

I'll post the pics here and they'll pretty much tell the rest of the story. I've even got the OHSC for this thing.

I'd love to hear any feedback on the quality, value, collectibility of this guitar.

Attached Image: image.jpegAttached Image: image_7.jpegAttached Image: image_3.jpeg

#2 User is offline   bobouz 

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:22 AM

View Postguitar-j, on 02 January 2013 - 02:40 AM, said:

I'd love to hear any feedback on the quality, value, collectibility of this guitar.

FWIW, the 2012 Vintage Guitar Price Guide puts the value, in excellent condition, at $500 - $600.

With no adjustable truss rod, structural stability would be a key consideration.

Personally I think it's a very cool guitar, but the market for a round soundhole acoustic archtop is limited.
Gibsons: '22 "A" Mandolin / '66 ES 125T / '90 Tennessean / '00 J-100 Xtra
'02 J-45 Rosewood / '02 SG Faded-moon / '06 ES 335 / '09 ES 339
'10 ES 330L / '11 ES 335-P90s / '12 LP Tribute / '12 ES 330 VOS
'12 LP Special / '12 J-185 / '13 LG2 American Eagle / '14 J-15
Epis: '66 FT45n Cortez / '00 AIUSA-JLH 1964 Sheraton / '04 Peerless Casino
'05 Paul McCartney 1964 Texan / '09 Elitist Casino / '10 Valensi Riviera
'11 50th Anniversary 1961 Casino / EL-00 Pro / {Trinity: TM-475 Mandola}
Martins: '01 Custom Rosewood Dread / '09 OM-1

#3 User is offline   crust 

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:20 PM

That looks like a nice guitar.

#4 User is offline   crust 

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:22 PM

That looks very nice. Thanks for posting a couple pics of your grampa's cool old Epiphone.

#5 User is offline   guitar-j 

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:35 PM

Thanks for the feedback, guys! bobouz, this is about where I was expecting the value to be. Thanks for looking that up for me.

Does anyone know why the f-hole versions are more desirable? Is it just a visual preference thing, or do they sound better?

I might get it worked on at some point to bring the action down, it's pretty unbearable right now... or I could just use it for slide.

#6 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:47 PM

Cool Guitar!

I don't care what anyone else prefers but I am a big fan of round soundhole archtops. One of my favorite guitars remains a 1930s Kay Kraft which now only sounds real punchy and quick but has the advantage of having an adjustable neck (which still works like a dream).

The round soundhole archtops though seem to have just about disappeared by 1937. Eve Kay stopped making them and went to the f-hole variety.

Fro what I can gather the f-hole archtops were conisdered louder. But I always wondered if it did not have something to do with what the guitar makers considered the best way to brace the top. A paralell bracing such as what Gibson went to, as example, was just not possible with the soundhole.
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#7 User is offline   bobouz 

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:08 PM

View Postzombywoof, on 04 January 2013 - 03:47 PM, said:

Fro what I can gather the f-hole archtops were conisdered louder. But I always wondered if it did not have something to do with what the guitar makers considered the best way to brace the top. A paralell bracing such as what Gibson went to, as example, was just not possible with the soundhole.

The best sounding acoustic archtop I've had the pleasure to own & play was a 1930s carved spruce top Wards, made by Gibson.
Interestingly, it had F holes with X bracing (as similarly seen on some Gibsons from the 30s).
Gibsons: '22 "A" Mandolin / '66 ES 125T / '90 Tennessean / '00 J-100 Xtra
'02 J-45 Rosewood / '02 SG Faded-moon / '06 ES 335 / '09 ES 339
'10 ES 330L / '11 ES 335-P90s / '12 LP Tribute / '12 ES 330 VOS
'12 LP Special / '12 J-185 / '13 LG2 American Eagle / '14 J-15
Epis: '66 FT45n Cortez / '00 AIUSA-JLH 1964 Sheraton / '04 Peerless Casino
'05 Paul McCartney 1964 Texan / '09 Elitist Casino / '10 Valensi Riviera
'11 50th Anniversary 1961 Casino / EL-00 Pro / {Trinity: TM-475 Mandola}
Martins: '01 Custom Rosewood Dread / '09 OM-1

#8 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:19 AM

View Postbobouz, on 05 January 2013 - 05:08 PM, said:

The best sounding acoustic archtop I've had the pleasure to own & play was a 1930s carved spruce top Wards, made by Gibson.
Interestingly, it had F holes with X bracing (as similarly seen on some Gibsons from the 30s).


It seems that most folks prefer the cutaway archtops.

Gibson used X bracing on their archtops until around 1938. I recently played a very nice 1937 Gibson L-12 with the X bracing somebody wanted to sell me. But for some reason, I have found I generally often like the sound of the cheaper archtops better than their more expensive kin. Go figure.
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"I play so rough - I stomp 'em"
Bukka White

#9 User is offline   TommyK 

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:53 PM

I'll give you 20 bucks for it. [woot]

Seriously I'd think it worth only three figures. Only a serious collector could tell you for sure. Seems to be in as immaculate a condition as could be expected of a 70+ year old guitar.
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#10 User is offline   pacmanguitarist 

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:11 PM

Hmm, well as far as I know, Epiphone wasn't bought by Gibson until 1957. With that in mind I think you might be able to get a good deal from a vintage Epiphone collector. This was also made in Epiphone's sixth year in making guitars, so its pretty early in my opinion.

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