| July 19, 2023 |

150 Years of Epiphone: The House of Stathopoulo Remains Strong

A storied journey in the world of exceptional instruments

19 Jul 2023

Epiphone has a rich and fascinating history that spans 150 years. From its humble family-owned origin to its present-day status as a respected global brand in the guitar industry, Epiphone underwent numerous transformations and left a lasting influence on the world of music—The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Joe Pass, Paul Weller, Gary Clark Jr., and many more renowned artists.

The story of Epiphone begins in 1873 in Smyrna, Ottoman Empire—now Izmir, Turkey—when founder Anastasios Stathopoulos started selling and repairing traditional stringed instruments. His commitment to quality craftsmanship quickly earned an excellent reputation. With the passage of time, the company expanded its offerings to include the production of mandolins and other instruments.

In the early 20th century, the Epiphone brand caught the attention of American musicians and instrument manufacturers. Recognizing the potential of the company, Epiphone relocated to New York City in 1903. This move allowed Epiphone to thrive and cement its place in the American musical instrument scene.

Epiphone gained significant recognition in the 1920s and 1930s for its innovation in archtop acoustic guitars—particularly with the Broadway and Emperor models. These instruments incorporated an arched top and back, enhancing their tonal qualities and projection. Musicians across various genres embraced Epiphone guitars for their warm and resonant sound, making them a staple in the jazz, swing, and big band eras.

In 1957, an intriguing turn of events took place when Epiphone was acquired by its long-time competitor, Gibson. Rather than absorbing Epiphone into its own brand, Gibson decided to preserve Epiphone’s identity and continue producing guitars under the Epiphone name. This acquisition allowed Epiphone to benefit from Gibson’s expertise and resources while maintaining its unique character.

Over the years, Epiphone’s association with Gibson led to an expansion of its product line. Epiphone began producing more affordable versions of Gibson’s iconic guitar models, providing musicians with access to high-quality instruments at a lower price point. This strategy resonated with players seeking exceptional craftsmanship without breaking the bank.

Epiphone’s catalog includes a diverse range of electric and acoustic guitars, catering to musicians of all skill levels and musical preferences—affordable luxury. From classic inspired-by-Gibson models such as the Les Paul and SG to their own unique designs like the championed-by-the-Beatles Casino, Epiphone continues to innovate and evolve while paying homage to its heritage.

Moreover, Epiphone’s collaborations with influential artists have played a crucial role in shaping the brand’s reputation. Epiphone released signature models for acclaimed musicians such as Joe PassTony Iommi, and Joe Bonamassa, among many others. These collaborations not only showcase Epiphone’s dedication to crafting instruments tailored to specific artists’ preferences but also contribute to the brand’s appeal and desirability.

Today, Epiphone guitars are beloved by musicians worldwide. Whether on stage, in the studio, or in the hands of aspiring players, Epiphone’s commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and affordability ensures that its instruments continue to make a significant impact in the music industry.

Epiphone is currently celebrating 150 years with a collection of Limited Edition Models. Check them out here.