Epiphone Tenor Guitar Workpage

Epi Stathopoulos
"Mr. Epi" himself

19 fret Archtop 
From my buddy Martyn:
That would be 1937. 11422 and 11423 were both Zenith Tenor Guitars so it was probably in a batch.
Heirloom Instrument
Repair as needed  to play
Refinish as needed

All bindings have "Gassed" out and must be replaced
Finish is original , and worn
Hardware is oxidized, recommend replating (Nickel)
Electrics are inoperable, and non original to the instrument.
It was originally Acoustic

Other than binding and finish, body is in VG condition, glue joints look good

Pickup and pickguard Original
Guard needs polishing

Orig Label intact

Inlay intact, fingerboard shows wear and worn frets

Neck angle is good, and heel is tight to body

Buckle rash on back, otherwise solid

Sidewalls good

No heel break on neck, Tuners are functional but oxidized

Plane of neck is flat
 Steel reinforced neck is my guess
Will be good to relevel when refret takes place


Looking at pointer positioning

Pickup will be tested and if bad, replaced with a modern substitute unless Anne wants this one rewound
 I hope its good and just the pots are bad

All out

I doubt cleaner will help these work , it will be better to just replace them with "like" pots and plug jack

Removing the binding
Easy in some places, tedious in others.

All stripped down and ready to discuss a plan of attack

We have discussed it, and will be going with Refinish, Binding, Replating and Fretwork.
I'll start with stripping the old finish
I will send off the metal to ACME plating for new Nickel


We have a Walnut veneer on the back

You can see the ply's here and only .020" is Walnut

That light spot is where they sanded thru the veneer at the factory
Many things can hide under a dark fade like was on it
It is common to see a blemish such as this even on modern instruments.
As Luthier's, hiding them is the challenge.

Next will be the sides, need some more stripper

The tailpiece is stress fractured
 Its too thin to braze, I will flow some soft solder into it to make it stable and then off to the plater.

After repair, here is what is going on to ACME plating

A coat of sealer on the back  just to look at the grain

Getting down thru an older refinish on the neck, and the original under that one

Starting on the sides

On to the top

Very thick finish, 3 full strips to get it all off.
Some sort of Varnish, by the smell.

Now for the mahogany neck

All cleaned up and ready for binding
.040" white , to simulate the original

I've glue the binding to the top.
Now a riffler to take down the high stuff

Shaving to profile, with razor blade

all sanded smooth

a coat of sealer, and will move to the back.
Sides will be profiled last


After pressing, starting the leveling process

Complete, now to recrown, dress the ends, polish the wire...

...and begin the oiling process on the board
Now to mix some color for the finishwork

My standard Mohawk finish with aniline dye for coloration
This will be 3 colors to make the color needed
It just looks like "brown" in the old finish, but there are MANY colors of  brown!

I'll do the back and sides first, so I'm fine line taping for the work

A fancy tape job to keep the color out of the interior
That is a little over spray from the back and side work, it will not matter, I'll scuff it off and shoot the front

The very subdued sunburst of the Epiphone, or my rendition thereof.
I sprayed this coat with my big gun to cover alot of area
I will scuff back the overspray in the center finishing with 1200 grit.
And then respray the edges with my small gun with thinned finish, to give a nice transition

Pulling tape and cleaning up the binding

Doing the edges

Scuffed up and ready for clear coats

Now back to the top, after spraying  with the touchup gun and getting the look I want
Shown with the first coat of clear

Now we can start to see some beauty return.
The holes will remain taped until the final coat of clear, and then I will work the edges in.

There is "Duality"  in that picture
Epiphone made Triumph's as well!

Now for the neck finish while the body takes on clear.
Electrics are here from Mike Soares, so that will be installed when its time.Thanks Mike

Final wetsanding completed, ready to machine buff, and hand polish the places the buffer cannot reach.
It's a delicate operation, buffing a guitar with an attached neck.
Especially an Heirloom.

After buffing, 3 stages of hand compounds.
Plating from ACME arrived.

After 2 wax coats, ready to install Hardware ,and Electrics from Mike Soares

Ill go with the square cover, trimmed to fit this application

Epoxying cover to pickup
Pick guard will be trimmed to fit

Neck buffed, ready to clean / install orig tuners

Mike had a back bracket for the armrest that was missing, now it is properly secured
Ready to string up for initial tests


New electrics playing sharp and crisp, thanks to Mike Soares
Strung up on GHS strings provided by
Tuning is DGBE
String gauges are 28-22-14-12


First I will clean it all out and repair the case pocket


Pocket top re-installed

All the old  repair tape pulled
Now I will clean up these surfaces, glue the wood backing to the sides and smooth it all up
Hinges will be steel wooled to accept new black lacquer.

Top sealed

Bottom sealed, ready for lacquer

2 coats to protect it for years to come
It's nice when a Guitar can go with its original case, that is not common, many were completely ruined by now

I think this project turned out well, and will be able to give some service to whomever gets to play it.
Now to get it home to Ms.Anne, and move on to the next challenge
Thanks for watching