Epiphone, Gibson’s beloved subsidiary, made an appearance at the virtual NAMM show this year. Although the showing was rather timid, you can definitely tell something’s brewing.
In Gibson’s NAMM gear preview video, we got a glimpse of new Epiphone models that are yet to be officially revealed. First of all, an Emily Wolfe signature model was teased and seems to be based on her main Sheraton guitar. Although the official specs aren’t out, the initial images are appealing. This is thanks to a matte black finish, gold hardware, and diamond holes that replace the traditional f-holes. Look for it in March of this year.
Although no specs have been revealed by the company, Epiphone is planning on releasing a whole collection of Slash guitars in July, 2021. The legend himself has already posted pictures on his social media, revealing at least 5 different Les Pauls and 2 J-45 acoustic models. This is excellent news for fans since they’ll be able to purchase an affordable instrument vetted by the man himself. While you wait for the release, you can read my review of the Les Paul Special Plus Top II.
Additionally, blues singer-guitarist Jared James Nichols should get a new Gold Top version of his signature model Old Glory in April of 2021. It seems to be lacking the Blues Power plaque but looks like it might feature the same excellent Seymour Duncan P-90 pickup.
The new Nancy Wilson Fanatic Signature Guitar
The only official Epiphone release that was presented at the NAMM show was the Nancy Wilson Fanatic model, and what a stunner it is! It’s great that Mrs. Wilson is getting some love, seeing how her playing is instantly recognizable thanks to songs like Barracuda, Crazy on You, and Magic Man.
Although there was a previous Gibson signature available almost a decade ago, this version is extremely affordable. It will definitely interest all types of players, but especially those that are seeking a lighter Les Paul inspired axe. The little-known Nighthawk body is a joy to hold. I think that some players will be happy to know about the 25.5 inch scale length that gives a little more room on the fretboard.
The electronics are a pair of Epiphone ProBuckers, and a 5-way switch adds a lot of versatility. It offers a choice of full humbucker, split coils and a combination of the two inner coils. You’ll control volume and tone with single knobs.
It’s hard to avoid mentioning how beautiful this instrument is. It has very expensive-looking features, starting with a flamed maple top. A beautiful fireburst glossy finish really enhances the three-dimensional appearance. The twin parallelogram pearloid inlays also contribute to the premium look. A cool Fanatic plate covers the truss rod bolt for added style. Last but not least, the instrument is shipped with a hard case. With so many attractive features, it’s amazing to consider the low list price.
Gibson made some ambitious moves last year. The acquisition of Mesa/Boogie might have affected the NAMM presentation. It’ll be interesting to see how this year develops for one of the biggest and most recognizable guitar manufacturers out there.
In the meantime, check out all the Epiphone products on Best Buy’s website.