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Epiphone / FT-90 El Dorado / 1964 / Guitar

Big pickguards and Western motifs were all the rage in the early 1960s. Gibson introduced a new Epiphone model in 1963 called the FT-90 El Dorado as a counterpart to its short scale Gibson branded Hummingbird. The El Dorado featured square shoulders, a long 25 1/2″ scale length, Mahogany back and sides, and a big but thin faux tortoise shell pickguard. The resulting guitar was a big booming strummer that held its own in a live band setting. That big pickguard really brought some attention too.

This 1964 El Dorado was purchased by the original owner in 1964 to play country western style music. It was lightly played for a few years until she found her real musical calling in the upright bass. She played with her husband under the stage name “The Country Critters.” Her old guitar was put back in the case without strings – until now.


The guitar is truly in gorgeous condition. There are no breaks or cracks and the neck is perfectly straight. The frets have very little wear and the neck angle is just as it was from the factory. The only repairs are one reglued brace and a light fret dress. The original bridge was plastic so I had it converted to a Rosewood bridge using an actual early 1960s Gibson made bridge. The tuners are original to the guitar and one of them is slightly bent. It was replaced with another Kluson tuner but I decided to reattach the old one. The owner used a DeArmond sound hole pickup and installed a jack on the lower bout rim. She also installed a strap button on the rim next to the neck. The guitar has that great rumbly low end and mid range that those Kalamazoo guitars are famous for but with the added volume and punch of the longer scale length.


Listen to the sound clip on the right side of the page of me strumming this FT-90 for the first time in about 47 years. The price includes the original hard shell case, rare patterned Bobby Lee strap, DeArmond sound hole pickup and her old capo.

Instrument sold

True Vintage Guitar, USA  

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John Shults
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