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  1. If the guitar is black, then I believe the EB stands for ebony or perhaps if it has a built in pickup in it, maybe the E could stand for electric (as in acoustic-electric) and the B is black finish. If it has no built in pickup in it, the EB likely is for its ebony finish. A search of Yahoo or Google or even e-Bay under Epiphone AJ-15 should be able to provide more background info on the model. FYI, I have in my collection an Epiphone AJ-12 VS (VS is vintage sunburst.). Mine is acoustic only. I bought mine circa 2003. It was a model between AJ-10 and AJ-15 that Sam Ash Music specially had Epiphone make for its stores. Mine has a laminated Sitka top and laminated mahogany (or something similar) sides and back. It has a round shouldered Gibson Jumbo shape to it. The AJ stands for Advanced Jumbo, which was a historic Gibson model. The Epi AJ is an entry level economical version of the much higher priced solid wood historic Gibson Advanced Jumbo. One of the things that drew me to buy my Epiphone AJ-12 was it had an exceptional cool vibe about it for such an inexpensive guitar. Plus, it’s neck had a vintage guitar feel to it, so I kinda had to have it in my collection. Plus, it’s finish was really good. I assume the AJ-15 similarly has a cool vibe, great neck, and great finish to it. Being a laminated topped guitar, mine sounds really good in the house, but when I have taken it out to my music jam, the solid topped guitars there have a lot more volume and strength in their sound. So I keep it at home as a good practice guitar. Elsewhere in this Epiphone Acoustic section is a posting string called Decoding Epiphone Serial Numbers that should provide you enough info on decoding the guitar’s serial number to learn the year it was made and where. It’s a great guitar gift you bought for your mom! Hope this helps! QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff
  2. It’s probably worth a good dollar, being a Gibson and a F style mandolin. There’s a lot of demand for them in the bluegrass and country world. I suggest calling Gruhn Guitars in Nashville and asking them the range they sell for. They usually are quite good with providing range values over the phone, They do those for free, although they charge for a formal appraisal valuation. Just ask them for a ballpark range. They always like to talk Vintage instruments. QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff
  3. I own a 1994 Gospel Reissue. Natural top, also. Great guitar. A real workhorse. Far exceeded my expectations over the years. I bought mine, or more accurately traded for mine, about 14 years ago. It was my main guitar until about 2 years ago, when my 2006 J-45 really opened and then stepped up to become my main guitar (at gigs, at jams, at home). But, I still also like playing my 1994 Gospel. Best of luck with it! QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff
  4. My favorite is my 2006 faded cherry sunburst Gibson Custom Shop J-45 1964 Reissue. My second favorite in my collection keeps periodically changing. Right now it is my 1965 faded cherry sunburst LG1 when mic’d with a Fishman Rare Earth Humbucking sound hole pickup. QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff
  5. Just a thought. Try calling Fuller’s Guitars in Houston, Texas to see if they know anything about the model. Fullers did a lot of special orders and Custom Shop J-45s. Try to speak to Jeremy Fuller. In 2009 I bought a new Faded Cherry Sunburst 2006 J-45 Custom Shop J-45 1964 Reissue from Fullers that they had Gibson do a special run of. Looks very similar except it doesn’t have the banner on the headstock, plus it has the serial number on the neck block inside the guitar and a tusq adj saddle. When I bought it from Fullers, Jeremy Fuller was able to describe its differences from a very similar looking Faded Cherry Sunburst 60s icon J-45 model that Musicians Friend has done a special run on. In other words, he seemed to have an awareness of special run Faded Cherry Sunburst special run or Cuatom Shop J-45s that we’re out in the marketplace. Might be worth a try. Hope this helps. QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff
  6. I find that if a guitar sits with strings on it for awhile, oxidation of the strings begins to occur, but if I firmly wipe the strings off with a paper towel they bounce back to life pretty good. Although, visually some of the oxidation still appears to remain on the strings (which I just ignore because the strings again sound pretty good.) Just my experience. QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff
  7. Yep, Martin Acoustic SP strings have been rebranded/repackaged as Martin Authentic Acoustic SPs. They are basically the same, with some exceptions. In the case of 80/20 Bronze Mediums, the first and second strings are now run plated, otherwise they’re the same as they were. The tin plating means the 1st and 2nd strings are now silver in color rather slightly goldish. I used them at a gig, yesterday. I noticed no difference. They’re as good as the former ones were. I can’t speak on any other possible changes to other rebranded/repackaged configurations of Martin SPs, now known as Martin Authentic Acoustic SPs. But, I trust Martin knows what’s its doing with its rebranding/repackaging. I have been using Martin SPs since their inception, so I was a bit concerned with the change, but, my fears have been removed with my initially trying their Authentic Acoustic SPs. No reason found for me to change. Let us know what you find. QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff
  8. ps. Based on the aforementioned book, your guitar’s serial number puts it as being made in 1939. QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff
  9. That’s a beautiful vintage guitar! There is a great book about the original pte-Gibson owned Epiphone Company from which your guitar is from. Plenty of photos in it, too. It is called: Epiphone, The House of Stathopoulo by Jim Fischer & L. B. Fred it was published in 1996. Highly recommend you try to obtain it. QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff
  10. JT, I can understand Jeff Beck liking your guitar playing. I liked your guitar playing, too! Good stuff! QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff
  11. Congratulations on obtaining the SJ Deluxe and making sure it’s one in good condition! And, welcome to the forum! I still have my ‘72 SJ Deluxe in my collection and it keeps playing and sounding better and better with age! QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff
  12. It is an Epiphone EJ200 guitar. It’s value probably is in the $200-$300 range used, maybe $400 new. It is made overseas, not in Gibson’s Montana plant. Epiphone is Gibson’s lower priced line now and they are the only Gibson authorized to issue copies of Gibson’s guitar designs. It is a copy of Gibson’s high end J200 guitar, often referred to as “ The King of the Flattop Guitars.” For information on dating the year the guitar was made, go to the Epiphone section on this forum under Epiphone Acoustic Guitars. I believe there is a posting string in that section called Decoding Epiphone Serial numbers. I know at least one friend who owns an Epiphone EJ200 who brings it to the music jam I run. His guitar sounds quite good and he likes it a lot, it holds its own in the jamming environment. If it were a Gibson J200 as opposed to an Epiphone EJ200, made by the Gibson Guitar Company, it’s value would likely be in the range of $2000-$5000. What’s the difference you might ask. The quality of woods, Gibson’s are handmade, Epiphone’s are machine made, quality control in a handmade guitar means it has a high level of craftsmanship and workmanship incorporated into it being made, quality control in machine made guitars means all of the guitars are made the same way and achieve a consistency in their machine workmanship. It’s just a different approach. One is mass produced one is individually made. Epiphone’s have a great reputation for playability and great value for their relatively inexpensive price. Regarding strings, I would recommend any major brand of steel acoustic guitar strings for it, either sets labeled Lights or Mediums. My personal preference are Martin Authentic Acoustic Guitar strings, 80/20 Bronze Mediums or Lights. (For about $6 a pack.) But, any major manufacturer makes or has in its line up descent acoustic guitar strings. Any music store can assist you with getting the guitar strung with strings and tuning if up. If it needs a set up (meaning the neck’s truss rod or saddle adjusted to improve its playability, they will advise you if you are interested in playing it or learning to play it. Plus, they can tell you if they provide lessons if you are just starting.) i hope this helps. Welcome to the world of guitars. QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff
  13. At last ran out of my existing stock of Martin SP 80/20 Bronze Mediums. (I still have quite a backstock of Martin SP 80/20 Bronze Lights and still have quite a backstock of long ago discontinued Martin SP 80/20 Bronze Light-Mediums). My J-45 since Gibson repaired its uplifted bridge mid last year under warrantee now sounds much better with Mediums than Lights. So today, on the J-45 I switched to Martin’s new Authentic Acoustic SP 80/20 Bronze Mediums. First off I was surprised to see that the 3-6th strings from it we’re still gold colored. From the way everyone was talking, I thought all of the newly named/packaged SPs would be silver colored. Not so. Only the 1st and 2nd strings in the newly packaged SPs are silver colored (or as they are referred to in the packaging as tin plated.). Like who cares? The formerly packaged SP 1st string was a silverish color anyway with only a tinge of gold color in it while the former SP 2nd string was a light gold color. Frankly, when playing the guitar unless I hang my head over the guitar when playing it, I can’t even see the 1st or 2nd string on my guitar when I play it. Sound and feel wise, the new Martin Authentic Acoustic SP 80/20 Bronze Mediums seem exactly the same as the prior Martin SP 80/20 Bronze Mediums. Price wise, the newly packaged version was marked about a dollar more than the old version at the local Sam Ash where I usually buy my strings. But, when I asked for my normal customer discount, they lowered the price by $1.20 per set for me, making them about the same price as they used to be with the minor former customer discount they would give to me. So, I only paid $5.29 per set, buying 7 sets. I should mention I do not use coated strings. They seem to last a less period of time to me, but I recognize everyone interacts with strings differently. Just my experience with Martin Authentic Acoustic SP 80/20 Bronze Mediums. With my backstock of SP 80/20 Lights and Medium Lights, I’ll be awhile before I try the new packaged Martin SP 80/20 Bronze Lights or figure out what to switch to when my supply of discontinued Martin SP 80/20 Bronze Light Mediums runs out. (Though I’n kinda now thinking their successor will be Martin Authentics Acoustic SP 80/20 Mediums rather than Lights or the Phospher Bronze 80/20 Light Mediums that Martin still makes. Just thinking out loud. QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff ps. While at Sam Ash I tried out the new G-45 that was selling for $1299. Pretty impressive especially for its price. Definitely had a Gibson feel and sound and responsiveness. I’m next looking forward to the new walnut back L-00 that Gibson says will come out in November at a relatively reasonable price if it’s anything like the new G-45.
  14. There is a posting string a few posts down started by Leonard McCoy titled Epiphone Serial Number Decoding that in it a bit into the posting string contains some information about a company that refurbished factory seconds (likely what the 2 stands for) and then puts a white sticker over the old serial number. The info might be relevant to your guitar. As FYI, I have a 1970s Gibson with a 2 on the back of its neck which research shows was a factory second and according to George Gruhn, the guru of all vintage guitars, factory 2s usually have no discernible reason why they were marked factory seconds and the factory second designation does not devalue the price of the guitar in the vintage guitar market. It is believed that its only affect is that the guitar when it was new to its first owner did not carry a factory warrantee. While not much is known about why Gibson marked some guitars as seconds when they otherwise were fine , some have speculated that the 2s may have meant the guitar may have originally been used as a display model in a store or have been purchased by a factory employee at a reduced employee discount. While that research pertained to Gibsons, it likely is also applicable to Epiphones, also. Hope this helps. QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff
  15. It’s the only guitar I have to do this on, too (of the 39 instruments I own in my collection). However, that is because the Epiphone’s Masterbuilt Archtop Century line, which includes the Deluxe, Zenith, and Olympic, uses historically accurate replica tuners like the ones originally on the acoustic Deluxe, Zenith, and Olympic archtop from the 1930s. They are actually really good tuners, they just function slightly different than modern day tuners in that on periodic occasion the screw on the bottom of the tuning peg needs a slight tightening turn to keep them from having a bit of slack to them. Keep in mind the historic acoustic archtop guitar series was issued after much demand for many years for Epiphone to get back to its original roots, before it was acquired by Gibson in the 50s, back when they were an independent American guitar manufacturer who was a friendly rival to the Gibson Company, when Epiphone was known for its acoustic archtops. (In my collection I own an actual 1936 Epiphone Masterbilt (originally spelled w/out the u in it) Zenith besides my recent Olympic Masterbuilt reissue. However, my 1936 Zenith has replacement tuners on it from before I acquired it...wish it still had the originals on it.) My suggestion is if you do decide to change the historic replica tuners to be sure to safely keep the removed historic replica tuners in case a potential future buyer wants to again put on the historic replica tuners to aesthetically restore it. (As it is not exactly likely that the new owners of Gibson/Epiphone will again reissue the 1930s Deluxe, Zenith, or Olympic as it took the past owners of Gibson about 50 years to pay homage to the original N.Y. Epiphone Company by reissuing their acoustic archtop guitars. But, one never knows...) QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff
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