EPIPHONE
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EPIPHONE
Amplifiers and speaker cabinets currently produced in China, Japan, or Korea since the late 1980s. Previously produced in Kalamazoo, MI by Gibson between 1959 and 1967. Epiphone is a division of Gibson Musical Instruments in Nashville, TN. The Epiphone trademark was established in 1930 and was purchased in 1958 by Gibson.
The Epiphone company was founded in the late 1920s as the The Epiphone Banjo Co. Anastasios Stathopoulo, his wife Marianthe, and son Epaminondas (Epi) were the three that started making instruments when they moved to the U.S. from Greece in 1903. Their first products were banjos, ukuleles and other instruments of the like. In 1931, the Masterbuilt series of guitars released and this was the first line of guitars for Epiphone. When the first band of electric guitars came out in the mid-1930s, there was a need to amplify the sound. In 1941, the first line of Epiphone amplifiers made their debut. These first three models were the Dreadnaught, Zephyr, and Century.
Shortly after the release of the amplifiers, Epi Strathopoulo, the founder of Epiphone, died of Leukemia in 1943. In a sense this was the beginning of the end for Epiphone. Orthie Stathopoulo took over as president, but couldn't get things going as well again. Frixo Stathopoulo, his brother, and Ortho were in constant friction and it took its toll on the company. In 1951, there was a labor strike at the plant that stopped production for several months. After this Ortho sold part of his share and the production moved to Philadelphia. The 1950s were especially rough for Epiphone. Frixo died leaving the rest of the company already in turmoil to Orphie. New guitar manufacturers and the lack of Epiphone to keep up with that led Orphie going to Ted McCarty, Gibson's president, to talk about selling the company. Gibson and Epiphone signed a deal and Gibson got a lot more than what they bargained for! Instead of going to New York and Philadelphia to get just the bass violin production, the trucks returned with the bass violin material, and all the jigs and what not for making guitars and some works in progress. For less than the cost of a mid-sized car today, Gibson bought its rival for $20,000. This would turn out to be the most profitable assest of Gibson.
After Gibson bought Epiphone in 1957/1958 the entire line went under renovation. The old amps were all discontinued and a new line was introduced in 1959. Some of these models carried the old names with a new twist (i.e. EA-5 Emperor, EA-25 Triumph, etc.), while some new ones were introduced (i.e. EA-30 Triumph). By 1961, all old model names were dropped in favor of Gibson's letter and number system (i.e. EA-10RV, EA-32RVT, etc.). Gibson produced Epiphone amplifiers through 1967 when all models were discontinued (a few amps still appeared on the price list through 1968 though). By 1970, Epiphone production had moved to Japan and an entire new line of guitars were introduced, but no amps. In the late 1980s, as Epiphone once again became Gibson's budget line, they introduced a new line of solid-state amplifiers. Currently they produce tube and solid-state guitar and bass amplifiers. For more information, visit Epiphone's website, or contact them directly. Information courtesy Walter Carter, Epiphone: The Complete History, shipping total information courtesy: Gibson Shipment Totals 1948-1979.

From Blue Book Publications:


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