Gibson President Dave Berryman officially acquired the comprehensive collection of pre-1957 Epiphone instruments on March 5th.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE...March 2, 2007....Epiphone Guitar will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Gibson Guitar's purchase of the company with the acquisition of the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of pre-1957 Epiphone instruments. The collection of the late Jim Fisch and L.B. Fred will be officially transferred on Monday, March 5, 2007 at 10:00 AM at Top Shelf Music located at 1232 Hertel Ave., Buffalo, NY.

The collection contains hours of taped and transcribed interviews with famous Epiphone players such as Les Paul and Johnny Smith, hours of interviews transcribed of the Stathopoulo family, founders of Epiphone, the original manuscript and research materials for the book "Epiphone, the House of Stathopoulo," co-authored by the late owner of the collection and an assortment of historically significant guitars, banjos, lap steels and amplifiers. There are a total of 29 items to the collection.

The House of Stathopoulo Harp Guitar (1910), front left in the photo above, is the only one known in existence.

The late Jim Fisch was a lover of jazz guitar. In 1992 Fisch learned of a book being assembled which chronicled the history of Epiphone instruments from the early 1900's up to the acquisition of the company by Gibson Guitar in 1957. Most of the guitars were archtop style jazz guitars which interested Fisch. He began going to numerous vintage guitar shows and scouring the world for select Epiphone instruments and information. His efforts allowed him to finish the book with L.B. Fred and interview the descendants of the Stathopoulo family. This was no small feet considering the acrimony that existed within the family and eventually accomplished by some aggressive detective work to determine who was paying for the maintenance on the graves of Epiphone founders, Epi, Orphie and Frixo Stathopoulo.

Dave Berryman with Gertrude Fisch (Jim Fisch's mother).

The Epiphone collection was maintained with most of it on display at Fisch's home along with another 130 Epiphone instruments, fine art and antiques. At one time Fisch even acted as a consultant for Epiphone and its current Masterbilt series.

Some highlights of the collection include:

Epiphone Electar Spanish 1935
Epiphone's first electric guitar. 14.5" wide sunburst maple body with a horseshoe magnet pickup mounted near the bridge. Bound dot inlaid rosewood fingerboard. Shows some wear but is all original and plays great.

House of Stathopoulo Harp Guitar 1910
Rare Epiphone harp guitar with spruce top, rosewood sides, and mahogany back. Much repair and refinishing, and may have had some major components replaced. Labeled "House of Stathopoulo, and shows evidence of their work. Only one known to exist.

Epiphone Deluxe 1943
Unusual example with translucent cream to natural shading. Big 17.5" wide carved archtop with spruce top, flame maple sides and back, multi bound rosewood fingerboard with cloud inlays, and bound headstock with engraved floral pearl inlays. All original. Plays and sounds great.

Epiphone Emperor Regent 1954
Big beautiful 18.5" wide cutaway blond archtop with carved spruce top and highly figured bubble maple sides and back. multi bound rosewood fretboard with pearl/abalone block inlays. Bound headstock with engraved floral inlays. Gold hardware. Epi's biggest and most deluxe guitar. Perfect repro pickguard. Plays and sounds great. Some replaced fingerboard binding.

Epiphone Deluxe Regent 1952
Extremely rare cutaway 17.5" wide carved archtop with with beautiful flame maple sides and back. Multi bound fingerboard with cloud inlays. Fancy pearl headstock inlays. Gold hardware. Totally refinished and restored by Top Shelf Music about 6 years ago to like new condition. Sounds and plays great. Bartolini pickup mounted in repro pickguard. An outstanding instrument.

The Epiphone Company, one of the premiere banjo and guitar manufacturers is part of the Gibson family of brands and headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Gibson is known worldwide for producing classic models in every major style of fretted instrument including acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins and banjos. Gibson's digital guitar represents the biggest advancement in electric guitar design in over 70 years. Gibson Guitar Corp's family of brands now includes Epiphone, Dobro, Kramer, Steinberger, Tobias, Slingerland, Valley Arts, Maestro, Baldwin, Hamilton and Wurlitzer.


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