Legends of Epiphone: Famous Epiphone Guitar Players

Published on 08 April 2022

Epiphone are one of the oldest and most highly revered guitar companies in the game and have made a significant impact to the music industry as we know it. Starting all the way back in 1928, Epiphone has a rich history in guitar manufacturing. The brand started to become what we see today in 1957 when it was acquired by Gibson and since then Epiphone have been known to produce both licensed copies of Gibson's designs (like the Les Paul, Firebird etc) and exclusive designs like the Casino and Sheraton.

Epiphone is one the world's best-selling guitar brands and have proven themselves to be more than just a company that produce affordable Gibsons. They're way more than that! For decades Epiphone guitars have found their way into the hands of many legendary players and have been featured in countless classic records, in the studio and on some of the most famous stages in the world. 

Today, we're looking at some of the most significant Epiphone players and their models of choice. From jazz to heavy metal, Epiphone guitars can handle anything thrown at them. 

John Lennon

Despite Paul McCartney being the first Beatle member to acquire an Epiphone Casino in late 1964, it was John Lennon who we think of as the real Casino King... Sorry Macca! 

John Lennon was seen with numerous guitars throughout his career, however, it was the Epiphone Casino that was arguably his most famous guitar of choice. He used the Casino throughout the later years of The Beatles and at the beginning of his solo career, taking over from his beloved Rickenbacker 325. The Casino makes for a fantastic songwriting guitar, and if you've watched the recent Beatles documentary, Get Back, you would have seen John Lennon favouring the Casino as his main guitar during the writing process of their Let It Be album. 

When we think of Lennon playing the Epiphone Casino, we immediately think of the famous final public performance on the rooftop of Apple Corps. With his long hair, fur coat, iconic round glasses and a Casino strapped to him, this is quite possibly the most historic moment in music history to ever feature an Epiphone.

Paul Weller 

We talk a lot about the Beatles and their Casinos, but there are other famous players that love to rock them. Enter Paul Weller... 

One of Britian's finest musicians and playing a vital part in the rise of mod culture during his time in The Jam, Paul Weller isn't your typical guitar hero but the Modfather sure does know how to write a catchy song or two! Paul has been seen armed with many different guitars from a variety of brands, but when we think of the quintessential Paul Weller guitar, we instantly picture his Sunburst Epiphone Casino with the trapeze tailpiece. Check out the throwback video of him below performing at Jools Holland with said Casino! 

Matt Heafy

Trivium axeman Matt Heafy is a proud Epiphone player, using the brand’s Les Pauls both onstage and in the studio. Over the past few years, the metal guitarist has been rising through the ranks and dominating the airwaves with his thundering riffs and killer songwriting. When Matt joined forces with Epiphone last year to release his signature model, he wanted the instrument to be affordable and the one he actually used on stage.

Check out Matt chatting about his new signature model below! 

Noel Gallagher

As a huge fan of Weller and the Beatles, it's perhaps no surprise that the swagger master himself Noel Gallagher is partial to an Epiphone. Noel may not be the most technical guitar player but his style is instantly recognisable and his chord sequences and pentatonic licks were an integral part of British music in the '90s. In fact, both Noel and Oasis guitarist Bonehead used Riviera's for recording the majority of the band's now classic album 'Definitely Maybe'.

However, it's the Sheraton which followed that became an unforgettable emblem for the BritPop movement. Emblazoned with a Union Jack, this guitar is truly legendary and was Noel's partner in crime for most of the late '90s. The guitar became a cultural icon and was so sought after that Epiphone even produced a limited number of them, aptly naming the model a Supernova. Now and then, we see these appear in our Pre-Owned section - surprise surprise, they don't tend to stick around for long. We'd love Epiphone to issue a re-released, but even if that never happens, the iconic finish will Live Forever... (we'll see ourselves out...).

Ezra Koenig

Epiphone’s guitars have graced their way onto many iconic stages in the world, but we’ve got to say, Glastonbury has got to be up there with the most impressive. Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend played a sizzlin’ set on the famous Pyramid Stage in 2019, armed with a mighty Epiphone Sheraton II. His spikey, staccatoo licks and sharp clean tones have driven the band forward firmly into their own lane and we've always loved their unique sound. These guys have a distinctive flavour with some really interesting guitar driven melodies and it's wicked to see Ezra sticking to Epiphone for even the biggest performances. If that ain't evidence that Epiphone can rock with the best of them, we don't know what is. 

Jared James Nichols

Blues rock is still alive and kicking - don't you ever forget it. Behind a blur of big hair and even bigger tones, you'll find the man flying the flag for it - the mighty Jared James Nichols. A true rocker through and through, JJN is one of our favourite contemporary guitarists and a guitar hero in the purest sense. Using only his fingers, his trusty Old/Gold Glory Epiphone models and a killer sounding Blackstar amp, he carves immense sounds from his single pickup Les Paul. In fact, Jared can pull tones from his setup that most of us couldn't dream of even if we had a million pedals at our feet! As hard working as they come, his quest for Blues Power is never ending and it's been an absolute pleasure to watch his career grow over the years through talent, sheer hustle and an unflinchingly positive attitude. No one is keeping the dream alive quite like this dude - check out his favourite rock riffs below!

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, let there be no doubt that Epiphone have played a huge part in shaping the sound of what we listen to today. As you've seen, their role in British rock and indie has been massive, but with guitarists like Matt Heafy turning to them, they can be mean when they have to be - don't think it's all about the clean tones! This list could have gone on, with Jazz heroes like Joe Pass and countless other rockers picking them up over the years. Long gone are the days where Epi's are seen as a cheaper alternative to Gibson. This brand has its own rich legacy and is a force to be reckoned with. 

Check out our full range of Epiphone guitars

Here are some similar articles you might like