A very different design for Epiphone, the Wilshire's double cutaway is reminiscent of an SG, but the softer body contours and shape give an entirely different look. Total Guitar awarded this Guitar a Best Buy award, and it's a faithful reproduction of the original - a great choice.
In 1957 Gibson purchased New York's Epiphone Guitar Company and moved production to Kalamazoo, Michigan. With plans to expand retail distribution by differentiating Epiphone dealers from Gibson dealers, Gibson began production of a new line of "Kalamazoo-made and designed" Epiphones in 1959. For over a decade, Epiphone solid body guitars and basses were produced right alongside Gibsons. These Epiphone guitars represented some of the highest quality and best sounding instruments of their generation. They provided unique shapes, pickup arrangements, and tonal signatures not seen on comparable Gibson models of the day. Under appreciated at the time of their release, numerous artists through the years have recognized the unique appeal of these guitars. Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Paul Gilbert and Steve Marriot are but a few of the artists that have embraced the tone and build quality of these Kalamazoo built Epiphones. One such Epiphone instrument was the Wilshire.
Like an SG guitar, the Wilshire's double cutaway Mahogany body with a glued-in Mahogany neck that joins the body at the 22nd fret gives you ultimate upper fret access. Lightweight and comfortable, the Wilshire has excellent resonance and natural acoustic tone - even unplugged! Featuring Epiphone's LockTone tune-o-matic/stopbar combination, the transfer of string vibration is improved even more giving this guitar excellent sustain and clarity. But here's what separates the Wilshire from the SG. Most early Epiphone guitars including the Wilshire were equipped with mini-humbucking pickups and Epiphone carries on this tradition. With its smaller size, narrow magnetic field and unique design combination, the mini-humbucker produces bright and focused output while retaining famous humbucker "hum-free" performance. A replica of the originals, they feature adjustable pole pieces, enamel wire, bar ceramic magnets and rounded nickel plated covers set in an original style black mounting ring with height adjustment screws.
Also unique, the Wilshire features Epiphone's own "batwing" headstock. A classic design that improves tuning ease and accuracy by offering a straight string-pull design, the headstock is adorned like the original with the vintage "Epiphone" logo in gold. Other features include a 1960's SlimTaper neck profile with Rosewood fingerboard, premium 14:1 die-cast tuners and individual Volume and Tone controls for each pickup. And to give it that worn-in look and feel, Epiphone tops it all off with a thin satin finish.
As with all Epiphone's, the Wilshire is backed by Epiphone's Limited Lifetime Warranty and 24/7/365 Customer Service. Only 398 original 1966 Wilshires were produced and are selling today for $10,000 or more depending upon condition. If you're not fortunate enough to own an original or can't afford that kind of cash, here's your chance to own one with the same classic 1966 Epiphone vibe and tone. Cool!
Epiphone - Worn 1966 Wilshire from Epiphone Company on Vimeo.