Epiphone history

Anastasios Stathopoulos was a Greek luthier born in 1863 who founded a mandolin and violin company in Pellana, Greece in 1873. In 1903, he immigrated with his wife to New York and a year later, started a company that primarily produced mandolins. The business was successful, leading Stathopoulos to hire Italian professional Henry Cappielo.

Following Anastasios’ death in 1915, his son Epaminondas (Epi) took over the company and expanded it into one of the largest of its kind. Epi then opened a factory for the production of banjos, leading to his purchase of the banjo company Favoran and the introduction of the Epiphone Recording line, which proved to be a great success due to its high quality and elegant design.

The success of the banjo Recording line prompted Epiphone to establish a Recording line for guitars in 1928 and to introduce a full line of f-hole archtop guitars in 1931, including 12 models such as the Broadway, Triumph, and DeLuxe. Competing with Gibson, Epiphone dealt a serious blow to its competitor with the introduction of the Epiphone Emperor in 1935, and in 1937 the company introduced the Electar series of electric guitars with adjustable pickups.

Epaminondas passed away in 1943, and the company was taken over by his two sons, Orpheus (Orphie) and Frixo. However, the cooperation between the two brothers deteriorated, and the company struggled in the post-war years. By the mid-1950s, Epiphone was producing very few instruments. In 1957, the company was sold to CMI, Gibson’s parent company, for $20,000.00. A complete range of newly designed acoustic and electric guitars was introduced in 1958, and in 1960, production moved to the plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan. If you’re looking to buy an Epiphone guitar from the ’50s or ’60s, one of the first steps in assessing its authenticity is to use the Epiphone serial number lookup tools.

In the early 1970s, production under license moved from the USA to Japan, and from 1983, Epiphone guitars were also produced in Korea, followed by Indonesia in 1995. In 2004, a factory was opened in Qingdao, China for the Epiphone guitars production. Although the vast majority of Epiphone guitars are produced in these countries, some more exclusive models are still manufactured in the USA.