Those Epiphone leaks we covered last month were very real – the Coronet, Wilshire and Crestwood are back as reissues. As well as some interesting new ES and acoustic guitar models. It rounds out an incredible 2020 for the company; as if the recent Epiphone 1959 Les Paul Standard and Prophecy Series electric guitars weren't enough!
Let's take a look…
Epiphone Coronet ($399 / £349), Wilshire ($449 / £399) and Crestwood ($549 / £489) reissues
The first ever Epiphone solidbody electric guitar design dates back to 1958 and these three double-cutaway, mahogany body takes on it are welcome returns to the lineup as they've become real cult favourites on the vintage market.
All three models have a medium-C mahogany neck, Indian laurel fretboard with familiar Gibson 12" radius. They also feature a butterfly pickguard shape.
The six-a-side headstock of the originals has also been replaced by a down-sized Kalamazoo headstock.
The Coronet is the simplest proposition with a single Epiphone P-90 Pro Dogear pickup. And in similar style to a Les Paul Junior, the strings pass through a Lightning Bar compensated wraparound bridge. Finish options are Cherry and Black.
The Epiphone Wilshire adds a second P-90 Pro pickup and dedicated tone and volume controls for it. The bridge and tailpiece here are an Epiphone LockTone bridge and stop bar.
Finish options are Cherry and Ebony.
The Crestwood is distinct again with a duo of Epiphone Pro Mini humbuckers, in line with the original. There's a Tremotone vibrato tailpiece and Tune-o-Matic bridge.
Finish options are Polaris White and Polaris Cherry.
Epiphone Inspired By Gibson ES-339 ($499 / £439) and ES-335 ($549 and $599 / £489 and £549)
Both these semi acoustic models have been given a refresh for 2020 as Inspired By Gibson guitars. So what's new?
Not a lot. But these are great affordable semis that didn't need fixing. Both the 335 and its smaller sibling stick with layered Maple and a solid Maple block down the middle and have rounded C profiles, and there's that newer Kalamazoo headstock design for these models.
Pickups are Epiphone Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers, and CTS pots are always welcome.
The ES-335 is available in either Cherry or Vintage Sunburst, and for a higher price there’s the ES-335 Figured. This offers a figured maple top finished in either Blueberry burst or Raspberry Tea Burst.
The ES-339 is available Cherry, Pelham Blue, Vintage Sunburst, and Natural.
All these finishes are gloss, but at this stage we would really like to see some satin options like the Gibson Memphis line has done. Come on, make it happen Epiphone!
Epiphone Inspired By Gibson Hummingbird (from $799 / £749), J-45 (from $699 / £649) and J-200 ($899 / £799)
Last but certainly not least are a trio of acoustic guitar stunners. We loved the J-200 SCE when we reviewed it last year but we can't help noticing the jump in price on the new non-cutaway model – it's $400 higher.
The 2020 J-200 is built with all solid woods, bringing it more in line with the Gibson model that's been used by players included Jimmy Page, Bob, Dylan, Emmylou Harris… and some guy called Elvis.
The super jumbo non-cutaway solid figured maple body features a solid Sitka spruce top and a two-piece maple neck with a mahogany centre strip. Fretboard is Indian Laurel.
The J-200's Moustache bridge is present and correct, so too is a Crown headstock inlay, Graduated Crown mother of pearl fingerboard inlays and J-200 style pickguard with two-colour graphics.
So far so good but this time the under saddle piezo is a Fishman Sonicore with Sonitone preamp – a budget electronic offering that we think is actually a notable step down from the J-200 SCE's duel Shadow pickup offering that really impressed us.
Finishes are Aged Antique Natural Gloss and Aged Vintage Sunburst Gloss.
While the J-200 is no longer available as a cutaway, the J-45 EC is for a slightly higher price at $749 (£699).
With less cosmetic bling than the J-200, it comes in cheaper and with solid woods, puts a legendary guitar model within more players's budgets.
It's a sloped shouldered stunner, no doubt. A solid Sitka spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides with a rounded C neck profile.
Fishman's Sonitone preamp and pickup feature on the J-45 too; possibly the most common system on electro acoustics right now. Solid but certainly not spectacular. Interestingly, the J-45 EC model is listed as offering the Fishman Presys II preamp – that brings separate bass and treble controls, compared to the Sonitone's 'Tone' treble rolloff. It also has a phase switch and tuner.
There's one finish option on both of these; Aged Vintage Sunburst Gloss. We wouldn't have a J-45 any other way!
Bird is the word here. There's two new Inspired By Gibson Hummingbirds two… a six and 12-string.
Again, there's solid woods with a spruce top and mahogany body for Gibson's square-shouldered dreadnought.
A Fishman Sonicore under-saddle pickup and Sonitone preamp feature on both models – the 12-string is $849 (we're seeing street prices in the UK of £749) and features Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners., while the six-string is fitted with Epiphone Deluxe.
The 12-string is available in Aged Cherry Sunburst Gloss, while the standard Hummingbird is available in Aged Antique Natural Gloss and Aged Cherry Sunburst Gloss finishes.
More info at epiphone.com