Best Epiphone Guitars of 2021 – Top Picks

Vlad
| Last Updated: January 22, 2021

If you’re a guitar player, there’s a huge chance you're a Les Paul fan.

But, unless you’re a professional player, Gibson guitars will most likely be out of your budget.

So, did you know that you can get the same body type from Epiphone and so much more?

Our Top Picks for Epiphone Guitars

  • Historic Les Paul style
  • ProBucker PAF-style pickup
  • Ideal for rock music
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  • All Maple semi-hollow
  • Triple P-90 setup
  • Gold tremolo and hardware
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  • Affordable Gibson SG clone
  • Dual humbucker setup
  • Killpot included
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Comparison of the Best Epiphone Guitars

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Original Les Paul design with historic styling
  • Epiphone ProBucker PAF pickup configuration
  • Ideal for all kinds of rock-oriented music
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  • All Maple semi-hollow guitar
  • Triple P-90 single-coil pickup configuration
  • Bigsby gold tremolo bridge tailpiece
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  • Incredibly affordable guitar made upon Gibson SG
  • Dual humbucker pickup configuration
  • Killpot feature included
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Epiphone Archtop Guitar
  • Coil split feature with push-pull pots included
  • Upgraded clone of Gibson ES-339 model
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  • Best Epiphone Semi-Hollow Guitar
  • Unique archtop guitar with Bigsby tremolo
  • Vintage tone with a bit of emphasized highs
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  • Best Epiphone Hollow Guitar
  • Slim Taper D-profile neck with Pau Ferro fretboard
  • Can be played unplugged
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  • Best Epiphone Electric Guitar
  • Unique neck-through guitar concept
  • Great sustain and tuning stability
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  • Best Epiphone Acoustic Guitar
  • Loud and resonant sound
  • Fishman undersaddle pickup with soundhole control
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  • Best Epiphone Bass Guitar
  • Neck-through body design
  • Probucker Bass pickups with separate control
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  • Affordable acoustic-electric guitar
  • Granadillo fretboard and bridge system
  • Passive piezo undersaddle pickup installed
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Epiphone History Overview

Just like the Epiphone founders, this company had serious ups and downs throughout its history. Its fate was heavily affected by the fate of World War II and later on followed the fate of its mother company so it went from the leading guitar company in the 1930s to becoming even a bit abandoned between 1969-1988. 

When Did Epiphone Start Making Guitars?

Epiphone is a company that’s more than 140 years old. It was founded by Kostantinos Stathopoulo in 1873 but it was until 1923 when his grandson Epi started production of the Recording series of banjo instruments. 

But, once Epi died in 1945, the company started to fall apart, and eventually, it was bought by Gibson and in 1961, they made another breakthrough with the legendary Casino semi-hollow guitar.

Who Owns Epiphone?

Epiphone is currently being owned by Gibson since 1957. It was a bit on hold until 1988 when the Gibson was bought from ECL and the production of original Epiphone models such as Sheraton II was started.

Where Are Epiphone Guitars Made?

Most Epiphone guitars are currently being made in China with only a few made in the USA, the same factory where Gibson is making their models.

What Makes Epiphone Guitars Stand Out Against the Competition?

If you don’t care so much about the brand on your headstock, Epiphone models can be a really affordable way to get an excellent guitar for significantly less money. They might be the ideal choice for your first or spare guitar.

And if you’re into archtop guitars, you should know that Epiphone guitars are one of the best you can find on the market. You can pick from either from Inspired by Gibson line and get the same Gibson design or pick an original model that made the Epiphone famous in the first place.

Types of Guitars From Epiphone 

Here’s what guitars Epiphone have currently in offer:

Solid Body

For most of their line, Epiphone is just rebranding Gibson models such as Les Paul, SG, Firebird, Explorer, and SG. 

This includes not just Standard models, but Junior, Special, and Custom as well along with some familiar reissues such as the 1959 Les Paul version. Apart from original models, modern versions of Gibson guitars are also available, so you can also find Studio, Worn, Prophecy, and Classic models as well as some Artist series for Joe Bonamassa or Vivian Campbell for example.

Apart from the Inspired by Gibson series, they have several original guitars such as Epiphone DC Pro with unique Del Rey cutaway or Crestwood Custom with tremolo bridge system.

Archtop Guitars

The hollow body and semi-hollow body guitars were Epiphone specialties and we can’t tell if they are more famous of Casino, Wildkat, or Sheraton models. Each of these guitars were heavily used both live and in the studios back in the ‘60s.

Epiphone also rebranded Gibson ES-335 and ES-339 series under the same name. They have even extended further regarding the ES line and made their own version of this guitar under the name Riviera.

Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic guitars also have the Inspired by Gibson category so you can even find a J-45 clone among their products. But, they also provide original models such as Masterbilt or Acoustic Travel series and extend even further with the Texan, the only instrument that’s currently made in the USA for Epiphone. 

This is also the most expensive Epiphone guitar at the moment.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best Epiphone Guitars

Now, we’re going to review at least one guitar per category available in the Epiphone catalog:

Epiphone Hummingbird PRO Acoustic/Electric Guitar

PROS

  • Golden hardware finish
  • Ideal for all kinds of rock-oriented music
  • Original Les Paul design with historic styling
  • Slim Taper rolled neck profile with Ebony fingerboard
  • Amazing Epiphone ProBucker PAF pickup configuration

CONS

  • Hard case is not included
  • Coil splitting would be wonderful feature

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Classic Pro Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Electric Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Single cutaway Les Paul solid body

  • Number of Strings: 6-string model

  • Tonewood: Gloss Mahogany body with Black pickguard and multi-ply binding

  • Orientation: Available only for right-hand players

  • Neck Profile: Mahogany ‘60s SlimTaper type with 43mm wide GraphTech NuBone nut

  • Fretboard: Ebony with Pearloid Block inlay and 22 Medium jumbo frets

  • Scale Length: 24.75 inches

  • Bridge: Epiphone LockTone Tune-O-Matic with Stopbar tailpiece

  • Color: Alpine White and Ebony

  • Pickup Type: Epiphone ProBucker 2 on neck and ProBucker 3 on the bridge

  • Weight: 8 lbs approx

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are all over this guitar. They can’t believe it costs six times less than the real Gibson as it definitely doesn’t sound six times worse. It is widely recommended for all players who are just starting out.

Apart from minor quality control reports that mostly got fixed, we couldn't find real complaints about it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Customs are the premium lines of the Les Paul and there is no budget word on this one as it comes with beautiful historic styling, alpine white finish, and golden hardware. Epiphone also has done a terrific job with ProBucker pickups so you will get that Gibson PAF sound that’s the first reason why we all are in love with the Les Paul line. 

What Types of Music is This Best For?

Les Paul guitars will easily fit into any kind of rock music - punk, blues, hard rock, heavy metal, prog rock - you name it. Even country or modern oriented music will sound awesome with these guitars. So, unless you’re into jazz music, there is no music genre we can’t recommend it for.

Bottom Line

This guitar is a true example of how good Epiphone models can be. It’s no wonder why so many people out there praise this model even more than the original Gibson. At this price, it’s a real no brainer for any Les Paul lover out there.

Epiphone PR-150 Acoustic Guitar Natural

PROS

  • All Maple semi-hollow guitar 
  • Bigsby gold tremolo bridge tailpiece
  • Mahogany Slim Taper D-Profile neck
  • Triple P-90 single-coil pickup configuration
  • Beautiful wine red finish with gold hardware with silver inserts

CONS

  • Available only in one color option
  • Check the electronics upon arrival thoroughly

Epiphone Riviera Custom P93 Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Archtop Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Single cutaway ES thinline semi-hollow body

  • Number of Strings: 6-string model

  • Tonewood: Maple body with Black with metal "E" pickguard

  • Orientation: Available only for right-hand players

  • Neck Profile: Mahogany Slim Taper D-profile with 1.68 inches wide nut

  • Fretboard: Rosewood with Pearloid inlay and 22 Medium jumbo frets 

  • Scale Length: 24.75 inches 

  • Bridge: LockTone Tune-o-matic with Bigsby B700 tailpiece

  • Color: Wine Red

  • Pickup Type: Triple Dogear Pro P90 single-coil pickup

  • Weight: 8.8 lbs approx

What Recent Buyers Report

It is often described as being versatile and great looking. The finish feels premium all the way and may easily fool others of being a four-figure instrument.

However, they do complain a bit about pickups and encourage you to upgrade it as soon as you can as this is a beautiful piece of the instrument in general.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Usually, semi-hollow guitars come with dual pickup systems. Those might be either single-coil or dual coil, but triple pickup is rare to be found. Combined with the Bigsby tremolo, it makes Riviera Custom even rarer. And if you look at the price, we understand if you get the urge to go out and buy one right now.

What Types of Music is This Best For?

Initially, semi-hollow guitars should work the best for jazz, vintage blues, and country or rockabilly music. But, thanks to P-90 pickups, we can see it being used in funk, reggae, and pop music as well. Indie rock musicians may find a way to utilize it as well.

Bottom Line

This is a semi-hollow guitar that everyone will love. Even those who never had a chance to play one will consider having it because of its gorgeous look. And if you get it, you might see how good an SSS pickup setup can sound.

Best for the Money:
Epiphone SG Special

Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Pack (Vintage Sunburst)

PROS

  • Killpot feature included
  • Dual humbucker pickup configuration
  • Rosewood fretboard with acrylic dot inlay
  • Incredibly affordable guitar made upon Gibson SG
  • Beautiful Cherry Red color finish and Chrome hardware

CONS

  • Mediocre pickups tone
  • Cheap tuning machines

Epiphone SG Special Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Electric Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Single cutaway Les Paul solid body

  • Number of Strings: 6-string model

  • Tonewood: Gloss Mahogany body with Black pickguard

  • Orientation: Available only for right-hand players

  • Neck Profile: Mahogany Vintage ‘50s with 43mm wide GraphTech NuBone nut

  • Fretboard: Indian Laurel with dot inlay and 22 Medium jumbo frets 

  • Scale Length: 24.75 inches

  • Bridge: Wraparound Lightning Bar fixed bridge system

  • Color: Vintage Sunburst

  • Pickup Type: Dog Ear Pro P90 single-coil pickup

  • Weight: 6.5 lbs approx

What Recent Buyers Report

Newbies who bought this guitar felt happy. They didn’t have trouble with the intonation once it was re-tuned and the more experienced players say that the build quality is more than decent. 

They also report that the guitar feels comfortable and that the knobs feel cheap, but couldn’t really complain about how responsive they are.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Specials are stripped-down versions of Gibson guitars that come with the basic setup and cut down prices. Combined with the Epiphone low-price mindset, it makes this guitar extremely affordable.

It’s also quite interesting to see that Epiphone included a Killpot at this price - a feature that will allow you to create some interesting stutter effect by tapping on the volume knob. 

What Types of Music is This Best For?

Originally, SG guitars were named Les Paul, so that could give a hint or two about music it’s suitable for. If not, how about we name you a couple of names that have used the original Gibson SG on their tracks? AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Santana, The Doors, Allman Brothers Band, and many more.

Bottom Line

If you’re just starting out, there is no need to buy an expensive guitar right away. Epiphone SG Special will give you a decent value so you may relax and learn at your own pace and save a lot of money meanwhile.

Best Epiphone Archtop Guitar:
Epiphone ES-339 Pro

Epiphone DR-100 Acoustic Guitar (Vintage Sunburst)

PROS

  • Versatile tone option
  • Available in 3 vintage color finishes
  • Semi-hollow guitar at reduced body size
  • Upgraded clone of Gibson ES-339 model
  • Coil split feature with push-pull pots included

CONS

  • Occasional issues with the nut and tuning pegs
  • May not be as loud acoustically as you would expect

Epiphone ES-339 Pro Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Archtop Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Single cutaway reduced size ES semi-hollow body

  • Number of Strings: 6-string model

  • Tonewood: Gloss Mahogany body with Black pickguard

  • Orientation: Available only for right-hand players

  • Neck Profile: Mahogany Slim Taper D-profile ‘60s with 43mm wide nut

  • Fretboard: Pau Ferro with dot inlay and 22 Medium jumbo frets

  • Scale Length: 24.75 inches

  • Bridge: LockTone Tune-o-matic with Stopbar Tailpiece

  • Color: Cherry, Pelham Blue, and Vintage Sunburst

  • Pickup Type: Epiphone Alnico Classic PRO and PRO Plus single-coil pickups

  • Weight: 7.2 lbs approx

What Recent Buyers Report

Players find this guitar great regardless of the value for money ratio. It has great playability and they appreciate the fact it could be played unplugged, too.

They also report that they had a wonderful experience with replacing faulty instruments as Epiphone allowed them to keep the first instrument and sent another free of charge.

Why it Stands Out to Us

ES-339 Pro seems to be the most balanced semi-hollow guitar on the market. It has a reduced body size so it will suit solid body players better as they will reach higher frets much easier.

Soundwise, the coil-splitting pickup option will provide you with the additional tone versatility for already quite interesting Epiphone Alnico PRO pickups.

What Types of Music is This Best For?

Gibson ES guitars have made the ‘50s rock history, so, Epiphone model will also find its home right at rockabilly music. But, thanks to that coil-splitting option it will extend its use to other genres where single-coil pickups may be more suitable, like jazz music for example.

Bottom Line

If you're an experienced player looking for your first semi-hollow guitar, ES-339 Pro may be an ideal product for you. Besides great tone, it will provide you with a body size that’s similar to the guitars you have already played.

Best Epiphone Semi-Hollow Guitar:
Epiphone Wildkat Royale

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar, Ebony

PROS

  • Semi-hollow limited edition guitar
  • Dual P-90 single-coil pickup setup
  • Unique archtop guitar with Bigsby tremolo
  • Vintage tone with a bit of emphasized highs
  • Gorgeous white finish with black f-shaped holes and golden hardware

CONS

  • Gig bag could be included at least
  • Wished if this model was available with humbucker option as well

Epiphone Wildkat Royale Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Archtop Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Single cutaway Wildkat semi-hollow body

  • Number of Strings: 6-string model

  • Tonewood: Mahogany body with Maple arched top

  • Orientation: Available only for right-hand players

  • Neck Profile: Maple Slim Taper D-profile with 1.68 inches wide nut

  • Fretboard: Okuome with Dot inlay and 22 Medium jumbo frets

  • Scale Length: 24.75 inches

  • Bridge: LockTone Tune-o-matic with Bigsby B70 vibrato tailpiece

  • Color: Pearl White and Antique Natural

  • Pickup Type: Dual Dogear Classics P90 single-coil pickup

  • Weight: 6.5 lbs approx

What Recent Buyers Report

While there are reports of this guitar getting out of tune easily, we should warn you that more experienced players didn’t have that experience at all. As a matter of fact, they say that its appearance inspired them to play it on a daily basis and work on their skills even more. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

What could be better than an Epiphone semi-hollow guitar? Epiphone with the gorgeous white and gold finish and Bigsby tremolo why of course! Royale is one of the most beautiful guitars we have ever seen before

What Types of Music is This Best For?

This is a typical semi-hollow guitar so it will find its place within the jazz and vintage rock, pop, and blues music straight away. Alternative bands and those who love to experiment may take a chance with this model as long as they don’t plan to overuse distortion effects.

Bottom Line

Wildkat guitars are one of the best semi-hollow guitars out there and the Royale is their best model so far. If you love vintage stuff, you’ll immediately fall in love with this design while the sound will be as good as you’re used to from Epiphone archtop models.

Best Epiphone Hollow Guitar:
Epiphone Casino

Epiphone CASINO Thin-Line Hollow Body Electric Guitar, Natural

PROS

  • True hollow body guitar 
  • Can be played unplugged
  • Ideal for power pop and jazz music
  • Dual Dogear P-90 Classic pickup configuration
  • Slim Taper D-profile neck with Pau Ferro fretboard

CONS

  • Limited tone versatility
  • Prone to feedback issues when played wired

Epiphone Casino Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Archtop Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Double cutaway Archtop hollow body

  • Number of Strings: 6-string model

  • Tonewood: 5-ply layered Maple with Basswood bracing with 3-ply pickguard

  • Orientation: Available only for right-hand players

  • Neck Profile: Mahogany SlimTaper D-Profile with 43mm wide GraphTech NuBone nut

  • Fretboard: Pau Ferro with Pearloid Parallelogram inlays and 22 Medium jumbo frets 

  • Scale Length: 24.75 inches

  • Bridge: LockTone Tune-O-Matic with Traditional Trapeze tailpiece

  • Color: Natural, Turquoise, and Vintage Sunburst

  • Pickup Type: Dual Dogear P-90 Classic single-coil pickup

  • Weight: 6.5 lbs approx

What Recent Buyers Report

This guitar is the reason why so many players love Epiphone as a brand. It met all their expectations and is referred to as an absolute joy to play. 

They even noticed that the quality control for this instrument is even better than for the other Epiphone instruments. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Epiphone Casino is one of the original instruments made by Epiphone. It’s not just a plain copy of the Gibson guitar, but actually, a guitar that made the Epiphone rise up from the ashes after World War II. This reissued model was made to honor the original and it has a wonderful sound acoustically so you can practice without using an amplifier.

What Types of Music is This Best For?

If the word The Beatles rings you any bell, we hope you will get the exact hint of what type of music Epiphone Casino is best used for. Otherwise, you can also try jazz music or some mild versions of blues and country music.

Bottom Line

Hollow body guitars might be vintage, but they still find its place in specific music genres. It may not be the guitar you will use regularly but when needed, you won’t find a better solution for such tone.

Best Epiphone Electric Guitar:
Epiphone Firebird

PROS

  • Ideal for blues music
  • Great sustain and tuning stability
  • Unique neck-through guitar concept
  • Epiphone version of Gibson Firebird guitar
  • Humbuckers specially designed for this model with CTS electronics

CONS

  • Unbalanced guitar weight
  • Neck is not so comfortable to play in sitting position

Epiphone Firebird Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Electric Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Firebird V solid body

  • Number of Strings: 6-string model

  • Tonewood: Gloss Mahogany body with Black pickguard

  • Orientation: Available only for right-hand players

  • Neck Profile: Mahogany & Walnut Slim Pater C profile with 43mm wide GraphTech NuBone nut 

  • Fretboard: Indian Laurel with dot inlay and 22 Medium jumbo frets

  • Scale Length: 24.75 inches

  • Bridge: Wraparound Lightning Bar fixed bridge system

  • Color: Vintage Sunburst

  • Pickup Type: Dual humbucker ProBucker FB720 system

  • Weight: 9 lbs approx

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who had a chance to play both Gibson and Epiphone versions say that this guitar is very close to the original sound. 

They do warn you that it may take some time to adapt to the new body size especially regarding neck position which may feel really awkward in sitting stance. Its weight may also be a problem if you decide to stand up.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Neck-through solid-body instruments are not so often found on the market. They generally excel in sustain capabilities and the resonance seems to be a lot better as the strings, bridge, and pickups are all placed on the exact same price of the wood. With the pickups specially designed just for this guitar, you can be sure you’re getting a decent bang for your buck.

What Types of Music is This Best For?

Firebird guitars have a wonderful sustain so they can be used in all genres where a sweet and long vibrato can be held. That being said, blues music seems to be a hometown for this instrument but we find its clean sound to fit into funk or reggae music as well.

Bottom Line

If you’re a blues lover you should know by now that Firebirds are the best choice at the moment. Unusual appearance may just add an extra point to your stage presence.

Best Epiphone Acoustic Guitar:
Epiphone Hummingbird PRO

Epiphone Hummingbird PRO Acoustic/Electric Guitar

PROS

  • Loud and resonant sound
  • Beautiful visual details all across the instrument
  • Ideal for rock and country acoustic performances
  • Fishman Sonicore undersaddle pickup with soundhole control
  • Affordable acoustic-electric guitar with Mahogany body and Spruce top

CONS

  • A gig bag could be included
  • May be heavy for some players 

Epiphone Hummingbird PRO Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Semi-Acoustic Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Hummingbird dreadnought body

  • Number of Strings: 6-string model

  • Tonewood: Gloss Solid Spruce Top with Mahogany back and sides

  • Orientation: Available only for right-hand players

  • Neck Profile: Mahogany Slim Taper D-profile with 43mm wide GraphTech NuBone nut

  • Fretboard: Pau Ferro with dot inlay and 22 Medium jumbo frets 

  • Scale Length: 24.75 inches

  • Bridge: Hardtail Bridge system

  • Color: Faded Cherry

  • Pickup Type: Fishman Sonicore undersaddle pickup

  • Weight: 2.2 lbs approx

What Recent Buyers Report

Hummingbird is reported to be very easy on the hands in aspects of playing as its neck has a bit smaller diameter than most acoustic guitars. It’s considered to be a lightweight model that will be suitable for smaller people as well so they would gladly recommend it as a first guitar to anyone. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This guitar is incredibly loud. But, just in case you may need some reinforcement, it’s good to know that it provided you with the Fishman Sonicore undersaddle pickup that is equipped with soundhole volume and tone control so it won’t ruin the vintage appearance of the instrument while delivering you an option to play on any venue.

What Types of Music is This Best For?

This is a modern acoustic guitar that will suit all kinds of acoustics you may have in mind starting from campfire sessions up to bigger lounge performances. It’s also worth mentioning that this guitar may find a sweet spot in rock and country music mixes as well.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for an affordable but reliable acoustic-electric guitar, Hummingbird Pro may provide you with all the traits you will need plus the gorgeous sunburst finish combined with the unique pickguard and fretboard inlays and very rare triple rosette.

Best Epiphone Bass Guitar:
Epiphone Thunderbird 60s

PROS

  • True 1960’s model revival
  • Neck-through body design
  • Incredibly long sustain tone
  • Available in 3 vintage colors
  • Probucker Bass pickups with individual volume control

CONS

  • Thin neck may not fit all players
  • Case should be included in the offer

Epiphone Thunderbird 60s Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Electric Bass Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Thunderbird neck-through body with white pickguard

  • Number of Strings: 6-string model

  • Tonewood: Gloss Mahogany body with Black pickguard

  • Orientation: Available only for right-hand players

  • Neck Profile: 7-piece Mahogany and Walnut 1960 Rounded Bass profile with 1.5” nut width

  • Fretboard: Indian Laurel with dot inlay and 20 Medium jumbo frets

  • Scale Length: 34 inches

  • Bridge: Adjustable 1960s TB-Bass Tune-o-matic with Claw tailpiece

  • Color: Ebony, Tobacco Sunburst, and Alpine White

  • Pickup Type: Dual Epiphone ProBucker Bass #760

  • Weight: 8.5 lbs approx

What Recent Buyers Report

People were a bit concerned about the neck dive because the headstock looks so much bigger next to the neck, but, apparently, it’s not as bad as they thought it would be.

They find this Epiphone to be a decent compensation in case you don’t have money for the Gibson.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This bass, also known as Thunderbird Vintage PRO, is a 1:1 restoration of the original 1960’s classic Thunderbird bass guitar and it’s available in three really beautiful vintage colors to select from.

Its 7-piece neck-through body will generate a much more sustain and combined with the ProBucker Bass Humbucker pickup it will carry the tradition of Thunderbird popping on the higher register notes.

What Types of Music is This Best For?

Just like the original, it was meant to rock and roll all the way. Humbuckers will get you that extra thump needed for dense mixes or if you plan to form a Lynyrd Skynyrd or The Who tribute band. With that being said, we don’t see why it couldn’t fit any punk band as well.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for something new and different, Thunderbird is always a nice addition to any bass guitar collection. It will provide you with a different tone and definitely a distinctive look that will be noticeable from any distance.

Editor’s Pick:
Epiphone Lil' Tex Travel

Epiphone Lil’ Tex Travel Acoustic/Electric Outfit, Faded Cherry

PROS

  • Gig bag included
  • Lightweight and portable 
  • Passive piezo undersaddle pickup installed
  • Granadillo fretboard and bridge with reversed belly system
  • Affordable acoustic-electric guitar with Sapele body and Solid Spruce top

CONS

  • A bit of plain basic design
  • Not the loudest acoustic guitar we had played

Epiphone Lil' Tex Travel Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Semi-Acoustic Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Round Shoulder Travel Acoustic

  • Number of Strings: 6-string model

  • Tonewood: Gloss Sapele body with Solid Spruce top pickguard

  • Orientation: Available only for right-hand players

  • Neck Profile: Mahogany C profile with 43mm wide PVC nut

  • Fretboard: Granadilo with Texan Parallelogram inlay and 19 Medium jumbo frets

  • Scale Length: 22.68 inches

  • Bridge: Granadilo reversed belly with compensated PVC saddle

  • Color: Faded Cherry

  • Pickup: Passive Piezo undersaddle pickup

  • Weight: 2 lbs approx

What Recent Buyers Report

Usually, it was bought exactly for the purpose it was described in its name - traveling. And it didn’t fail on them. It was portable enough to be stored in any vehicle but in terms of loudness, it won’t be the best you have ever played so make sure to use that pickup whenever you may have a chance.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like it because it’s simple, basic, affordable and portable. It has a decent build quality so you won’t have any struggle with intonation stability and the body size is definitely a winner. The neck seems to have nice playability while the frets seem to be well polished. And having any kind of passive undersaddle pickup can be only a plus at this price.

What Types of Music is This Best For?

This guitar isn’t intended for professional recordings, or large gigs, that’s for sure. But, it will find its place in various singalong meetings. It may also serve you properly on a smaller lounge session and you could play any kind of music on it as long as you have a technique for it.

Bottom Line

Sometimes, we just need a cheap but decent acoustic guitar to carry around for a quick and careless vacation. Epiphone Lil’ Tex fits this description perfectly and as long as you don’t expect wonders from it, it won’t disappoint you at all.

Comparison Overview 

Let us compare Epiphone guitars with other brands, but please bear in mind that there might be some models that may differ from the brand’s overall characteristics.

Epiphone vs Gibson Guitars

Epiphone is Gibson’s sub-brand intended for budget-friendly models. Instead of making such guitars under the Gibson name, they passed the whole line to the Epiphone brand. It’s safe to say that with most Epiphone models you’re getting Gibson guitars tailored for newbies and semi-pro players. 

Luckily, while the hardware and the pickups are still close to entry-level standards, build quality and craftsmanship are getting better and better. The quality control for the whole production is also improved so it’s rare to find unpolished frets or poor factory action setup anymore. This led many guitar players to buy Epiphone guitars for their project guitars. 

And as a matter of fact, it’s not so rare that the impression about premium Epiphone guitars exceeds basic Gibson models, especially when the price comparison jumps in. For Epiphone’s $800, you will definitely get a guitar that will give you more satisfaction than Gibson’s basic tier models.

This is especially true when we take archtop guitars into review as the Epiphone was the leading manufacturer of these guitars before the Gibson acquisition. That’s why power-pop lovers even prefer Epiphone over Gibson models.

Squier vs Epiphone

Comparison between those brands is pretty much related to comparing their mother companies Fender and Gibson. They both represent the budget-line models of those two companies and have all the most important models available and both have pretty much improved recently regarding build quality so they are quite affordable guitars. 

So, how should we compare them?

In short, if you’re looking for a decent guitar for lead and clean sound, Squier may have a better offer. But, if you’re more interested in rock and blues tone, Epiphone humbucker pickup configurations should work much better.

Regarding other instruments, Squier makes bass guitars that apparently tend to even mess up the Fender job a bit with its sound delivery, while Epiphone archtop guitars have been famous since the 1960s. Let us just remind you that The Beatles have used Epiphone Casino guitars on every song ever recorded. And as for acoustic guitars, Epiphone has a bit of lead here as Gibson is more present on this market in general so you can expect to get budget-line clones of these instruments.

Other Equipment Made By Epiphone

Besides electric and acoustic guitars Epiphone follows the Gibson philosophy so they only have a couple of Mandolins and Ukuleles and a small presence in the bass electric guitar areas.

They are mostly making several models that represent Gibson copies such as Thunderbird, Explorer, Genesis, Viola, Zenith, or Flying V. And while we’re in the rock & metal area, you should know that Epiphone actually owns Kramer guitars so you can check some Fender-like guitars such as Jersey Star, Pacer or that Superstrat styled SM-1

Of course, all kinds of spare hardware parts *pickups, strap buttons, toggle switches, and electronics) are available and regular accessories such as cases, picks are also available. 

How to Date Epiphone Guitars

If you want to date your Epiphone guitar you should check the serial number on the back of your headstock. It can consist of a series of numbers or numbers and letters.

Usually, if there are letters included, those should refer to the factory code. So, for example, IS and SI stands for Samick, Bogor and CI stands for Cort, Indonesia.

Premium models share this type of serials with only one letter that can be either T (Terada) or F (Fine Guitars).

Speaking of numbers, if they come after letters, the first two digits represent the manufacturing year and the rest usually represent either the number of the guitar (like 123rd guitar from that factory that year) or the month and the day of the manufacturing date.

If the serial is made of only numbers in that case:

  • First two numbers represent year
  • Digits 3 and 4 represent month
  • Digits 5 and 6 refer to factory number
  • The rest of the digits represent the number of the guitar that came out that specific year

There are many more serial number patterns available for Epiphone, so if your serial doesn’t match the one we provided, please check the following website and find the one that suits.

Conclusion 

We honestly hope that you will break all the prejudices about the Epiphone guitar’s quality as they are getting better with every new model they sell out. Their bang-for-buck ratio is currently unbeatable, so, if you love Gibson type of guitars and you’re looking for something affordable, check them out first.

People Also Ask

Now, let’s check some of the most frequent questions about Epiphone and explain terms that are often related to this brand such as project guitar. We’ll also try to remind you of celebrities that have been using Epiphone guitars whole life and see if they have left-handed models available.

How to Pronounce Epiphone

Epiphone is a word made from two nouns - Epi, the first name of their president and general manager, and phone, which is actually a Greek word for the sound. 

So the correct way to pronounce is quite easy and should be spoken as e-pee-phone.

What is an Archtop Guitar?

Archtop guitar is a guitar with steel strings. It comes in forms of hollow and semi-hollow bodies. It may be acoustic or equipped with the pickups. In both cases it has a full body and an arched top with f-shaped holes like the one found on violin and it’s very popular among jazz and rockabilly musicians.

What is a Project Guitar?

Project guitar is a term for a factory guitar that has been remodeled in terms of third-party pickup upgrading and (or) hardware changes. Factory guitars are being used because there are so many parts available on the market. It's an ideal way to make a guitar just the way you would like it to be. 

Are Epiphone Guitars Any Good?

You may be misled by the Epiphone prices, but those guitars are actually pretty good, especially when you move to the upper tier of their production line. Yes, they are made in China, but those top-tier models are actually don’t be fooled by the 

Does Epiphone Make Left-Handed Guitars?

The Epiphone does make left-handed guitars. They are six Les Paul models, three SG guitars, three acoustics with two being made in the USA, and a semi-hollow bass guitar.

If you would like to find out more about left-handed guitar models, check out this website for more information.

Do Professionals Use Epiphone?

Yes, there are professional players who use Epiphone. Some have actually recorded a lot of their studio works and let’s not forget all the hollow body instruments used back in the 1960’s - John Lenon has played Epiphone Casino throughout his whole career. Perhaps Noel Gallagher (Oasis) or Kings of Leon are more close to you.

How Much is an Epiphone Guitar Worth?

Epiphone guitars are budget-priced instruments and they start from $130 up to Epiphone USA models which are around $2,700. But, most of their production line is placed somewhere under the $300 and $750 range. You can get great quality instruments starting from $450.

What Kind of Warranty Does Epiphone Offer?

Epiphone offers a sort of lifetime warranty on a guitar instrument and one year warranty on any factory-installed electronics. Such warranties are void if you purchased the instrument from an unauthorized dealer or the changes made upon misuse or accident, normal tear and wear, and shipping damages of any kind.

Is the Epiphone EJ 200 a Good Guitar?

EJ-200 is a unique looking acoustic-electric guitar with great price-quality ratio and decent Fishman electronics. It has a pleasantly warm sound and quite a loud body when played unplugged so if you’re looking for a decent acoustic guitar for your live performances, you should definitely consider it!

Epiphone Buyer Guides

In the market for a new Epiphone guitar? Luckily, we've compiled all of our buyer guides related to [hub] and related content. Feel free to review each guide and find the one that fits exactly what you're looking for. Be sure to check back soon as we'll be updating this page frequently. 


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Vlad

I'm a 35-year-old rock-oriented professional musician from Belgrade, Serbia with 20 years of field experience in various areas of the music industry. After graduating from elementary music school I joined my first band Alogia in 2001 which had incredible initial success with the debut album and became one of the greatest Balkan heavy metal acts ever. We have recorded several studio and live albums and played as an opening act for Whitesnake, Apocalyptica, and Paul Di’Anno. Meanwhile, I got a chance to collaborate with Roland Planet shop and get familiar with various music equipment for more than a decade. For the last eight years, I have done live audio mixing for numerous bands and other live and studio events, including some TV audio mixing for national television broadcast as well. Currently, I’m playing keyboards for one of the most authentic Serbian music rock legends - Dr. Nele Karajlić, also known for his work with Zabranjeno Pušenje and No Smoking Orchestra.