A Brief History Of The Epiphone Frontier

 

When Gibson CEO Ted McCarty acquired New York instrument manufacturer Epiphone in 1957, he combed through their archives to write a list of Epiphone-branded guitar models that could be built at Gibson’s Kalamazoo factory. This included a ‘Flattop Jumbo - Maple Back and Rim… Copy Martin D’naught size, Epiphone head veneer, pickguard and fingerboard…’ The Epiphone FT-110 Frontier was born.

Throughout the 50’s and 60’s, Gibson used the Epiphone brand to try out new ideas and unusual designs that would seem out of place on the more traditional Gibson models. For the 1958 Frontier, a square-shouldered maple and Sitka Spruce dreadnought body, oversized ornamental pickguard and longer 25.5” scale length were used, which would directly inspire the Gibson Hummingbird (which debuted in 1960) and the Dove (first released in 1962). Both of these models took the Martin-inspired body shape and decorative pickguard of the Frontier and added a shorter Gibson scale length, creating world-famous classic acoustic guitars.

The Frontier was produced in limited numbers up until 1970, and aside from a couple of laminate-bodied budget reissues in the mid-1990’s, it disappeared from production. The early FT-110 models (before the introduction of an adjustable saddle in 1962) are highly sought after by collectors, prized for their striking looks and balanced, woody and dry sound. 

In 2020, Gibson announced a new, limited run of USA-made FT-110 Frontiers, handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by Gibson’s finest acoustic luthiers. Featuring a solid Sitka spruce top and solid figured maple back and sides, Indian rosewood fretboard, traditional hand-scalloped X-bracing, gold-plated Gotoh Keystone tuners, the iconic "lariat and cactus" themed pickguard, and a 25.5” scale length, the classic late 50’s specs that collectors and players treasure.

51 years after the last Frontier rolled out of the Kalamazoo plant, this rare and stunning instrument is a fitting homage to a lost classic of American musical history.

Shop the USA Epiphone Frontier here.


1 Response

A Sampson
A Sampson

October 01, 2021

Great looking guitar

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