“There was a lot of dissent from the workforce – there was a mindset of Epiphone not being as important or as easy to work on as Gibson”: The history of Epiphone and Gibson’s rollercoaster relationship – and what’s next for the brands

Epiphone Broadway
(Image credit: Future)

Epiphone has had a pretty rollercoaster existence. In the early 20th century it was a serious rival to Gibson. By the ’60s it belonged to Gibson. Under Gibson ownership, it was an exclusive high-end brand at first, then became synonymous with affordable instruments.

Now, having been revamped once again by Gibson, it’s no longer a poor relation, acquiring its own Custom Shop and a slew of US and overseas-built models that exude a fresh confidence and quality. We ask Mat Koehler, a devoted historian of the two brands, who the heck Epiphone thinks it is…

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Jamie Dickson

Jamie Dickson is Editor-in-Chief of Guitarist magazine, Britain's best-selling and longest-running monthly for guitar players. He started his career at the Daily Telegraph in London, where his first assignment was interviewing blue-eyed soul legend Robert Palmer, going on to become a full-time author on music, writing for benchmark references such as 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Dorling Kindersley's How To Play Guitar Step By Step. He joined Guitarist in 2011 and since then it has been his privilege to interview everyone from B.B. King to St. Vincent for Guitarist's readers, while sharing insights into scores of historic guitars, from Rory Gallagher's '61 Strat to the first Martin D-28 ever made.