How Gibson rescued Epiphone in the late-1950s

1961 Epiphone Wilshire
The slab bodies of Epiphone’s seminal Coronet, Wilshire and Crestwood electrics soon gave way to a thinner design with rounded edges, as seen here on this 1961 Epiphone Wilshire. (Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

During rock ’n’ roll’s fledgling years of the 1950s, Gibson was riding the wave of the electric guitar boom while Epiphone’s once-feted archtops became dead in the water. 

Whereas Gibson flourished in the post-war years following its acquisition by Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI) in 1944 and the subsequent appointment of Ted McCarty as CEO in 1948, Epiphone embarked on a long, slow decline following the death of its visionary founder, Epi Stathopoulo, in 1943. 

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Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar WorldGuitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.