The Epiphone Company is owned by one of the giants of the music industry- the Gibson. Gibson guitar is undoubtedly great and has been used by a lot of famous musicians. But Gibson also comes with a high price tag. And if you are a beginner or a musician on a budget constraint, buying a Gibson is not a reasonable thing to do. But do not throw away your dreams of playing a good quality intermediate guitar!
Epiphone offers an affordable range of guitars based on the Gibson designs. And just because it is cheap, does not mean it is bad. You will be surprised to know that some of the biggest names in the music industry owned an Epiphone guitar. Paul McCartney from The Beatles himself played an Epiphone Texan acoustic!
However, an instrument is not just a piece of gear. Selecting a good guitar is important if you are passionate about music. Hence, I am going to list down some of the best Epiphone guitar in the market.
Table Of Contents
- History of the Brand - Epiphone
- 10 BEST EPIPHONE GUITAR REVIEW
- 1. STEINBERGER GT-PRO - BEST EPIPHONE ELECTRIC GUITAR
- 2. EPIPHONE AJ 220SCE - BEST EPIPHONE ACOUSTIC GUITAR
- 3. EPIPHONE LES PAUL SPECIAL II
- 4. EPIPHONE LES PAUL SPECIAL VE - BEST EPIPHONE GUITAR FOR JAZZ
- 5. EPIPHONE SG VE - BEST EPIPHONE GUITAR FOR METAL
- 6. EPIPHONE RIVIERA P93 - BEST EPIPHONE SEMI HOLLOW GUITAR
- 7. EPIPHONE TOBY - BEST EPIPHONE BASS GUITAR
- 8. EPIPHONE LES PAUL STUDIO LT
- 9. EPIPHONE LES PAUL SPECIAL I P90
- 10. EPIPHONE DR-100 ACOUSTIC GUITAR
- How to choose the best Epiphone guitar
History of the Brand - Epiphone
The history of the Epiphone dates back to 1873 in Turkey. At the time, its founder, Anastasios Stathopoulos, made lutes and Smyrna violins. After several years, he decided to migrate to the United States. From there, he was able to continue his passion and produce new instruments.
For the good of things and with the force of time, he created a whole range of electric guitars and amplifiers; the brand then managed to seduce new followers. However, the perseverance of its leaders does not seem to have been enough to dethrone world leader Gibson.
In 1957, Epiphone was bought by the Gibson Group, which perpetuated the brand by producing high-quality instruments and updating the brand's entire range of electric guitars. It was then that Epiphone guitars became wildly successful in the music world. They have been used by the most famous singers and groups, such as John Lennon, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, or even Slash!
The main asset of the Epiphone brand is that it offers professional-quality electric guitars at an affordable price. It is for this reason that we have concocted this complete column for him. For the only reason to make you discover the brand and its quality products!
10 BEST EPIPHONE GUITAR REVIEW
1. STEINBERGER GT-PRO - BEST EPIPHONE ELECTRIC GUITAR
Steinberger usually constructed their instruments with Stuart Spector, in Brooklyn around 1979. Later, the company was sold off to Gibson in 1987 after a financial loss. The Steinberger GT-PRO has an extravagant and unique body.
It is probably the best example of experimental design and construction. It has a rectangular body that comes in two colors- black and white. The first thing that will catch your attention is that the guitar does not have a headstock and the body is shortened till the bridge. The axe is lightweight and feels similar to a 3/4 sized guitar.
Hence, this will be a good option for children who want to learn to play electric guitar. You will get 24 frets which you can easily access. This means that you can play a lot of difficult chord progressions without any issues.
The Steinberger Spirit GT-PRO stays in tune so you won't have to worry about tuning issues.
It produces a warm and gusty tone that you can experiment with. The downside is that you will get low action and the pickups are too close to each other. Otherwise, this charming and cool looking guitar is a perfect fit for those who want to add style and flair to their guitar collection.
Thing we like:
- A punchy and distinct sound.
- Easy to set up and tune.
- Excellent finish.
- Lightweight and easy to carry.
2. EPIPHONE AJ 220SCE - BEST EPIPHONE ACOUSTIC GUITAR
The Epiphone AJ220SCE is an electric-acoustic guitar that offers a full 25.5 inches scale length. It has a wider bottom than the typical dreadnought style. This means that it is capable of producing a sound that has a lot of depth and volume. Such guitars are suitable for rhythm guitarists and song-writers looking for a good mid-range to suit their vocals.
The back and sides are laminated but the top is made of pure solid wood. How many brands offer solid wood construction at this price? The use of solid wood offers better resonance and results in a tone that is bright and responsive. However, the nut is made of plastic to meet the budget.
The single-cutaway design makes it easy for you to reach the higher frets. Moreover, the tuning gear is good enough to hold the tune well. It is one of the best Epiphone guitar as an electric-acoustic style instrument.
Thing we like:
- Solid wood top at an affordable price.
- Beautiful neck with a satin finish.
- Good resonance.
- Comes with a phase button to eliminate feedback.
3. EPIPHONE LES PAUL SPECIAL II
The Gibson Les Paul is a well-known guitar in the music industry. Many famous musicians have been patrons of this brilliant brand. Most notably is Jimmy Page, who used the Gibson for a long time. If you are an admirer of the Les Paul design, you will love Gibson's humble alternative, the Epiphone.
The Epiphone Les Paul Special VE is a budget-friendly solution that has an amazing appearance and sound. It has a single-cutaway shape, similar to the original Les Paul. You also get a scale that has been shortened to 24.75-inches. The guitar comes in multiple colors including Cherry, Sunburst, Ebony, Heritage Cherry, Walnut and my favorite, the Vintage Sunburst.
The SlimTaper D profile neck is excellent because it is fast and you can play it smoothly. The sleek and slim neck makes it suitable for guitar players with smaller hands. The Epiphone guitar has two humbuckers, a three-way pickup switch, a master volume and a master tone knob. The sound might feel a bit muddy, but that is fine since it will suit music genres like jazz and soft rock.
Although, I must admit that it is not the best Epiphone guitar as there are some tuning issues because the tuning knobs do not stay tight. But all in all, the Epiphone Les Paul design exceeds all expectations that you would have from a budget guitar.
Thing we like:
- Good sound.
- Suitable for fast-paced playing.
- Good quality hardware.
4. EPIPHONE LES PAUL SPECIAL VE - BEST EPIPHONE GUITAR FOR JAZZ
The Epiphone Les Paul Single II is a solid guitar made from mahogany. It is lighter than a Gibson guitar but is still not exactly lightweight. The sunburst color is beautiful and the design makes it look more expensive than it is.
The guitar is made from almost the same materials as the original Les Paul design. However, the Epiphone version does try to fit into the budget by replacing certain materials with cheaper alternatives. One of the drawbacks of such a cheaper replacement is the plastic nut.
It has a scale length of 24.74 inches which is quite decent. The hardware of the Les Paul Special II is standard but useful and functional, delivering a comfortable and reliable playing experience. You will find a master volume and a master tone knob along with a three-way toggle. The sealed machine heads have a good 14:1 gear ratio along with nickel buttons.
You get a decent amp and the sound is clear and warm, while the sustain is slightly lengthy. The sound is such that it would be suitable for most classic rock and blues. All-in-all it might not be impressive to a professional guitar player but it is definitely one of the best Epiphone guitar for beginners.
Thing we like:
- Decent sound quality.
- Value for money.
- Decent hardware.
- Good sustain.
5. EPIPHONE SG VE - BEST EPIPHONE GUITAR FOR METAL
The SG VE series is one of the best Epiphone guitar in the market. The design of the Epiphone SG VE definitely screams 'Rock' and it does live up to the name! It has been used by many famous rock bands like The Doors and ACDC which increases its credibility more than ever!
The body is made of laminated Alder and Maple, a mahogany veneer with two open-coil humbuckers. The wood offers good tonal quality and a rich sound. It has a thinner body than Les Paul which means it is easier to handle and carry.
You can mute the guitar temporarily and then switch back, making it very fun to play and experiment with. It has a decent sustain and a slightly brighter sound. The controls are basic including a master tone, master volume and a three-way pickup toggle switch.
The sound and pickup are a bit one-dimensional which is perfect if you play hard rock and metal but it won't be appropriate for the more subtle genres like blues and jazz. The only drawback is that the output jack is on the face of the body which is an odd position for it to be. Otherwise, it is a value for money and is suitable for both professionals and beginners.
Thing we like:
- Very cool design.
- Produces a classic rock sound.
- Good neck for fast-paced playing.
- Easy to down tune.
6. EPIPHONE RIVIERA P93 - BEST EPIPHONE SEMI HOLLOW GUITAR
If you like the old classy feel of an 80's vintage guitar, then this is definitely the guitar for you. The Epiphone Riviera P93 is a limited edition among the Riviera custom series which was introduced in 2008. This means that there are very few of them in the market, making it difficult for you to find one that is available. Besides, it is not exactly in the budget-friendly range either.
The guitar possesses a double-cutaway semihollow maple body. It also incorporates a block of mahogany underneath the pickups, tailpiece and bridge. The hardware is gold plated and a high-quality vibrato tailpiece, 14:1 tuners and gold-plated buttons. It has the classic Slim-Taper neck with a D-shaped profile.
The P-93 a wide range of tonal versatility, thanks to the brilliant single-coil pickups. The semihollow design of the guitar results in tones and textures that is similar to a solid-body guitar along with a good amount of resonance and sustain. The pickup has a bold and crisp character which sounds beautiful.
The sound is perfect for rockabilly and blues. On the downside, you will not receive a toggle switch which makes the functions a bit complicated. Other than that, it is the best Epiphone guitar if you are looking for a thin line electric guitar with great versatility.
Thing we like:
- Amazing pickup.
- Very sturdy.
- Has tonal versatility.
- Good resonance.
7. EPIPHONE TOBY - BEST EPIPHONE BASS GUITAR
The Epiphone Toby Standard IV is lightweight and compact, with sleek contours designed for not only style but also comfort. The neck is asymmetrical and made of hard maple. The neck profile is thinner than your average neck so that you can have more control and speed on the fretboard.
The sound is well-balanced, with a good range on the low end and a crispy definition in the high end. But the strings are cheaply made and the output has a lot of ringing. But overall, it is a good entry-level bass guitar that balances functionality, style and good tone.
Thing we like:
- Very comfortable to play.
- Allows fast-paced playing.
- Versatile tone.
8. EPIPHONE LES PAUL STUDIO LT
The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plustop Pro is a great Les Paul alternative, offering almost all the features of the evergreen Les Paul Standard of the late-fifties. It has a maple top and a mahogany body, along with a 24 3/4-inches scale length.
The hardware is made of high-quality materials and features a simple control setup consisting of two-tone knobs, two-volume knows and a toggle switch. The neck profile is comfortable and easy to access so you can practice difficult chords and impressive solos without much of hand fatigue.
The pickguard is set at an angle where you will be able to rest your hand comfortably be able to gain good control of the pick. It delivers a sound that has a good balance between warmth and clarity along with a smooth sustain and a fat midrange. It is one of the best Epiphone guitar for both beginners and professionals.
Thing we like:
- Amazing sound.
- Professional finish.
- Easy to play.
- High-quality hardware.
9. EPIPHONE LES PAUL SPECIAL I P90
P90 pickups are surely one of the best pickups in the world. Tone-wise, it stands in the middle ground between a humbucker and a traditional single-coil. The Epiphone Les Paul Special I has a single-cutaway design made from solid wood. It has a metallic gloss lacquer finish and has a very appealing appearance.
The Les Paul Special I features an adjustable wrap-around bridge so that you can get maximum sustain and edge. This feature makes it perfect for jazz and soft-rock. However, the drawback is that it cannot hold the tuning for long. It is a pretty decent guitar if not the best Epiphone guitar for beginners.
Thing we like:
- Good for classic rock and blues.
- Affordable alternative to a Gibson.
- Sounds great.
- Comfortable to play for long sessions.
10. EPIPHONE DR-100 ACOUSTIC GUITAR
The Epiphone DR-100 offers excellent playability and professional features at a reasonable price. It has a classic dreadnought shape which provides a dynamic boom and an impressive volume. So if you are a bluegrass player, this guitar is perfect for you. The mahogany back is paired with a solid spruce top to provide a rich and warm sound.
The Epiphone DR-100 has a classic vintage look that will appeal to the aesthetics of a country singer. Although, the case that you will receive is a bit flimsy and does not provide adequate protection. But we can't ask too much from such a reasonably priced instrument.
Thing we like:
- Rich and warm sound.
- Perfect for bluegrass players
- Easy to tune.
How to choose the best Epiphone guitar
There are few things one needs to consider when purchasing an Epiphone guitar.
When it comes to testing Epiphone’s sound, it is a waste of time to compare them to their Gibson brethren guitars. Instead, think of the guitar as a standalone model and play it. Ask yourself whether it sounds good and fits your play style. Then try it with the same amplifier and only make minor tweaks to your favorite EQ controls as you play and test. This is a scientific game, people.
The next criteria are the ease of playability of a guitar. The thing is, many Epiphone guitars are featured either a trapeze-style tailpiece or a Tune-O-Matic tailpiece. Both are relatively user-friendly and easy to adjust. If you are a beginner, it is better to seek the help of your local tech to show you the ropes. If the guitar doesn’t fret up and down easily when you play it, stay away from it.
You can find guitars in different body and neck. Electric guitars are known for their different neck styles, they are even trademarking them. Try not to make it complicate; sometimes even the trademarked necks varies little from each other. It’s just about how the company decides to shape the neck contour of the guitar. It’s all about how it feels to you. However, No neck is “better” or worse; it’s purely objective, when it comes to Epiphone guitar,
Here is my way of thinking about it:
- If you want to play rock: buy an electric guitar.
- If you want to play classical: buy a classical guitar with nylon strings.
- If you want to play folk: buy a steel string acoustic.
- However, if you have a very small budget, don't buy acoustics.
- If you are not really sure, get an electrical device.
- Avoid 3/4 guitars, unless they are intended for very young children.
My "general" recommendation when people ask me is to buy a mid-priced electric guitar. There you have it, folks. I recommend keeping the qualities mentioned above in mind when buying your Epiphone.
Owning a Gibson guitar is an American dream. But buying one is difficult when you are a struggling musician juggling between paying rent and making a major breakthrough in your music career. Epiphone is the way to go and is a perfect option for both beginner and professional musicians.
While the Epiphone lineup is cheap, you should keep in mind certain things when you buy one. Keep in mind that the guitar should be comfortable to play, lightweight, should not a good pickup and should be durable. That is all. Have a good music career ahead!
Hello readers, welcome to my blog! I’m Stefan. I’m in hard love with the music and used to collect all kinds of musical instruments at my garage. While looking for the best instruments, initially, I’ve struggled a lot. Like me, some of you might be struggling to choose the best musical equipment. So, keep reading my articles and get the best musical instrument that is worth your pay.