Pre-War Gibson L-5 Owners' Club




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Epiphone De Luxe Masterbilt

Introduced in June 1931, the Deluxe was designed to compete with the Gibson L-5. Both guitars carried a  $275 price tag and the De Luxe Masterbilt remained Epiphone’s flagship model from 1931 until late 1935, when the Emperor was introduced.


Measuring 16 3/8 inches across, the body was slightly wider than Gibson's L-5!


The asymmetrical headstock had a bevelled, multi-layer plastic overlay that was bound at the back and inlaid with flowers, vines and the model name, which appeared on a pearl banner.


The neck was constructed from maple with two dark wood centre strips, while the 20-fret rosewood fingerboard caried a series of mother-of-pearl, diamond and triangle-shaped  inlays.


Details included unbound, three-segment f-holes, black and white trapezoidal purfling around the top and gold-plated hardware.


Note the open gear Grover G-98 tuners. The elevated, single-bound pickguard is missing,






153-1933 FRONT 153-1933 BACK 153-1933 HEAD 153-1933 FINGERBOARD

Pictures courtesy of Arlan Ettinger of Guernsey Auctions ( and photographer Paul Schraub