Epiphone E-252 Broadway Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1959), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # A-1500, sunburst lacquer finish, laminater maple body, laminated mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, grey gig bag case.

This is a heavily modified but good player's example of a very early Kalamazoo-made E-252 Broadway, one of the middle/higher-end CMI-Epiphone models. This is a pro-grade cutaway hollowbody archtop with dual pickups on a full-depth 17 3/8" body. It was basically the equivalent to Gibson's ES-350, but that guitar had already been converted to a thinline model by 1959. Gibson was generally moving to thinner bodies at the time, but the Broadway bucks this trend this trend with a full 3 3/8" rim on its 17 3/8" wide body. While the finish is original on this guitar, virtually all the hardware has been replaced.

After Gibson's parent company Chicago Musical Instruments bought the Epiphone operation in 1957, it took them a year or so to come up with a new instrument line using the name. Samples were shown at the NAMM show in summer 1958 but production only began in earnest for the 1959 model year. This E-252 Broadway is one of those first models, a rare earliest 1959 version built with actual leftover New York Epiphone components. It was one of the Gibson-made instruments most similar to the original New York pattern, using the same style body and neck.

This guitar's primary difference from the 1960s models that followed is the use of an original NY-made neck blank, a stock of which was included with CMI's purchase of the company. This is made of a 3-strip mahogany/maple laminate with a slim, medium-soft "V" shaped profile quite unlike period Gibson necks with a sharply pointed heel with a celluloid cap. The pickups were originally single-coil "New York" Epiphone units, not the mini-humbuckers used later.

This guitar has had the original pickups replaced with the excellent modern Seymour Duncan/Seth Lover humbuckers. These are described as "A calibrated set of the most faithful PAF’s available, built exactly the way Seth Lover intended for a smooth and sweet tone". Most of the other original parts are also long gone; the tuners are repro Kluson style, the tailpiece is a 6-finger adjustable unit as used on Gibson's super V, the knobs are repro 1960s Gibson style and the bridge is a recent Tune-O-Matic piece.

This fairly rare model was one of the first new Epiphones to carry the banner for Kalamazoo. Only 68 shipped out in 1959 and a further 34 in 1960, during which time the original Epiphone hardware was used up and the model adopted a standard mahogany Gibson neck. The list price was $335 (plus case) in 1959. This is a good player's instrument with a lovely sound, no longer fully original but a fun guitar to play and an excellent bargain in a vintage full-size "Jazz box".

Overall length is 42 in. (106.7 cm.), 17 3/8 in. (44.1 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This is an excellent player's jazz box but as noted has been altered substantially from its original 1959 layout. Overall the all original finish is relatively clean, with the heaviest wear on the back of the neck, down to the wood over part of its length. The rest of the guitar mostly has only small dings, dents and scuffs, with a couple of deeper dings to the top. There is a small repaired chip on the headstock face from a grommet being replaced.

The pickup routs were substantially enlarged for the full humbucking array now fitted, and the guitar is not a likely candidate for restoration to its original format with "New York" units. The modern hardware shows some light wear overall; there is no pickguard. The frets appear original and have been crowned down somewhat but are still fully playable. While no longer largely original this is a fine sounding guitar; the Duncan/Lover pickups are very appropriate for delivering the classic tone of a period Gibson. Of course the sound of this guitar is now quite different from its original New York/Kalamazoo roots, but many players would prefer this more conventional layout. It is currently housed in a grey gig bag. Very Good + Condition.

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Listed2 months ago
ConditionVery Good (Used)
Very Good items may show a few slight marks or scratches but are fully functional and in overall great shape.Learn more
Brand
Model
  • Broadway E252
Finish
  • sunburst lacquer
Categories
Year
  • 1959
Fretboard Material
  • Rosewood
Color Family
  • Brown
Body Material
  • Maple
Neck Construction
  • Set-Neck
Body Type
  • Hollow Body
Right / Left Handed
  • Right Handed
Number of Strings
  • 6-String
Body Shape
  • Single Cutaway
Neck Material
  • Maple
  • Mahogany
Offset Body
  • Non-Offset Body
Finish Pattern
  • Sunburst
Model Family
Bridge/Tailpiece Type
  • Stop-Bar
Pickup Configuration
  • HH
Scale Length
  • 25.5"
Number of Frets
  • 20

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