Epiphone
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Epiphone
Mandolins currently produced in China and/or Korea since 1983. Previously produced in New York City, NY between the 1920s and 1953, Philadelphia, PA between 1954 and 1957, by Gibson in Kalamazoo, MI between 1958 and 1969, and in Japan between 1970 and 1983. Distributed by Gibson in Nashville, TN.
Epiphone was started up by the family of Stathopoulo and Anastasios Stathopoulo started building instruments in Greece around 1873. The family of Stathopoulo moved to America in 1903 to start producing instruments. They settled in New York City and their company became known as "The House of Stathopoulo." When the wife, Marianthe, died in 1923, the company was reorganized with Epi as the president. They took the Greek name for sound (phone) and combined it with Epi to get the name Epiphone.
Banjos were the first big push for Epiphone. After banjos came the Recording model guitars in the late 1920s. Epi himself, was a mandolin player. In 1932, Epiphone released their first mandolin. At the same time, mandolas and mandocellos were also introduced. By the end of the 1930s, they had an entire line of the manolin family in production. However, the company would fall into a downward spiral after the death of Epi in 1943. Epiphone had the first patented pickup by 1937, but they did not jump on the bandwagon like Gibson and Fender did in the late 1940s. There was a labor strike in 1951, and most production moved to Philadelphia from 1952 until 1957.
In 1957, Gibson and Ted McCarty purchased the once mighty Epiphone for $20,000 and they recieved the whole kit and caboodle. No mandolins survived the buyout and move to Michigan, and Gibson introduced the Venetian Electric Mandolin in 1961. This lasted until all Epiphone production was moved to Japan in 1970.
Mandolins were reintroduced in the mid 1970s as Bluegrass models. In the early 1980s, these were changed to the Masterbuilt series. Epiphone has produced mandolins ever since with the exception of the buyout from Norlin in the mid 1980s. Current models are produced in Korea. Information courtesy Walter Carter: Epiphone: The Complete History.

From Blue Book Publications:


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