I have been looking around for a Gibson Chet Atkins SST (to no avail) and have noticed, once again, that Epiphone have a VERY similar looking guitar with the same name but for a damn sight cheaper.

I have noticed this a few times, that Epiphone and Gibson make almost identical looking guitars, with the same names but different prices.

Could anyone tell me if the two companies are related and if not, how one company can get away with making straight copies of the others range?

Gibson own Epiphone. Epiphone makes cheaper versions of the Gibson models by cutting corners on build quality and materials
Gibson owns Epiphone.

Icing happen when de puck come down, BANG, you know,
before de oder guys, nobody dere, you know.
My arm go comme ça, den de game stop den start up.

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Get To Da Choppa!
Gibson owns Epiphone
This is why I don't like arguing on the internet.
Quote by damian_91
If only you could back that statement up.
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Wolfgang's Philadelphia Study. Look it up yourself.
Quote by damian_91
No need to, absurd generalizations aren't my thing.
They are the same company. There is a reason Epi's are cheaper.
If you start a reply with: I have never played one but I have heard good things about it! Your opinion is invalid.
Epiphone is shit. So is gibson, but more expensive.
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In the changing rooms we'd all jump around so our dicks and balls bounced all over the place, which we found hilarious.

Little children should be felt, not heard.