Epiphone American Series

 

The Epiphone American Series was introduced in the early 1980s, partly as a response by Gibson to low priced but high quality Japanese copies of their guitars. The Epiphone American Series guitars were built by Gibson at their Kalamazoo Michigan plant from 1982 to 1983. The Kalamazoo plant closed in 1984 so these Epiphone American Series guitars were some of the last ones made there. The American Series consisted of the Spirit model - a Les Paul double cutaway guitar, the Special - based on the S.G. and the Map guitar - with a body shaped like the contiguous United States. These American Series models were still relatively expensive, however, and for this reason did not sell well. The Epiphone Spirit became the Gibson Spirit model and production moved to the Nashville factory.

EPIPHONE SPECIAL (American Series)

The Epiphone Special (American Series) was an SG style electric made in the Kalamazoo factory from 1982 to 1983. The Epiphone Special came with either one pickup (the Special I model) or two pickups (the Special II model). The American made Epiphone Specials were supposed to be a low cost model to fight back against the imports from the far east that were hurting sales, however they were not cheap enough to compete with these Asian imports - the Special II sold for over $500 dollars!

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EPIPHONE SPIRIT (American Series)

The Epiphone Spirit, made from 1982-1983, was one of the last guitars built by Gibson at their Kalamazoo Factory. The Epiphone Spirit is like a Gibson Les Paul Junior double cutaway with a few minor differences like modern pickups, and cutaways at the 20th fret rather than the 22nd. Various motives have been proposed for the introduction of the Epiphone Spirit - some say that it was an attempt to find work for the workers at the Kalamazoo plant, others that it was in response to cheaper Japanese Gibson copies.

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EPIPHONE USA MAP GUITAR (American Series)

The Epiphone USA Map guitar was made by Gibson in their Kalamazoo, Michigan factory from 1982 to 1983. The USA Map model has a body shaped like the 48 contiguous United States. They could have had Alaska as the headstock with Hawaii island control knobs - but chose to go with a standard Epiphone peghead. These USA map guitars had two Gibson "Tim Shaw" humbuckers, controlled by 2 volume and 2 tone controls. The bridge was a wraparound Schaller 455 unit. The Epiphone map guitars, although not made in great numbers, were popular leading Gibson to issue a Gibson map model in 1983

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Specifications:

ModelImageMade inNumber of stringsFinish colorsFinish effectsScale length
EPIPHONE SPECIAL (American Series)
1982 to 1983
USA6 strings---
EPIPHONE SPIRIT (American Series)
1982 to 1983
USA6 stringsblack finish, natural finish, red finish, white finishsunburst finish24.75 inches scale-length
EPIPHONE USA MAP GUITAR (American Series)
1982 to 1983
USA-natural finish-24.75 inches scale-length
ModelPickups configurationPickups brand and model
EPIPHONE SPECIAL (American Series)
1982 to 1983
2 humbucker pickups-
EPIPHONE SPIRIT (American Series)
1982 to 1983
1 humbucker pickup, 2 humbucker pickups-
EPIPHONE USA MAP GUITAR (American Series)
1982 to 1983
2 humbucker pickupsGibson Tim Shaw PAF pickup(s)
ModelBody styleBody shape featuresPickguard materialBody material
EPIPHONE SPECIAL (American Series)
1982 to 1983
SG-style body---
EPIPHONE SPIRIT (American Series)
1982 to 1983
-double cutawayblack pickguard-
EPIPHONE USA MAP GUITAR (American Series)
1982 to 1983
map shaped body--mahogany body
ModelBridgeHardware colorTailpiece
EPIPHONE SPECIAL (American Series)
1982 to 1983
Schaller 455 bridgechrome hardwarestop tailpiece
EPIPHONE SPIRIT (American Series)
1982 to 1983
Schaller 455 bridge, stop-tail bridgechrome hardware-
EPIPHONE USA MAP GUITAR (American Series)
1982 to 1983
-chrome hardware-
ModelFingerboard materialFingerboard position markers
EPIPHONE SPECIAL (American Series)
1982 to 1983
rosewood fingerboarddot fingerboard position markers
EPIPHONE SPIRIT (American Series)
1982 to 1983
rosewood fingerboarddot fingerboard position markers
EPIPHONE USA MAP GUITAR (American Series)
1982 to 1983
rosewood fingerboarddot fingerboard position markers
ModelNeck jointNeck widthNumber of fretsTuner layoutNeck material
EPIPHONE SPECIAL (American Series)
1982 to 1983
set neck----
EPIPHONE SPIRIT (American Series)
1982 to 1983
set neck1.68 inches wide at nut22 fretthree-each-side-
EPIPHONE USA MAP GUITAR (American Series)
1982 to 1983
set neck1.68 inches wide at nut22 fretthree-each-sidemaple neck
ModelTone controlsVolume controlsPickup selector controls
EPIPHONE SPECIAL (American Series)
1982 to 1983
---
EPIPHONE SPIRIT (American Series)
1982 to 1983
1 tone control1 volume control, 2 volume controls-
EPIPHONE USA MAP GUITAR (American Series)
1982 to 1983
2 tone controls2 volume controls3-way selector switch