“If the mini-humbucker had remained exclusive to Epiphone, it may have been a mere footnote. It developed a following because they ended up in Gibson guitars”: The mini-humbucker’s surprising history – and why it deserves more love

1965 Epiphone Riviera E360TD
(Image credit: Olly Curtis/Future)

Gibson acquired the Epiphone company in 1957, along with all the tooling, and shipped everything over to Kalamazoo when production ceased on the East Coast. At that time, the quality of Epiphone guitars was on a par with Gibsons and – according to Gibson’s current vice president of product, Mat Koehler – Epiphone was purchased in order to tap into new markets.

Epiphones couldn’t be seen as mere rebranded Gibsons, and one way to establish the difference was to equip them with an exclusive pickup. Earlier in the 1950s, Epiphone had developed a single-coil pickup with off-centre pole screws and a rectangular metal cover.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Huw Price

Huw started out in recording studios, working as a sound engineer and producer for David Bowie, Primal Scream, Ian Dury, Fad Gadget, My Bloody Valentine, Cardinal Black and many others. His book, Recording Guitar & Bass, was published in 2002 and a freelance career in journalism soon followed. He has written reviews, interviews, workshop and technical articles for Guitarist, Guitar Magazine, Guitar Player, Acoustic Magazine, Guitar Buyer and Music Tech. He has also contributed to several books, including The Tube Amp Book by Aspen Pittman. Huw builds and maintains guitars and amplifiers for clients, and specializes in vintage restoration. He provides consultancy services for equipment manufacturers and can, occasionally, be lured back into the studio.