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Epiphone Emperor - Which One & How Old?


SimonR

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Hello chaps,

 

I've recently received my Epiphone Emperor back from my Luthier, who did a bit of remedial work on it, to fix the action by altering the (non-standard) bridge and also tidy a couple of other bits up, and after being without it for about 6 months I'm very pleased to have the old thing back. It's now so nice to play - but it's one of those guitars that you really know you've got under your arm!

 

Anyway, I've been wondering when exactly it was made. The serial number is 3105402, stamped on the back of the headstock and an online serial number decoder says that it's a Korean-made guitar from 1993 but I don't know how that can be as its previous owner says he owned it for 20 years before I bought it in 2005! Also, it just doesn't look like a 90's guitar to me, even down to the original case which is pretty knackered. I doubt that those vintage-looking knobs are the right ones either.

 

Using this page I think it looks most like an Emperor F from 1980 to 84, but the sizes don't quite match - my guitar is 16 & 3/4" at its widest, and the body depth is 3 & 3/8".

 

There are some pictures below if that helps - maybe the serial number is enough anyway. Note that it has been retro-fitted with a Bigsby Tremelo but I still have the original two-piece tailpiece, as in the Emperor F pictures.

 

IMAG0335_zps56975b0d.jpg

 

IMAG0330_zps8b883a27.jpg

 

IMAG0329_zpsdfa421a7.jpg

 

IMAG0336_zps0efb384f.jpg

 

Cheers for taking the time to reply!

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Cheers for the replies, chaps - yeah I would trust Epiphone but I couldn't find a serial number decoder on their site. Is there one?

 

The one I used is from The Guitar Dater Project

 

<Edit> I just noticed that this decoder doesn't work for Japanese-made guitars made in the 70s and 80s which may explain why it says it's a 1993 guitar.

 

Other sources for Epiphone serial numbers don't seem to account for this serial number as it's not early enough to have a 6-figure number or late enough to have one with a letter in it, hence my confusion.

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That's not a serial number - it's a secret code which holds the link to the meaning of the universe and which can only be decoded by me after several years of close physical contact with the guitar.

 

Therefore I think you should send it to me as soon as possible msp_biggrin.gif

 

One of the nicest looking Emperors I've seen. Wonderful colour and patina.

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That is most definitely a Matsumoku-made Emperor from the 80's. Quality-wise it's very close to an Elitist Broadway, although it doesn't have the heavily-flamed back and sides. I've played a couple of those, and they are outstanding guitars.

 

Enjoy!

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Thanks for the replies everyone - very useful and interesting. I had no idea that it was most probably Japanese but having read a bit about it that seems far from a bad thing.

 

In terms of build quality, it is as good as anything else in my collection, including my 1997 Gibson ES-335, 80's Ibanez Ragtime Special or 1992 Epiphone Orville, and it's probably the nicest feeling guitar I own, especially since I got it back from the luthier. It's just supremely comfortable I guess. Think I paid about £300 for it back in 2005-ish and that suddenly looks like good value to me! Certainly there aren't many other 'ordinary' guitars that are so ostentatiously bound and inlaid all over the place.

 

If you'd like to see one of my guitar heroes putting a very similar guitar through its paces then take a look at

on Youtube. That's pretty much why I own one.

 

Anyway, cheers for now,

 

Simon.

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Hello chaps,

 

I've recently received my Epiphone Emperor back from my Luthier, who did a bit of remedial work on it, to fix the action by altering the (non-standard) bridge and also tidy a couple of other bits up, and after being without it for about 6 months I'm very pleased to have the old thing back. It's now so nice to play - but it's one of those guitars that you really know you've got under your arm!

 

Anyway, I've been wondering when exactly it was made. The serial number is 3105402, stamped on the back of the headstock and an online serial number decoder says that it's a Korean-made guitar from 1993 but I don't know how that can be as its previous owner says he owned it for 20 years before I bought it in 2005! Also, it just doesn't look like a 90's guitar to me, even down to the original case which is pretty knackered. I doubt that those vintage-looking knobs are the right ones either.

 

Using this page I think it looks most like an Emperor F from 1980 to 84, but the sizes don't quite match - my guitar is 16 & 3/4" at its widest, and the body depth is 3 & 3/8".

 

There are some pictures below if that helps - maybe the serial number is enough anyway. Note that it has been retro-fitted with a Bigsby Tremelo but I still have the original two-piece tailpiece, as in the Emperor F pictures.

 

IMAG0335_zps56975b0d.jpg

 

 

 

Cheers for taking the time to reply!

 

 

 

 

 

**** That is most definitely a Matsumoku-made Emperor from the 80's. Quality-wise it's very close to an Elitist Broadway, although it doesn't have the heavily-flamed back and sides. I've played a couple of those, and they are outstanding guitars.

 

Enjoy! ****

 

 

[cool]

It looks to be the same shape and possibly made from the same forms as the Elitist Broadway.

 

5FA2D153-E4DB-4CB1-95A2-E72A1D7BC89F_zpsfhdnemg7.jpg

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Oooooh - The Elitist Broadway is a guitar and a half isn't it? Beautiful thing. They're both also very similar (and I guess it's also not a coincidence) to the Gibson Super 400 that Merle Travis used to play:

 

 

Picture

 

<edit> Also -

, Marcel Dadi is playing a pretty darn nice example!

 

Cheers also for the super accurate dating from the serial number - I wonder why the Guitar dater project can't cope with Japanese serial numbers? Very odd.

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