BUILDER PROFILE > EPIFANI
How did you first get involved with music?
I was 13 years old and started as a drummer in Italy, then formed a band with my
cousin and my brother. There was always a
guitar in the house, so I knew a few things
on guitar, as well. We grew up listening
to Hendrix and Grand Funk Railroad, so
that was the inspiration for the music. LPs
were hard to come by, so when we got our
hands on one it was like a sacred bible to
us. When I was 18, the band booked a
two-month gig in Holland, and our guitar
player backed out at the last minute so I
moved to guitar.
When did the bass cabinets come into play?
That was a whole new thing. I got laid off
for eight months from my day job. I started
reading about bass cabinets. On the surface,
guitar cabinets are relatively simple—open
back, closed back, number of speakers . . .
there’s not much to them. There are fac-
tors that affect the sound, such as wood
and grilles, but with a bass cabinet so much
more goes into it—so many little nuances
such as the paper, the cone, even the pulp
of the paper used in the speaker make dif-
basses through my cabs, they started look-
ing at each other. I thought they hated it,
but the looks were actually those of amaze-
ment. I had built my cabinets using the
best components I could find at the time,
so bringing my A game must have worked.
Soon after, Fodera introduced me to some
of their artists, which led to the first Epifani
production bass cabs.
So when did you move out of the garage?
In 1994, I moved into a one-room shop
What brought you to New York?
After bouncing around various gigs, I
started a business delivering vegetables in
Italy. The work was from 6 a.m. until 1
p.m., so that freed up my afternoons, where
I worked in a very big music store. One
day, a customer came in and asked about
finding guitar players to work on a cruise
ship. This was in the late ’70s, and the idea
intrigued me. One of the selling points was
that the ship would sail from New York
City to the Bahamas, passing through the
Bermuda Triangle. So the whole situation
sounded like one big adventure. I played
disco up and down the East Coast, and
when my time was up, I made New York
my home. I continued playing in wedding
bands in NYC for a few years while working a day job.
. . . [As] they played their basses
through my cabs, they started
looking at each other. I thought
they hated it, but the looks were
actually those of amazement.”
ferent sounds. Different speaker suspensions
create different sounds, as well, so I spent a
lot of time working on that.
When did you start building gear?
The first thing I ever built was a 2x12
bass cabinet for my brother when I was
17 or 18. I scrounged up whatever I could
find for materials, but I had no idea what
I was doing.
Do you still have it?
I wish! I was still playing my gig, so I would
change out components—this speaker or
that component—and one day I thought
“Why can’t we make something that sounds
good right off the bat? Why do we have
to customize things?” So I started making
guitar amps and cabs for myself, finding the
best materials I could. Pretty soon, people
started asking about my gear. Fearing the
lack of name-brand status, I would tell them
a friend made them for me. I started building in my garage. I did all the cutting, gluing, assembling, etc., and then I would sell
them with no name on them.
How were your initial bass cabs different
from others on the market at the time?
You have calculations for tuning the bass
cabs, and the engineers know this and sort
of leave it there. I took it steps further with
bracing and some other things I don’t want
to share, but let’s say that I found flaws in
the designs and set out to change them. I
realized soon after that I could make something that sounded good without following
the procedures from published books of
How did you get your products into
I showed my new bass cabs to some friends,
and they were like “Well, nice . . . . ” If
you tell someone your car is better than
a Mercedes, they will be interested—but
ultimately they will buy the Mercedes
because that’s what they’re familiar with. So
it was tough. I found out that the Fodera
bass shop was nearby, and I literally just
cold-called them one day and asked if I
could bring some cabinets by. We set up
the appointment, and as they played their
that was in the same space as a furniture
factory. I did everything in that little
room—from the coverings to assembly.
The good thing about the space was that
I could use all of the woodcutting tools
from the furniture business, so that helped
me out tremendously. As I started mak-
ing cabinets, I opened a dialogue with
Eminence to push the speaker manufac-
turer into some new designs. One change I
wanted to make was in the suspension. Up
until that point, speakers used an accordi-
on-type suspension, which was problem-
atic. This led to creasing in the speakers
from the voice coil pushing forward and
the suspension stopping the speaker, but
the center would still be moving outward.
We developed the M-roll suspension to
combat this, and it has now become the
Who were some of the artists that shaped
your early designs?
I made a 2x12 cabinet for Matt Garrison. I
remembered using a Music Man 2x12 cabinet back in the ’70s, but no one was making that configuration anymore. Because I
liked the sound and saw the potential in a
2x12, I went with that design. With two
12" speakers, naturally you have more area
98 PREMIER GUITAR MAY 2011