Epiphone unveils 150th Anniversary guitar lineup – all-original, limited edition electrics steeped in the brand’s history

Epiphone 150th Anniversary Guitars
(Image credit: Epiphone)

Epiphone is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year and is celebrating in style with the release of four limited edition electric guitars that bear the hallmarks of the brand’s classic late ‘40s and ‘50s designs. 

The Epiphone 150th Anniversary lineup comprises the Crestwood Custom and Wilshere solid-bodies, a semi-hollow Sheraton, and a fully hollow Zephyr DeLuxe Regent, and offer vintage-style Epiphone guitars at approachable price points.

Let’s start with the 150th Anniversary Zephyr DeLuxe Regent. As the oldest design here, it has the most candles to blow out. The Zephyr DeLuxe Regent is one of the quintessential post-war jazz guitars, launched in ’48, remaining in production for nigh-on a decade. It has a cutaway body shape, a big breakthrough at the time, enhancing upper-fret access, and there’s no centre block. It might have been made for jazz but all that resonance in a big hollow body is sure to make it a contender for rockabilly cats.

The body is fashioned from layered maple, finished with three-ply binding on the top and back. That three-ply binding is reprised on the headstock, with single-ply binding along the ebony fingerboard. Just look at those MOP Historic Epiphone Cloud inlays and the Tree of Life detail on the headstock; this is one classy customer.

The Zephyr DeLuxe Regent has 20 medium jumbo frets, a 25.5” scale length, and a 12” fingerboard radius. It has a five-piece maple and mahogany neck, carved into what is surely a comping-friendly Medium C profile, and is glued to the body. There is a three-ply tortoiseshell pickguard, a floating ebony bridge and trapeze-style tailpiece.

A pair of Epiphone NY mini-humbuckers are controlled by two volume controls, two tone, and a three-way pickup selector, CTS pots used as standard for this limited run because it is one of those occasions to dig out the good stuff – and Ivory-coloured Carousel knobs and a rubber grommet switch washer because this is guitar making of yesteryear.

Given that a 1953 Zephyr DeLuxe Regent will set you back around four-and-a-half grand on the vintage market, the £/$1,299 Epiphone is asking for here looks quite the bargain, and it comes with a hardshell guitar case. The Zephyr DeLuxe Regent is offered in an Aged Antique Natural finish.

The Crestwood Custom was Epiphone’s first solid-body electric with two pickups. The mahogany body has a slightly offset silhouette and is paired with a mahogany neck in a ‘60s SlimTaper D profile. It has a 12” radius Indian laurel fingerboard with oval inlays and 22 medium jumbo frets. It has a more compact 24.75” scale length. 

Just when you thought it couldn’t look cooler with that retro profile and the shape of that ‘Batwing’ headstock, this Crestwood Custom is replete with vintage detail, with the Epiphone using Historic ‘60s Radio Knobs with Nickel “V" and “T” Reflectors for the pickup controls.

This time we have a pair of Gibson USA Mini Humbuckers. Switchcraft provides the switches and output jack. A Tremotone Vibrato offers some wobble. The top-quality Wilkinson six-on-a-plate tuners should keep things nice and stable.

The 150th Anniversary Crestwood Custom ships in a hardshell case, is finished in a tasty Kraft cheese-coloured California Coral paint job, and is priced £/$999. 

The 150th Anniversary Wilshere, meanwhile, is a little like a stripped down alternative to the Crestwood Custom. There are similarities – the mahogany build, Gibson USA mini-humbucker pairing, the scale and neck dimensions, the ‘Batwing’ headstock, CTS pots, the Switchcraft jack and switch, the Wilkinson tuners… 

And Like the Crestwood Custom, you’ll have no trouble reaching the 22nd fret. But the big difference here is we have a LockTone Tune-O-Matic and LockTone tailpiece. There are dot inlays on the Indian laurel fingerboard. If ever there was a retro electric built to play hard, this is it. Finished in Pacific Blue, it retails for £/$899. 

Last but by no means least – indeed, you can make the case for this semi-hollow being the classiest of the bunch – we have the Sheraton. Finished in Cherry, with gold hardware, eye-catching vintage appointments such as the Tremotone with Indian laurel insert and foil “E” Epiphone logo, seven-ply binding on the body, three-ply on the headstock, this is the sort of guitar you’d want to buy a first class ticket for while you slum it in coach.

The Epiphone “E” is also to be found on the tortoiseshell ‘guard. The Tree of Life inlays are rivalled only by the abalone/MOP block inlays on the bound Indian laurel fingerboard. This has a 24.75” scale, 12” radius ‘board, with 22 frets. Epiphone has once more raided the Gibson store cupboard for a mini-humbucker pairing. The black ‘top hat’ control knobs (two volume, two tone, as per…) are just the thing for a guitar that looks like its wearing a tux.

There is a set of Grover Rotomatics on the headstock. The body is made of layered maple, with a centreblock to nix feedback. The neck is one-piece mahogany and shaped into a ‘60s SlimTaper. Very playable, even if you feel compelled to polish your shoes before picking it up. The 150th Anniversary Sheraton is priced £/$1,299.

For more details, head over to Epiphone

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.