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  • Vintage Orpheum Guitars...

    Anyone know anything about Vintage Orpheum guitars from the 50's? I'm trading a guitar for one based on the pictures alone, but the thing has so much mojo I don't really care. If nothing else it will make a nice slide guitar.

    It's an archtop F hole model in a burst. Looks a lot like the Kay's and Harmony's of the era.
    -=RIP "Norton"=-

  • #2
    Have you tried to google orphium guitars or vintage orphium guitars? It seems I found a web page on them once with info.

    What I think I remember is that orphium was built by the brother of the guy that built epiphone prior to the gibson take over. At that time orphium and epiphone were pretty much on par with gibson. later they both ended up as asian guitars not always of the best quality. Epiphone now belongs to gibson and the last I heard is that fender bought the orphium name.
    What good is a guitar without a guitarist?
    What good is a guitarist without a guitar?

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    • #3
      I did try the google search, but was only able to find info on the new guitars, not the vintage, oh, and lots of generic search engine spam! I'll keep looking, I would love to find out more info.

      What you're saying does sound familiar (as I seem to recall reading about it in VG as a sidebar to the Epiphone story). It's a fantastic looking guitar, I'll post some pics.
      -=RIP "Norton"=-

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      • #4
        this is the deluxe model, it's the best pic I've been able to find, the one I'm getting is the sunburst version with cream binding.



        The owner took huge pictures, so it's in two parts:


        -=RIP "Norton"=-

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        • #5
          You're right That guitar has some definate MOJO. Looks to be one of the old all solid wood Orpheum archtops that was on par with Gibson. If this guitar is structurely sound you've found a treasure. I'll see if I can find a web page. If so I'll get back with you. I got lucky and found one before. Maybe it was under vintage archtops. A heck of alot better than Harmony or Kay IMHO.
          What good is a guitar without a guitarist?
          What good is a guitarist without a guitar?

          Comment


          • #6
            I did some research last night and found more question than answers. The only thing I found about Orphie Stathopoulo was that he too over Epiphone after Epi died of leukemia. I did find out that Orpheum is a bigger emigma then I thought. i found out that Orphium guitars wer built by many manufacturers. I found a picture of a D'Angelico guitar with Orphiumwritten on the headstock. As with all D'Angelico guitars it was very elaborate. I also found out that Kay also built Orpheum guitars. This is what I think this one is by the shape of the headstock. It may be older then the 50s'. Maybe 30s or 40s'. What I've learned about guitars built by Kay is that quality can vary. I have an old "Kamico Kay" parlor guitar that is all solid wood and sweet. A friend has an old "Kamico Kay" parlor that is laminate and crap. What I've heard of Kay built guitars is that if it has real binding [not painted on] with real pearl inlay it is top of the line. I would research "vintage Kay archtops" and you may get lucky. Good luck I'll keep looking. This guitar still has great MOJO.
            What good is a guitar without a guitarist?
            What good is a guitarist without a guitar?

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            • #7
              I picked up the guitar today! It plays great and sounds good to me. Mojo to spare, for sure.

              But it's a laminate top, not a solid top. I know it's a maple back, don't know about the top. Non original tuners and possibly non original bridge and trapeeze.

              It's definatley a player and not a collecter, but that's what I wanted, it's going on a world tour with me this year (on a navy ship).

              Thanks for all the help with the info AK! I'll let you know if I turn up anything more concrete, but I'm betting it's from the Kay era. It's very similar to some of the nicer Kay's I've played.
              -=RIP "Norton"=-

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              • #8
                Plays great , sounds good, with MOJO to spare. Can't ask for more than that.

                Laminate could be a blessing. May hold up better with all that salt air and I've seen some lams that sounded great. Be sure to take plenty of strings.

                As much as I personally don't like coated strings they still may be a good choice for the salt air.
                What good is a guitar without a guitarist?
                What good is a guitarist without a guitar?

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's funny, I've taken a guitar with me on every deployment I've done and I've never had a problem with corrosion issue's. I had more problems living near the beach in San Diego! Probably because I always store my guitar in the case on the ship, and the only time it's out is when I play it. Extra strings is a great idea. The nice thing about being on a carrier though, I can order stuff online if the company ships USPS and it only takes a few extra days to get to me.
                  -=RIP "Norton"=-

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                  • #10
                    I was an Army grunt many moons ago and never got close to a carrier. I hear they are like a floating city. Have a safe deployment and keep in touch
                    What good is a guitar without a guitarist?
                    What good is a guitarist without a guitar?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi all,
                      Newly joined member here, really joined on seeing the Orpheum correspondence. I have one over here in the UK, circa 1950 archtop with primitive electric pickup and utterly wonderful it is too. Very little info on the web on these but some people say they're up there with the Gibasons of the period. This one is well worn but in fine functional shape and an amazingly good action. I love it to bits. Will see if I can post pictures and more info soon. Regards,
                      Andy

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                      • #12
                        It's funny, I've taken a guitar with me on every deployment I've done and I've never had a problem with corrosion issue's. I had more problems living near the beach in San Diego! Probably because I always store my guitar in the case on the ship, and the only time it's out is when I play it. Extra strings is a great idea. The nice thing about being on a carrier though, I can order stuff online if the company ships USPS and it only takes a few extra days to get to me.


                        Bringing my guitar on WestPac and carrying it on liberty in foreign ports brought me some of the best experiences of my entire enlistment.

                        I crewed destroyer tenders (AD14, USS Dixie and her sister, AD15, USS Prairie, out of San Diego)---them bird farms stay deployed too long!

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                        • #13
                          What a GROOOOVVVYYY Git
                          Psalm 19 Society
                          http://members.soundclick.com/golden1789

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                          • #15

                            I have an old Sunburst Orpheum Artist, , 6 string, double S hole, acoustic guitar. The number  336 is inside, but I cannot find anything else. I have not been able to find anything on this guitar, but I did find a very similar "Orphem Imperial" on this site http://www.jedistar.com/jedistar_vintage_guitar_dating_o2.htm . I have been told the guitar is probably Mid 1930's to very Early 1940's. Does anyone have sugestions on where I might be able to obtain Orpheum guitar history Prior to 1942?

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