The Epiphone acoustic guitar was eventually made by a company that was founded in 1837 by Anastasios Stathopoulo. A son of a Greek timber merchant who chose not to become a footstep follower of his father footsteps. Instead he crafted lutes, violins, and a Greek traditional instrument known as the lioutos. In time his creations were inscribed with his name, A. Stathopoulo.
In 1917 the company came to be known as The House Of Stathopoulo. Its name was changed by Epimanonodas Stathopoulo, or Epi, as he was known, the son of Anastasios. By that time he had been responsible for the company for two years due to his father’s death. He was just 22.
Epi decided that his company was to begin making banjos in the post World War One era due to the fact the company’s mainstay, the mandolin, was not as popular as it once was. The increasing popularity of the banjo was what prompted his decision to adapt his product line to fit the changing times. The same high standards of craftsmanship that the company was known for continued in the manufacture of this new line of products.
The name Epiphone was registered officially in 1924. Epimanondas, now general manager and president, combined his nickname Epi and, a Greek word that meant sound, phone, to create a name that would reflect the change in the image of the company.
Epiphone manufactured its first guitars, the recorder series, in 1928. Sales were weak due to the fact that the guitars were regarded as too small in size, overly ornate and lacking in volume. Celebrity endorsement, a necessity in this particular business, was also decidedly lacking for the series.
The new archtop guitars, in contrast, introduced just a three years later in 1931 became very popular. Earlier problems were not a consideration as the guitars had sufficient volume, were larger, and had an abundance of celebrity endorsements.
The switch from banjos to the manufacturing of guitars happened at just the right moment in time as the banjo’s popularity started to decline. Thus Epiphone could escape the fate of most of the other banjo manufacturers. This was thanks to Epimanondas Stathopoulo and the keen business sense he possessed. In fact it was one of a few banjo manufacturing firms to make the transition successfully to guitars.
Today Epiphone acoustic guitars made from 1937 to 1956 are the most desirable to collectors. They are thought to be the best vintage factory made archtop guitars ever produced. The most desirable of fundamental essentials professional grade models, which are the guitars that the company built its reputation on.