The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Epiphone Howard Roberts Standard Archtop Electric Sunburst, 1965


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Built from 1964 to 1970, the Epiphone Howard Roberts Standard takes cues from very early Gibson archtops – specifically, the oval sound hole on an arched Spruce top. Apparently, 290 of these guitars were made, from introduction until Epiphone construction was moved out of Kalamazoo and sent overseas.

At his peak, Howard Roberts was at the top of the session world, for a time doing nine hundred sessions a year.

There were two versions of the Epiphone Howard Roberts – the Custom and Standard. These models are closely related in structure, and differ largely in decoration, with one major exception – the Custom has a full 25.5 inch scale length, while this Epiphone Howard Roberts Standard measures out to a 24.5 inch scale length, just shorter than ‘standard Gibson’.

Both guitars, as with other Howard Roberts models from other builders including Gibson, feature an oval sound hole rather than the F-holes normally found on arched top guitars. This goes back to Orville Gibson’s earliest arched top instruments, and Howard Roberts felt that this provides a warmer tone, with better response than F-holes.

The body of the Epiphone Howard Roberts is dimensionally similar to the Gibson L-4. This similarity is not exactly a coincidence. While discussing the new signature Howard Roberts guitar, Gibson, who had owned Epiphone for some time, didn’t want to create all new jigs and fixtures, so they used the fixtures from the 16 inch body L-4C. The back and sides are close to what’s found on the L-4C, but the Spruce top is carved and braced with parallel bars and extra cross pieces, much as Gibson used on oval-hole, arched top Mandola models.

Today we’re fortunate to look at an Epiphone Howard Roberts Standard, built during 1965 at the Epiphone section of the Gibson shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It’s in nice shape, with one small scratch in the top near the upper bass edge of the soundhole. Otherwise, the finish is in good shape with natural checking and sinking. As to its hardware, it is in original condition though the volume pot has been replaced and the original is included in the case. The ‘New York’ style Mini Humbucker is original to the guitar.

This wonderful piece plays well and has the warm sound that Roberts sought.

A period Gibson hard shell case is included


Price: $4,750.00 CAD
  • Model: Howard Roberts Standard HR-SE
  • Year: 1965
  • Finish Sunburst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 307460
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Brand New
  • Date Posted: 13/05/2019

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITES documentation
  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 4.18lbs 1.9kg
  • Scale Length: 24.5in 622.3mm
  • Nut Width: 1.673in 42.5mm
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