Epiphone brings the Gibson open-book headstock to acoustics and an ES-355 with new Inspired By Gibson Custom Collection

“The new Epiphone Inspired by Gibson Custom line appeals to those who want the historic and premium specs that our Custom Shop fans love,” says Mat Koehler, Gibson’s VP of Product.

Inspired by Gibson models photographed together under stage lighting

Image: Epiphone / Gibson

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Epiphone has expanded its Inspired by Gibson Custom Collection, “establishing a new tier of premium Epiphones” with Gibson USA pickups, premium electronics, plus the famous Gibson “open book” headstock.

The seven new models – including the 1959 Les Paul Standard, the Les Paul Custom, the 1963 Les Paul SG Custom, 1959 ES-355, 1942 Banner J-45, 1957 SJ-200, and J-180 LS  – also feature solid wood construction, one-piece necks, and have been developed in collaboration with the luthiers at Gibson Custom.

While we’ve seen a range of Epiphone models in recent months acquire a Gibson makeover – from the release of “authentic” Inspired By Gibson Firebirds to Kirk Hammett’s Epiphone “Greeny” 1959 Les Paul with the open-book headstock – the new Custom Collection expansion delivers the first acoustic and ES-355 models to undergo the revamp.

The Epiphone 1942 Banner J-45 features a thermally aged, solid red spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides, and a one-piece mahogany neck with a laurel fretboard. The Inspired by Gibson Custom double diamond logo is etched on the back of the open-book headstock, and an “Epiphone Inspired by Gibson” banner sits on the front. It also hosts a built-in L.R. Baggs VTC preamp and under-saddle piezo pickup system.

Inspired by Gibson acoustics - the 1942 Banner and the SJ-200 - photographed together.
Image: Epiphone / Gibson

A thermally aged solid spruce top is also offered with the Epiphone J-180 LS with scalloped X bracing. It has the iconic “star” mother of pearl inlays that the model is so well known for, and it’s similarly equipped with an L.R. Baggs VTC under-saddle pickup and preamp system.

The third and final acoustic in the collection, the 1957 SJ-200, features a thermally aged solid Sitka spruce top and also has scalloped X-bracing. The iconic J-200 open moustache bridge and engraved pickguard are also present, along with a compensated bone saddle, bone nut, and bone bridge pins. Again, this one comes equipped with an L.R. Baggs VTC preamp and under saddle pickup.

All three acoustics come in a range of colourways. The 1959 ES-355, though most popular in Cherry Red, is also available in Classic White and an exclusive Ebony finish. Epiphone says it’s “the top-of-the-line ES model in all its glory, from the dimensions to the contours to the precise inlay patterns and sonic experience”.

It also hosts a pair of USA Gibson Custombuckers that are hand-wired to CTS potentiometers, Mallory capacitors, and a Switchcraft pickup selector switch and output jack.

“While you can still get all the same beloved Epiphone instruments at the same affordable price points, the new Epiphone Inspired by Gibson Custom line appeals to those who want the historic and premium specs that our Custom Shop fans love,” says Mat Koehler, Vice President of Product at Gibson.

“I am proud to say that this new line of instruments represents a true collaboration of our USA teams and our overseas teams in every sense. Collectively, we made sure every possible upgrade was included so that these would become the new crown jewels of our Epiphone range.”

View the full collection over at Epiphone.


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