Moderne Black - Coronet (first generation) Guitars

1959 Epiphone Moderne Black - Coronet (first generation)

Color: Black, Rating: 9.00, $15,500.00 (ID# 02178)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113


Very similar to the one used by Jimi Hendrix… in his 'pre-fame days'


1959 Epiphone Moderne Black - Coronet (first generation)


This early 1959 incredibly rare guitar, which is like a cross between a Fender Esquire and a Gibson Les Paul Junior, weighs just 8.00 lbs. Solid mahogany 'slab' body with two symmetrical horns. One-piece mahogany neck with a fat nut width of 1 11/16 inches, a wonderful medium-to-fat profile and a standard Gibson scale length of 24 3/4 inches. Slab rosewood fretboard with 22 jumbo frets and inlaid pearl dot position markers. Serial number "9 8252" inked-on in white on back of headstock. Metal Epiphone 'Bikini' headstock logo plate enameled in white and gold and pressed metal truss-rod cover with three screws. Closed-back single-line Kluson Deluxe strip tuners with white plastic oval buttons. Single Epiphone 'New York' single-coil pickup in the bridge position with cream-colored "blocks" or side extensions with a very healthy output of 6.25k. Single-layer white  plastic pickguard (0.08 iches thick) with six screws. Two controls (one volume, one tone). The potentiometers are stamped "134 841" (Centralab, October 1958). Epiphone octagonal 'carousel' white bakelite pointer knobs. Jack socket on treble side of guitar - three layer black over white jack-plate with four screws. Wrap-over stud bar bridge and factory Epiphone vibrato with Epi 'epsilon' inlaid in silver on rosewood plaque. All hardware nickel-plated. This exceptionally rare guitar (the only one that we have ever seen or heard of with the Epiphone vibrato) is in exceptionally fine (9.00++) condition with just a few minor surface chips/marks/indentations mainly on the edges of the body and four on the back of the neck. Truly an absolutely stunning example. Complete with the original eight-page Epiphone hang-tag/instruction booklet and 'Easy Pickings for Christmas' -  a sixteen page songbook dated 11-12-59. Housed in the original Epiphone three-latch, black faux aligator rectangular hardshell case with black faux aligator ends and maroon plush lining (9.25).

Several years ago we had a similar bodied 1960 Epiphone Crestwood Custom in original sunburst. The neck on that guitar was almost identical to this 1959 Coronet - starting out with a profile of 0.85 inches behind the 1st fret, rising to 0.88 at the 3rd, 0.93 at the 5th, 0.97 at the 7th, 0.97 at the 9th, 1.00 at the 12th and 1.01 behind the 15th fret.
The Gibson-made Epiphone Coronet guitar started out as an alternative to the Gibson Les Paul Junior. Something slightly different, but still a good basic single pickup solidbody guitar (for a very economical price). Initially, the 1958/1959 models had a rather thick 1 3/4" mahogany body, like it's sister Les Paul Junior, and a bit similar to a Telecaster body. But when the Les Paul Junior converted to the thinner SG LP Junior body style by late 1960, the Coronet also thinned down to 1 3/8" thick, and the edges got rounded.

The 1959 Coronet is a superb guitar. In 1958 and 1959, the first two years of production, the Coronet featured an open-book headstock with metal Bikini logo, and was fitted with a single Epiphone New York pickup in the treble position. This pickup was found primarily on the pre-Gibson archtops and worked very well in that environment. On this solid body it retains it's sweet brightness. "The single-coil 'New York' pickup produce a rip-roaring sound when cranked up through a small tube amp, with a surprisingly mellow purr at low volume. The tone is quite different from the typical Gibson of the period, thinner perhaps than a PAF Standard or a P-90 Junior, but still fierce in its own right. So few were sold it's difficult to find evidence of any in use when new, though Jimi Hndrix did play a '59 Coronet briefly in his pre-fame days." (Peter Stuart Kohman in Vintage Guitar Magazine, October 2020 pp. 38-41).

"It's not like a Fender single coil, it's not like a P-90 and it's not like a mini-humbucker. And it's not a very high output pickup. But put it way back just hugging the tailpiece-bridge and it is without doubt one of the snottiest, edgy, rock & roll pickups we've heard. It rips on 10. Back it off and it sings. As we said, it's not high output so if you want even more snot, throw a volume boost in line. Controls are a straight Volume and Tone. Finished in Black with Nickel hardware, this guitar oozes style and personality. Did we mention "Snotty" ? The sound of this guitar played through a Supro or Deluxe, is to be savored." (respectfully copied from an old Imperial Guitar & Soundworks description which we felt we could not improve upon!).

According to the Epiphone shipping records just 237 Coronets were produced in 1959.

Notable players include Mikael 'Vigilante' Carlstroem (The Hives).

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