Vintage Epiphone Guitars

Electric guitars and basses manufactured by the Epiphone Guitar Company

The Epiphone plant at 210 Bush Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan

The Gibson Kalamazoo guitar factory. Gibson occupied a whole block; their main address was Parsons Street (top), Epiphone instruments were built side by side, but the company was officially situated on Bush Street; just the other side of the block (below).

The Epiphone company of New York, USA, was created by the Stathopoulos family, making various musical instruments with the first electric guitar in 1935. In many ways, it was just like rivals Guild and Gibson; a very highly respected guitar manufacturer, producing superb jazz boxes for the top end of the US market. Guitars like the Emperor and Broadway established a fine reputation, which still stands with vintage guitar collectors today. But tragedy occured, with the death of Epaminondas Stathopoulos; the driving force behind Epiphone at the time.

Epiphone Granada

Chicago Musical Instruments; the CMI-period

Epiphone guitar catalogues

Have a look at some vintage Epiphone guitar catalogues

But perhaps the best known guitars built by Epiphone were those manufactured at the Gibson Kalamazoo plant - the CMI period. CMI bought out a struggling Epiphone in 1957, buying tooling, parts, and even unfinished instruments. Production of hollow-bodied jazz guitars and acoustic (upright) basses began immediately. But before long Epiphone was producing new lines, unrelated to the output of previous years. Thinline semi acoustics like the Epiphone Casino, Sorrento, Riviera and Sheraton were soon joined by solid bodies like the Epiphone Wilshire, Crestwood and Coronet; all distributed to dealers that wanted Gibson-quality instruments, but did not qualify to be Gibson stockists themselves.

1967 Epiphone advert featuring a psychedelic fish playing an Epiphone Riviera

Gibson ran a whole block in Kalamazoo giving their address as Parsons Street, whilst Epiphone were officially situated on Bush Street; just the other side of the block. The instruments were made side by side, both using the same woods, construction methods, and many of the same components. Numerous Epiphone models had a direct Gibson equivalent that sold at more or less the same price; for example the Epiphone Casino and the Gibson ES330 - or the Epiphone Rivoli and the Gibson EB2 bass. Unlike today, the 1960s US-built Epiphone line was aimed at exactly the same market as the Gibson equivalent instruments.

Epiphone guitars quickly found favour in the mid-1960s music scene; bands like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Animals and the Kinks all played Epiphones, along with many more. But as the decade ended, CMI gave way to Norlin, and Epiphone production went to Japan.

The Norlin period

Norlin period Epiphones were initially made in Japan; they were no longer rebranded Gibson guitars, but a new budget line aimed at younger guitarists. Although some of these guitars are interesting, they are not as widely regarded by musicans or collectors as the CMI-period instruments. Towards the very end of Norlins tenure, a few Epiphone guitars were produced at the Kalamazoo and Nashville plants: tentative issues of the Epiphone Doublecut / Spirit, but almost immediately this model was rebranded as the Gibson Spirit.

Todays Epiphone guitars are typically reissues of the 1960s Gibson and Epiphone instruments made in Kalamazoo - but being made in China and Korea these are typically very much cheaper - though generally good quality instruments.

Latest Epiphone Updates

Gibson EB2 bass guitar wiring illustrationSchematic and simplified wiring illustration for the 1960s single pickup Gibson EB2 and Epiphone Rivoli bass guitars. The original EB2 and Rivoli basses were very similar indeed, both being made side by side in Gibson's Kalamazoo plant in Michigan, USA. Differences were purely cosmetic, and electronically they were identical: a Gibson EB humbucker, one volume control, one tone control, and a baritone push button switch.
1966 Epiphone Granada E444T A closer look at a 1966 Epiphone Granada. The non-cutaway Granada was the Epiphone version of the Gibson E120T thinline hollowbody. Both were built side by side in Gibson's Kalamazoo plant, and were the least expensive hollowbodies in their respective ranges. Sales of the Epiphone version were never huge (see Epiphone Granada shipping figures, at least compared to the Gibson, even when an otherwise identical cutaway model, the E444TC, was added. No Gibson cutaway version was released.
1962 Epiphone Newport Deluxe bassDescription and photographs of a 1962 Epiphone Newport Deluxe electric bass guitar. The Newport series comprised four models, the Deluxe being the top-of-the-range two-pickup model. In reality, this bass is a Gibson EB3 with no varitone control; both are short scale, all mahogany, set-necked basses, and use the same pickups and hardware. Manufactured 1961-1963
Epiphone EA72 ConstellationPage updates for the Epiphone Constellation EA72 bass amplifier. Pictures, catalogue information, specifications and shipping figures.
1966 Epiphone E452T SorrentoPage updates for the Epiphone Sorrento 6-string thinline. New photographs of a 1966 Epiphone Sorrento thinline semi-acoustic guitar.
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Vintage Epiphone guitars for sale

Super Clean! Epiphone Emperor F Full Hollowbody 1982 Vintage Sunburst Matsumoku

LAKESIDE, CALIFORNIA, 92040, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

£1566

Lovies Guitar Shop Google us! Lovies guitars is offering up a gorgeous 1982 Epiphone Emperor F in stunning sunburst finish. The guitar is in fantastic shape. This Epiphone Emperor F is the Full hollow body electric guitar. Built at the Matsumoku Company in Matsumoto Japan, it is very similar to the Gibson L5. The Matsumoku built guitars of this era are among the rarest and most sought after post-US production Epiphones in existence. The Japanese woodworking, build quality and attention to detail... more

Vintage 1981 Epiphone Emperor F Sunburst Matsumoku MIJ Japan Case L5 

SHERWOOD, ARKANSAS, 72120, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1695

Vintage 1981 Epiphone Emperor F Sunburst. Made in Japan at the Matsumoku factory. It plays and sounds amazing. I have owned a lot of the Matsumoku Epiphones over the years and they have all been incredible guitars. They are on par with their Gibson counterparts. This one is in amazing condition and has a nice set of Gibson Classic 57 pickups installed. The original Maxon MMK-75 pickups are in the case. It has been played overthe years, but whomever owned it before me babied it and it shows. Let ... more

VINTAGE 1935 USA GIBSON EPIPHONE ELECTAR GUITAR WAVERLY STRIP TUNER SET 1936

RICHARDSON, TEXAS, 75081, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

C $469

ALL AUCTIONS PAYPAL ONLY. WINNING BIDDER TO PAY AT AUCTION CLOSE. ANY NEW EBAYERS ( LESS THAN 5 POSITIVE TRANSACTIONS) EMAIL ME BEFORE BIDDING, OR YOUR BID WILL BE CANCELLED. TEXAS RESIDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO PAY 8 25% SALES TAX. PLEASE ASK ALL QUESTIONS EARLY…SOMETIMES I AM REQUIRED TO BE AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. INTERNATIONAL EBAYERS: WE DO NOT USE EBAY'S GLOBAL SHIPPING PROGRAM. BIDDER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY AND ALL IMPORT DUTIES, TAXES OR FEES, (I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THIS). YOUR ITEM WILL BE... more

Vintage 1960's Epiphone Crestwood Pickguard Mini PAF 1960 1961 1962 1963 E logo!

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, 60618, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

C $666

Vintage Correct Parts is proud to offer, for your consideration, A fantastic and original Vintage Epiphone Crestwood Batwing Pickguard! Original early 1960's Crestwood guard Very cool vintage guard -- SUPER RARECorrect for your early 60's double mini-PAF equipped Crestwood This is the ONLY one of these we've ever had in stock, Amazing original condition save a small chip to the lower treble side corner Original aluminum "E" badge still present! No other cracks, chips or repairs. Don't miss this ... more

Tremolo Arm for Epiphone EA-250, Aria 5102T, Lyle, Raven - EZPZ GUITAR PARTS

KELSO, WASHINGTON, 98626, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

C $44

Tremolo Arm for Japanese Hollow body guitars. Fits Aria 5102T / Commodore N25 / Epiphone EA-250 / Lyle / Raven (Fits other models / brands). Replacement hollow body guitar tremolo arm for Aria 5102T, Commodore N25, Epiphone EA-250, and many others. You rarely find these. M6 machine screw, lock-nut and 2 washers are included. No other parts included. Please note: Offer is for tremolo arm only not a complete tremolo tailpiece. Guitars used in our listing photos are for display purposes ... more

Epiphone Ltd Ed Inspired by "1955" Les Paul Custom Outfit Electric Guitar Ebony

MERIDIAN, IDAHO, 83646, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$655

Lightly used Epiphone 1955 Custom w / P90's. Great Condition, plays wonderfully Includes an extremely nice Gibson Les Paul Hard Case with Epiphone Certificate of Authenticity. I do ship promptly with real guitar boxes. Other: Brand: Epiphone Active or passive pickups: Passive Series or parallel: Not applicable Piezo: No Active EQ: No Special electronics: None Controls Control layout: Volume 1, volume 2, tone 1, tone 2 Pickup switch: 3-way Coil tap or split: No Kill switch: No Hardware Bridge ... more

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Levys luxury soft case

Levys luxury soft case

"Best bag money can buy, period" - available in five colors: for guitar or bass. Expensive, but exceptional quality.

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