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Epiphone
Epiphone
is an American musical instrument manufacturer founded by Anastasios Stathopoulos, currently based in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1957 Epiphone, Inc., of New York City
New York City
was purchased by Chicago Musical Instrument Co. (CMI. This is the same company that bought Gibson in 1944) and given the name Epiphone, Inc. of Kalamazoo, Michigan. CMI took great measures to keep Gibson and Epiphone
Epiphone
separate in different buildings each with its own management team. Epiphone
Epiphone
was Gibson's main rival in the archtop market prior to its acquisition in 1957.[2] Their professional archtops, including the Emperor, Deluxe, Broadway and Triumph, rivaled those of Gibson.[citation needed] Aside from guitars, Epiphone
Epiphone
also made double basses, banjos, and other string instruments. However, the company's weakness in the aftermath of World War II allowed Gibson's parent, CMI, to absorb it.[3] The name "Epiphone" is a combination of proprietor Epaminondas Stathopoulos' (Επαμεινώνδας Σταθόπουλος) nickname "Epi" and "phone" (from Greek phon- (φωνή), "voice").[4]

Contents

1 History 2 Instruments

2.1 Guitars

2.1.1 Gibson Models 2.1.2 Original Epiphone
Epiphone
models

2.2 Amplifiers

3 Manufacturing

3.1 US 3.2 Japan 3.3 Korea 3.4 China 3.5 Imperial Series and Elitist

4 Serial numbers and factory codes 5 Players of Epiphone 6 References 7 External links

History[edit]

1945 Epiphone
Epiphone
Blackstone archtop guitar, made in New York.

Mandolin.

ET-270T with Kurt Cobain's autograph.

Les Paul
Les Paul
standard.

Slash signature Les Paul.

A Casino model, used by John Lennon.

Epiphone
Epiphone
Explorer (1984).

A Flying V.

An ES-175 model.

Wilshire model with tremotone.

Joe Pass
Joe Pass
signature Emperor.

Mandobird electric mandolin.

Triumph Deluxe.

PR-5E VS Cutaway Acoustic.

Supernova.

A Sheraton II.

Valve junior stack.

Epiphone
Epiphone
began in 1873, in Smyrna, Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
(now İzmir, Turkey), where Greek founder Anastasios Stathopoulos made his own fiddles and lutes (oud, laouto). Stathopoulo moved to the United States in 1903 and continued to make his original instruments, as well as mandolins, from Long Island City
Long Island City
in Queens, New York. Anastasios died in 1915, and his son, Epaminondas ("Epi"), took over. After two years, the company became known as The House of Stathopoulo.[5] Just after the end of World War I, the company started to make banjos. The company produced its recording line of banjos in 1924 and, four years later, took on the name of the Epiphone
Epiphone
Banjo
Banjo
Company. It produced its first guitars in 1928. After Epi died in 1943, control of the company went to his brothers, Orphie and Frixo. In 1951, a four-month-long strike forced a relocation of Epiphone
Epiphone
from New York City
New York City
to Philadelphia. In 1957 the company was acquired by CMI who also owned Gibson, Lowrey, Selmer and others.[6] Instruments[edit] Guitars[edit] After Epiphone
Epiphone
became a subsidiary of Norlin [Gibson's Parent after 1969], many of its instruments were later patterned after the more expensive Gibson versions. However, Epiphone
Epiphone
also maintains its own line of archtop guitars and basses. As of January 2013, Epiphone
Epiphone
makes the following guitars: Gibson Models[edit]

B. B. King
B. B. King
Lucille Dove / PRO EJ-200 Artist / 200CE (J-200) EL-00 / PRO (L-00) ES-335
ES-335
PRO ES-339
ES-339
PRO / 339 Ultra ES-345 Explorer – 1984 EX / 1958 Goth Firebird TV-Silver Flying V
Flying V
– '58 Korina Flying-V – Jeff Waters
Jeff Waters
Anihillation-V Flying-V – Robb Flynn Love/Death Baritone Hummingbird / PRO / Artist John Lennon
John Lennon
George Harrison
George Harrison
Gibson J-160E Les Paul

Les Paul-100 Les Paul
Les Paul
Baritone[7] Les Paul
Les Paul
1956 Goldtop Ace Frehley
Ace Frehley
Budokan Les Paul Joe Bonamassa
Joe Bonamassa
Goldtop Les Paul
Les Paul
Black Beauty 3 Les Paul Custom PRO / Blackback Les Paul
Les Paul
Junior Les Paul
Les Paul
Nightfall** Les Paul
Les Paul
Prophecy EX & GX Les Paul
Les Paul
Special
Special
II Les Paul
Les Paul
Special
Special
Bass Les Paul
Les Paul
Standard / Royale / PRO Les Paul
Les Paul
Studio / Goth Les Paul
Les Paul
Tribute Les Paul
Les Paul
Traditional PRO Les Paul
Les Paul
Ultra III / PRO Les Paul
Les Paul
Ukulele Tak Matsumoto
Tak Matsumoto
DC Standard & Custom Plus Zakk Wylde
Zakk Wylde
Custom Plus Bullseye

Nighthawk Custom Nikki Sixx Blackbird SG

1961 SG Special 1966 G-400 PRO EB-0 EB-3 G310 G400 Goth / Faded G-400 PRO SG Special

Thunderbird-IV / Goth / PRO-IV / Classic-IV PRO Tom DeLonge ES-333

Original Epiphone
Epiphone
models[edit]

AJ-100 / 100CE AJ-150HS AJ-220S / 220SCE Allen Woody Rumblekat Blackstone Broadway Casino / 1961 50th Anniversary / Elitist / Inspired by John Lennon Century Del Rey Deluxe DeLuxe Regent Dot / Dot Studio DR-100 & 212 Dwight Trash Casino Embassy Bass Emperor Regent Emperor Swingster / Royale / Black Royale ET-270 ET-275 Crestwood ET-276 ET-280 Bass Graveyard Disciple Inspired by 1964 Texan Jack Casady Signature Bass Joe Pass
Joe Pass
Emperor II Masterbilt Century Series Masterbilt DR-500MCE Masterbilt EF-500RCCE MB-100 & 200 Banjo MM-20 / 30S / 50E Professional Mandolin PR-150 PR-4E PR-5E PR7E Epiphone
Epiphone
Riviera P-90 Epiphone
Epiphone
RivieraRiviera Custom P93 Sheraton II / 1962 50th Anniversary / Union Jack Ltd Edition (inspired by Noel Gallagher) Royale Sonador Sorrento Supernova / Manchester City Blue / Union Jack SST Classic Triunfadora Triumph Triumph Regent Viola Bass Wildkat / Royale Zenith Zephyr Zephyr Deluxe Zephyr Deluxe Regent Wilshire PRO / 1966 Worn / Phantomatic / II / III

Amplifiers[edit] Epiphone
Epiphone
began producing amplifiers in 1935 with the Electar Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar
Guitar
Outfit. This outfit was an amplifier, case and lap steel guitar stand all rolled into one unit[8] and was supplied by a suitcase manufacturer of the time. Gibson produced Epiphone
Epiphone
amplifiers in the 1960s. These were basically copies or variations of Gibson and Fender amplifiers[citation needed]. They used a tube design, and some had reverb and tremolo. Gibson decided to launch a new line of Epiphone
Epiphone
amplifiers in 2005 with many different models, including the So Cal, Blues Custom, and the Epiphone Valve Junior. The Valve Hot Rod and Valve Senior were released in 2009. The Valve Hot Rod is a 5 watt amp like the Valve Junior, but has a gain and reverb control. The Valve Senior offers 20 watts of power, with a full equalizer, gain, volume, reverb, and presence control. As of 2012, Epiphone
Epiphone
has ceased production of their line of amplifiers with the exception of the Player and Performance Pack practice amplifiers, available only in Epiphone's starter packages. These Amplifiers
Amplifiers
are under the Epiphone
Epiphone
Electar moniker.[9] Manufacturing[edit] US[edit] Epiphone
Epiphone
instruments made between 1957 and 1970 were made beside the Gibson factory at 224 Parsons (Gibson located at 225 Parsons) St and on Elenor St; Kalamazoo, MI 49007. Solid body guitars with flat tops and backs were made at the Elenor Street plants (both Gibson and Epiphone) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Some of these Epiphone
Epiphone
instruments were effectively identical to the relevant Gibson versions, perhaps made with same timber, materials and components as the contemporary equivalent Gibson guitars. Epiphone
Epiphone
also continued its production of world class archtop guitars using the same patterns and molds from Epi's New York era. Some specific examples of Gibson-era Epiphone instruments from this period includes the Epiphone
Epiphone
Sheraton (co-developed with the Gibson ES-335
ES-335
& sharing its semi-hollow body, but with, Epiphone's pre-Gibson "Frequensator" tailpiece and "New York" mini-humbucker pick-ups, and significantly fancier inlays) and Sheraton II (replacing the Frequensator with Gibson's "stop-bar" tailpiece), the Epiphone Casino
Epiphone Casino
(similar to the Gibson ES-330), the Epiphone
Epiphone
Caballero (similar to the Gibson LG-0), the Epiphone
Epiphone
Cortez (similar to the Gibson LG-2), the Epiphone
Epiphone
Olympic Special
Special
(similar to the Gibson Melody Maker), the Epiphone
Epiphone
Sorrento
Sorrento
(similar to the Gibson ES-125TC, except for a few cosmetic changes), and the Epiphone
Epiphone
Texan (similar to the Gibson J-45, apart from a change in scale-length). The other Kalamazoo-made Epiphones had technical or cosmetic relationship with the similar Gibson version. Several Epiphone
Epiphone
guitars have been produced in the United States
United States
after 1971. The Epiphone
Epiphone
Spirit and Special
Special
were produced in the early 1980s in Kalamazoo.[citation needed] In 1993, three historic Epiphone acoustic guitars, the Texan, Frontier, and Excellente, were produced by Gibson Acoustic in Montana.[citation needed] The Paul McCartney Texan was produced in 2005, and in 2009, the Epiphone
Epiphone
Historic Collection was created, beginning with the 1962 Wilshire, built by Gibson Custom. Several other models, such as the Sheraton and John Lennon Casinos, were built in Japan and assembled and finished by Gibson USA.[citation needed] Japan[edit] In the early 1970s, Matsumoku
Matsumoku
began to manufacture Epiphone instruments in Japan[10] with the production and distribution being managed by Aria, in cooperation with Gibson. At this time, Epiphone ceased production of all of its traditional designs and began manufacturing markedly less expensive guitars, many of which had less traditional bolt-on style necks and unspecified wood types.[11] Some of these guitars had similar body shapes to traditional Epiphone
Epiphone
and Gibson designs but had different names while other models retained certain model designations, such as the FT (Flat Top) guitars.[12] Construction of these guitars differed greatly from past Epiphone models. For the first several years of production in Japan, Epiphone guitars were actually rebranded designs already produced by the Matsumoku
Matsumoku
Company.[13] By 1975, the Japanese market started seeing some of the more familiar designs and names being reintroduced. These guitars were of higher quality than that of the previous years of production in Japan and included models such as the Wilshire, Emperor, Riviera and Newport bass.[14] These models were available to the Japanese market only. By 1976 new designs of higher quality were being introduced for export but did not include the current Japanese market models. Notable new designs from this era were the Monticello (Scroll Guitar), the Presentation (PR) and Nova series flat tops and the Genesis solid body guitar. By 1980, most Japanese-only designs were available for worldwide distribution. The Matsumoku-made archtops, such as the Emperor, Riviera, Sheraton and Casino, were available into the mid-1980s. Korea[edit] From the 1980s, Epiphones were manufactured mainly in Korea and Japan by contractors licensed by Gibson.[10][15] One of these contractors was Samick,[15] which also built instruments under license for other brands and in its own name. The brand was primarily used to issue less expensive versions of classic Gibson models.[15] These guitars were constructed using different woods (usually Nyatoh,[citation needed] for example, instead of Mahogany), were fastened with epoxies rather than wood-glues.[citation needed] Gibson and Epiphone
Epiphone
guitars all use Titebond resin glue, which is simple carpenters' wood glue, and were finished in hard, quick-to-apply polyester resin rather than the traditional nitro-cellulose lacquer used by Gibson[citation needed] Epiphone
Epiphone
guitars assembled or made in the US use lacquer finishes, but those made outside of the US use a poly urethane finish because of pollution requirements. These particular budget considerations, along with others such as plastic nuts and cheaper hardware and pickups, allow for a more affordable instrument. Samick
Samick
has stopped[when?] manufacturing guitars in Korea. China[edit] In 2002, Gibson opened a factory in Qingdao, China, which manufactures Epiphone
Epiphone
guitars.[16] With few exceptions, Epiphones are now built only in the Qingdao
Qingdao
factory.[16] Unique Epiphone
Epiphone
models, including the Emperor, Zephyr, Riviera and Sheraton, are built to higher quality standards than the company's "Gibson copy" line[citation needed]. In 2004 Epiphone
Epiphone
introduced a series of acoustic guitars named Masterbilt after a line of guitars of the 1930s, which are built in the same factory.[17] Imperial Series and Elitist[edit] During the early 1990s Epiphone
Epiphone
released a series called the Imperial Series. These were remakes of the classic Epiphone
Epiphone
archtops of the 1930s and '40s. Each instrument was handmade in the FujiGen factory in Japan.[citation needed] This short-lived series was discontinued in 1993, after only 42 Emperors were made.[citation needed] Several other models, including De Luxe, Broadway and Triumph models, were also produced in varying quantities. Production was moved back to Nashville and Bozeman for a similar limited run of instruments (250 each of Sheratons, Rivieras, Frontiers, Excellentes and Texans).[18] These guitars were the "Nashville USA Collection" (archtops) and the "Anniversary Series" (acoustics). Contrary to popular information, this line was related to, but not part of the 1994 Gibson Centennial Series commemorating 100 years of the Gibson Guitar
Guitar
Corporation. The Nashville and Anniversary Collections were intended as reintroductions of original, USA built Epiphone
Epiphone
models. In 2002, Epiphone
Epiphone
began producing a range of higher quality instruments under the "Elite Series" moniker which were built by Terada and FujiGen in Japan.[citation needed] After legal action by Ovation the name was changed to Elitist in 2003. As of 2008, all of the Elitist models have been discontinued with the exception of the Elitist Casino and the Dwight Trash Casino. The Epiphone
Epiphone
Elitist guitars included features such as higher grade woods, bone nuts, hand-rubbed finishes, "Made in the USA" pickups and USA strings.[19] Japanese domestic market
Japanese domestic market
Elitists used the Gibson Dove-wing headstock as opposed to the "tombstone" headstock used on exports.[20] Serial numbers and factory codes[edit] Current Epiphone
Epiphone
serial numbers give the following information:[21] Korea

I = Saein U = Unsung S = Samick P or R = Peerless K = Korea F = Fine

China

MR = CHINA DW = DaeWon EA = Gibson/QingDao EE = Gibson/QingDao MC = Muse SJ = SaeJung Z = Zaozhuang Saehan BW = China

Japan

No letter or F = FujiGen J or T = Terada

Czech Republic

B = Bohêmia Musico-Delicia

Indonesia

SI = Samick
Samick
Indonesia

Example: SI09034853 SI = Samick
Samick
Indonesia, 09 = 2009, 03 = March, 4853 = manufacturing number. YYMMFF12345

YY year MM month FF factory-code 12345 production# FACTORY NUMBER CODES—for some models starting in 2008, if serial # begins w/numbers [NOTE: The factories identified by these codes are based on patterns that forum members have observed. The numbers appear as the 5th and sixth digits in the serial number.] 11 = MIC sticker on a '08 Masterbilt 12 = DeaWon or Unsung (China—uncertainty remains as to which factory) 13 = Sticker: Made in China (Unknown factory; Epiphone
Epiphone
LP-100) 15 = Qingdao
Qingdao
(China) – electric 16 = Qingdao
Qingdao
(China) – acoustic 17 = China – factory unknown MIC sticker on a J160E 18 = China – factory unknown found on one 2009 model bass 20 = DaeWon or Unsung (China—uncertainty remains as to which factory) 21 = Unsung, Korea 22 = ??? Korea (factory still unknown) 23 = ??? Indonesia (factory still unknown, probably Samick,) I = Indonesia (this letter has appeared as the 5th digit on two authentic new models made in Indonesia

Players of Epiphone[edit] Main article: List of Epiphone
Epiphone
players References[edit]

^ http://www.epiphone.com/News/Features/Features/2013/Jim-Rosenberg-The-Epiphone-Interview.aspx ^ Ingram, Adrian. The Gibson L5: Its History and Its Players. Anaheim, CA: Centerstream Pub., 1997. Print. ^ "Epiphone: A History – Hard Times". Epiphone.com. Retrieved 22 February 2012.  ^ "Epiphone: A History – Epi". Epiphone.com. Retrieved 22 February 2012.  ^ "Epiphone: A History". Epiphone.com. Retrieved 22 February 2012.  ^ "Epiphone: A History – Epiphone
Epiphone
and Gibson". Epiphone.com. Retrieved 22 February 2012.  ^ " Epiphone Les Paul
Epiphone Les Paul
Baritone Review". Guitarhoo!. Guitarhoo.com. June 30, 2004. Retrieved April 16, 2014.  ^ 1935 Electar Hawaiian Guitar ^ " Epiphone
Epiphone
Introduces Three New Electric Packs!". Epiphone.com. Retrieved 2013-08-20.  ^ a b "Epiphone: A History – A New Beginning". Epiphone.com. Retrieved 22 February 2012.  ^ 1971 & 1974 Epiphone
Epiphone
Catalogs ^ 1974 & 1976 Epiphone
Epiphone
catalogs ^ "History". Epiphone.com. 1909-03-25. Retrieved 2013-08-20.  ^ 1977 Epiphone
Epiphone
Japan catalog ^ a b c "Epiphone: A History – Epiphone
Epiphone
in Korea". Epiphone.com. Retrieved 22 February 2012.  ^ a b "A-Chat-With-Epiphone-President-Jim-Rosenberg". Epiphone.com. Retrieved 2013-08-20.  ^ " Epiphone
Epiphone
Masterbuilt Series" (PDF). Epiphone. Retrieved 2013-09-07.  ^ "Epiphone: A History – Taking On The World". Epiphone.com.  ^ " Epiphone
Epiphone
Elitist". Epiphone.com. Retrieved 2013-08-20.  ^ 2002 Epiphone
Epiphone
Japan Elite/Elitist catalog ^ "Serial Number Search". Gibson. Retrieved 2013-09-07. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Epiphone.

Official site McCartney and His Casino on Cover of Guitar
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Serial Numbers Epiphone
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Serial Numbers Guide Epiphone
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Epiphone
archtops Unofficial Epiphone
Epiphone
Guitars Wiki

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Guitar
Corporation

Established 1902 - Founder: Orville Gibson

Key figures

Orville Gibson Lloyd Loar Ted McCarty Seth Lover Les Paul Henry Juszkiewicz David Harvey

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Current

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Discontinued

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