The Gibson J-200 acoustic guitar will make many ears prick up at the mere mention of its name. If you are not familiar with the J-200, you are not alone. Many legendary guitar models have faded from memory, especially when it comes to older acoustic guitar models.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Epiphone, many newcomers are getting the chance to reconnect with the past. With the companies reimagined versions of some of the most famous classic guitar models. And, one of these re-imaginings is the Epiphone EJ-200SCE, which is an homage to the Gibson J-200 acoustic guitar.
Originally known as the “King of the Flattops” this acoustic guitar was known for its incredible projection and fantastic low-end response. The J-200 was one of the first “Jumbo” sized acoustic guitars, signified by the ‘J’ in its name. The body style is similar to dreadnought acoustics but is bigger and louder.
Anyone who has played guitar for a while and looked lovingly at a Gibson acoustic guitar like the J-200, and then cringed at the price will be happy to learn about the Epiphone EJ-200SCE. The SCE stands for “Solid-top, Cutaway, and Electronics.” This should give you some idea of how Epiphone has upgraded a vintage acoustic for more modern use.
If you are looking for an acoustic guitar that delivers huge sound and quality construction, as well as an awesome appearance. You will definitely want to check out the Epiphone EJ-200SCE.
So, we invite you to come along as we take a deeper look at the latest recreation of the original “Cowboy’s Guitar,” the…
Epiphone EJ-200SCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar
The Epiphone EJ-200 SCE is a flattop, jumbo-sized acoustic guitar. Jumbo acoustic guitars are large – very large! It is what gives these acoustic guitars such pronounced presence, projection, and punch.
One reason why the jumbo guitars were favored by “Cowboys” is because of the greater acoustic volume. Playing outside or in remote rural venues meant the need for greater projection became of significant importance. Jumbo acoustic guitars provided a way to increase the volume without any amplification or electronics.
A nice variation that Epiphone included on the EJ-200SCE is the single cutaway design. This allows for easy access to the upper frets on all the strings, which was not a feature on the earliest jumbo acoustic guitars.
The back and sides are made from select maple. Maple is a very hard and dense wood that offers a very bright tone with lots of sustain and plenty of bite. Using maple to build the body of a jumbo-sized acoustic guitar works to balance out the boomy projection from the larger body.
The top is a flattop design made from solid Sitka Spruce. A flattop acoustic guitar simply means that the top is flat and made from a solid piece of wood. Flattops were the original design for acoustic guitars. It was only after the invention of archtops that the distinction needed to be made.
Sitka Spruce is a common wood choice for building the top of acoustic guitars. This wood delivers warmth and a strong, focused tone without any overtones. Sitka Spruce is often called “Bearclaw Spruce” because of the grain-lines which look like a bear scratched the surface.
With a Vintage Sunburst finish and creamy white binding, the Epiphone EJ-200SCE has a real classic look to it.
The EJ-200SCE features a hard maple neck in a 1960s Slim-Taper D-Shape design. Maple is always a great choice for building the neck of guitars due to its hardness and stiffness. The maple wood also helps to add more clarity to the overall tone and sound.
The Slim-Taper D-Shape design offers easy playability and fast action. It also makes this style of neck a nice fit for those who are used to playing electric guitars.
The scale length is 25.5-inches, which is just a bit longer than most acoustic guitar necks. The fretboard is made of Pau Ferro wood. This type of wood is similar to rosewood is terms of appearance and structure. It offers good resistance to wear and corrosion and is also known to provide harmonic balance.
Pearloid “Crown” inlays flesh out the look of a rugged classic. The creamy white binding along the neck and fretboard make it smooth and sleek to play. The headstock is a Sloped Dovewing design that is featured predominantly on Epiphone guitars.
The Epiphone EJ-200SCE features Grover Rotomatic Tuners. These provide excellent stability and tension across each guitar string. These are sturdy and tight, meaning you won’t easily slip out of tune.
The bridge is a classic “mustache” shape bridge made from Pau Ferro, which again is very similar to standard rosewood. The nut is made from synthetic bone, which is more durable than simple polymer plastics.
The machine heads and truss rod cover screws are adorned in gold plating.
One significant upgrade of the EJ-200SCE is the addition of the built-in Shadow eSonic II HD Stereo Pickup System. While a jumbo size guitar has enough projection power to play on its own, adding a pickup system opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for this classic acoustic.
With two pickups, one under the saddle and one at the neck, and a preamp, this guitar can really show off its stuff.
The neck pickup is a Shadow NanoMag pickup. It works mostly to capture the sounds in the area around the neck joint and delivers a warm, rounded tone.
The bridge, or under-the-saddle, pickup is a Shadow NanoFlex that offers excellent clarity, definition, and responsiveness. This pickup on its own is the real star because of its low-impedance and the flexing material combined with active electronics is better at capturing the true tone of the guitar than the typical piezo pickups.
The pickups can be split or used together. There is a slide control that allows you to blend the two pickups to really shape your sound and tone.
Keep in mind that when used individually, the signal will be mono. But, when used together the Shadow eSonic II Pickup System is a full stereo signal that is vibrant and lush. In addition to the pickup slide blending control, there are dedicated tone control knobs for each pickup, a master volume control knob, and a built-in tuner.
The Shadow eSonic II Pickup System also includes an automatic signal mute feature. This means that the preamp will mute the signal when you are not playing. An utterly amazing feature for those who know how acoustic-electric guitars will often just start feeding back when not being played.
Usually, you need to cut the volume to zero on your own. Now the Shadow System intuitively knows when to keep it quiet.
Overall, the Shadow eSonic II Pickup System is a dream for amplifying the natural and organic tones of the jumbo flattop without a loss of clarity or character.