Gibson and Epiphone produce a range of iconic electric and acoustic guitars, but where are they actually made? In this article I’ll go through every model and where they’re produced.
All Gibson electric and acoustic guitars are made in the USA. Gibson have two factories in the USA which produce all of their guitars. All Gibson’s electric guitars are made in the headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, and all Gibson’s acoustic guitars are made in Bozeman, Montana.
Epiphone guitars are primarily made in China. The only exceptions currently in production are the Epiphone Frontier, Texan and Casino which are made in the USA.
Gibson USA Factories
Gibson currently produce their guitars in two factories in the USA. One is located in Nashville, Tennessee and the other is in Bozeman, Montana.
The Gibson headquarters are in Nashville, Tennessee. The Nashville factory produces all Gibson’s electric guitars currently which include the Les Paul, SG and ES-335. Gibson have been operating from Nashville since 1976 after it began its move from Kalamazoo which completed in 1984.
Gibson’s acoustic guitars are made in Bozeman, Montana, including the iconic J-45, Hummingbird, Dove and Southern Jumbo.
Previously, Gibson did have a third factory in Memphis, however they left this premises in 2019 following the expiration of the lease. The Memphis factory produced Gibson’s hollow-body and semi-hollow body electric guitars from 2001-2019. Fed-Ex now operate this Memphis facility.
*This information is correct as of 2023.
Check out my in-depth comparison between Gibson and Epiphone Les Pauls
Where are Epiphone Guitars Made?
Epiphone guitars are made in China. Since 2004, Epiphone has manufactured their electric guitar (solid, semi-hollow and hollow) and acoustic guitar in their Qingdao factories which is located in the Shandong province in China which have approximately 550 employees.
There are however some exceptions to this. The following Epiphone guitars are made in the USA:
- Epiphone Frontier
- Epiphone Texan
- Epiphone Casino
These three guitars are very expensive, even more so than many Gibson guitars and cost between $2850 and $4000 on average (significantly more than Chinese-made Epiphone guitars).
The Epiphone Masterbilt range of guitars are still made in Qingdao, China.
Epiphone was founded in 1873 and was only acquired by Gibson in 1957. Prior to opening the Qingdao factories, Epiphone manufactured their guitars in other Chinese factories such as Dongbei, Muse and Mirr, and also in Taiwan, Korea and Indonesia.
Epiphone acoustic and electric guitars are cheaper alternatives to Gibson models. By producing their guitars in China, Epiphone are able to produce more affordable guitars as the cost of labour is significantly lower compared to the USA.
No Gibson guitars are made in China or any other parts of the world except the USA. If you see a Chinese-made guitar with “Gibson” on the headstock, this is a fake Gibson. Only Epiphone make their guitars in China, including their “Inspired by Gibson” line which can cause some confusion.
Does it Matter Where a Guitar is Made?
One of the biggest draws of a true Gibson guitar, over an Epiphone, is that it is manufactured in the USA rather than China.
The USA has an outstanding reputation for producing high-quality electric and acoustic guitars and is home to some of the most skilled luthiers in the world. Gibson guitars are hand-assembled and the quality control processes in place ensure that instrument is of the highest quality.
Chinese-made Epiphone guitars on the other hand are mass produced mainly by machines. Since the guitars are cheaper, the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into their production is just nowhere near as good as it is with a USA-made Gibson.
Does that mean Epiphone guitars are bad? No, not at all. You just have to be aware that the materials and production process involved is just not as good.
Epiphone guitars cost roughly $150-$1000, whereas Gibson guitars cost between $1200-$8000. To some people, the price difference just isn’t justified. It really is a personal choice.
Wondering where Fender and Squier guitars are made? Check out my guide.