Epiphone had its true beginnings in Greece where Anastasios Stathopoulos started out by making traditional stringed instruments such as violins, lutes, mandolins, and a Greek instrument called the lioutos. The family then moved to Smyrna in Asia Minor but later fled to New York due to persecution.
After moving to New York, Anastasios son, Epi Stathopoulos, inherited the family instrument making business. During the early years of Epi s running of the business, the company was called the House of Stathopoulos. But, Epi changed it from that to Epiphone. He filed for the change in advance, but it did not become official until 1928. The new company was named for Epi, the owner, and phonos, the Greek word for sound. At this point, it was called the Epiphone Banjo Company.
Epiphone launched their first guitars in 1931. They had a full line of what is known as the archtop style of guitar which are popular with jazz and blues players. After their launch they become one of the biggest guitar companies with Gibson being their main rival.
Things changed after Epi died of leukemia. He left the business to his brother Orphie and another brother, Frixo, became the president. This was not a lucrative partnership. The two brothers had a disagreement and Frixo sold his stocks in the company. After that, Epiphone fell on hard times both because of the war and because of poor management.
The fate of the company changed in 1957 when Chicago Musical Instrument, Gibson s parent company, purchased Epiphone. Now, the company is considered a subdivision of Gibson, though it maintains its own original line.
Epiphone has its own line of acoustic guitars as well as electric. The first instruments the Stahopoulos family created, after all, were acoustic instruments. The acoustic models include the Paul McCartney Texan, the Dove, the DR-100, the AJ-100, the AJ-200S, and the EJ-200. For more information and a more complete list of their guitars visit epiphone.com.
Epiphone also lists a lot of players who use their guitars on the website. They include Paul McCartney, Moby, Glen Maxey of Brother Cane, Tom Peterson of Cheap Trick, Chris Chaney of Jane s Addiction, and Marty Roe of Diamond Rio. The site doesn t seem to specify whether they play an acoustic or electric guitar.
Here is what one person has to say about their Epiphone acoustic:
About the Epiphone AJ-100 EB
Overall this guitar astonishes as a bang-for-the-buck item. So far superior than what was available to me in this price range than when I picked up guitar in the mid seventies. Computer-programmed, manufacturing has spawned some really accurate, cheap guitars. What a blessing really. I must commend the builders or factory workers as the case may be in making these instruments. Affordable, inexpensive guitars are better and more plentiful than ever. Overall, this guitar is good enough to warrant all the word I have spent glowing about it. I have written maybe three reviews in my life, because I usually don t bother.