Some elemental solidbodies were born to rock – the SG, Telecaster, and Les Paul Special and Junior come to mind. Born in the late ’50s, Epiphone’s Coronet and Wilshire were part of that back-to-basics gang, keeping things simple while delivering pure rock-and-roll thrills.
Epiphone’s new Wilshire is a reissue sporting two P-90 PROs, while its cousin, the Coronet, has one dog-ear and a wraparound bridge/tailpiece. Both are double-cuts with mahogany bodies, set mahogany necks, and 22-fret laurel fretboards with 12″ radius and 243/4″ scale. Hardware includes the classic butterfly pickguard, CTS pots, and, on the Wilshire, a LockTone tune-o-matic bridge.
In hand, the Wilshire’s medium-C neck is comfy and quick. The bridge pickup is suitably rockin’, but the neck unit adds a fatter dimension, even for chunky rhythms a la Townshend or Malcolm Young. The Wilshire is a blast even if the knob array feels a bit cramped. The one-pickup Coronet is slightly lighter; if one-pickup Juniors are your jam, it will appeal.
With retro features and a headstock that speaks to the Epiphone legacy (check the “bikini” badge), the Wilshire and Coronet sound the siren call for rockers and slide players. Sixty-plus years since their introduction, Epi has admirably revived two classics.
This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.