The Epiphone Company is a musical instrument manufacturer founded in 1873 by Anastasios Stathopoulos. Epiphone was bought by Chicago Music Company, which also owned Gibson Guitar Corporation, in 1957. Epiphone was Gibson’s main rival in the archtop market. Their professional archtops, including the Emperor, Deluxe, Broadway and Triumph, rivaled (and some contend surpassed) those of Gibson. Aside from their guitars, Epiphone also made upright basses, banjos, and other stringed instruments. However, the company’s weakness in the aftermath of World War II allowed Gibson to absorb it. The name “Epiphone” is a combination of proprietor Epaminondas Stathopoulos’ nickname “Epi” and “phone” (from Greek phon-, “sound”/”voice”), as well as a play on one meaning of the word “epiphany,” namely a sudden inspiration frequently presenting itself as supernatural in origin.

All Epiphone instruments made between 1957 and 1969 were made in the Gibson factory at 225 Parsons Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan. These 1959–1969 Epiphone instruments were, effectively, identical to the relevant Gibson versions, and made with same timber, materials and components. The overwhelming majority of Epiphone-branded instruments made since 1969 are, in essence, exploitation instruments are and are basically facsimilies of either Gibson (most commonly) or Epiphone guitars of the past. The vast majority of these facsimilies are very decent, budget-versions of the iconic instruments that they replicate and are, in may cases, exactly what a student guitarists needs.

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