When Gibson purchased Epiphone in 1957 there was already a line of great flat-top guitars in place. The folks at Gibson integrated the two lines to feature the same structural makeup with different cosmetics for each brand. The FT-45 became the FT-45 Cortez which was based off of Gibson’s LG-2 model. Like the LG-2, the Cortez featured an X braced Sitka Spruce top, Mahogany back and sides and a 24 3/4″ scale length neck. The Epiphone version also featured a sunburst that followed the shape of the body instead of fading to the center. The headstock was designed to look more like the traditional Epiphone shape with a Gibson twist. The wide nut and short headstock are rare, early features that were discontinued later in 1963. I’m very proud to be presenting this early Cortez to you.
I was blown away by the loud voice and lightly braced top that this one has. The wide 1 11/16ths” nut is comfortable and easy to play. The body size is comfortable for the couch or the front porch. There are no cracks on the guitar and it is structurally solid. The bridge plate was a bit tired so Jason made a proper new plate of the same design, thickness and size. The glue on three of the back braces failed so we glued then back tightly with period correct hot hide glue. The tuners were replaced with a proper, period correct Gibson branded Klusons. The only things left to do were to clean the finish and shine the frets. The action is low and the guitar is a joy to play.