1951 Epiphone FT-79


Quick history: Epiphone, best known for banjos in the ’20s, had changed over completely to guitars in the ’30s. Indeed, where Epiphone led others followed, as they were highly-regarded for their archtop instruments. Epiphone (in Hoboken) was sold Gibson (in Kalamazoo) in 1957 and the first Gibson-made Epiphones appeared in 1958. (Guild in Hoboken was ex-Epiphone employees “guilded together.) This guitar, the FT-79, was the sales leader with a body shape not unlike the Gibson J-185. Solid spruce top, laminated arched back (a feature on Guild guitars that lasted 30 more years), mahogany neck with a Brazilian rosewood bridge and fingerboard, and the now-famous parallelogram inlays. Jimi Hendrix’s sunburst ’51 Epiphone FT-79 sold for $240,000. His manager said he was so attached to it that he took it with him into the bathroom. Jimi owned that Epiphone longer than any other documented guitars from his collection. This one is strikingly clean (some might say mint) with a big “v” neck, original open-back Grovers, 3-piece neck (all mahogany pieces), there are no cracks, and the finish is still shiny (no overspray). Original bridge pins and strap button. An excellent example.