1954 Epiphone "Emperor Cutaway"
This Emperor has the word "Cutaway" on the label rather than "Regent", a transition in Epi's nomenclature that took place somewhere around late '53/ early '54. Although there are only 6 serial numbers in between this guitar and my Triumph Regent, thus for practical purposes I would estimate the Triumph a '53 and this Emperor a '54.
Very likely it was made in the small interlude between Epiphone’s move away from Manhattan; but before the 1957 Gibson takeover. At this particular time, parts were still being made in the original factory whereas final assembly took place in Conn/Continental‘s main facility in Philadelphia, or their woodwind factory in New Berlin, NY. Guitars made between late '53 and '57 (as well as those from the subsequent Gibson ownership) have a somewhat poor reputation and should be judged on an individual basis. Luckily, this example sounds first-rate, and is exceptionally loud even for an Epi. There is absolutely no difference in looks, fit, and the overall grand tonal quality compared to my earlier examples. So in all likelihood I would assume it is produced (or maybe only labeled) in '54 but through parts that were already in stock before that time.
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