From Academic Kids

Epiphone is the name of a guitar manufacturer. Before being bought out by Gibson in the late 1950s, Epiphone was actually Gibson's main rival in the archtop market. Aside from their guitars, Epiphone also made basses, banjos, and other stringed instruments, but the company grew weak after World War II; Gibson would soon absorb them. 

Founded by Greek national Epimanondas "Epi" Stathopoulos (Επιμανόντας Σταθόπουλος) when he inherited his father's business, The House of Stathopoulo, in 1915, the name Epiphone would not appear until 1924. The company had a heated history of competition with Gibson until Stathopoulos died in 1943, when it fell into a commercial slump. Weakened, it would be bought out by the competition in 1957.

Epiphone is now an off-brand of Gibson, as Squier is an off-brand of Fender. Because of this, many of the instruments look the same as the more expensive Gibson versions. The instruments given the Epiphone badge usually have lower quality components than the Gibson ones, or are not quite as elaborately decorated (such as gold hardware on a Gibson model and chrome on an Epiphone model).


Before Epiphone was purchased by Gibson, the company was the leading competitor for Gibson. The finest line of archtops was the Epiphone Casino. The Casino was made in the shape of a Gibson ES-335 guitar. They had a very heavy sound, which made for an impressive rhythm guitar. Epiphone dates back to the 1870s, in Smyrna, Turkey, Where Greek founder Anistasios Stathopoulo made his own fiddles, lutes, and Lioutos. Stathopoulo moved to the United States of America in 1903, and continued to make his original instruments, as well as mandolins, from Long Island City in Queens, New York. However, Anastasios died in 1915, and left his son Epaminondas, took over. After two years, the company was known as The House Of Stathopoulo. 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 Banjo Company. They produced their first guitars in 1928. Epi Stathopoulo died in 1943. Unfortunately control of the company went to his brothers Orphie and Frixo who were not as capable an owner as Epi. In 1951, a four-month-long-strike forced a relocation of Epiphone's New York to Philadelphia.

In 1966, while the Beatles were making Revolver, John Lennon and George Harrison bought 1965 Epiphone Casinos. John Lennon put his Rickenbacker 325 back on the shelf and used the Casino as his main instrument from then on. In 1968, when the Beatles were making the White Album, John decided to sand his guitar down, recoat it with lacquer, take the pick guard off, and put on new sound knobs. His guitar, in that condition, is first seen in the Revolution promo movie, though it can also be seen in the Let it Be film and most other pictures of John playing guitar after that time. George stopped using his Casino in 1967 and began using the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster lines of guitars.

The Casino, which has been produced by Epiphone since, does not have the same level of quality as Lennon's 1965 Casino. However, recently, Epiphone has re-released the 1965 edition Casino. It is available in its original Sunburst design or else in the natural Revolution look.

Modern Times

Epiphone's main manufacturing base is now in Korea. The brand is now primarily used to issue less expensive, lower quality versions of classic Gibson models. Quality can vary from instrument to instrument (as wood quality can vary along with other factors), but generally Epiphone's models are sturdy, solid, and easily-playable guitars. Epiphone has allowed a new generation of learners and semi-professionals to purchase classic sounding and classic styled guitars that are both affordable and relatively quality guitars. It is common for buyers to upgrade components such as pickups and tuners to obtain an instrument almost identical in sound and playability to their far more expensive Gibson counterparts. Ephiphone also now produces higher quality instruments (elitist series) aimed at the mid-priced market.

British rocker Noel Gallagher, the lead guitarist for Oasis has made the Epiphone line increasingly popular. During the height of Oasis' popularity in 1995-96, Epiphone issued his popular Noel Gallagher Union Jack Riveria semi-hollow guitar. The guitar was more expensive but very successful. Epiphone owes much of its recent commercial success to the height of Oasis c. nl:Epiphone


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