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Did you know that Epiphone is one of the oldest guitar brands around? It has a history of over 140 years, and it didn’t start with guitars either.
Curious about the history of Epiphone guitars? Then keep reading.
We’ll give you a brief look at it
Epiphone History: The Beginning
Epiphone’s been around for almost 1.5 centuries.
The company’s roots start in Greece, in Anastasios Stathopoulo’s workshop. In 1873, he started making wood instruments like violins, lutes, and Greek laoutos.
In the 1880s, Anastasios moved to Turkey with his family and started an instrument factory in 1890. His sons Epimanondas (Epi) and Orpheus (Orphie) helped out often.
The family moved to New York and made a lucrative business off making instruments. When Anastasios died at age 52, Epi took over at the tender age of 22.
Change of Direction
In 1917, Epi made the decision to change the company name to “House of Stathopoulo.” He also turned away from making mandolins and instead, produced banjos, as they were coming into favor with jazz.
In 1923, Epi changed the name of the company once again. He mashed together his name and the Greek word for “sound.” This, the company name “Epiphone” was born.
In 1928, after banjos fell out of favor with the public, Epiphone started making its first guitars. While the company did well, it suffered a brief lull in business in the late 1940s after the war. In 1943, Epi died of leukemia, which meant his brothers were left in charge.
Who Makes Epiphone Guitars?
You may be a little confused, as you might’ve heard about Gibson being associated with Epiphone. You might wonder: does Gibson own Epiphone?
The answer would be yes.
So when did Gibson buy Epiphone? In 1957, when they made the purchase for $20,000. This decision was made by Gibson’s parent company, Chicago Musical Instrument (CMI).
Prior to this, Gibson was one of the Epiphone’s biggest competitors, especially in the 1930s. This led to some pretty intense “warfare” in their production of guitars.
Where Are Epiphone Guitars Made?
While Epiphone guitars were made in the United States previously, they moved production over to Japan in 1970. This was because Epiphone faced heavy foreign competition.
Then, in 1983, production was moved to Korea. While production remained in Korea for a while, there were some guitars made in the USA; these were from the Nashville USA Collection, which were the first US-made Epiphone guitars in 20 years since moving production to Korea.
In 2003, because of high demand, Epiphone opened a guitar factory in China. Today, these factories produce high-quality guitars, such as the Ephiphone DR 100.
Epiphone Guitars Are Truly Special
If you’re a fan of Epiphone guitars but haven’t really known much about their history and such, then hopefully, this article’s been informative. Now you can show off not only your guitar skills, but also your knowledge.
For more interesting reads, please take a look at our other blog articles.