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1970s Epiphone FR-25

Made in the early 1970’s, when Epiphone had moved production from the U.S. to Japan. These guitars were made by the Matsumoku factory, featuring solid wood construction and a set neck.

This Epiphone dreadnaught acoustic guitar has certainly seen some history in its near 47 year old life. How many fingerpicked tunes, campfire songs, and country-blues licks have been played and who’s next play its six strings.



Guitar features: Serial 84371 / spruce top / rosewood back and sides / mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard with matt-silver dot markers / rosewood bridge with plastic cream bridge pins / Herringbone purfling sound hole, top binding and centre strip on back / Original chrome tuners and tortoiseshell scratchplate / Made in Japan “blue label”

Accurate serial numbers and model numbers aren’t very available or reliable as Epiphone transitioned from US production to Japan in the early 1970’s. One of the general accepted ways of roughly dating the Japanese Epiphones is from the the label colours. From 1971-1975 there were Blue labels, with early models (70-71) saying “Union made” on the label. 1976-1979 have Tan or white “Lincolnwood” labels with Norlin logo, and 1980-1987 have Brown labels with a “splotch” pattern. This guitar has the the Blue label with “Made in Japan” in the bottom corner, so could be assumed to be between 1972-1975 in manufacture.

It’s a handsome looking guitar and you can see the age in the natural Spruce flat top having a lovely colour and vibe, with a nice contrasting tortoiseshell pickguard with the Epiphone ‘E’ logo. Ivory coloured herringbone binding front and back contrasts against the natural top and the rich dark figured rosewood back and sides.  Fingerboard is in nice condition is a lovely rich colour. Some of the Japanese Epiphones feature a bolt-on neck design with laminate construction. This guitar has set neck and solid wood construction. Again, there is no concrete catalogue of guitar models and features from this period. Simply, some of better than others.

So, are there any issues? Very light surface wear with two or three small dings in the finish, the guitar is in excellent condition, particularly for its age. The frets appear to have quite a bit of life left in them, as it plays cleanly and has a nice bright and jangly resonant tone. The most notable marks on the guitar are two small dents in the lacquer/wood about 10mm and 6mm across on the lower bout in the centre and edge of the side panel. They have no effect on the tone or structure of the guitar. There’s also a small indentation on the back of the neck around the 2nd fret area – possibly from capo use? Like all guitars, it would probably benefit a set-up to suit your playing style.

Guitar comes with a new Dreadnought ABS hard case.