Zephyr Emperor Regent Guitars

1953 Epiphone Zephyr Emperor Regent

Color: Sunburst, Rating: 9.25, Sold (ID# 01684)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113


The Ultimate Guitar in the Epiphone Line-Up.


1953 Epiphone Zephyr Emperor Regent.


This full-bodied (18 1/2 inches wide and 3 1/2 inches deep) "Jazzbox" weighs just 8.40 lbs. and has a nice, fat nut width of just under 1 11/16 inches and scale length of 25 1/2 inches. Laminated curly maple body, seven-piece curly maple and mahogany neck, and Brazilian rosewood fretboard with 20 original thin frets and inlaid pearl block position markers with abalone "V" inserts at frets one, three, five, seven, nine, and twelve, and a pearl block (without the abalone "V" insert) at fret fifteen. The body of the guitar has seven-ply binding on the top and back, the f-holes are triple-bound, and the neck and headstock are triple-bound. Headstock with inlaid pearl "Epiphone" script logo and pearl "Vine of Life" inlay. Individual Epiphone closed-back tuners with Keystone plastic buttons. Three Epiphone "New York" pickups with outputs of 4.75k, 4.53k, and 4.78k. Tortoiseshell pickguard with three-layer (white/black/white) plastic binding. Two controls (one volume, one tone) and a control plate with six small pushbuttons (they all have the original lettering on them and they all work!). Epiphone eight-sectioned white plastic knobs with pointers. Rosewood bridge with pre-set compensating saddle and Epiphone Frequensator tailpiece. All hardware gold-plated. Inside the bass 'f' hole is the rectangualr white Epiphone label with "Zephyr Emperor Regent typed in black and the serial number "66091" stamped in black. Apart from some minimal body checking and one very small indentation on the top of the body (to the bass side of the tailpiece), this guitar is as near mint as you could ever wish for, and is quite simply one of the prettiest examples that we have ever seen! Housed in the original Lifton brown case with pink plush lining (9.00).

On par with the Gibson Super 400, the $540.00 (1954 price) Zephyr Emperor Regent was the ultimate guitar in the Epiphone electric line of instruments, with three pickups, elaborate ornamentation, and a body size of 18 1/2 inches. It was generally believed that the Zephyr Emperor Regent was issued in 1952; however, an ad in the November 1950 issue of Metronome magazine introduced this wondrous guitar to the public at $440.00. The original name for the guitar was the "Zephyr Emperor Vari Tone," which referred to the tonal variety available from the "Vari Tone" circuit. The name "Zephyr Emperor Regent" was used from 1952 until 1954, when the name became "Emperor Electric." The Zephyr Emperor Vari Tone/Regent/Electric had the same cosmetic features as the Emperor Acoustic and remained available until 1957.

"Before being acquired by Gibson in 1957, Epiphone had four years earlier moved from its old New York base to Philadelphia. The luxuriously named Zephyr Emperor Regent was the flagship electric model of the time, complete with three pickups and Epiphone's six-button "color tone" system that gives a variety of pickup combinations." (Tony Bacon. The History of the American Guitar.)

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