• Epiphone Howard Roberts HR-1, electric guitar
    Epiphone Howard Roberts HR-1


Brand name: 


  • electric guitars

Series name: 

Dates of manufacture: 

1994 to 1998

The HOWARD ROBERTS HR-1 model was made by Samick for Epiphone between 1994 and 1998. It was a contemporary reissue of the 1960s Epiphone Howard Roberts model. The HR-1 had a floating mini-humbucker pickup and a hollow laminated curly maple body with oval soundhole. The peghead has a Howard Roberts signature and a tree-of-life inlay.

The Korean HR-1 replaced the Japanese made "1960s Howard Roberts" model in 1994 - both these reissue models came out after Howard Robert's death in 1992 so he would not have played them himself.

Source: the unofficial Epiphone wiki & Epiphone catalogs.

Specifications (16)


Number of control knobs2 control knobs
Tone controls1 tone control
Volume controls1 volume control


Pickups brand and modelEpiphone mini humbucker
Pickups configuration1 humbucker pickup


Finish colorsred finish
Made inKorea
Binding5-stripe body-binding
Number of strings6 strings
Scale length25.5 inches scale-length


Body back materiallaminated maple body back
Body sides materiallaminated maple body sides
Body top materiallaminated maple body top


Hardware colorgold hardware
Tailpiecetrapeze tailpiece


Neck width1.68 inches wide at nut

Prices (0)

Reviews (1)


Average: 5 (1 vote)
I hang my HR1 next to my US made Gibson without reservation. If you get the chance to buy one, do it. I paid $250 used for it. I didn’t know the model when it appeared on Craigslist (neither did the seller) but found enough to identify it as a Howard Roberts model. When I finally set eyes on it I was not disappointed to learn it was a MIK model. The fit and finish is top notch. I plan to keep it and won’t sell unless I magically find a Gibson model for the same price (won’t happen!). There’s a reason Howard Roberts models are coveted. Their body shape projects and, when paired with a floating pickup, offers a tone that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s also extremely comfortable. I’m 5’8” and was surprised its 16” bout fit me so well. I’m hardly a jazz player, but find this amp pairs well with my JC40 or Deluxe Reverb. It sounds buttery, creamy, and I’m able to pull out tones that my other p90, single coil, and humbucker-equipped guitars can’t achieve. I’m HR1 is a 1996 model. I would argue these mid-90s Samick-made guitars are as good as any 2020s hollow or semihollow model you can find. The maple sides and top, whether laminate or not, create a punchy projection. Notes carry well. The real treat is the neck and finish work. The neck is slim and feels like an electric. It allows the playing to move up and down the frets with ease. Achieving perfect intonation is easy. The inlays look fantastic, and the craftsmanship is there. The neck is perfectly set and all the finish work is on point. The only thing that’s worth changing is the pickup. Between the pickup placement, which I feel is a little low hanging off the bridge, and somewhat anemic output, I sent mine to Kent Armstrong for a re-wind. Even with the stock pickup it’s a great guitar that I’ll be keeping. If you can find one for under $600, buy it. You’ll be glad you did.

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1 Comment


After purchasing Gibson from an Equdorian beer company in the late '80's the new owners focus was to restore the Gibson name. With that purchase the new owners aquired Epiphone which was being manufactured by Samick in Korea  with little oversight. 


After investing several years of their  attention to restoring  the Gibson line In the early 90's the Gibson folks decided to shift their focus to Epiphone which was languishing in Korea. The new owners  opened an office in Korea and had a much more hands on approach to the construction of the Epiphone brand. 


I owned a pre Joe Pass Emperor built in the mid '90's at Samick and it was a very good guitar.


I recently purchased a '96  HR-1 in very good condition for $875. Like the Emperor it is a very good guitar. The tone is great as well as the workmanship. At $875 it is underpriced.


I think the Epiphones built in the mid '90's by Samick are very special guitars.