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History of the Epiphone Electric Guitar

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    Epiphone electric guitars come in different styles: Epiphone Les Paul, SG, ES, Archtop, Explorer, Flying V, Firebird, Melody Maker, Designer, and Bass guitar. This impressive guitar had a colorful history that would rock your world! Epiphone Electric Guitar: History The Epiphone Electric Guitar was founded by Mr. Anastasio Stathopoulos in…

Epiphone electric guitars come in different styles: Epiphone Les Paul, SG, ES, Archtop, Explorer, Flying V, Firebird, Melody Maker, Designer, and Bass guitar. This impressive guitar had a colorful history that would rock your world!

Epiphone Electric Guitar: History

The Epiphone Electric Guitar was founded by Mr. Anastasio Stathopoulos in the year 1873. Epiphone was a nameless shop manufacturing musical instruments in the Smyrna, Ottoman Empire. I’m pretty sure that in those days, electric guitars were not yet available. The name of the shop was given by Epaminodas, who was Anastasio’s son. The name was derived from the nickname of Epaminodas which was “epi” combined with the Greek work for sound, which was “phon”. After the death of Anastasio in 1915, his son took over handling the company now named “The House of Strathopolous” and the production of fiddles, mandolins and other musical instruments. After the war in the 1920s, the company started producing banjos (Recording Line Banjos) and since it was a successful venture, the company became known as the Epiphone Banjo Company. After 4 years, in the year 1928, they came up with Recording Guitar line, production of guitars, but of course, these were not yet electric guitars.

Epiphone Electric Guitar: Styles

The main business competitor of Epiphone Electric Guitars was Gibson and the latter gained leadership in the guitar industry. Epiphone guitars were not saleable since their guitars had a unique shape; the guitars were smaller and highly ornate. In the 1950s, Epiphone introduced its Masterbilt series to go against Gibson’s Master Model series. Epiphone would go against any competitor in the market – Gibson and even Rickenbacker, who created the first electric guitars. Epiphone decided to introduce the Electar or the Elecraphone in 1935. The design had adjustable pole pieces on the ‘Master Pickup’ which gave optimum output. With these superior electric guitars, Epiphone had doubled its revenue. Even if Gibson had tried to battle the Electar with the electric Hawaiian guitar, it failed completely.

The competition between the top two popular electric guitar makers continued until the end of World War II. In 1943, Epaminodas contacted and died of leukemia. Orphie and Frixo, the younger brothers of Epi took over and the war between the two companies continued. Because of the rivalry of the two younger brothers, Frixo wanted to be free of his responsibility at Epiphone so he sold his shares in 1948. The company was not producing well, and people were losing trust in Epiphone’s product. The quality and the product’s craftsmanship were deteriorating. Problems were rising and unions were being formed in the production house. In 1953, Orphie had enough of these complaints from the electric guitar makers so he moved Epiphone from Manhattan to Philadelphia; this resulted to losing most of the skilled Epiphone Electric Guitar craftsmen.

Epiphone Electric Guitar: Types

Gibson had taken the lead with the launching of the Telecaster and Stratocaster. When Orphie tried to offer Epiphone’s bass department to the GM of Gibson, Ted McCarty for $20,000, the latter readily accepted the offer and absorbed the Epiphone Electric Guitar without changing the brand name. McCarty incorporated Epiphones name into Gibon’s brand. Gibson used the Epiphone electric guitars to be distributed and sold by dealers who had not yet earned the right to sell Gibson electric guitars. By 1958 Gibson brought back to life some of the classic Epiphone guitars, such as the Deluxe, Emperor and Triumph. They also created new electric guitars like the Sheraton (semi-hollow) and the Moderne Black. With the era of the amplifiers, Epiphone Electric Guitars and instruments were gaining popularity again and even overpowering the original Gibsons electric guitars. Until today, Epiphone remains to be the brand to check out for electric guitars, left-handed guitars and bass guitars. The Epiphone Electric Guitar has remained a trusted and popular brand that is loved by many.

Read more about guitar history at The Golden Age of Rock.