Epiphone (used, 1961) Wilshire

Tag No 59-0497 Used

#30328, a solid body electric guitar in excellent minus condition with original tweed-type hard shell case.

NOW ON SALE - A $2500 REDUCTION IN PRICE!   This guitar was owned and used professionally by Dave Guard, legendary co-founder of The Kingston Trio, who played this guitar in his subsequent group, the Whiskey Hill Singers. Even without the provenance, this is a collectible electric guitar, the Epiphone version of the Gibson Les Paul Special, made in mighty small numbers in its time. The time during which it had P-90 pickups was 1959 to mid-1962, thereafter it went to humbuckers until it was discontinued in 1970. This is a double cutaway guitar in which the treble horn is slightly larger than the bass (this design was reversed in ’63), having a dotmarker inlaid Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, a large flying bat-shaped tortoise shell celluloid pickguard displaying a large silver Epsilon inlaid between the two pickups, having a tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece, four black high-hat knobs in the lower treble bout, a three-way toggle just north of those controls and six original individual Kluson Deluxe tuners with crème plastic buttons. The electronics inside this guitar are wholly original – the pot codes being 134-6120 which means that these internal components were made in the 20th week of 1961.

INCOMING CONDITION: Its tuner buttons are fine, showing no sign of deterioration, though their nickel-plated sealed backs are tarnished. There are light normal signs of use and wear including scuffs on back edge of headstock, light dings, scuffs, a couple of chips including one at the treble cutaway and an even smaller one below the knobs. The frets show normal signs of wear. We have thoroughly inspected the guitar and found that the truss rod works, but the neck has a slight lift at the end of the fingerboard near the body. The “stop” tailpiece is faded gold-plated and the rest of the hardware is nickel-plated – all of the literature we’ve read about this model says nickel-plated. So, we suspect that the tailpiece could perhaps be a period replacement. The frets are somewhat worn – it could ideally use a re-fret but since it was played by Dave Guard we’d prefer not to do that for the sake of its provenance.

About this model, the Gibson Guitar Company says (information expanded by us): From the time of its introduction, the solid-body Epiphone Wilshire has been a favorite “undiscovered classic” among those in the know, but the fact that so few Epiphone Wilshire Model SB-432 guitars were ever produced — with P-90 pickups we made just 59 in 1960, 186 in ’61, 180 in 1962 — combined with its unerring quality, playability and tonal versatility, has sent its value soaring from its humble introductory price of $210 to many thousands of dollars on today’s vintage market, depending upon year and condition.

This guitar came to us from the family of Dave Guard, for whom we have, in the past, sold two banjos that Mr. Guard had owned. Here is the statement of his son, Tom:

“After lots of hesitation I have decided to sell a vintage guitar of mine which once belonged to my father, David Guard, a founding member of the Kingston Trio. It is in excellent condition and the sound is pristine. I thought of all the possibilities regarding how to safely sell the collector's item and after some research and advice seeking I decided you would be my best bet. I'd consulted Gibson via email I received this response which was very helpful and of course cast one more vote for Mandolin Bros.

“Hello Tom: Thank you for contacting Gibson Customer Service. The serial number 30328 is consistent with an Epiphone Wilshire which was shipped from theKalamazoo plant on 10/16/61. Gibson does not keep track of value, but you might check. . . www.mandoweb.com. Thanks. Best regards, Bob Burns

“My father was diagnosed with cancer in 1988. At the time he was uninsured so medical bills began to grow. I was living in California and storing his Vega long neck and Gibson RB250 banjos at the time so he asked that I send them. You soon found buyers for each banjo which was a great help in relieving his debts. Since then eBay has come along and although I could likely sell it there I would like to offer it to you first. One thing I'm confident about in selling the 1961 Epiphone Wilshire is that the Guard family is the original and sole owner. My mother, Gretchen, purchased it as a Christmas gift for my father in 1961 from Dana Morgan Music in Palo Alto, CA. Inside the original case there is still a gold metallic decal reading "Dana Morgan Repair, 534 Bryant St., DA 1-4217, Palo Alto, Calif." I'm told that Jerry Garcia was teaching lessons there at the time so it is my hard-to-substantiate daydream that he may have rung it up for her. I'm sure it is unlikely but it makes for a nice fantasy don't you think?

“Another cool thing about the 1961 Epiphone Wilshire is that is was used by my father with the Whiskeyhill Singers which is the band he formed, the same year as this guitar was made, after leaving the Kingston Trio. Nick Reynolds who remained in the Kingston Trio caught the Whiskey's act around that time and was nice enough to note in an interview later that my father had introduced an electric guitar to a folk act long before Bob Dylan did. Of course Dylan got a lot more attention but it is a significant part of the guitar's history nonetheless.

“As for the condition, this Epiphone Wilshire looks almost new from a short distance but closer up you can see some minor bangs and some corrosion on the metal parts. Still it's a real eye catcher, a cosmetically sound creature considering her age. The guitar was never repaired or dismantled. The P-90 single coil pickups always sounded great and it still does. There are some dings but I think you'll agree there are relatively few. The saddle has plenty of clearance to go either up or down. The guitar has not seen a whole lot of use in its life so I would say the frets are at the “nicely worn in” stage and the action feels just right to me. The guitar and case are wholly original. There is a normal level of oxidation on the pickup magnets and tuners, and some on the tailpiece, saddle, and pickguard screws, all of which provides the patina of age that everyone is looking for.” This guitar is accompanied by a signed note from Tom Guard stating the provenance, and a sheet of photographs provided by and signed by Tom Guard, two of which show his dad playing the guitar on a mid-1960s Australian TV show. Owning an instrument that formerly belonged to one of the most influential musicians of our time, who was years ahead of his time by using it for folk rock when the term hadn’t been invented, is, by itself, the culmination of a lifetime dream; at the same time, owning a fine 1961 Epiphone (made by Gibson) solid body Wilshire electric that plays and sounds wonderful, is the sweet flavored glaze that is cooked and used to cover or decorate baked goods.  THIS WAS $8500.   THE PRICE IS LOWERED CONSIDERABLY:   

Our SALE Discount Price is $6,181.00 and Our SALE Cash Discount Price is $5,995.00.

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Additional Photos (click for expanded view)

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