Epiphone introduces an impressive range of new models at NAMM, from a Tony Iommi signature and a metalbody resonator to solid-wood acoustics, but Epi's most important NAMM instruments are the first guitars from Epiphone's new factory in China.

"We're making Epis in a company-owned facility for the first time since the golden age of Epiphone production in Gibson's Kalamazoo plant in the 1960s," says Epiphone president Jim Rosenberg. "We're using Gibson USA expertise and technicians to produce world-class guitars and related musical products."

The new plant is located 90 minutes west of Qingdao in the People's Republic of China. It's the first foreign factory for Gibson Guitar Corp. (Epiphone's parent company), and it currently produces some of the more popular models in Epi's acoustic line. All Gibson-brand instruments will continue to be made in the U.S.

"This is the beginning of great work that will be taking place for many years, that will be growing, that will deliver music products all over the world," said Henry Juszkiewicz, Gibson chairman and CEO, at the grand opening ceremonies on Oct. 20, 2002. "So I am pleased to share this moment with our friends from China who welcomed us to this location, our friends all over the world who support us in our work, the people in the factory and the managers here."

New products for NAMM include:

The Tony Iommi Signature G-400 has classic SG styling and features a solid mahogany body with 24-fret slim taper mahogany neck. This savage axe has Gibson USA Tony Iommi pickups, black chrome hardware and comes in an Ebony finish with mother of pearl "cross" fingerboard inlays.

The PR-350 all-solid wood series offers the ultimate in acoustic tone. The three new models feature a solid spruce top in combination with rosewood, ovankol and mahogany bodies. The mahogany neck has a rosewood fingerboard with mother of pearl split diamond inlay. All have a Natural satin finish with gold hardware.

The newly designed PR-6E acoustic/electric model features a solid spruce top and quilt maple back and sides accented with Abalone inlays around the body. It has a Shadow "Classic P-4" preamp system and Shadow Piezo pickups for warm, natural tones when amplified or recorded. It comes in Natural, Trans Amber, Trans Black, Trans Blue and Trans Red finishes with gold hardware.

The C-5 Classical guitar is an excellent guitar for beginners with its comfortable 3/4-size body. It features a select spruce top and mahogany back and sides, rosewood bridge, Natural finish and chrome hardware.

The MD-100 metalbody resophonic guitar has a chrome-plated brass body and mahogany neck for exceptional tone. It features a biscuit bridge, Natural finish and chrome hardware.

The Galaxie-25 amplifier puts out 25 watts of all-tube power with vintage reverb sound. It features two EL84 and three 12AX7 valves with a 12AT7 valve driving the reverb. The amp has a Celestion speaker with external speaker out, 3-band EQ and footswitchable reverb input.

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