When Epiphone introduced their Masterbilt archtop guitars in 1931, the De Luxe was offered in Grand Auditorium size and priced $ 275. It was the top of the Masterbilt line. The 1932 catalog states: catalog 1932. In the July 1953 pricelist the spelling “De Luxe” was changed to “DeLuxe” see picture.
Some cutaway De Luxes had an 18 inch body just like the Emperor. Wiedler wrote us : “The 18 1/2” De Luxe first appears in the March 15, 1949 price list: Although the size is not stated, it is listed with identical case (= size) as the Emperor. The Emperor-size De Luxe was made in cutaway and non-cutaway versions until 1951. All examples I know have unbound f-holes.”
Although Epiphone started to produce cutaway models as late as 1949, a few cutaway models named “Soloist” were produced in 1940. According to niceguitar.eu Epiphone only produced three Soloist Emperors and one Soloist De Luxe.
According to Wiedler Epiphone produced from 1931-’55 around 1700 De Luxes of which now 200 examples have been registered.
Metronome magazine ad 1934