'88 Epiphone Spotlight Nouveau


Junior Member
Jan 12, 2013
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In the Fall of 1988 I got my first guitar. It was a gift from my dad and he let me choose which one I wanted. I looked at Stratocasters, Telecasters & Les Pauls but none caught my eye like the one I chose - a pearl white Epiphone. Being 14 years old I didn't pay any attention as to what specific model it was, I just thought it was the coolest guitar.

Flash forward almost 25 years later. I'm cleaning out my parents' house when I come across my long hidden Epiphone tucked away in a dark corner (in its case.) Nostalgia hits me and I begin to wonder about my Epiphone's model history. From what I've seen & read it appears to be a Spotlight Nouveau, manufactured in '88 & '89 only. Production ceased due to a lawsuit by PRS against Gibson claiming that the Spotlight was a copy of their (PRS) model. I've also read varying production numbers for the Spotlight, ranging from as many as 1500 to as low as 150.

I love playing this guitar, though it has been a long time. Everything on it is factory. It includes the Steinberger Tremolo, which I heard was very problematic, mainly that it was made of cheap pot metal. I never liked the tremolo system on it, honestly I never use it - I keep it in its locked position. It actually popped out one time and chipped the body.

I still have the case it came in too. It is a Gibson branded hard case. I've read of some Spotlight owners referring to a Gibson "chainsaw" case that was included. This may be a "chainsaw" case, I'm not sure.

Anyway, I would like to hear some stories, feedback, history, etc. on this model. I know they were available in other colors & an optional tremolo system.



Senior Member
Nov 30, 2010
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That's a cool bit of Epi history!
I see why PRS sued.
And yep, that's considered the chainsaw case.