Vintage Epiphone Electric Guitar!
If you’ve been searching for information on the Epiphone Spotlight, you know information on this short-lived model can be hard to come by.
But don’t worry. We’ve done our homework, and we have a few details that can help you understand the Spotlight’s place in Epiphone history.
Sometimes called the Nouveau Spotlight, the model was originally part of the Nouveau by Gibson line, which was quickly renamed the Nouveau by Epiphone.
The line was only made from 1987 to 1989.
You see, at that time Gibson made all its instruments in the United States, but the Spotlight was intended to be assembled in the U.S. from parts made elsewhere, and Gibson apparently got cold feet about putting their name on a foreign-made instrument, so they moved the line to their budget brand, Epiphone.
While early publicity materials say that the line will be made by Gibson, by the time it was released in 1987, all instruments and materials showed the Epiphone name.
The Nouveau line started with a line of flat-top semi-hollows, then the electrics came a few months later.
In 1988, Epiphone's Spotlight CMT was released.
It was only made one year.
For that model, parts were made in Korea and shipped to America for assembly.
Featuring a maple top and a neck-though mahogany body, the instrument was of fairly good quality.
It came standard with EMG Selects and coil tap and either Steinberger or traditional vibrato.
Epiphone's Spotlight CMT was made in Nashville and also included a synthetic ebony fingerboard with chevron inlays.
Just how many Spotlight models were made is a subject of great debate.
A few online forum posters have put prominent messages on popular message boards asking other Spotlight owners to sound off, but their requests seem to go unanswered.
Some researchers wonder if only 50 or 100 of these were ever made. Epiphone isn’t saying anything.
In 1989, the Nouveau line was discontinued.
This was likely because the Maryland guitar maker Paul Reed Smith sued Gibson, claiming the series was too much like some of its models.
And just like that, the Nouveau line faded into history, leaving Epiphone's Spotlight as one of the rarest Epiphone models -- and perhaps the one with the most convoluted pedigree.
Lucky for us all, modern Epiphone models are easy to get and don’t come with such a long story.
Whether you choose to search for a rare Epiphone Spotlight or look toward the future with one of today’s top-of-the-line Epiphone models is up to you.
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