Repair Journal – Epiphone Masterbilt Olympic

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Believe it or not these two Epiphone guitars are actually the same model: The Mighty Epiphone Olympic.

The 1940s instrument on the left came in for a full restoration that required a neck set with a substantial revision to the neck geometry in order to get the bridge elevated enough to elicit some of the monster tone lurking within this box. This is prickly business with the traditional dovetail neck joint (still my favorite regardless).Once the neck was set, it was completely re-fretted. The trapeze attachment plate had also exploded and needed to be re-fabricated. To do this, I unfolded the broken parts until they were flat and then made a new template. I then cut the parts out of a sheet of brass and folded it and rolled it back up using the subtle persuasion of an anvil, a few small blocks of hardwood, and a ball peen hammer. Next I fabricated and fit a new bridge. It all went together well and once the instrument was setup it produced a great volume and gorgeous sonority. We may never how the three on a side headstock morphed to a bat wing headstock on the more modern instrument on the right. This instrument had an unfortunate tuning machine replacement and had some chip-out on the headstock face which I drop-filled and buffed out so that vintage-style tuners could be re-fit.

January 10, 2012