Nowadays Gibsons are made in the USA while Epiphones are generally made in the Far East such as Korea, a country which has built a great reputation for making guitars. However in more recent years Epiphone has built a factory in Qingdao, China which manufactures Epiphone guitars pretty much exclusively. With few exceptions, Epiphones are built only in the Chinese Qingdao factory these days.
The economics of manufacturing means it is financially attractive for Epiphone to manufacture their guitars in China, however it ironic and confusing as China is the country where most fake Gibsons and Epiphone are made in “back street” factories. This can make it even more confusing and harder for the public to distunguish actual genuine Epiphone and Gibson guitars from cheaper, poorly made fake guitars also made in China.
I recently had ebay message from someone who was in a real panic as the Epiphone Les Paul they had recently bought for their son had a made in China sticker on it. Thankfully I was able to reassure them, from the evidence they emailed to me, that this guitar they had bought was indeed from the genuine Epiphone factory in Qingdao, China. Another person contacted me regarding their Gibson Les Paul and I found that theirs was unfortunately a fake. I could sense their anguish and disappointment coming through the email as they had spent £975 on the guitar, believing it to be genuine – but was a counterfeit fake. If is is at a price that is too good to be true then it usually is!