Our Favourite EPIPHONE Electric Guitars - November 2022

Published on 21 November 2022

 

Are you on the lookout for a new Epiphone guitar? You’ve checked the whole range on our site over and over, each day changing your mind about which one you’re going for, and never quite deciding, right?

We know the feeling. Epiphone make so many excellent and affordable guitars, that picking one out to buy can bring on the ol’ option paralysis. It’s a happy problem for sure (you can’t really choose ‘incorrectly’) but it's a problem nonetheless. With that in mind, we thought we’d corral together a small collection of the Epiphone guitars we like the best. This viewpoint has been built up from many years of playing and selling Epiphones, so we have a lot of experience with getting a hold of them and seeing them in the flesh; plugging them in and comparing them.

These are our favourite Epiphones, and they may well be yours, too! Take a trip with us as we encounter each one, in no particular order…

 

Epiphone Casino

Let’s begin today’s blog with a design that’s an Epiphone original, shall we? Most of Epiphone’s best loved guitars are based on Gibson classics, and though the Casino bears a strong similarity to the Gibson ES-330, it is not - and never was - a replica. 

We’ve said it before, but if the Casino is good enough for Lennon & McCartney, Thom Yorke and Gary Clark Jr, then it’s good enough for us! We think it’s worth noting that the Casino is a significantly different beast to the likes of the ES-335 (whom we’ll meet in a sec), even though they share superficial similarities. The entirely hollow body of the Casino, matched with the deeper set neck (it joins the body a few frets further in) and the single coil P90 pickups add up to deliver an altogether different playing experience.

Accepted logic amongst guitarists is that the Casino is a jangly rhythm machine, but we beg to differ: it’s whatever you want it to be, with a versatile, inspiring sound and a timeless look.

 

Epiphone Les Paul Standard 50s

For affordable, dependable solid body electrics with plenty of rockstar charisma, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard is still the model to beat. Currently coming in at under £500 at time of writing, the Les Paul Standard is an excellent value instrument with a sound, feel and look that’s more than good enough to take out on tour.

Epiphone sticks close to Gibson’s model variations by offering both a 50s and 60s variant of this guitar. What are the differences? Well, it’s basically the neck profile and the finish options. We’ve opted for the Les Paul Standard 50s variant here, but that’s just a personal preference for the bigger, rounded neck profile. The 60s version, with its slim taper neck profile, is absolutely the equal to this: it’s just a matter of what your hand likes more!

Epiphone know that their Les Paul Standard models will be the ‘standard’ (sorry) by which their entire output is judged by players, so have taken pains to get this key model just right. That means a figured maple veneer on the top, good tuners, great Probucker pickups and all of the correct curves in all the correct places. A quality, official Les Paul for under £500? You’d better believe it!

 

Epiphone Inspired by Gibson ES-335

Epiphone’s Dot was easily one of their top sellers for many years, so it was with apprehension that we learned they were changing out the model. Why mess with success? Well, we needn’t have worried: this successor to the ‘affordable semi’ throne - the Epiphone Inspired by Gibson ES-335 - is a gorgeous and very satisfying instrument. 

If anything, this newer iteration of the 335 is closer to Gibson’s blueprint. Along with the redesigned headstock (a move that is true across almost the entire brand), Epiphone have refined the neck profile and pickups, upgrading a popular model into a real contender. Anyone can get on with this guitar, and the heritage of Epiphone’s semi-acoustic builds means it’s a richly historic guitar in more ways than one.

 

Epiphone SG ‘61 Maestro Vibrola

If you like Gibsons and Epiphones, then it’s a fair bet that you love the SG. Skinnier and meaner than a Les Paul, its rock voice is every bit as authoritative, with the added bonus of a slightly sharper clean sound. In short, it’s the guitar of choice for the rock or blues playing lifer  who needs to cover a dynamic range of sounds.

It also makes you feel like Angus Young, which is a feeling that’s never to be underestimated!

Epiphone make a good selection of SG guitars, so we’ve gone for our favourite, which is the Epiphone SG ‘61 Maestro Vibrola. This tasty 1961-referencing model is available with or without a lovely Maestro Vibrola (tremolo to you and me). We do enjoy the extra decorative bling that the Maestro adds to proceedings, so we’ve opted to ‘go large’ here! It’s an undeniably cool addition to an already effortlessly cool guitar. Whilst we can’t perform dramatic dive bombs with the Maestro, we can get a good amount of movement both up and down in pitch. This isn’t to be sniffed at, since it opens up a level of expression you can’t otherwise have on such a guitar.

Otherwise, it’s similar ground to what we’ve covered already here: a good neck profile (slim taper here, in keeping more or less with history), great pickups and an overall vibe that just feels right. From The Doors to Billy Gibbons, Frank Zappa to At the Drive In, the SG is the best mix of finesse and attitude out there.

 

Epiphone Wilshire P90

There’s something really ‘alternative’ and cool about the Wilshire that keeps us coming back to it. This design is an Epiphone original, though there is a definite hint of the Les Paul Junior double-cut about this one!

That double cutaway body allows obscene levels of access to those upper frets! Even though we’d not throw this model into the ‘lead guitar shred king’ stable per se, it’s still a valid and interesting choice for those wishing to go warp speed in the nosebleed area of the fingerboard!

Yes, we’d certainly say that this is far more of a ‘band player’ guitar than a soloist’s, especially given the people you see playing one. R.E.M.’s Peter Buck regularly plays an Epi Wilshire (which says a lot, given how much mega-stadium cash that guy must have), and it’s also played by Alex Turner and Frank Iero from Arctic Monkeys and My Chemical Romance, respectively. It’s cool, it’s got swagger and, in the combination of mahogany and P90 pickups, superlative tone. It also has its own original vibe, which means a lot to those who want a more iconoclastic guitar choice.

 

There are Far Too Many Cool Epiphones

We’ve reached the end of our top Epiphone choices blog, and we missed some phenomenal guitars! This is how it often is with these articles, but it’s still a shame. We love the SG Standard, the Riviera, the Les Paul Custom…if the list isn’t quite endless, it’s certainly long. They all belong on this list!

If you are shopping for an Epiphone guitar, the choice today has really never been better. In our experience, it pays to keep an open mind, and be willing to try some models that may not be obvious to you. Visiting us, talking to our staff and trying a selection of different models is definitely the way ahead.

Hopefully this list has helped you on your quest! Let us know on the social channels how your experience is, and which Epiphone guitar you finally choose!

 

Click to Browse our Selection of Epiphone Electric Guitars



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Ray

Features Editor, Warehouse

I'm a musician and artist originally from the South West coast of Scotland. I studied Visual Arts and Film Studies at...

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