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

Vintage Epiphone Texan FT-79 Hang Tag 1960's



!960's Epiphone Texan FT-79 Hang Tag. Age stained but good condition. This sale is for the lower 48 states only.... more

1970-80's Epiphone FT-165 Bard 12 String Guitar Made In Japan Road Runner Case



Usual general wear. Some noticeable impression marks on face. Piece of decorative trim missing from headstock. Plays but Action is high. Neck truss needs adjusting. There is a slight buzz with action as it is (sounds like it's from bridge area). Frets look good. Not perfect but a classic in good condition in need of a little tune up. SOLD AS IS. Ships wrapped and secured inside a Road Runner hard shell case which itself will be plastic wrapped. Ships Priority from Alaska.... more

Gibson / Epiphone Limited Edition Inspired by 1955 LP Custom



THIS IS A GREAT GUITAR USA SHIPPING ONLY !!!!!! Epiphone LE Inspired by 1955 LP CustomEpiphone presents the Ltd. Ed. Inspired by "1955" Les Paul Custom Outfit, a historic reissue of one of the most popular Les Pauls ever made. Featuring Gibson USA Soapbar P-90 pickups, gold hardware, an Ebony fretboard, and a vintage style hard case The Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Inspired by "1955" Les Paul Custom Outfit is an historic reissue of the "tuxedo" Les Paul that Les designed to be the most beautiful electric ... more




Unusual epiphone acoustic guitar full size fully decorated with sea shell and jewels s great find for my eBay members... more

Vintage 1965 Epiphone Coronet Electric Guitar Cherry P-90 Light Weight w / Case



Vintage 1965 Epiphone Coronet. A vibed out example that play and sounds great. The neck is slim overall with a taper that gets a little bit chunky toward the 12th fret. It is very easy to get around on and plays great all the way up and down with a nice tight feel. Original P-90 Pickup is warm, bright and punchy. Sounds amazing with a full bodied, clear, bright tone. Super resonant and lively, and is a real screamer with some gain. Excellent condition with signs of normal, honest cosmetic wear ... more

Sheraton LEFT Hand 5-Ply Black Pickguard made for Epiphone Project H / B Pickups


C $67

Available for purchase is a Left Hand Epiphone Sheraton 5-Ply Black B / W / B / W / B Pickguard. This has a 60 degree beveled edge just like Gibson uses on their pickguards. We hand finish and buff the edges on all our pickguards with a polishing arbor. This will fit Sheraton's with 2-3 / 8" spacing between Humbucking pickup rings. If you are looking for something custom, I also have a custom profile. Be sure and check your measurements prior to ordering. We have about a dozen different Sheraton... more

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