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1991 Epiphone Emperor J Archtop Hollowbody Guitar Near-Mint w/ Case, Japan Terada


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Up for sale, a 1991 Epiphone Emperor J archtop in near-mint, 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. This Epiphone is a premium iteration of the Emperor platform, produced in small quantities at the Terada factory in Japan (the "J" in the model name signifies Japan Domestic) and rarely seen outside its country of origin.

With a full 17" lower bout, 3" body depth and 25 1/2" scale length, this Epiphone has a very full, balanced natural tone with exquisite midrange and dry percussive cut. The guitar offers ample acoustic projection, strung with roundwound 12-52 strings. Tonewoods include a parallel tonebar braced spruce top, maple back and rims, and a three-piece maple neck capped by a bound ebony fingerboard. The Goto humbucker pair is wound in the vein of a PAF, offering plenty of treble bounce and midrange detail in the bridge position, with greater warmth in the neck position and the breadth and smooth note attack afforded a fully hollow instrument. This Emperor weighs 7lbs 2oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 12-52 strings (wound G), low action, and accurate intonation.

The three-piece maple neck has a slender C-shaped profile carve with moderate shoulders and a fast feel, measuring .805” deep at the 1st fret and .920” at the 9th. The multi-ply bound ebony fretboard features pearloid block inlays bisected by abalone Vs and stock medium jumbo fretwire which has good meat. The frets have been leveled and crowned and show no wear, playing cleanly up the 25 1/2“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The nut measures a full 1 11/16” in width, and the headstock sports the Epiphone logo and tree of life inlay. The original tuners are present; turning smoothly and holding pitch as they should, with gleaming gold plating.

All of the electronics work as they should, with a three-way pickup selector switch and dedicated Volume and Tone knobs for each humbucker. Hardware includes a carved floating rosewood bridge and Frequensator tailpiece, and plastics comprise a quartet of gold reflector cap knobs. The original orange oval label is visible through the bass-side F hole with a five-digit serial that denotes Terada production, the first digit of which indicates the year the guitar was crafted (1 for 1991).

The gloss Blonde finish is framed by multi-ply binding, with subtle birdseye figuring in the maple across the back. There are just a few faint finish scratches and minor marks on the body as a whole, and the gloss on the neck profile is flawless.

A gigbag is included.