Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features — 9
EJ-200 Jumbo - Blonde: 2010 made in Indonesia. Gloss finish. Laminate maple top, back and sides. Rosewood neck and bridge. Esonic 2 preamp system: 2 pickups - 1 piezo under saddle, 1 magnetic at end of neck; tone knobs for each pickup; mixer/slider for mixing the 2 pickups; chromatic tuner; master volume. Mother of pearl inlays on the headstock, neck & bridge.
The Esonic 2 preamp is why I gave this section a 9. It is an impressive preamp for this guitar. There are also 2 1/4" jacks on the guitar. One is for a single output or you can use both for mixing the two pickups separately (which I love). I can really mix this guitar nicely for recording or through a soundboard and come up with some great acoustic sounds.
Sound — 7
Acoustically this guitar is not great. The brightness of the maple mixed with the bass response of the jumbo help to make it OK but it still lacks plenty when compared to good sounding acoustic guitars. However, when you plug it in, the Esonic 2 preamp is a really good sounding system. Maybe one of the best. I own a few Taylors and prefer the Epiphone when plugging into an amp. This one will give you plenty of punch to get through the mix if you are playing with a group. Not my pick for unplugged. Not even close.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
At first the guitar seemed well made. I had to set up the neck when I received it. It needed heavier strings (came with .010's). There is no adjustment of the pickups so that wasn't an issue. I noticed no flaws but a few areas around the edges of the neck inlays needed a bit more attention to detail. However, that really doesn't affect the playability of the guitar. Overall, for $400 it was manufactured about as I would have expected.
Playability: After the neck was adjusted properly, the guitar plays fairly easily. No buzzes anywhere on the neck. Frets seem to be installed properly.
Reliability & Durability — 7
This guitar seems unusually sensitive to changes in humidity. The neck seems to need adjustment on a regular basis. The clear coat cracked at the heel/body joint which leads me to believe that the neck is moving a lot. Other than that issue, I had no problems with the guitar. Stays in tune fairly well. Needs a battery about once a month if played every day for about an hour. I haven't seen any issues with the top, back or sides cracking (make sure to keep it hydrated). The construction and finish has maintained itself pretty well. Just a few surface scratches from picks on the front and pickguard.
Overall Impression — 7
I have played professionally for 20+ years (30+ years total). I own numerous axes of different levels. This one ranks as fairly good for the price you pay for it. I don't play it acoustically at all, only through an amp or sound board. It has a bright and clear sound to cut through the clutter of a band and I'm not worried if some drunk Ahole knocks it off its stand. Mine has been on the road with me for about 1 1/2 years and has been fairly reliable. No real serious issues with anything just the fairly regular neck adjustments. I think that if a person had a stable environment for it that maybe it would perform better.
I do wish that this one had a solid top. I believe that might help the overall acoustic sound a bunch. It is quite playable. If the neck is adjusted properly, it plays pretty nice with .011's. Overall, not too bad but there are much nicer guitars out there for a few hundred dollars more. If $400 is all you can afford, then give it a try.