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Thread: Damaged 1931 Epiphone Beverly - okay to play as is?

  1. #1

    Question Damaged 1931 Epiphone Beverly - okay to play as is?

    This guitar belonged to my grandfather and has been in an attic for at least twenty years. It's not in good shape. According to this website, it seems to be a 1931 Epiphone Beverly and has a serial number 5251. It has three long cracks running the length of the top, one at each soundhole and one in the middle. The neck also appears to be cracked, at least a little. And the pickguard's broken and I need to glue the one tuning peg and replace the strings.

    But even with the three remaining strings, I tuned it up and it sounds fantastic! So I was wondering if anyone here has an opinion whether it would be a bad idea to play it without getting it properly repaired? I would just fix the tuning peg and get new strings. I am certainly not a serious musician and would only be playing for my own enjoyment. I can't afford a repair, so I figure if it's otherwise just going to sit around then I might as well play it. It's not likely to explode into a million pieces just from ordinary playing, right? After all, it's already withstood twenty years of New England winters and summers in an uninsulated attic.

    I would appreciate any advice anyone can offer. Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Default Re: Damaged 1931 Epiphone Beverly - okay to play as is?

    Tuning it up puts constant tension on the neck and soundboard. The cracks are likely to get worse. It may not explode into a million pieces but could well suffer further damage that will make it unplayable.

    Thanks in large part to a single musician, David Rawlings, 1930s Epiphones are a desirable commodity. You could sell this as a project and still get enough bucks to buy a budget tenor with no cracks in it. More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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  3. #3
    Registered User fox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Guernsey... small island just off the coast of France

    Default Re: Damaged 1931 Epiphone Beverly - okay to play as is?

    I agree, that would be a great project for a skilled hobbyists and if you could sell it, you could buy yourself a working tenor guitar.
    Last edited by fox; May-26-2019 at 3:12am.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Damaged 1931 Epiphone Beverly - okay to play as is?

    Cracks do get a lot worse and harder to repair if left open. And a decent repair should not be too expensive from what your pictures show. (as long as the neck joint is sound) So I'd try and get that done by a competent repair person.

    That's a neat old guitar, and easily sale-able if you ever want to convert it into dollars - and yo won't lose the money you put into repairing those grain cracks.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Damaged 1931 Epiphone Beverly - okay to play as is?

    Honor your grandfather. Get it fixed and have fun playing it!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Damaged 1931 Epiphone Beverly - okay to play as is?

    Thanks for sharing those pics. I would also suggest you leave it unstrung until at least the possible neck cracks have been evaluated. I respect your attachment to the instrument through your grandfather and for the potential for playing it. Since you feel unable to take on the cost of repairs at this point (you should still get it appraised and the damage evaluated) perhaps you could consider putting $175-$350 towards a decent new or used tenor, keeping the Bev unstrung and humidified until you can take on the repairs, or sell as is to balance the cost of the newer instrument. I have only played flat topped tenors, but I have always been fond of the Beverlies.


  7. #7

    Default Re: Damaged 1931 Epiphone Beverly - okay to play as is?

    Go ahead and fix it. you won't regret it. I have a Mossman guitar I bought used in 1976. The neck went south about 15 years ago. I thought, well I've had this thing long enough I'll just sell it. Someone offered me $300 as is. However, my kids went up in arms about the idea and insisted I fix it. Cost me $600 due to the unique nature of the neck joint and replaning fret board etc. So it was a bit expensive but now its a really nice guitar and I am so glad I got talked out of selling it. It will continue to be handed down to the next two generations probably.

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