Epiphone Zephyr Electar
Epiphone factory located on West 14th Street in New York City. It was there that Django selected the natural Epiphone Zephyr #3442.
It is also possible that Django acquired a large Electar amplifier at that time. According to Joe Sinacore the Epiphone Company gave the guitar to Django which is contrary to Charles Delaunay’s biography of Reinhardt.
This is a late 40s Epiphone (New York) Electar Zephyr Guitar Amplifier, Serial # 8305. This beautiful, blonde maple veneer, art deco style amp sounds very good. With twin 6L5GC power tubes and it’s original 12″ Rola speaker, the Electar produces a smooth, clean and warm tone. Cabinet dimensions are 23″ in height by 16″ in width, with the depth tapering distinctively from 9 1/2″ at the bottom to 8″ at the top. This amp was introduced 1939; discontinued 1954.
Above is an original Epiphone Electar Zephyr amp from the late 40’s. Epiphone began amp production on a cottage industry basis in the mid 1930’s, with units hand built by a high schooler named Nat Daniel, who later went to fame as the namesake of the legendary Danelectro line. After the war, Epi expanded their amp line with a series that culminated with this model, the Zephyr.
Perhaps responding to bandleader’s anxieties over the ungainly and often unreliable early amplifiers for the emerging electric guitars, Epi designed a streamlined, art deco amp cabinet whose lines precisely mirrored those of the classic bandstands of the Big Band era. With controls discreetly hidden in the sloping top, and the Epiphone logo emblazoned over the tweed grille cloth, the blonde maple cabinet with the walnut stripe would blend seamlessly into the most elegant of front lines. Even the nickel-plated handle fits the concept, echoing the look of an old fashioned stand light.
The 1944 Epiphone Electar. with identical fretwork logo reflecting those Radio Days.
Pictures exist of Django playing an Epiphone Guitar with Electar Amplifier before he went to America.