Epiphone’s first line of guitars was produced in their Long Island factory in 1928, so they began producing banjos. Is the Epiphone a good brand? In the mid-30s, Epiphone’s instruments became the top choice for artists as they specialized in f-hole style archtop guitars to compete with Gibson. In 1957, Gibson acquired Epiphone and used the brand name for their budget guitar line, seeing that Epiphone had become their strongest competitor.
Epiphone stopped producing guitars in the US in 1970 and moved its factory to Matsumoto in Japan, and for 5 years only produced guitars designed by the Matsumoku company. Epiphone had lost its way by the 80s, and it wasn’t until 1986 that three Harvard MBAs bought Gibson/Epiphone that it began to thrive again. Gibson employed contractors such as Samik to produce Epiphones in South Korea in the 1980s.
What Woods Does Epiphone Use?
Making cheaper guitars requires using cheaper woods to reduce manufacturing costs.
It doesn’t necessarily mean they sound worse, just that they won’t have the same visual appeal. Is the Epiphone a good brand? We can’t hear very well with our eyes, so most people (in blind tests) can’t tell the difference between different wood types on an electric guitar.
Is the Epiphone a good brand? Epiphone’s electric guitars are primarily made from mahogany, laminated with other woods like ash, maple, poplar, Sapele, and alder.
The mahogany they use is not the traditional African mahogany but looks and sounds similar. Most of their guitars have 3-piece laminated bodies with a laminated top cap that ranges from half the body’s thickness to 5/64 inches (2mm).
As with all brands of entry-level guitars, Epiphone’s cheapest guitars have laminated spruce tops with laminated backs and sides.
In addition to solid spruce tops on Epiphone acoustics, laminated backs and sides are standard on their guitars. Is the Epiphone a good brand? Compared with a laminated top, this dramatically improves the tone. Typically, acoustic guitars are made of maple, spruce, mahogany, and ovangkol, with solid spruce soundboards.
Two-piece maple and mahogany necks, maple and walnut necks, figured maple necks, and most typically mahogany necks are available. The fretboards are rosewood, Indian laurel, pau Ferro, and ebony. Classical models from Epiphone, such as the Pro1 Classic, have a cedar top with mahogany back and sides, a common wood choice for nylon string guitars.
Masterbilt Acoustic Guitars
As a tribute to the big-band era and 1960s guitars, Epiphone designed its Masterbilt line. In contrast to their other acoustic guitars, these are constructed using hide glue instead of bond woodworking glue.
Masterbilt guitars are an upgrade over their standard line, featuring solid wood backs and sides (not laminate). Maple, mahogany, and cedar are the most common woods used to make solid wood bodies. In general, their necks and fingerboards are made from the same materials as their other acoustic lines, although some fingerboards have been made from torrefied composite materials.
Do Epiphone Guitars Have Top-Notch Hardware?
On higher-end guitars, sealed and open tuners are used, depending on whether the guitar is modern or vintage, and they are high quality and have high gear ratios.
In the electric guitar range, locking tuners are offered on higher models of Epiphone vintage deluxe and Grover automatic. A lower-end guitar tends to have nickel 14:1 tuners instead of higher quality 18:1 tuners that are slightly easier to tune.
Epiphone’s low-end acoustic guitars have cheap plastic saddles and nuts. You can get imitation bone hardware from around the $250 range, and from around the $600 range, you can get real bone hardware.
Epiphone electrics use GraphTech Tusq nuts, an excellent quality durable material similar to bone with self-lubricating properties to keep strings in tune when using tremolo and string bends.
Electric Guitar Bridges
Did someone say “bridge replacement”?!
Many people aren’t delighted with Epiphone LP Tune-o-Matic bridges, even though they do the job. For about $30, you can get a superior quality bridge that drops right onto the existing posts on forums. A few models are equipped with Tremotone Vibrato, which gets mixed reviews, with many saying it has tuning instabilities.
Pickups & Electronics
Cheap guitars don’t have as much hardware as expensive models, but they do the job. Most cheap guitars have clunky switches, gritty volume, and tone pots, but they work fine and have plastic knobs similar to Gibson buttons.