What guitarist hasn’t pined for a classic Gibson and then winced at the price? An Epiphone EJ-200SCE may be the solution to that issue.
Few, if any, acoustic guitars have as much of a legend status as Gibson’s J-200. Emerging in the ‘30s, it raised the bar for guitar tone quality. Known as the “King of flat-tops,” it’s appeared on stages all over the world in the hands of various legendary guitarists.
As the name implies, the Epiphone EJ-200SCE is a J-200 clone. The SCE stands for Solid-top, Cutaway, and Electronics. That’s not bad at this price point. Let’s see how it delivers.
A jumbo guitar is like an ordinary dreadnought but bigger and louder. Something that stands out about the Epiphone EJ-200SCE is the cutaway, which is rare on jumbos despite how this is where they help the most. It’s loud on its own, but you also get a formidable preamp system.
The Epiphone EJ-200SCE has a solid spruce top on a laminated maple body. Its SlimTaper neck is also select maple topped with a pau ferro fretboard. It has 20 frets and a 25.5-inch scale length. The Grover Rotomatic tuners keep your intonation and tuning well, and the synthetic bone nut and saddle give you a harmonic-rich tone that lasts. You also get access to the truss rod on the headstock.
Like the classic Gibson jumbo, the Epiphone EJ-200SCE has an iconic moustache-shaped bridge with pearly inlays. Inside the guitar, there’s scalloped bracing for better stability and sound projection.
When it comes to electronics, there’s plenty to like. The eSonic2 preamp system, co-designed by Shadow, provides an impressive tone and generous sound-shaping controls. It’s a lovely piece of German engineering with two pickups. There’s a low-impedance Shadow NanoFlex pickup under the bridge. Its flexible sensing material with active electronics conveys the tone of the guitar body and strings better than a piezo. A Shadow NanoMag active pickup sits where the fretboard ends. It has three samarian-cobalt magnets and picks up the whole sound spectrum beautifully.
You can blend the two signals with a slider. Each pickup has its own EQ knob. Turn it clockwise for more treble, counter-clockwise to for more bass. Then there’s the volume knob and a phase inversion toggle. You can split the output and route each pickup to a separate amp or mixer input. Few guitars offer this much sound-shaping. There’s also a chromatic tuner. Activating it mutes the guitar, which is convenient.
The Epiphone EJ-200SCE comes in four different finishes: Natural, vintage natural, black, and vintage sunburst. All have black and white bindings, crown fretboard inlays, and an imitation-tortoiseshell pickguard with a floral design.
How the Epiphone EJ-200SCE Plays
It may look tough, but the Epiphone EJ-200SCE has a light, low string action that should feel right regardless of skill level. Unlike many jumbo guitars, it’s no mere strummer. It’s more suitable for arpeggios and country-style picking than the J-200. You can play anything on the Epiphone EJ-200SCE.
The neck is a classic D-shape with a 12-inch fretboard radius. Don’t let the general size fool you, the Epiphone EJ-200SCE has a slim neck and a 43-mm nut width. So you won’t have any trouble with barre chords and fast riffs.
It doesn’t sound like a $4,000 Gibson J-200, but it’s impressive for its modest price, The Epiphone EJ-200SCE has a warm and balanced tone with a nice depth. It’s pretty punchy too. Being a jumbo, the low end is sweet and massive.
The Epiphone EJ-200SCE is a loud guitar with long sound projection. If you’re a busker or play unplugged gigs, it’ll help you overpower the crowds. It’s a trusty live guitar in general, carrying on the legacy of the Gibson jumbo. And it’ll only sound better the more you play it. Let’s not forget the vast sound-shaping capabilities either. Just like its looks, the sound gives the impression of a more expensive guitar.
What People Say
Guitarists give the Epiphone EJ-200SCE 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. They praise its sound, playability, and looks. The only common complaint is the somewhat inconsistent build quality.
You can get an Epiphone EJ-200SCE for between $450 and $550. Compared to its bigger brother, that’s a very reasonable price.
Epiphone EJ-200SCE VS Gibson J-200 Standard
The new Super Jumbo is a modern version of the immortal classic. Its advantages are the finer materials. All wood is solid or two-piece, it has rosewood instead of ferro, the nut and saddle are Tusq, and the inlays are real mother of pearl. There are some small differences in quality and dimensions. However, it has no cutaway. The LR Baggs Anthem electronics are less elaborate but more sophisticated. The latest edition only comes in sunburst.
Pros & Cons
That’s all you need to know about the Epiphone EJ-200SCE. Let’s summarize its strengths and drawbacks.
- Rich, loud tone
- Great value
- High playability
The Epiphone EJ-200SCE is a modern version of the classic Gibson Jumbo at a very agreeable price. You won’t find many guitars under $500 with this many great features and tonal qualities.
- Not all-solid
- Mass-produced in Asia
To make an affordable version of the J-200, sacrificing some build quality is necessary. The quality is good, considering the price, and it’s very versatile.
Is Epiphone EJ-200SCE Your Ideal Guitar?
Epiphones are solid choices in this price range in general, and the Epiphone EJ-200SCE is a shining example. You get a lot of guitar for your money. And I’m not talking about the size. The rich tone, easy playability, fancy electronics, and great looks combined give you a big bang for your buck. Check it out here.
Epiphone-EJ-200SCE John Holloway Rating: 5 out of 5