#1
Hi all,

I'm a newbie in search of some advice on my next acoustic guitar purchase, I've been learning to play for about 18 months with a Westfield SR-383 and feel its time to replace it with something better.

After searching the internet for reviews, forums the buying guide on here etc.. I tried out a few guitars at a local music store including a Fender CD-100CE, an Epiphone Dove Pro and an Epiphone EJ-200CE, out of the three I much prefer the Epiphone EJ-200CE (the Solid Top version).

But before I part with my hard earned £300 is there any other makes / models anyone would recommend for around the same price bracket?
I don't mind paying that extra £50 or so if in 3 years time I will look back and say it was a much better choice.
Last edited by alex.aird.9 at Jul 25, 2014,
#2
that EJ200CE gets some good reviews. I myself don't like my "girls" that big.
but of the 3 you've listed, that's the best one from what I've read. I can't offer any firsthand advice, I haven't played any of them in quite some time( and only within the confines of a music shop).
a couple that I like better myself are Yamaha's fgx series and Seagull's S6 line. both of those will give you years of enjoyment before your experience gives you the "Need" to upgrade again.
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#3
Quote by alex.aird.9
Hi all,

I'm a newbie in search of some advice on my next acoustic guitar purchase, I've been learning to play for about 18 months with a Westfield SR-383 and feel its time to replace it with something better.

After searching the internet for reviews, forums the buying guide on here etc.. I tried out a few guitars at a local music store including a Fender CD-100CE, an Epiphone Dove Pro and an Epiphone EJ-200CE, out of the three I much prefer the Epiphone EJ-200CE (the Solid Top version).

But before I part with my hard earned £300 is there any other makes / models anyone would recommend for around the same price bracket?
I don't mind paying that extra £50 or so if in 3 years time I will look back and say it was a much better choice.
The Fender should be removed from the discussion. It's an all laminate, while the 2 Epiphones are both solid top guitars.

It has to be mentioned that the Dove and the EJ-200 are both maple body, maple neck, and solid spruce top. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a strong family resemblance in general sound character. My EJ has a sound character very similar to a jumbo maple Guild 12 string I once owned.

Anyhow, I have a Fender, "Sonoran", (basically a CD-140 with a maple strat neck), and I took delivery of an EJ-200sce on Monday. So, I'm not halfway through the 1st set of strings on the EJ as of yet. My first impression is that's it's way more of what I was looking for than the Fender.

I haven't had time to really test out the electronics in the EJ as of yet. Published specs, tainted with a bunch of hype, says they should afford better sound and certainly more flexibility than the run of the mill Fishman setup in the Dove. OTOH, it's a new system as well, without as many hours on the street.

With that said, the EQ on the EJ, is a simple single band boost/cut affair, (one for each pickup). Nonetheless, it works the same way as my normal treble cut, mid neutral, and bass boost setting on the average 3 band system. The guitar is also stereo, which opens worlds of opportunity for experimentation.

Now, the EJ-200 is one of those, "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it", kind of paradigms. I don't mean that in a bad way, but you should know what you're getting into beforehand, to know if it's right for you.

The EJ is truly massive, 17 inches across the lower bout. It won't fit into a standard jumbo gig bag. I tried, the bag wouldn't zip shut. So, Tuesday I had to order the Epiphone jumbo specific for it. I got the case today, it fits like a glove, all is well.

I'm glad I waited a day to grab the case, it was on sale for pretty cheap.

I don't mind the size of the EJ, it's not terribly noticeable playing (*), (I have a couple of jumbos, and find them generally more comfortable to play than a dread), but it is a PITA when you try to put it away.

The EJ-200 is a rock strummers dream. Pete Townshend has a J-200 Gibson signature model, and it meshes perfectly with his in your face style of play.

So, it's a big guitar, it's a bold guitar, and it's a brash guitar, with a lot of potential for amplified experimentation. Sound simply flies off the maple body. As for Epiphone's QC, (which is sometimes at question), I couldn't d anything of note to complain about. The setup is done plenty well, for a good out of the box playing experience.

The guitar is fully bound, even the headstock, and not a sharp edge anywhere.

So, I'm ecstatic with it. I still like my Fender, but I think it's going to be spending plenty of time in it's case. I do have an issue with its Fishman preamp's short battery life, that I don't seem to experience my stock Ibanez', or the L.R.Baggs systems in my 3 Crafter guitars.

(*) A jumbo's narrow waist allows it to ride slightly lower in your lap than the average dread, plus they tend to stay put better. Despite the large body size, the body depth is the same as your average dread.

I think Step would concur with me about that, as he's quite fond of Taylor's GA & GS size guitars.

So, if this were six months from now, I might be singing a different tune, but for now, I'm happy as a lark.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 26, 2014,
#4
Cheers both for the words of wisdom ,

Stepchildusmc - I will give the Yamaha's a try at one of the nearby stores hopefully this week, they have the 720sc and 730sc in stock. Struggling to track down any Seagull guitars though, only one any of the nearby stores have is an 'Entourage Rustic CW GT QI' which is just over double the price of the EJ200, but I will keep searching.

Thanks for the info CaptainCranky, and the heads up on the case, was hoping my current one would be ok if I go with the EJ200 but looking at it now I doubt it will even come close, plus taking it to my lesson every week could be interesting ...ah the joys of buying new toys
Last edited by alex.aird.9 at Jul 26, 2014,
#5
So I went to a guitar shop today in search of Yamaha's and Seagull's but I couldnt find a Yamaha in my justifiable price range, or any Seagull's, but the guys in store recommended a Freshman FA300GA.

I tried it out and was quite impressed with the feel and sound, apparently they are a bit unknown name wise but at just £50 more than the Epiphone EJ-200 I looked at last week its an all Solid Wood guitar (Top is Solid Canadian Sitka Spruce while both back and sides are Solid Graded Mahogany) with a Hard Case included.

It sounds like a right bargin, but as the saying goes "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". Has anyone had any experience with Freshman?
#6
Never heard of this brand but that seems like a really good deal on an all solid-wood guitar+ hard shell case. You're opinion is the one that matters most so if it feels good to play and sounds good to you; that's the most important thing. Don't bog yourself down too much with information overload. The EJ200 is acoustic/electric and also has a cutout and those are things that cost more and are important to a lot of people. You don't mention if the Freshman has that or if that is important to you.
#7
Quote by rohash
Never heard of this brand but that seems like a really good deal on an all solid-wood guitar+ hard shell case. You're opinion is the one that matters most so if it feels good to play and sounds good to you; that's the most important thing. Don't bog yourself down too much with information overload. The EJ200 is acoustic/electric and also has a cutout and those are things that cost more and are important to a lot of people. You don't mention if the Freshman has that or if that is important to you.


Sorry slight tunnel vision on my behalf, the Freshman doesnt hae a cut out but i tend to play nearer the nut so a cut out is one of those 'cool looking' features.

Just a bit uncomfotable buying an 'unknown' brand, I don't want to find out I picked the wrong guitar anytime in the next 12 months to 3 years
#8
Quote by alex.aird.9
Sorry slight tunnel vision on my behalf, the Freshman doesnt hae a cut out but i tend to play nearer the nut so a cut out is one of those 'cool looking' features.

Just a bit uncomfotable buying an 'unknown' brand, I don't want to find out I picked the wrong guitar anytime in the next 12 months to 3 years


BTW, if it takes you 3 years to figure out you f***ed up, maybe you didn't....

As soon as I see "Pound Sterling" in a post, two things immediately spring to mind. First I'm jealous because my keyboards don't have that symbol, and second, the brand selection is much different in the UK than it is here. Crafter guitars are prevalent there, and all over Europe, but not so much here in the Colonies.

It's times like this I'm glad I'm a lefty. I don't have to over think a purchase, nor am I inclined to outsmart myself. I just take what I can get, and make the best of it.

I found this page on "Freshman": http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/acoustic_guitars.asp?brandname=Freshman It seems there are a poop load of models available. "Recording King" markets an all solid wood guitar at the same price range here. II don't think it's AE though. Patti knows more about it.

I found a massive amount of info on the EJ-200 on the web. Sure it's odd that I studied it after I bought one, but that's just me. Most all of it was very positive, as well as being shit I already knew.

Pete Townshend says of the Gibson J-200, (loosely), "It has a stiff top, and the harder you beat on it, the better it sounds". (*)

It seems he's only destroyed one of these, compared to perhaps dozens of Gibson SG models, and that was for charity...!

A maple guitar is going to have a different general tonality, (even laminated maple), than a mahogany guitar, (even laminated mahogany). Lacking your eardrums, I have no idea how you should proceed.

FWIW, oddly, you'll find all solid mahogany guitars at lower price points than all solid rosewood, maple, and dearest of all, koa. Who knows if that speaks to the sound quality, or simply the scarcity of the different woods.

(*) In fact, it seems he's taken to putting a compressor in the line with them, ostensibly to control the vast dynamic range a J-200 can develop.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 30, 2014,
#9
Quote by alex.aird.9
Sorry slight tunnel vision on my behalf, the Freshman doesnt hae a cut out but i tend to play nearer the nut so a cut out is one of those 'cool looking' features.

Just a bit uncomfotable buying an 'unknown' brand, I don't want to find out I picked the wrong guitar anytime in the next 12 months to 3 years


Yeah I only play a few songs that far up on the fretboard but they are more comfortable to play on a cutout so it's worth it to me even though theses songs can still be played on a standard shape albeit not as comfortable. What about the electric feature? Do you ever plan to play plugged in? Does this guitar have it?

Woods. You say it is all solid wood but what woods are they? I don't own an all solid wood guitar but I have two solid tops; Sitka spruce and maple. Like them both but spruce top is better IMO.

I understand it's hard to pick a brand that isn't well known with not many reviews to find. However if this guitar is all solid wood, I'm thinking the rest of it should be good quality as well and if it feels good and sounds good to you; that's probably the safer bet than ordering a guitar that you're not able to try out in person.

I only have 1 guitar shop within 20 miles, used to be more but the big box stores put them out of business, and he only sells Johnson and Aria; so I've bought all of my guitars off the net after research and reading tons of reviews.
#10
Quote by rohash

I only have 1 guitar shop within 20 miles, used to be more but the big box stores put them out of business, and he only sells Johnson and Aria; so I've bought all of my guitars off the net after research and reading tons of reviews.

wow, I think we live in the same neighborhood !
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#11
Well after hours of research, and going to stores and playing several guitars, I finally decided to by the Epiphone EJ-200 this weekend, the Freshman was a seriously close 2nd but the Epiphone just gave better sound quality over the Freshman.

Needless to say I'm one happy bloke now
#12
Quote by alex.aird.9
Well after hours of research, and going to stores and playing several guitars, I finally decided to by the Epiphone EJ-200 this weekend, the Freshman was a seriously close 2nd but the Epiphone just gave better sound quality over the Freshman.

Needless to say I'm one happy bloke now
Happy New Guitar Day! I'm glad you were able to A/B those two instruments to your satisfaction.

Will we be getting some pics and the inside scoop on your new toy?
#13
Quote by Captaincranky
Happy New Guitar Day! I'm glad you were able to A/B those two instruments to your satisfaction.

Will we be getting some pics and the inside scoop on your new toy?


Thanks, sorry for the delayed response next to no internet for the last week but fingers crossed all sorted as of today

Will deffo be uploading some photos this week and will have a bash at the 'inside scoop' although im still trying to figure out some of the tech stuff once its all hooked up to the computer .