A long-time sleeper of this Epiphone range, the solid-body Wilshire model represented amazing quality and value throughout the â€™60s. Originally intended as something of a rival to Fenderâ€™s Stratocaster, offering similar upper-fret access and curvaceous body lines, the Wilshire actually provided similar features and tones to that of Gibsonâ€™s own Les Paul Special, at a price closer to that of the more affordable Les Paul Junior.
The Wilshire featured two P-90 pickups, a three-on-a-side headstock, and a solid mahogany body and one-piece neck. It benefited, however, from Gibsonâ€™s fully intonable ABR-1 bridge and stop tailpiece, all in all offering a straightforward instrument with up-market features, at a relatively affordable price.
The guitar, like all Epiphoneâ€™s solid body guitars, was met with little success and was discontinued in the mid-1960s.
However, there is now a very nice authentic USA-made reissue for a shade under Â£2000. Unlike most other Epiphones it is not a Far Eastern-made cheaper alternative to a Gibson, but a range-topping American model made in the Gibson Custom Shop.
It is a faithful replica of the 1962 Wilshire model, with the two P-90s, tune-o-matic bridge and classic cherry finish remaining intact.
The bonus features include a certificate of authenticity, a commemorative T-shirt, guitar picks and leather strap. The guitar is close to $5,000 in list price, ironic for a guitar originally sold at $210 and looked upon as a â€œpoor manâ€™s Gibsonâ€.
Gibson have stated that this guitar is limited to only 100 instruments, which will no doubt make it a collectable guitar for the future.
I also saw while browsing around a guitar site, some other Epiphone reissues. This one was a less painstaking reproduction of a Wilshire, looking more like an Epiphone Crestwood in fact, with two mini-humbuckers and an aged finish- however, this one was around Â£250. I have yet to see it on the official Epiphone website, however, so at the minute Iâ€™m not sure.
UPDATE: Gibson have announced a white version, again limited to 100 guitars, and I am assuming at the same price. I have to say it looks even nicer in white…