The Epiphone Wilshire is one of those rare birds in the guitar world: made in the Gibson USA factory (Kalamazoo), but still an Epiphone. You don’t see too many of these today.
It was made to compete with the Stratocaster, and with it’s light weight and easy playability it did!
Gibson never made too many of these guitars, which is why you see the originals selling for $5,000 or more today. I’ve never played an original, but Epiphone has recently released a re-issue that you can pick up for really cheap…and that thing rocks for the price!
History of the Epiphone Wilshire
In 1957 Gibson bought their uber-competitor, Epiphone, and all of the sudden had access to some pretty cool Epiphone guitar models.
Prime Players of the Epiphone Wilshire:
- Jimi Hendrix
- Johnny Winter
- Pete Townsend
[These famous axeslingers played the Wilshire early on in their career, and didn't make this axe famous... but who knows what famous songs or riffs may have started on a Wilshire?]
Playing the Epiphone Wilshire
This review is based on the Wilshire reissue
Well, this guitar was made to compete with the Stratocaster, so it’s nice and light. Although it’s made of solid mahogany, it’s a pretty thin piece…way thinner than a Les Paul, and your back will thank you.It’s also got a pretty thin and wide neck, and depending on the size of your hands this is a good thing. [I've got big hands so I dig this feature] Bending notes is very easy on this guitar compared to, say, an Epiphone Les Paul.
When you plug this guitar in you notice it’s got a real “bluesy” tone, not really suited for metal. If metal is your thing go get a Flying V or Explorer. Some have called the Wilshire tone a little “muddy,” but I like it. Using the bridge pickup gives you a lot of definition in the highs… sometimes a little too much!
The neck is really long on this axe, so you may have to stretch out to tune the beast, and you’ve got to watch a little for neck droopage, but it’s not too bad.
Overall I’ve been really impressed with this guitar, I like how unique it is. You’ve probably noticed that there aren’t too many guys out there playing this guitar, so getting one will give you and edge in originality. Also, for the price of these reissues you simply can’t find a better deal. Yeah, it’s made in China and doesn’t come with the best components, but for what it is it’s a steal. The reissue of this guitar also gets killer reviews everywhere, and that’s always a plus.