Epiphone fingerboards

Epiphone used rosewood on all instruments as their fingerboard material, with the exception of ebony on some early Emperors. The fingerboards had a curved radius and were set with twenty high-nickel-content silver frets. The inlay varied according to model from simple dots to the elaborate “cloud” pattern on the De Luxe or “V-block” on the Emperor.

Wiedler wrote us May 2016 : “On examples in my database the curved fingerboard end seems to have been standard on early Masterbilts – except instruments in the SN range 5051 to 5137 that seem to have a square-end fingerboard (however no idea if they had left the factory in 1931 like that). The square end seems to have become standard at some point in 1934 – Spartan 7613 and later have it, while Hollywood 7588 and earlier typically have the curved end. (as always: some early instruments may have a later replacement fingerboard with square end)

Lower models had unbound boards while upper models featured white Pyralin binding. Side position dots appeared at each fret which contained an inlay, white dots on unbound necks and black dots on bound necks. Scale length on all models was 25½ inch.

NOTE: Epiphone guaranteed “All models for the life of the instrument” (cat. 1932), but “metal and other parts that recieve wear, excepted” (cat. 1934), since they don’t last such a long period. Therefore, many of the historic guitars most likely don’t have their original frets anymore.

References :
Jim Fisch & L.B. Fred, The House of Stathopoulo, 1996, p. 74,75
Felix Wiedler, NY Epi Reg
Ruurd Feitsma, The Tale of Benny Jackson’s De Luxe


Olympic 1932, unbound, dot marker on 5-7-9-12
Fingerboard Opympic 10130

Olympic 1935, unbound, dot marker on 3-5-7-9-12
Fingerboard Olympic 17934

Ritz, unbound, dot marker on 3-5-7-9-12
Fingerboard Ritz 20044

Royal, bound, single dot marker on 3-5-9, 2 dots on 7-12
Fingerboard Royal 5721

Spartan 1935, bound, single dot marker on 3-5-9, 2 dots on 7-12
Fingerboard Spartan dots

Spartan 1935, bound, slotted block marker on 3-5-7-9-12
Fingerboard Spartan 8986

Spartan 1936, bound, slotted block marker on 3-5-7-9-12-15
Fingerboard Spartan 6 markers

Triumph 1932, bound, zig zag diamond markers on 3-5-7-9-12 and a single diamond marker on 15
Fingerboard Triumph 5765

Triumph 1933, bound, single dot marker on 3-5-9 and 2 dots on 7-12
Fingerboard Triumph 6778

Triumph 1936, bound, diamond marker on 3-5-7-9-12-15
Fingerboard Triumph 11227

Tudor, bound, triangle marker on 3-5, diamond marker on 7-9-12 
Fingerboard Tudor7452

Tudor, bound, triangle marker on 3-5, diamond marker on 7-9-12-15
Fingerboard Tudor7452 2

Zenith 1932, unbound, single dot marker on 5-9-12 and  2 dots on 7
Fingerboard Zenith 7047

Zenith 1937, unbound, single dot marker on 3-5-9-12 and  2 dots on 7
Fingerboard Zenith 13777

Zenith 1948, unbound, single dot marker on 3-5-7-9-15 and 2 dots on 12
Fingerboard Zenith 57815 6 positions

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