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NGD: AJ-220S


cliffenstein

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I found a really great AJ-220S with a beautiful dark stained fretboard. I got it new for $169 (GC was having a one day sale today) plus a hard shell case for an extra $89. I adjusted the truss rod and got this thing every bit as playable as my Texan. It's not in quite the same league as my Texan, but it's a REALLY great backup.

 

I figure that, at this kind of a price point, this is the perfect guitar to have fun personalizing. I'm going to upgrade to 18 to 1 keystone plastic button Grover Deluxe tuners, swap out the plastic saddle for bone, get the missing 3rd dot fret marker added and replace the AJ truss rod cover with one with my initials (JW) on it in the next few months. I took off the little E logo from the pickguard as I think the AJ's look better without them.

 

Here are the obligatory NGD photos:

 

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I had an AJ220 cutaway AE. It was indeed a fine instrument and even better given the price tag.

 

Since I have also a Masterbuilt AE and I'm not getting much younger, I gave it to a lady friend-coworker who had given her family flattop to one of her kids. Since "Mom" is a friend and young enough to be my daughter, I figured she deserved to have a guitar of her own that was worth playing and played well.

 

OTOH, there wasn't anything broken so I didn't fix it.

 

m

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I have this Epi AJ200S also... And for the price it seems like I have robbed somebody! While this guitar may not be in the same league as the Texan or my Gibson Hummingbird...I can report that this guitar plays and sounds just great...almost too good haha...considering what I payed for it, and what I payed for the Hummingbird. The finish and color and body, even the sound and tone will remind you of the J45. Is it a J45?...of course not! But it does cost $2000 less. And man does my AJ200S sure play well and look great...I know yours does too..your pictures are great! ...I also own the Epi AJ220SCE.(cutaway electric) ...and between the two, they do everything!

 

...by the way these models and most new Epi models are supposed to be fitted with a Nubone saddle..a derivitave of Tusq and made my the same company...I believe this may be the key to the great success Epi is having on all new models..they sound great...so does Nubone...which looks like bone but is actually a molten mix if plastic and ceramic which gives it a delicious hum and ring to the tone..in my view even better than bone, or tusq.

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You might want to consider these precision 18:1 Gotoh Keystones that use the same screw tab position.The non-tilting string posts really make a difference in eliminating backlash. The Japanese made quality of the Gotohs really outshines any Chinese Grovers.Read the customer reviews on this Stewmac link:

 

My link

 

Naah...I want the plastic keystones buttons, not chrome or gold. Thanks, though!

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like the smooth neck as well

 

I'm actually considering having poly applied to the neck. Poly doesn't slow down the way I play one bit and it'll help the neck to not warp over time. Plus, it'll match the back and sides better, too. That being said...I like it the way it is now much more in person than I thought I would.

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GL,

 

There's no info for saddle material on the AJ-220 anywhere on the Epiphone website. I'm glad you like the photos...this is really a remarkably beautiful guitar. I love the back and sides color a lot.

 

Cliff yes it is true, epiphone does not generally advertise its saddle material in most cases...and particularly with Nubone. It is a fairly new material invented by graphtech, the maker of tusq saddles. I first thought my new 200S had bone in it..it looked like bone, light passed through it like bone, it had the color of bone....it was even filed on the top edges as bone often is, when fine fitting the saddle. I came to know what Nubone verses molded plastic looks like, and having read that many lower priced guitar manufacturers are now switching to it because of the quality tone it produces...I decided to go to my local GC with my trusty flashlight, where there are many $199 and up guitars..sure enough..most of them appear to have Nubone in the saddle. While I can't verify that it is on the 200 my guess is 99% that it is Nubone. You can read about the Nubone saddle on this link....enjoy that marvelous looking 200S. It certainly looks better to me than even a J45. Epiphone is not using Nubone on the nut..only the saddle..and if you look closely with a bright light..you will clearly see the differences in material color between the plastic nut...and the Nubone saddle. Nubone saddle link here http://www.graphtech.com/products/brands/nubone

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Beautiful guitar and well done on your bargain sir!!

 

I'm looking to get one of these AJ220s in Natural soon as I think they are really great guitars for the price.

 

I've had this guitar now for 3 days and I've played it a lot. I really REALLY like it. I'm actually shocked at just how much I like it!

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you really shouldn't have posted this. Yesterday I played two great Martins and now this beauty. Looks great and your upgrades sound spot on. Let us know how it works out. My wife is going hate me!

 

haha...well, I certainly will let you know how the upgrades go. My Texan is getting the bone saddle upgrade right now. If I hear a difference when I get it back then I'll be definitely doing the same to this. If not, then I'll just get the 3rd dot marker added, the tuners changed out and the truss rod cover with my initials on it.

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As any "regulars" know of me, my schtick is playability.

 

Does a guitar play well for what I want it to do.

 

For example, my big-body guitars are for strumming as with "old time" or bluegrassy stuff, perhaps even a role in "country," and wear relatively heavy strings for me. My smaller body flattops are for fingerpicking and wear lighter strings than some companies even make in "acoustic" mixes.

 

Of course, that's also why all my flattops are "AE."

 

But if a relatively current Epi "fits" a given picker, I think that my experience can be summed up in saying that there may be a few that, for whatever reason, might be a pickle, I see no reason why nearly all could not be used in an appropriate professional on-stage environment.

 

If at all chosen for appropriate playing geometry, set up properly for the player and playing style, they're marvelous instruments for the money. Not "good," but among the best available regardless of price. But remember that "if."

 

OTOH, I think there are folks who will buy a "type" regardless of brand that doesn't really fit their playing geometry and playing style - whether in the Epi price class or the Gib-Mar price class. If the latter, they seem to be convinced that they're appropriately chasing "tone" and that a "lesser" guitar cannot offer.

 

Me, I'm convinced that the right guitar with the right proportions and strings and setup for the player, is simply the right choice. Unfortunately I also think that this often results simply in "luck" playing a huge role in finding that instrument. Or... perhaps, a lotta years of playing guitars 'cuz "everybody else" made that choice. <sigh>

 

m

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  • 1 month later...

Another mind blower...

 

Got the call last night from the same luthier that worked on my Texan. He's working on my AJ-220S right now. The factory saddle on this guitar is high quality bone...BONE!

 

No reason to swap it out.

 

The 3rd fret dot marker has been added, as well as the missing edge marker (why doesn't Epiphone at least put the edge marker on there?!!!).

 

Up next is the fret dressing to completely kill all fret buzz. My Texan didn't need one, but this AJ does.

 

Next Saturday I'll have it back.

 

Can someone with one of these guitars please measure the dimensions of your factory truss rod cover and post them here? I'd like to order my custom engraved replacement and need to be sure of its exact size.

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