Epiphone has just unveiled a stunning USA-made signature Frontier for the country superstar Chris Stapleton, and it might just be the high-end acoustic guitar release of the year.
Now, we all love the Epiphone brand for releasing a slew of electric guitars each year that are generously spec’d, excellent quality, competitively priced, and ask the question of whether it is worth ponying up for a Gibson USA model. But then they do things like this, well, they’re just showing off.
There is no getting around it. The Chris Stapleton Frontier is stunning, jawdropping, and has the price tag to match. A limited edition model, with only 300 instruments being made at Gibson’s Bozeman facility in Montana, it’s a cert to be a collector’s item, and looks every inch a guitar with songs in it.
Stapleton’s Frontier has a thermally aged Sitka Spruce top, finished in Frontier Burst, and spritzed with nitrocellulose lacquer so it will age like a fine burgundy. It has a back and sides of AA figured maple. There’s multi-ply binding on the top and back, single-ply binding on the neck. And just look at those twin pickguards, sitting either side of the soundhole engraved with Frontier lariat and cactus motif.
Seriously, with an instrument like this, you open up the case and half expect a tumbleweed to come blowing out. There is a lot of vibe. A big country vibe, endless sky and John Ford horizons.
Under that Sitka spruce top we have scalloped X-bracing, all work that was done by hand. The neck is mahogany fashioned into a rounded C profile, plenty of support for those big open chords, and it’s topped with an Indian rosewood fingerboard, with MOP slotted rectangle inlays and 20 frets. The bridge is also carved from Indian rosewood, and has a traditional ‘belly-up’ design.
A 25.5" scale instrument, the Stapleton Frontier is equipped with a set of top-quality gold Gotoh Keystone tuners that will not only be strong and stable but complement the dark tobacco and bourbon hues of the Frontier Burst finish nicely.
This might be luthiery straight from the old-school, with the neck joining the body with a compound dovetail joint set with hot hide glue, but it’s not altogether unawares of the needs of the modern musician, and if you peer into the soundhole you’ll discover the discrete controls for a LR Baggs VTC pickup and preamp system, ideal for open-mic night, the Grand Ole Opry, or somewhere even more grand.
This is one you’d want to show off. And at £4,399 / $4,999, you’d want to take good care of it too. Real good care. Just as well it ships with a hard-shell guitar case.
The Chris Stapleton Frontier is available now. See Epiphone (opens in new tab) for more details.