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1963 Epiphone Century

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Epiphone Century main page | 1959 Epiphone Century | 1963 Epiphone Century

1963 Epiphone Century

This Epiphone is a typical example of an early 1960s Century. It was made at the Gibson plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan, so it's construction is in typical Gibson style; a maple body, with one-piece mahogany neck with a rounded un-capped heel. Many late 50s and early 60s Epiphone guitars used old-stock Epiphone components and even necks (for example, see the 1959 Epiphone Century), though none are used in this instance. Hardware is typical Gibson/Epiphone: a single coil P90 pickup with black plastic cover, nickel-plated trapeze tailpiece, gold bell knobs and of course the Epiphone silk-screened logo on the headstock. The scratchplate has changed from the earlier single ply tortoiseshell guard to a three play white-black-white.

This example was one of 169 Epiphone Centurys shipped in 1963. US zone 1 list price (September '63) was $182.50. Both Shaded (as shown) and Royal Burgundy finishes were available this year, though shipping figures do not list the two finishes individually, though it would seem Shaded guitars were shipped in much larger numbers than Royal Burgundy.

The Epiphone Century was typically fitted with one single coil P90 pickup, in this case with black dogear cover. Earlier examples had old-stock Epiphone New York pickups, or P90s with white covers.
Hardware was typically nickel plated; bail-type tailpiece and free-floating rosewood bridge. Both these, and the gold bell-knobs are the same style as used by many Gibsons at this time.

Shaded finish guitars from this period only had this finish on the top - backs and sides were typically a rich translucent walnut brown. Centurys with the Royal Burgundy finish were not subject to this however, and were the same colour all over. Bodies (but not necks) were bound, with single ply cream celluloid on front and back. The heel of this guitar is uncapped - compare to the 1959 example which has an old-stock Stathopoulos-era neck - three ply with capped heel. Note also the differences in shapes of the two heels.

The headstock and it's markings did change over the period the Century was in production by Gibson. Initially the shape was the same as the original pre-Gibson headstock, with the metal 'V' plate Epiphone logo (see the 1959 Century) - and from late 1963 a longer, more curved headstock style was phased in, though the logo was still silk-screened, as shown above. This intermediate of old-shape headstock, and silk-screened logo appeared only on guitars produced 1961-63.

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