|The A. Stathopoulos Family|
While living in Smyrna the family already had established a good reputation for selling and repairing lutes, violins and bouzoukis. In time, Anastasio became a very talented luthier.
By 1890 he opened his own instrument factory and taught the trade to his sons, Epaminondas, Alex, Minnie, Orpheuand Frixo.
|Anastasio's Mandolin Patent|
|Epi from Bob Cage collection|
Anastasio passed away when Epi was only 22 years old, leaving behind an established business. It was then that Epi, the eldest son, took control and renamed the shop, The House of Stathopouli.
Epi made some major changes by phasing out the manufacturing of older instruments that had been standard in the "old country" in favor of banjos which were quite popular at the time.. He was even granted a patent for a banjo tone ring and rim.
|From the Dutch Archtop Museum|
|Fixo playing an Epiphone guitar|
Many of the companies best workmen refused to leave New York, which lead to the start of Guild Guitars, but that is another story. Orphie had also moved the distribution rights for Selmer/Conn along with the company. Despite this the company was having financial problems.
Les Paul, who was a good friend of Orphie, knew of Epiphones struggles. He contacted his friend Ted McCarty, president of the Gibson Musical Instrument to see if Gibson was interested in purchasing its biggest rival; Epiphone.
|Les Paul and Ted McCarty|
Orphie took up the offer and the Stathopoulos family was out of the musical instrument manufacturing business. Gibson Guitars/ CMI (Chicago Musical Instruments) straightaway went into production of Eiphone Guitars.
|Gibson display 1958 NAMM|
|1921 Advertisement for the Chicago Musical Instrument Company|
This company was already an established guitar producer and already exporting vast quantities of guitars and violins which had been flooding the world market since the early 1960’s. Epiphone, for the most part, has ever since been produced in the Far East.
|Ed Sullivan Show 2/09/1964|
|Dave Kohl with Epiphone Coronet|
|1963 Epiphone Coronet like Dave's|
|Price comparison - Epiphone from eBay - SG from Gary's Classic Guitars|
These guitars bore a resemblance to Fender guitars in their features; double cutaway horns and later models came with the six-on-a-side headstock, but they were more like Gibson guitars based on the choice of wood, electronics and finishes.
|1958 Epiphone Crestwood|
The set in neck was also made of mahogany and topped with a rosewood fretboard and dot inlays. It’s scale was typical of Gibson; 24.75 inches.
This guitar had twin New York adjustable pickups, which were Epiphone single coil models that the company had been using since 1947. The guitar also had two volume and two tone controls, and a 3-way selector switch.
|1961 Epiphone Crestwood Custom|
The guitar featured a stop tail piece and a tune-o-matic bridge. The pickguard changed over time. The original instrument came with the guard covering only the lower portion of the guitar. Sometime during 1959 the guard was updated to cover most of the guitars upper bout.
|1965 Crestwood Custom|
In 1961 the neck featured block inlays.
The Crestwood Customs pickguard covered the upper half of the body until 1965 when it was updated to the modern and unique shape that you see here.
The control pattern also changed in 1965 from the previous staggered Gibson style arrangement to all the potentiometers being in a row on the lower bout.
From 1959 to 1962 the hardware was gold plated. This changed to nickel plated in 1963.
The guitars pickups were still twin Epiphone adjustable New York models through 1960. Gibson changed them to Gibson mini-humbuckers in 1961. This guitar was offered in a variety of colours which included sunset yellow, California Coral, Pacific Blue, Black, White and Cherry.
|'65 Crestwood Deluxe|
|1959 Epiphone Wilshire|
The models were available with one pickup in the bridge position or two in the neck and bridge position. Initially the pickups came with black plastic covers.
|1961 Epiphone Wilshire|
The bridge saddle was a tune-o-matic bridge with a stop tailpiece or an optional Gibson Maestro Vibrato.
The Wilshire came with a single volume and tone control for the one pickup models or twin volume and tone controls, plus a three-way selector for the two pickup models.
The unbound mahogany neck was topped with a rosewood fretboard that had dot inlays. The headstock was the three-on-a-side model in black with the silkscreen Epiphone logo in script similar to a Gibson logo.
The headstock style continued through 1962. By 1963 many updates were put into place. The Wilshire's headstock was replaced with the batwing version. This same year the pickups were changed to mini-humbuckers and the pickguard shape changed as well.
|1964 Eiphone Wilshire|
The hardware on the Wilshire remained all nickel-plated throughout its run.
The Epiphone Wilshire ceased production in 1969, but was still being offered through 1970. It was available in a variety of colours which included ebony, sunburst, “red fox”, inverness green, white and cherry.
|66 Wilshire 12 string|
In 1958 the other solid body model that Gibson Guitars introduced under the Epiphone brand was called The Coronet. This was an inexpensive solid body electric guitar, that sold at $120 that year. The mahogany body on this guitar was the same symmetrical one used on the Crestwood and the Wilshire of that era, as was the neck.
|Two 1958 Epiphone Coronets|
All of Epiphones solid guitars were a little thicker during the years of 1958 through 1959; 1.75 inches.
Starting in 1960 until the end of the run the body thickness was 1.375 inches.
The guitars one piece 24 3/4” scale mahogany neck was topped with a rosewood fretboard that came with dot inlays.
|1962 Coronet with pearl logo|
|Different pickups nnd bridge saddles. - Gary's Classic & Willie's Guitars|
|1964 Epiphone Coronet|
The Coronet was offered with finishes in cherry, black, silver fox, sunset yellow, pacific blue or California coral.
|Epiphone Dwight Coronet|
|1935 Epi Olympic|
|1961 Epiphone Olympic|
The Olympics bridge was a tilted wrap-around model.
The neck was also made of mahogany and topped with a rosewood fretboard with dot inlays. But for the fact the headstock read Epiphone the Olympic was indistinguishable from the Gibson model.
The mahogany neck still had a rosewood fretboard with dot inlays. What carried over from the Melody Maker version was the all-in-one pickguard with electronics. This was a cost cutting measure that Gibson utilized on these student instruments. The pickguard covered the center and and lower portion of the Olympics body.
Like its predecessor, the pickup(s) were still single coil models with a black plastic cover, but narrower than the Melody Maker version.
The bridge/saddle was a wrap-around model, only it was non-tilted and compensated.
|1964 Epi Olympic|
In 1964 the headstock was updated to the batwing design and the Olympic was now offered with an optional Maestro Vibrola. Colour choice for the Olympic was sunburst or cherry.
|1960 Olympic Double|
|1962 Olympic Double|
All that distinguished it from a Gibson was the silkscreen Epiphone logo.
|1963 Olympic Double|
|'64 Olympic Double|
The Olympic was offered with a wrap-around tailpiece or an optional Maestro Vibrola. It came only in sunburst or cherry finishes.
|3/4 size Epiphone Olympic|
|The last Epiphone Solidbody guitars made in Kalamazoo|
|Mid '80's Wilshire|
Then in 1991, an updated version of the Epiphone Coronet was issued. This time the guitar had a slightly different body.
A single coil angled pickup was in the neck position and an uncovered humbucker in the bridge position. This version of the Coronet came with a stop tailpiece, but could be ordered with a tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece or a modern vibrato system with string locks and micro tuners.
|1990's 2nd version of the Coronet|
|2009 - Epiphone Wilshire 1962 reissue and 1966 reissue|
|Epiphone Wilshire Phant-o-matic|
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