Epiphone Stratocaster! A Cheap Beginners Electric Guitar
What is an Epiphone Stratocaster?
Simply put, it isn’t.
Or at least it isn’t a real Fender Stratocaster.
Epiphone makes cheaper alternatives to high-priced electric guitars that are most appropriate for beginners and truly budget-strapped musicians.
The confusion related to the term Epiphone Stratocaster relates to Fender’s loss of control over the Strat name.
For various legal reasons, Fender no longer had exclusive rights to the Stratocaster name or to the Strat’s unique body shape, so a number of companies make knockoffs.
And Epiphone was one of them.
But why bother with a copy when real Strats from Fender are readily available?
It’s all about price.
While Fender Stratocasters cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars, a used Epiphone copy is only worth a hundred or so.
For guitarists who are just starting out and for children and teens who want to explore the electric guitar world, these cheap alternatives may be just the thing.
A cheap guitar, after all, is better than none at all.
Founded way back in 1873, Epiphone made upright basses, banjos and other stringed instruments.
Eventually, labor strikes and the lingering impacts of war weakened the company, however, in 1957, the Chicago Music Company -- which also owned Gibson Guitar Corporation -- bought Epiphone.
Today, Epiphone is the down-market subsidiary of Gibson.
While Epiphone has produced a number of Fender knockoffs through the years, most of their replica models today are copies of Gibson products.
In fact, lots of Epiphone’s products look exactly like their Gibson brothers.
Much as Squier serves as Fender’s lower quality little brother, Epiphone gives Gibson an opening into the young guitarist market.
Epiphone also has its own line of arch top guitars and makes amplifiers.
Epiphone and Squier products are similar in quality, according to most reviewers, but both brands offer products inferior to the ones offered by the big guys.
Instruments are foreign made with fewer quality controls and of woods easily available where they are made.
Electronic components are usually inferior, too.
A small group of hobbyists collect and play Epiphone products, and a few established musicians continue to rely on them.
If you’re a musician with enough resources to afford a high-quality guitar, you probably aren’t interested in bothering with Epiphone's Stratocaster or any other Epiphany or Squier knockoffs.
If you’re just getting started, though, these instruments offer a great, inexpensive way to learn your game.
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