The Origin Of Epiphone Guitars
Even though Epiphone guitars were officially manufactured in 1928 for the first time, the company was the creation of Anastasios Stathopoulos. He initially started making instruments during the 1870’s, ranging between lutes and fiddles. He continued to strengthen the catalog of stringed instruments after moving to New York, where he continued to sell instruments.
The time frame in which Epiphone manufactured guitars was rather short, and In 1957 was absorbed by its rival, Gibson. It simply couldn’t survive the aftermath of the war, which was made worse by a very long strike.
As it stands the Epiphone brand is owned and produced by Gibson, and the most renowned guitar introduced under Gibson was the Casino. It’s shaped much like the Gibson ES-330 and a favorite choice for The Beatles. Thanks to the heavy and thick sound, it’s the perfect hollow body electric rhythm guitar.
However, the purpose of the Epiphone guitar division inside Gibson is providing more budget-focused guitars to the public. Unlike original Gibson instruments, Epiphone is manufactured in Qingdao, China. Except for the higher quality models, such as the Sheraton or the Riviera, the budget based usually mimic their Gibson counterparts, but with lesser quality wood and craftsmanship. The premium models are manufactured in Japan, and some might say they sound better than an original Gibson, although this speaks more to personal taste.
In terms of archtop guitars, the designs, and models with which they rivaled Gibson before being absorbed, Epiphone still produces their own line. They’ve also released a range of high-quality amplifiers.
For the collector enthusiasts wondering whether any models currently qualify as a collector’s item, look for the Texan acoustic. It was introduced during the earlier 1960’s and set at a cheaper price than the original Gibson J-45. But now it’s worth more if found in good condition.
Some of the most notable Gibson guitars that were copied are the Explorer, the Flying-V, the Thunderbird, and several of the Les Paul models including a range of SG models.
Dedicated models include the previously mentioned Riviera, Sheraton, and Casino, along with the Emperor and Supernova – to name only a few.
Despite the outsourced manufacturing, Epiphone guitars do set a level of quality that keeps rivals on their toes. The overall sound doesn’t differ much from the original Gibson, and the difference in tone quality is minor.