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.
Olympic 1932, unbound, dot marker on 5-7-9-12
Olympic 1935, unbound, dot marker on 3-5-7-9-12
Ritz, unbound, dot marker on 3-5-7-9-12
Royal, bound, single dot marker on 3-5-9, 2 dots on 7-12
Spartan 1935, bound, single dot marker on 3-5-9, 2 dots on 7-12
Spartan 1935, bound, slotted block marker on 3-5-7-9-12
Spartan 1936, bound, slotted block marker on 3-5-7-9-12-15
Triumph 1932, bound, zig zag diamond markers on 3-5-7-9-12 and a single diamond marker on 15
Triumph 1933, bound, single dot marker on 3-5-9 and 2 dots on 7-12
Triumph 1936, bound, diamond marker on 3-5-7-9-12-15
Tudor, bound, triangle marker on 3-5, diamond marker on 7-9-12
Tudor, bound, triangle marker on 3-5, diamond marker on 7-9-12-15
Zenith 1932, unbound, single dot marker on 5-9-12 and 2 dots on 7
Zenith 1937, unbound, single dot marker on 3-5-9-12 and 2 dots on 7
Zenith 1948, unbound, single dot marker on 3-5-7-9-15 and 2 dots on 12