It's almost impossible to convey in written words how much pleasure it gives us to present this astonishing instrument to the Australian musician. Since Gillian Welch first burst onto the US and worldwide music scene in the mid-nineties, her partner, David Rawlings, has virtually singlehandedly generated a resurgence of interest in smaller-bodied guitars, specially his own model, his 1935 Epiphone Olympic archtop.
Whether performing side-by-side with Gillian out front, or with their roles reversed in the Dave Rawlings Machine, or guesting onstage with everyone from Norah Jones to Willie Nelson, Dave is invariably armed with his now-famous 1935 Olympic. Having finally managed to get our hands on one, we can see what the fuss is all about – this guitar is simply amazing!
Bite and projection
With tones that range from warm and mellow to surprisingly loud and crisp if you push it a little, the Olympic was in production from 1931 to 1949, and its combination of long-scale neck and suspended fretboard, (the 5 end frets hang over the body), help give it a bite and projection that few others can match. Even the most casual listen to Dave Rawlings reveals an incredible variety of tones that can be wrung out of these brilliant boxes.
Spruce / Mahogany / Brazilian Rosewood
The Olympic features a carved Spruce top, Mahogany back and sides, (with the original celluloid binding in perfect condition), Mahogany neck and a lovely 20-fret Brazilian Rosewood board. The frets are in fantastic condition – it's maybe possible that the guitar has been refretted at some recent point, but, if so, it's a damn fine job and hardly looks it!
Despite the original Epiphone label having been eaten by moths, (see pic #7), we can date the guitar to 1943, thanks to the serial number stamped into the base of the bridge*. (We previously believed the guitar to have been from between 1939 and 1941) A particular North American moth was apparently fond of the glue used to afix the labels, and as can be seen in pic # 7, ours is not an isolated occurrence: Top, this label; Middle, an intact label from the same era; Bottom, another moth-devoured label.
Added piezo pickup
Having belonged to two professional musicians, the guitar is fitted with a non-intrusive K&K 'Twin Spot', high impedance soundboard piezo pickup with fully shielded endpin jack, delivering virtually identical acoustic or plugged-in sound.
The wear-and-tear is all cosmetic only – there's no structural issues with the guitar at all – and justly indicative of an instrument that has seen regular use for almost seventy five years. Visible in pic # 8 is the hole from a second strap pin, indicating that the guitar may have been set up left-handed at some point in its history.
Free courier delivery
Rare as hen's teeth, the only one for sale anywhere in Australia, and priced as low as we can manage at just $2985. Your 1943 Epiphone Olympic ships in a recent, well stickered Gator roadcase. And, as with all Just Guitars instruments, ships FREE to any Australian address, through FastWay couriers. (International airfreight only $100 to New Zealand, $175 to the USA, Canada, UK and mainstream European countries)
*Thank you Felix in Switzerland