by Jef | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes
Epiphone brings the Kalamazoo headstock to new Inspired By Gibson Collection

Epiphone brings the Kalamazoo headstock to new Inspired By Gibson Collection  ·  Source: Epiphone


Epiphone is launching its new Inspired By Gibson Collection and these 2020 models will now feature what they are calling the Kalamazoo headstock.


Inspired By Gibson Collection

If you follow my articles you may well remember the announcement last September that Epiphone headstocks – including the Les Paul guitars – would be getting an overhaul at some point in the future. Well, the future is now and in 2020 we will start to see the new Kalamazoo headstock as part of the Inspired By Gibson Collection.

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Ebony, Epiphone Les Paul Special TV Yellow

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Ebony, Epiphone Les Paul Special TV Yellow

Kalamazoo headstock?

It looks like we may well get to see this redesigned headstock shape during Winter NAMM and find out which models will be carrying it from now on. The new Kalamazoo headstock shape is a lot closer to the famous ‘open book’ shape of the Gibson USA models. However, it isn’t a direct copy, so there is still some distinction between the two brands, which I feel is a bit of a cop out.

You can see the new Epiphone Les Paul Custom Ebony and Les Paul Special TV Yellow in the photo above, to get an idea of what to expect. The whole new range includes the Epiphone Les Paul Junior, Les Paul Special, SG Special, Les Paul Standard 50s, Les Paul Standard 60s, SG Standard and a 61 SG Standard w/Maestro.

Epiphone brings the Kalamazoo headstock to new Inspired By Gibson Collection

Epiphone brings the Kalamazoo headstock to new Inspired By Gibson Collection

Nearly there, but not quite

As an aside, it’s interesting that Gibson is still using the headstock to differentiate its more affordable models from its premium guitars. PRS, for example, has the same headstock shape for all their guitar models, whether they are USA-made Core, S2, or import SE guitars. They even added the Paul Reed Smith signature to the logo of all models back in 2017. Fender, of course, has used the same headstock shape on all its models, including Squier instruments.

Gibson CMO Cesar Gueikian was the man who originally suggested last year that the new Epiphone headstock shape would come more in line with Gibson’s. Tell us what you think below, as I would be interested to know what players around the world feel about this latest Epiphone announcement.

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18 responses to “NAMM 2020: Epiphone Kalamazoo headstock for new Inspired By Gibson Collection”

  1. They had a chance to do it right and blew it. It’s not AS fugly and looks smaller but now the 6th and 1st strings pull at an angle across the nut so they can hang up more in the slots. Dumb. Oh well, there’s always Tokai.

  2. Jon Mlofo says:

    Dude, proof-read!

    • Jef says:

      The amount of coffee I’ve drunk, I’m just glad my heart hasn’t exploded yet. Our ‘editors’ are also pushing limits. NAMM madness prevails, but we’ll ‘fix it in the mix…’

  3. Gunny8541 says:

    About time they started to align their models. It does make a difference to me. They should have done this years ago when they had a chance to retain or bring more customers.

  4. Bruce says:

    Anything is better than the shorter headstock Epiphone has been using for ever.
    The Japanese made Epiphone’s had a head stock that looked the same as Gibson’s. The new Gibson inspired one above is still an improvement, but why not use the Gibson open book design like other companies do? I’d probably buy more Epiphone guitars if they did, since that design aspect would no longer be one of the deterrents.

  5. Carlos says:

    I like it better than the older one.

  6. Pauly says:

    The headstock shape was never the biggest design issue, it’s the fact that all of the bursts look cheap. Their Cherry Sunburst is an eyesore.

    An even bigger issue is their guitars needing a great level out of the box, and the fact they refuse to spend the extra $0.10 per SG to put a lock washer behind the output jack.

  7. Adam says:

    I have a pretty cool old Kalamazoo Electric Guitar that my dad gave me. Has the Fender style headstock. I believe it was made at the old Kalamazoo Gibson plant before they sold it to Heritage Guitars.

  8. Danny C says:

    Isn’t “inspired by Gibson” Epiphone’s entire shtick?

  9. Neil says:

    Big improvement. I actually like this better than the Gibson book. I’d still like to see some new shapes though. Bored with all the traditional shapes. Oh look, another Les Paul. Yawn…

  10. As long as they don’t overcharge and the build/setup quality is great I don’t care what the headstock looks like.

  11. Bruce says:

    Ever since owning a ’63 Epiphone Casino (one pickup version) back in 1967, I have loved the ‘stubby’ Epiphone headstock shape. Also, I REALLY don’t like the ‘hourglass’ headstock. For both of those reasons, I am ecstatic that Epiphone is making this change. I would rather they didn’t copy the Gibson headstock. I like the history of both companies and how Gibson incorporated Epiphone without just making it a cheaper copy.

  12. Rene says:

    I always thought and suggested that Epi should take the line of the standard production level, with a strong identity link to the G brand, and let Gibson and the custom shop concentrate on the QC and the higher level instruments…

  13. Bud says:

    I have a 61 epi century with the open book head.hated the look of the Japanese head.i still say if you look close enough.paul is playing yesterday on the epi texan which has the open book head

  14. rfguy says:

    The headstock does not effect anything (other than keeping it in tune better the a Gibson do to the reduced angle through the nut) its just big and ugly. Yhe real issue to me is as follows. Again Gibson gets it wrong, instead of an affordable Non-USA Gibson they have opted for a non-affordable USA Epiphone, which begs the question, why is a USA Epiphone Les Paul, etc. cheaper than a Gibson and visa versa? I think it comes down to the 2 forums on LinkedIn There’s the “Gibsons OWNER’S Group” vs the “Fender’s PLAYERS group”. Remember people Epiphone was making guitars in USA way before Gibson. It was only after Epiphone became serious competition to Gibson that Gibson bought Epiphone and moved production to Japan and then Indonesia.

  15. its about time the proper Gibson open book headstock was introduced, after all its Epiphone by Gibson!all other companies keep the design the same on substitute models I/e prs fender etc. they would sell a lot more guitars as a lot of players cannot afford a genuine Gibson but Epiphone is a much more affordable alternative and is in keeping with Gibson standard.therefore its potentially more financial income to gibsons benefit.

  16. David Lara says:

    Certainly, I never felt appealed with Epiphone guitars just by that horrible headstock design; now, with this “new” approach on the classic design of the headstock from the 50’s, surely I will be buying my Epiphone Les Paul Custom by the end of the year

  17. George Williams says:

    It’s about time I could have brought a bunch of epiphone guitars but couldn’t get past that headstock Though I think they should have put a standard shape gibson headstock like PRS Guitars

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