Epiphone Sheraton

Thinline semi acoustic

Epiphone Sheraton Epiphone Sheraton E212TNV in Natural finish with vibrola

The Epiphone Sheraton, or Epiphone E212T was essentially an ornate version of the Epiphone Riviera. The 1960s Sheraton was Epiphone's second most expensive model (after the Emperor). As a highly decorated double cutaway, it naturally drew comparisons to Gibson's ES-355 (the non varitone version) - it was around the same price - in 1963, the E212TV (with vibrola) was listed in the US (zone 1) at $595 - compared to $635 for a similarly equipped ES-355TD. The Sheraton was produced side by side with other Epiphone and Gibson thinline models at the famous Kalamazoo plant in Michigan. It was not a continuation of any pre-Gibson Epiphone model, however, but it was initially fitted with left-over Epiphone New York pickups, changing to mini-humbuckers early in the decade.

Model: Sheraton E212T and E212TV
Available: 1959-1969
Pickups: Two New York pickups, changing around 1961 to two gold mini humbuckers
Scale: 24 1/2"
Body: Maple sides and back with a maple top. 16" wide (lower bout), 19" long, 1 3/4" thick. 7 ply binding
Neck: Mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard with abalone and pearl block inlays. Epiphone floral "tree of life" headstock inlay. 22 frets, body meeting the neck at the 19th fret. 7 ply binding on neck and headstock
Hardware: 2 volume and 2 tone controls. Tune-o-matic bridge with Tremotone vibrato, or frequensator tailpiece (from 1961). Gold-plated throughout.
Finishes: Natural, Shaded (Sunburst), and Cherry (listed separately in shipping stats from 1967, however this finish is listed from 1962 in price lists and catalogues.

Like the Gibson 335/345/355 Electric Spanish thinlines, the Sheraton was semi-hollow with a maple top, back and sides, and maple center block to reduce feedback. The set (glued in) mahogany neck had a bound rosewood fretboard with very ornate inlays - these had a central abalone triangle within a rectangular mother-of-pearl block. The body was bound front and back, the front having seven ply white and black (w/b/w/b/w/b/w) binding.

The Sheraton was not produced in especially large numbers (see shipping stats below), with just 617 instruments shipped between 1961 and 1969; 1967 being the peak year. The model was available in the standard Shaded finish (70% of guitars shipped were in this finish), Natural and Cherry. According to shipping stats, Cherry was available from 1967, though from 1962 Cherry was listed in catalogues, and price lists. It was given the same model code as the Shaded finish, and it may just be that the shipping data lumped these finishes together prior to 1967.

1982 Japanese Sheraton reissue1982 Japanese Sheraton reissue

The Sheraton was relaunched in the early 1980s, and built in Japan. Although in a different league to the American-built instruments of the 1960s, it was still a very nice guitar, stylistically much the same as the original, but with a maple (rather than mahogany) neck, and a maple/mahogany combination central block within the body "for additional sustain and high frequency response". Finishes were a darker Antique Sunburst, or Wine Red.

Production continues to this day, with guitars built in Korea and China by several different manufacturers. An Epiphone elitist, and John Lee Hooker signature model also exist.

Epiphone Sheraton shipping statistics

The shipping figures are split by finish and with/without vibrola E212T = Shaded finish; E212TN = Natural finish; E212TCh. = Cherry finish. V = with vibrola

1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 total
E212T 43 17 24 9 10 26 26 47 40 41 19 302
E212TV 21 18 16 36 35 27 22 14 7 196
E212TN 3 9 10 1 7 8 13 7 6 2 5 71
E212TNV 2 6 3 10 17 4 3 3 48
E212TV Ch. 19 19
E212T Ch. 33 7 13 53
total 46 26 57 34 36 80 91 85 123 67 44 689

As is always the case with Gibson / Epiphone shipping statistics, some care must be made interpreting them. In 1959 and 1960, for example, the Sheraton was only offered with a Tremotone vibrola - however the model designation was E212T / E212TN - the non-vibrola model designation from 1961 onwards. Furthermore, the Cherry-finished models were not split in the statistics prior to 1967, so 1962-66 E212T and E212TV numbers most likely include an unspecified number of guitars with Cherry finish. So on the surface it would seem just 263 out of 689 (38%) of Sheratons were fitted with the Tremotone - if the 1959 and 1960 examples all (and this might not be the case!) shipped with the Tremotone, the number rises to 335 (49%).

Epiphone Sheraton advertising

Electric guitar advertisements originally published from 1962 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Epiphone advertisements

Epiphone Sheraton - Epiphone Tremotone. Vibrato for the guitar.

Epiphone Sheraton - Epiphone Tremotone. Vibrato for the guitar. (1962)
"It's new, it's different, try it..."

Early Epiphone advertisement for the Epiphone Tremotone vibrato; initially fitted as standard to the Epiphone Sheraton, Casino and Crestwood Custom. The...

Epiphone Sheraton - These are instruments that go to the top

Epiphone Sheraton - These are instruments that go to the top (1964)
British advertisement for Epiphone guitars - placed in UK publication Beat Instrumental by distributor Rosetti in November 1964. The guitars featured represent some of the hollow and semi-hollow gu...

Epiphone Sheraton catalog appearances

Epiphone 1961 full line catalogue
1961 'guitars, basses, amplifiers' catalogue

A superb professional guitar, second only to the Emperor. A thin-body double cutaway, double pick-up model with thrilling tonal response - now with trematone vibrato for pulsating effects.
Epiphone 1962 full line catalogue
1962 'guitars, basses, amplifiers' catalogue

Comfortable shape is easy to hold, and all 22 frets easy to finger on the fast-action neck.
Epiphone 1964 full line catalogue
1964 full line catalogue

The 1964 catalogue was the first to show the Epiphone Sheraton in colour.
Epiphone 1966 full line catalogue
1966 full line catalogue

Today the electric Spanish guitar is found everywhere... orchestras, combos, jazz bands and as a featured solo instrument. Epiphone electric Spanish guitars suit the need of every player, from the top professional, to the semi-pro, to the amateur.
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