The aggressive expansion of the Epiphone brand is one of the biggest guitar stories of 2020. New electric and acoustic guitars have been flying out off the production line at a breathtaking pace, with many offering a spec and build to challenge their pricier siblings in the Gibson US line.
We have seen the generously spec'd Prophecy series take care of the metal-heads, the quite stunning 1959 Les Paul Standard (opens in new tab) bringing some Burst chic to the line, while only yesterday saw the arrival the new Coronet, Wilshire, and Crestwood, plus the high-end Inspired by Gibson line, featuring ES-335 and ES-339 electrics and some of the nicest Epiphone acoustics we have seen.
Well, as Jimmy Cricket used to say, there's more: with two new takes on Epiphone 60s classics – the Casino in three new Worn finishes, and the Riviera.
Let's look at the Casino. The build is largely as you would expect, with a 5-ply maple hollowbody, a set mahogany neck carved into a 60s C-profile, 24.724" scale, an Indian laurel fingerboard with a 12" radius and 22 medium jumbo frets and Trapezoid inlay, with a classy LockTone Tune-O-Mati bridge and Diamond Trapeze tailpiece.
As for pickups, you've got a pair of Pro P-90s in the neck and bridge, with a volume and tone control each, CTS pots and all the bright chime you need for running through McCartney's Taxman solo. The street price is a svelte £399 / $449.
But what about those Worn finishes? Olive Drab, Ebony and Denim Blue... Very cool. Check them out above. Look closely and you can see that these matte finishes show a little of the maple's grain underneath. And if you have ever coveted the Gibson Chris Cornell Tribute ES-335, this would make a mighty fine wallet-friendly alternative.
Now, the Riveria. This, too, is a hollowbody electric, same Casino body shape, and similarly made its pop-culture debut just as the 60s was about to swing. Obviously, it is a similar guitar to the Casino but with some key differences – most notably the pickups.
Here, you've got a pair of Epiphone Pro mini humbuckers in the neck and bridge. The tailpiece, meanwhile, is a cool Frequensator design, which dates back to the 30s and has been seen on a number of jazz boxes over the years. Epiphone is offering the Riviera in Sparkling Burgundy and Royal Tan, street price a very respectable £599 / $649.
These are not on the Epiphone (opens in new tab) website just yet, but are with retailers. Now, what's next, Epiphone?