1966 Epiphone Broadway E252 - Sunburst

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KJ's Vintage Guitars
Denver, CO, United States
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1966 Epiphone Broadway E252 in Beautiful Sunburst

The Broadway was the top-of-the-line Jazz guitar made by Epiphone from 1959 until 1969, when production ceased and all Epiphones became Japanese imports. Gibson bought Epiphone in the 60's and this guitar was made in the Gibson Kalamazoo factory, right alongside its "cousin", the ES-175D.  Only 469 total of these were made in Sunburst during their 10-year run until 1969, with only 82 shipped in 1966 and 92 in 1967... thus, this model is an unrecognized and under-valued rarity.

Similar to an ES-175D or ES-350, but the Broadway is about an inch wider at lower bout, and is slimmer in depth for comfort.  It sports fantastic patent-sticker mini-humbuckers, a bound pickguard, the rounded "Venetian" cutaway with extra access up top instead of the sharp "Florentine", and the iconic "Frequensator" tailpiece... but is priced much lower (price a mid-60's ES175, and see... generally in the $5-6K range).  

Epiphone serialization from this period is a bit vague.  I've concluded this particular guitar could be either 1966 or 1967, according to the information I've found.  There were no differences between those years in specs.  Only 9 were shipped in 1968, per the ledgers.

This gorgeous guitar is all original except tuners and possibly the tailpiece. It is full-depth, but by 1966, the width of the rim was reduced from 3 7/16" to 2 7/8".  At lower bout, it is 17 3/8" wide, with a rounded cutaway, The original Kluson tuners (you can see the imprint) were upgraded with early, same-era Grover ’patent pending’ Rotomatics. These early Roto's did not require routing for the shafts, and in fact no new holes were drilled on back of headstock, so you could fairly easily put Klusons back on (they used one of the existing Kluson holes).  But... trust me:  the early Grovers are better tuners.  The blue tag inside has written serial (same as on headstock), and says ’union made’. The solid mahogany neck has a dark rosewood fingerboard with wide flat frets (good condition, some indents) and large real MOP block-markers.  I believe the bridge and fingerboards at the time were Brazilian rosewood.

The Broadway has a 25.5" scale. It has a 1 9/16" nut (1.58 inch on caliper), but the profile is a comfortable .86; it plays really fast and smooth with those frets and the heavier-gauge flatwounds.  In fact, this may be one the fastest Gibson necks ever.  The headstock is classic Epiphone with the inlay and 'Epsilon' TR cover.  Nice original bound pickguard (be careful it is nitro-cellulose, and as such, I've kept it stored off the guitar, so it is still nice). A great and very unique feature:  the original 2 pat# sticker mini-humbuckers, and all original wiring and pots (hard to read codes inside). These mini-hums may be the "best sounding PUPS you've never heard"!  With their clear, detailed response, they were subsequently used on the Johnny Smith, L-5 and Super 400 models, among others. When Gibson bought Epiphone, they inherited the mini humbucker, and of course also used them extensively on the Les Paul Deluxe model.  These pickups channel bell-tone humbucker qualities, but with more "snap" and tighter bass, more similar to single coils. Very articulate high end, a bit of growl.

Unique to Epi (and not seen frequently, pun intended)-- the "Frequensator" tailpiece is chrome and has no markings on it-- I've seen that on other 60’s tails I’ve seen.  It is possible this is an older replacement tail, as they do tend to break and some get soldered or repaired. The free-floating bridge is the original Brazilian rosewood compensated one, and the 4 gold bonnet knobs look original, and still even have all their lettering, with nicely aged patina. Original finish on the all-maple laminated body has only very light finish checking and a little normal light player wear, including some wear on headstock.  The finish has considerable gloss on back, so sorry for the reflections-- the are no scratches, and just very minor "rash" that could be buffed out.   I'd call it EX (8.5)-- really gorgeous orange-red tinged sunburst on top with a fantastic patina.   Case is the original dark grey, 5-latch, blue-lined Epiphone case, a good fit, nice condition also. This is a feather-weight light guitar at only 6.9 lbs!   It was set up by a luthier for 11’s/12’'s.

Older Epiphones are "where the values still are"... Great opportunity to buy a nice jazz guitar from the mid-60's for a reasonable price that is a very nice player and investment.  

Priced lower locally.

This item is sold As-Described

This item is sold As-Described and cannot be returned unless it arrives in a condition different from how it was described or photographed. Items must be returned in original, as-shipped condition with all original packaging.Learn More.

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