Epiphone was a family business established in 1873 as “the House of Stathopoulo” by Anastasios Stathopoulo, a greek violin maker.

In 1923 they incorporated and at this time made mostly high quality and fancy banjos. In 1928 the name was changed to “Epiphone” after Epi Stathopoulo, president of the company and one of the founder’s sons.

In the 1930’s, the company changed its emphasis to guitars. Epiphone was the only banjo company to successfully switch to guitar production.

The C.G. Conn Company (a band instrument manufacturer) bought Epiphone in 1953 and moved production to Philidelphia (although the labels still said New York). This was done partially as a “strike break” move, as New York Epiphone workers were in conflict with the Stathopoulio family.

The Stathopoulo family regained control again in 1955, but few if any instruments were made in 1956 and 1957. The Chicago Musical Instrument company (CMI), which owned Gibson, bought Epiphone in 1957.

When CMI purchased Epiphone, they got all of Epiphone’s current stock of parts including bodies, necks, pickups, etc. Gibson used these “New Yorker” parts in conjuction with their own parts when making Epiphones from 1958 to 1961.

By 1961 Gibson has used up all the original New York-made Epiphone parts, and then used Gibson parts made in Kalamazoo. Instruments from 1958 to 1969 are commonly referred to as “Gibson / Epiphones”.

When Norlin purchased CMI (Gibson) in 1969, all Epiphone production was moved to Japan.

Later, productions was moved to Korea. Many of the imported instruments bear a label with Gibson’s Kalamazoo address and no mention of Japan or Korea, which can be misleading. The serial number is usually 7 digits or longer (unlike U.S. made Epi’s with a 6 digit or less serial number).

Epiphone Zephyr Emperor Regent

Epiphone Riviera 12 String

1964 Epiphone Sheraton

1960’s Epiphone Professional

[cj_show_items keywords=”+epiphone +guitar -book” records_per_page=”55″ advertiser_ids=”3749781,1496477,1834595,2437969,3485987,1779394″]