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Epiphone a Short History

Jun 10, 2008
-- The branding of Epiphone began back in 1923. Epimanondas (Epi) Stathopoulos combined his name Epi with phone. Phone being a Greek word for sound. The name Epiphone first appeared on Banjos and was registered in the USA in 1924.

-- In 1928 the family company House of Stathopoulo officially becomes the Epiphone Banjo Co. The banjos were lauded as amongst the finest sold. Around this time Epiphone began to produce a line of guitars mostly with carved tops.

-- A model dynasty began in 1931. The dynasty was to last for 40 years. The Triumph and Deluxe range was a cornerstone of Epiphone design. The thirties were generally good times, their early foe Gibson standing toe-to-toe for market supremacy. The era saw the release of the Arched Top 12 F-Hole model.

-- Featured guitars and design of the era were the Epiphone Super and Wide Emperor Guitar of 1935 and the adjustable - pole pickup of 1937.

-- Epi Stahopoulo dies in 1943. History tells us his two brothers Orphie and Frixo were now managing the company. Hard times reigned as the post war years forced Epiphone to reduce their range. By the mid-fifties the upright Base and the Harry Volpe student was their bread and butter, keeping the name alive.

-- Chicago Musical Instrument (CMI), Gibson's parent company purchased Epiphone in 1957 for $20,000. CMI waste little time and place the company under the watchful eye of Gibson. Within 12 months Gibson relocated Epiphones entire production line to its Michigan plant.

-- The Sixties were stellar years for Epiphone. The Beatles George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney purchase Casinos. George's Casino was the only one of three fitted with a Bigsby Vibrato. The masses follow trends and sales soured.

-- 1970 was the beginning of massive change for the company, indeed the industry itself. . The Japanese invasion had already began and Epiphone were moved to Japan. The Epiphone brand whilst stable never reached any significant heights during the 70's and 80's although it's quality and reputation remained intact.

-- The 80's fostered further changes. Epiphone again moved, this time to South Korea as costs in Japan were increasing. In 1986 Gibson and Epiphone were sold to a Henry Juszkiewicz, David Berryman and Gary Zebrowski. Some of the traditional lines were reintroduced.

-- During the 90's Gibson recognized deficiencies within their Korean Subsidiary. A stronger infrastructure, technical and communicative initiatives were installed in Seoul. A little bit of US Gibson in each Epiphone Guitar, not only a vision but a marketing reality.

-- China here we come! As you can see Gibson / Epiphone constantly look for ways to maximize output vs costs. Since a decision was made to relocate to Qingdao they have not looked back. US know how, Chinese efficiencies is a formidable combination. The factory has been opened nearly 6 years resulting in hundreds of thousands of Chinese Epiphone sold.

-- Time heals all. The purists may have trouble accepting Epiphones China involvement, they slowly have come around. Quality and finish is very good. China maybe very well their last move!
About the Author
Buying Genuine Guitars can be a daunting task, be sure to visit Peter Edwards for information relating to Epiphone Les Paul Guitars, and learn all about upgrading Epiphones to Gibson quality or better
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