Gibson Melody Maker, Harmony H22 bass, Vox Ultrasonic
1969 Gibson Melody Maker guitarHarmony H22 bassVox Ultrasonic guitar, with built-in effects
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1959 Epiphone Century

Thinline semi acoustic

Epiphone Index
Epiphone Century main page | Shipping Totals | 1959 Epiphone Century | 1963 Epiphone Century
1959 Epiphone Century
1959 Epiphone Century. Early examples of the Century, like this, had the old Epiphone "New York" pickups, later to be replaced by Gibson P90s   1959 Epiphone Century. The Bigsby tremolo is not stock - this would have been shipped with a trapeze tailpiece.   1959 Epiphone Century. Detail of the free-floating bridge.   1959 Epiphone Century. Detail of the Epiphone "E" logo from the scratchplate.

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.

1959 Epiphone Century. Early versions of the Century, like this, had the old Epiphone metal plate logo, rather than the transfer version of later years   1959 Epiphone Century machine-head detail.   1959 Epiphone Century heel-cap detail.   1959 Epiphone Century. The reverse of guitars with the "shaded" (sunburst) finish were walnut brown.

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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