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RARE 1961 EPIPHONE (GIBSON) WILSHIRE SOLID BODY ELECTRIC GUITAR
Exceptional Condition
100% Original
$6250.00
Payment Terms: Bank Transfer, Money Order, Check, Cash Only
(See Below)
Domestic UPS Ground/Insured (Lower 48): 85.00
SOLD

1961 Epiphone Wilshire Electric Guitar
 
The EPIPHONE WILSHIRE in the symmetrical cutaway body was only produced in the Gibson factory between 1961 and 1962 in very small quantities -- 186 units according to company records, a small fraction compared to Gibson production. The number of examples surviving over the years is so minute that whether the production figures included the mini-humbucker, Maestro vibrato equipped CRESTWOOD CUSTOM is not known. (For perspective think of less than 4 guitars per state!) In 1962 the control layout changed so 1961s exhibit unique features present for a single year. In the late 60s when I got interested in guitars and virtually everything was obtainable, I'd never seen or known of the early body style although I was familiar with the "Bat Wing" successors that began in 1964. The first I saw was Steve Marriott's Coronet single pickup example. Over the years the growing desirability and near-legendary scarcity of this model compelled Gibson to make an Historic Reissue 1962 Wilshire in 2009 in a 100 unit limited production.

The 1961 Wilshire represents a dramatic aesthetic improvement over the much more common Gibson solid bodies of the period. As is the case, in my view, with all Epis -- compare Broadway, Sorrento/Windsor, Sheraton, Emperor, etc. to ES175, ES125, ES355, etc. Further, Gibson Epiphones use fittings and hardware unique to Epiphone and upgrades over Gibson. Check out the fabulous nitrate tortoise shell pickguard on this Wilshire, for example, common to all Epis and usually found on highest end Gibson archtops.

I'm the 3rd Owner of this beautiful 1961 example from North Carolina. According to the seller, he bought it from his friend, the original purchaser, in 1962 or 1963. The 1st owner had multiple instruments so this wasn't used much and the 2nd used it infrequently in church until he developed arthritis and put it away until I got it. (I was very lucky because the seller knew my business
LOST WORLDS.) The condition certain supports this description.

I would rate this guitar at around 9.4 condition. There is absolutely no lacquer checking. There are very few blemishes. You can see a small pinhead size nick on the back of the body which only penetrates the lacquer in the pictures. The same is true for several scuffs on the edges. The neck displays a minor "wedding band" nick and minor fading common to Gibsons of the era. The rest of the cherry finish is strong and vivid. A little missing lacquer at the top headstock edge from contact. Structurally the instrument is perfect as the close-ups of the neck and neck joint indicate. There is no deterioration of the nitrate tortoise shell pickguard. The only thing I see is a little lifting and corrosion of the metallic Epi "E" on the pickguard. (Any ostensible marks are dog hairs!) There are pick scratches on the pickup covers as the 2nd owner (and maybe the 1st also) used a thumb pick but must've been very careful because the pickguard itself is virtually mark-free, also consistent with very light strumming use. The original Klusons are shiny and display no shrinking, discoloration, etc. Look virtually new. The original Les Paul Custom/ES335 plastic toggle switch bezel has perfect lettering, showing no wear/use.

Another significant indicator of originality and condition is the near excellent condition of the original chipboard case. These fell apart immediately. All this one shows to give its age is a tear in the top cover edge right before the front clasp. The case is 100% intact. This guitar was carefully stored.

There is no fret wear or fretboard damages, only slight lacquer discoloration on the fretboard edge towards the top. The guitar intonates perfectly and is a joy to play. It has the wide flat neck similar to 1960 Les Paul Standards.

As collectors know, the 1961-63 EPIPHONE WILSHIRE is the only Gibson to use many original valuable parts from the 1956-60 Gibson Les Paul Standard and 1958-61 ES-335. These include:
a) Lightweight Alloy Stop Tail Piece/Nickel Mounting Bolts (value: 750 - 1000.00)
b) ABR-1 Tune-A-Matic (Wireless) (400 - 650.00)
c) Knurled Pickup Selector Switch Nut (150 - 200.00)
d) Amber Bakelite Toggle Switch Tip (150 - 200.00)
e) Centralab 500K Pots w/ Sprague Bumble Bee capacitors Wiring Harness (500 - 750.00)
f) 1957-60 Les Paul Custom Pickup Selector Switch Plastic Bezel (150 - 200.00)

All parts are original, in excellent condition, without pitting, cracking, etc.

No Gibson Les Paul/SG Special used this setup and the bridge/tailpiece assembly of the Wilshire elevates it to the higher end Gibson electric rung. The Wilshire is in fact closer to a 1956-60 Les Paul Standard than any comparable Gibson.

The classic P-90 pickups ohm out at 9.3k (neck) and 7.8k (bridge). This guitar screams like a banshee, sustains forever and has more bite and range than my old well loved 1960 Les Paul Special. I own a host of original Les Pauls and Epiphones as well as five Gibson Historic Les Pauls (including Brazilians) and the first generation Wilshires have a sonic pedigree and power all their own. The body shape is so beautiful and these are very easy to play. Incredibly comfortable, much better balanced than SGs. And so rare.

I'm an Epiphone collector and selling this absolute gem for one reason only. It took me almost ten years to find this one because they're among the scarcest of all Gibson solid bodies and the few I saw were both inferior and plundered of valuable original parts. I only buy guitars in exceptional, original condition. Recently a nearly  identical 1961 Wilshire came my way and its condition is basically 9.8 - 9.9. Virtually New except for some minor checking, which this one doesn't even have. The new one was also expensive (as was this!), so I'm letting this gem go against my better judgement if I can get a suitable price. I'd like to keep both. The neck pickup on this one seems slightly more powerful than on my other.

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NOTE:


I've gotten much interest in this instrument but some "serious customers" ask why no credit cards, no Paypal? The reason is very clear. In fact, everyone knows it (but all profess ignorance!). Sellers have NO protection against Buyer fraud. Paypal and your credit card company support Buyers, not Sellers. I am a credit  card merchant with an impeccable record who is, sadly, aware of the limits of my protection and, in fact, sit on the board of a National Merchants Action Group attempting (in vain) to reform government anti-merchant bias. Why bias? Buyers vastly outnumber sellers, count the votes! We pay 3-4% to banks on every purchase for the privilege of zero protection against fraud, use, damages, etc. by their credit card customers. How different is this from the protectionless "protection" offered by the mob? Government-sanctioned shakedown pure and simple.

Accordingly, I must protect my property. I've been burned once by a well-known guitar crook who stole valuable original paperwork from my 1959 Les Paul Custom when my back was turned. The reality is that vintage and collectable guitars often attract the lower reaches of the food chain.

If you're interested in buying this guitar, come and see it with cash. I'm in NYC. If it's too far, too much of a hassle, fine. Don't blame or cast aspersions at me, it's not personal. Bottom feeders pollute the field for everyone else.


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Original 1961 Gibson Epiphone Guitar















































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