Epiphone ES175

Epiphone has a long history, being started by a Greek, Epaminondas Stathopoulos living in Turkey (‘Epi’, Epaminondas’ nickname and’ phone’ meaning sound). His family emigrated to the US, because of the high taxes imposed on Greek immigrants by the Ottomans, and began producing high quality instruments to rival other US manufactures. Based in Kalamazoo, the company was acquired by the Chicago Musical Company in 1957 who had also bought Gibson in 1944. CMI’s policy was to keep the operations separate and Gibson and Epiphone were headquartered in different buildings with their own range of instruments. Epiphone’s specialty was jazz oriented archtops while Gibson became famous for their slim-line semi solids featured by such artists as Les Paul and Chuck Berry. As the rock and Roll era progressed it was the Gibson catalogue that found more favour then Epiphone’s. The business strategy adopted was to offer Epiphone copies of Gibson products to smaller dealers so as not to antagonise Gibson’s main traders as well as maintaining some unique Epiphone specific models.

In 1969 the companies were sold to ECL Although Epihone continued to offer their own unique designs such as the Emporer, most output was cheaper copies of Gibsons. In order to compete with cheap, low cost imports, Epiphone production was moved first to Japan and then to Korea as Japanese costs rose. Finally a move to China sees Epiphones continued to be made, both as cheaper Gibson covers and as Epiphone specific models.

I enjoy playing my Gibson, which I use as an acoustic and so wanting a similar experience in France, I obtained an Epiphone for a fraction of the price I paid for the US made Gibson ES175. I have a Korean version which are said to be superior to the newer Chinese versions.  I am very pleased with my purchase.