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Epiphone is an American musical instrument manufacturer founded by Anastasios Stathopoulos, currently based in Nashville, Tennessee. Epiphone is owned by Gibson Guitar Corporation and was Gibson’s main rival in the archtop market prior to its acquisition in 1957. Their professional archtops, including the Emperor, Deluxe, Broadway and Triumph, rivaled those of Gibson. Aside from guitars, Epiphone also made upright basses, banjos, and other stringed instruments. However, the company’s weakness in the aftermath of World War II allowed Gibson to absorb it.
The name “Epiphone” is a combination of proprietor Epaminondas Stathopoulos’ nickname “Epi” and “phone” (from Greek phon-, “sound”/”voice”).
Epiphone began in 1873, in Smyrna, Ottoman Empire (now İzmir, Turkey), where Greek founder Anastasios Stathopoulo made his own fiddles and lutes (oud, laouto). Stathopoulo moved to the United States in 1903 and continued to make his original instruments, as well as mandolins, from Long Island City in Queens, New York. Anastasios died in 1915, and his son, Epaminondas (“Epi”), took over. After two years, the company became known as The House Of Stathopoulo. Just after the end of World War I, the company started to make banjos. The company produced its recording line of banjos in 1924 and, four years later, took on the name of the Epiphone Banjo Company. It produced its first guitars in 1928. After Epi died in 1943, control of the company went to his brothers, Orphie and Frixo. In 1951, a four-month-long strike forced a relocation of Epiphone from New York to Philadelphia. The company was acquired by its main rival, Gibson, in 1957