In 1957 in an effort to bolster their stand up bass business Gibson purchased their arch rival the Epiphone Guitar Company and moved production to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Along with the sought after bass tooling Gibson acquired access to many storied models and a brand name with a history of quality and prestige. With plans to expand retail distribution by differentiating Epiphone dealers from Gibson dealers, Gibson began production of a new line of "Kalamazoo-made and designed" Epiphones in 1959.
For over a decade from 1959 through early 1970 Epiphone solid body guitars and basses were produced in limited numbers right along side some of the greatest Gibson's of all time. These Epiphone guitars represented some of the highest quality and best sounding instruments of their generation. They provided unique shapes, pickup arrangements, and tonal signatures not seen on comparable Gibson models of the day. Under appreciated at the time of their release numerous artists through the years have recognized the unique appeal of these guitars. Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Paul Gilbert and Steve Marriot are but a few of the artist that have embraced the tone and build quality of these Kalamazoo built Epiphone solid body instruments.
One such Epiphone instrument was the Wilshire. First released in 1960 the Wilshire featured two P90 pickups, a 3 on a side headstock and a solid mahogany body and one piece neck. It was designed to compete with the popular Fender Stratocaster in terms of upper fret access, light-weight and playability. It is little surprise given its Kalamazoo origins that this guitar would share many features with its Gibson cousin the Les Paul Jr. However unlike the Les Paul Jr. the 62 Epiphone Wilshire provided two P90 pickups and an intonatable bridge. This arrangement offered an extremely functional and versatile alternative.
With an original MSRP of $210, production of the 1962 Wilshire SB-432 was limited to only 180 guitars.
Today, owners of original 1962 Wilshires are not only blessed with an outstanding instrument, but also a wise investment and a very collectible guitar. Original Wilshires now sell regularly for $5,000 to $12,000 or more depending upon their year and condition.
To commemorate the Wilshire as well as other "Kalamazoo-made' models, Epiphone is proud to introduce the "Epiphone Historic Custom USA" collection. The first in the series of reissues is the 1962 Wilshire in Cherry. Made in Nashville, Tennessee in cooperation with the Gibson Custom Shop and limited to only 100 instruments worldwide, it combines impeccable attention to detail and historic accuracy. The historic reissue includes:
Original Style Hard Case
Numbered Certificate of Authenticity in leatherette binder
Vintage Style Coiled Guitar Cord
1962-style Thin Leather Strap
Nashville, TN. USA
||1-pc; Peruvian Mahogany
||1-pc; Peruvian Mahogany
||17 degree; 3-on-a-side tuner configurat-on
||Original 1960's Rounded Neck Profile
||Vintage Kluson with plastic buttons
||Two "soapbar" P-90's with adjustable pole pieces Authentic unit base with 1960's construction
||2-Volume; 2-Tone; 1 Three-way Selector Switch CTS potentiometers Switchcraft Toggle switch and output jack
||Imitation Tortoise with foil "E" logo
||Gibson Vintage Reissue
A Word About Serial Numbers:
All 1962 Wilshire Reissue models have a 6 digit serial number. The first number designates the last digit of the year of the reissue, the last number designates the last digit of the original production year and the four inner digits represent the production number. For example, the serial number below would represent the first 1962 Wilshire Reissue.