Epiphone has been doing a stellar job of taking some of their older, forgotten models and revamping them for 2020. One of my favorites, the Epiphone Wilshire is getting the same treatment.
The Epiphone Wilshire gets Another Chance…
Epiphone this year has been all about their “Inspired By Gibson” line, which takes older models, and even newer ones and takes them up to Gibson design standards. But what if the guitar isn’t a Gibson model?
Epiphone only has a few models that have been produced that are not part of the Gibson family, and the Wilshire is definitely one of them. It is unique to Epiphone, and has a long history that predates any Gibson involvement.
The Epiphone Wilshire is a little bit of an anomaly. The original run of the Wilshire was started in 1959 as a symmetrical double cut solid body guitar, with two P-90 pickups. While it sold well, it was never a big hit.
Unlike Epiphone’s SG guitars which has sold by the boat-load since the 1960s.
It was then released again in the 1980’s with two humbucker pickups. Once again, it sold pretty well, but never took off as a flagship model. So the Epiphone Wilshire became a bit of a “cult status” guitar. It was reissued again in 2009, and that’s when I got my hands on one. Once again, it never became associated with a genre or famous player. The Wilshire just…was.
Epiphone is setting up for world domination it would seem this year. Every month they have released a new model, or series of designs. So why not include their wholly original design?
Epiphone Wilshire: Specs and Features
The Epiphone Wilshire started off as a two pickup guitar, with P-90 pickups and a 4 knob control layout. But it has been everything in between over the years when it comes to features. As mentioned earlier, the Wilshire never became a Flagship model, and no famous guitarists ever exclusively used them.
Many people used The Epiphone Wilshire as a modding platform. Often swapping out pickups and electronics to suit the player’s needs. This was especially popular in the 80’s.
The new reissue comes in several different versions, but lets look at what they all have in common, before we look at what makes them different:
- Double Cutaway
- Mahogany Body
- Mahogany Neck
- Set Neck Construction
- 12” Radius Fretboard
- Indian Laurel Fretboard
- 22 Medium Jumbo Frets
The Epiphone Wilshire comes in three different styles, all with different names under the same umbrella of “Wilshire”. The Original Wilshire has two P-90 pickups, and is modeled after the 1959 models, even down to the new period correct headstock. It comes in a Cherry finish, and a Piano Black finish.
The Coronet is a single pickup version of the Wilshire. It carries a lone P-90 pickup in the bridge, like many of Gibson’s Melody Maker guitars. The Cornet is as basic as it comes, but is still a versatile instrument. many people prefer a single pickup, like Phil X and Joan Jett.
The Crestwood is the most interesting of the lot in my eyes. The new Crestwood has two mini-humbuckers of Epiphone design. Ivory Tuning buttons on vintage machine heads make the “period correct” headstock look vintage. The other standout feature is the trem system, that is Epiphone designed but works like a Bigsby. This model also has upgraded CTS Pots and wiring.
The dual pickup models have a 2 volume/2 tone control layout, much like a Les Paul. The pickups on these models also have a three way switch. All models come with the Epiphone “Butterfly Pickguard”. While all three are a little different, they carry the same DNA. It just depends on your preferences.
The Epiphone Wilshire: A Versatile, Vintage Inspired Beast
On the surface, The Epiphone Wilshire looks like an…old guy’s guitar? Maybe a little?
One may even say…it’s kind of dorky?
But that’s where the rub lies with these guitars. They may not look like a good guitar for heavier music, but I assure you, they are. They have been used over the years by Paul Gilbert, and My Chemical Romance. I believe the Wilshire has a place in Rock music just as much as it does in any other genre. It can get downright nasty.
If you go back to the top of the article though, you’ll see me playing in a band with one. The band I played in was certainly a Metal band. We were very heavy. I often used the Wilshire for drop tunings, and it worked great. There was something cool about playing a guitar on stage that everyone asked about after the show. Because they had never seen one.
And let’s not even talk about the price! They all come under $600, no matter which model you pick. This is a steal.
The P-90 pickups in the new models would be perfect for Doom Metal, or any other fuzzed out genre you prefer. Like Les Pauls, or any other vintage styled instrument, the sky is the limit as to what can be done with them.
The Epiphone Wilshire shouldn’t be judged just by it’s appearances. It may not be for everyone, but it may be for you! The different models can all be seen at Epiphone Official.
How Much is the New Epiphone Wilshire 2020 model?
Prices start at $450 and go up to $550 for the Crestwood model.
Does the Epiphone Wilshire come with a case.
No case is included. But they are available from Epiphone.com
Is The Epiphone Wilshire designed by Gibson?
No. The Wilshire is unique to Epiphone and was originally released in 1959.
Christoper HortonChristopher has been playing guitar, bass, and piano for 28 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. Chris has toured for years with several bands and music projects across the United States. He worked in Los Angeles as a studio musician and engineer working with many genres, but mainly Pop, Rock, and Metal. In between giving private lessons, he is usually recording under his various projects at home in Georgia. Christopher plays Schecter Guitars, BOSS Amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.
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