Epiphone guitars of the 1950's and '60s have a folklore and cult following of their own, with their Gibson made flat tops often regarded as some of the finest and coolest guitars produced during this time, with a tone and style that sets them apart from their Gibson branded equivalents. This 1961 Epiphone Texan 12 String is an extraordinary find, with no evidence of a factory production run and no other examples that we can find.
This 1961 Epiphone Texan 12 String is an early and potentially unique example of a Kalamazoo made Epiphone. Although the Epiphone company was initially acquired by Gibson in 1957, and largely utilised previously manufactured parts from the Epiphone New York factory, the Texan was one model that was manufactured in the Gibson factory from 1958 onwards. This version of the FT79 Texan was the Epiphone branded version of Gibsons J-45 acoustic flat top, round shoulder dreadnought model, with a longer 25.5" scale length. The Texan features a Spruce top with Mahogany back and sides, X braced construction, with an open, balanced tone with plenty of clarity and projection. This 1961 Texan 12 string model features the trapeze bridge design found on some Gibson B-45 12 string examples, as apposed to the belly up pin bridge also seen on 1960's Gibson made 12 string guitars. This greatly reduces the pressure on the top over time from the tension of the strings pulling the bridge, with this guitar showing none of the problems associated with some vintage pin bridge 12 strings. This guitar also features a split diamond headstock inlay much like the Gibson B-45 model, although this particular inlay is larger than others we have seen, again adding to its unique nature.
We can only hypothesise as to how this guitar came to be made, whether it be a custom order, prototype or some kind of trade show guitar. All we can be sure of is that it is factory original, with no evidence of any conversion or repair work, and the original bridge plate never having been drilled for a pin bridge, meaning the trapeze set up is definitely original. Other than this, the guitar is in original condition, with the original Kluson single line tuners, pick guard and other hardware correct for the period. Without doubt an incredibly rare guitar, and possibly a unique example of and Epiphone 12 String Texan model.
This guitar is in very good condition, with only minor signs of play wear and patina to the finish and no signs of any repair work. This guitar has been given a full service & appraisal by our luthiers at the Vintage Instrument Workshop. This guitar also includes a 3 year warranty.