“A legendary Epiphone original comes home to the USA”: Epiphone unveils the US-made Coronet and it is a nitro-finished single-pickup rock ’n’ roll machine

Epiphone USA Coronado
(Image credit: Epiphone)

Epiphone is now officially making Coronets in Nashville, Tennessee, bringing the cult-classic back home as it becomes the first solidbody electric guitar to join the brand’s USA Collection.

Launched in Vintage Cherry or Ebony, both given a lick of gloss nitrocellulose lacquer before leaving the shop floor, this US-made Coronet – the news of its launch broken by the Gibson Gazette – is a big deal for fans of the single-pickup electrics. The drive does not get much simpler than this, nor much fun, and the look of these is totally old-school. 

With the iconic ‘Bikini’-style Epiphone badges taking pride of place on the headstock, the cream ‘Carousel-style volume and tone controls, the white buttons on the Vintage Deluxe tuners, and of course that pickguard, there is a strong vibe that this six-string has evolved little since making its debut in the Epiphone catalogue in 1958/'59.

And yet, there are some key differences, with these new for 2024 models featuring a slightly wider 1.695” nut width, giving you more room on the fingerboard, and Epiphone has taken a little bit of the timber out of this, slimming down the body to a comfortable 1.375” width.

Clearly, the idea is that these subtle differences will be subtle enough for the purist’s tastes while making for a more lightweight and player-friendly instrument – Epiphone says the balance is improved.

Simplicity is the watchword. That is part of the Coronet’s charm. The symmetrical doublecut body is fashioned from mahogany, with a mahogany SlimTaper neck glued to the body in the traditional style. It is topped with an Indian rosewood fingerboard that seats 22 frets, has dot inlays, and with a 12” radius is on-message for the Gibson-owned brand.

Epiphone USA Coronado

(Image credit: Epiphone)

You have got a single P-90 Soapbar at the bridge position, hooked up to a hand-wired circuit with Orange Drop capacitors (i.e. the sort of under the hood details you expect from a USA-made Gibson). There’s a minimalistic wraparound bridge. And that’s that. What else do you need?

Epiphone’s describes the Coronet’s sound as “a raw, vintage tone suitable for almost any style” and that is borne out by the kinds of players who have picked one up over the years. Alex Turner, Johnny Marr, and Steve Marriott played one – as did Ace Frehley did when he was a teenager. Jimi Hendrix even played one in the early days. Jazz guitar maestro Julian Lage tracked Northern Shuffle from his new album, Speak To Me, using a vintage Coronet.

Other details to note? Well, this is not 1958/’59 and, as mentioned above, these are not slavish reissues, so we have a nut that’s made by Graph Tech. 

We were very big fans of the Chinese-made Coronet, which was launched in 2020 alongside the Wilshere and Crestwood Custom, and it will be fascinating how this one compares in a side-by-side comparison. That’s something we will all be able to try now, because the USA Collection Coronet is available now, shipping in a hardshell guitar case and priced £1,499.

See Epiphone for more details.

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.