This early example of the Epiphone Century is one of 276 made in 1959. Gibson-assembled (Kalamazoo), but with numerous Epiphone components. 1959 was the first year of its production, and just two years after Gibson had bought the Epiphone name, along with tooling, partially completed instruments, and parts.
The pickup is one of those parts; an Epiphone-made New York humbucker. Gibson used these on numerous models in the late 1950s. By 1960 they had run out, and the Century went over to a single-coil P90 with a plastic dogear cover.
Another early feature is the metal triangular name-plate, pinned onto the peghead. This was replaced with the familiar Epiphone logo (transfer) in around 1961. The scratchplate, and control knobs are both Epiphone parts. The Bigsby tremolo is not stock, this guitar would have been shipped with a standard trapeze tailpiece.
The neck itself is three-piece, has a v-profile, and is joined to the body with a heel-cap, very much in earlier Epiphone style. In fact it seems likely that it came from the pre-Gibson Epiphone era, part of the stock bought by Gibson parent company CMI in 1957. Exactly how much of the manufacture this guitar happened in Kalamazoo is not at all clear. The 100% Gibson-made Centuries have one-piece mahogany necks, with a rounded profile, and rounded uncapped-heel.
Images courtesey of justgreatguitars.com
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