1949 Epiphone Emperor
This 1949 Epiphone Emperor is one of the nicest archtops Gryphon has had, and to our recollection the best-sounding. Yes, there are earlier versions, or ones with more figure to the maple, but this is so original, and so unmodified, that the step-back-in-time vibe is a delight. And while we try not to rave about tone (since it’s so subjective), this Emperor will have even flattop diehards questioning if maybe an archtop like this wouldn’t be a good idea after all. You want loud chop chords to drive a swing band? No problem, but if you pick just off the end of the fingerboard you can also get a mellow, bubbling smooth tone that still has the characteristic archtop definition.