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Nad

NGDx2 Epiphone Acoustics

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Hi all, first post on the acoustic forum.

 

I currently play in an acoustic/jug band. Although I mostly play banjo and lap steel I decided I needed an acoustic guitar. A local music store was having an Epiphone sale and I went along to check out an EJ-200 SCE. I liked the EJ200, though it wasn't as loud as I would have expected from a jumbo guitar. Then I tried a Masterbilt AJ-45. Wow. The vintage tone, "Gibson thump", massive sound and projection. It sold itself and followed me home. It also sounds wonderful plugged into an acoustic amp. I'm impressed with the nanoflex pickup.

 

Then a few days ago I was in a local Cash Coverters and they had a 2010 Epiphone EL-00 going cheaply. Out of curiosity I gave it a try and loved the feel and blusey tone - very different voicing to the AJ45 and perfect for finger picking. Over the next couple of days I went back and played it a couple more times and finally bought it. The guitar was filthy and had quite a few pick scratches on the lower bout, but after a good clean an polish it looks brand new. One issue I did find was that when removing the strings, The D string was stuck in the bridge hole. I felt inside and the underside of the bridge plate was very rough with pieces of wood hanging off it where the string holes had been drilled. a few rubs with sandpaper removed the dags and smoothed the base of the plate. This significantly improved the tone. I restrung it with the original strings and noticed a marked increase in brightness, tone and volume - they sound like new strings. I'm guessing this is because the ball ends are now making strong contact with the bridge plate.

 

Anyway I now have 2 epi acoustics and am one happy picker.

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Sounds great. I found my EJ200SCE really did open up in time, not anything like my Gibson J200, but still quite full bodied and when appropriate, loud.

 

The Nano flex system is great and superior to what I have found on many other electric/acoustics.

 

For the Masterbilts, I have DR500mce, and it too is a great guitar for the price so imagine yours is comparable.

 

Your EL-00 sounds like a good buy! Buying a slightly beat up guitar at a discount and spending a few hours cleaning it up and doing a bit of carpentry is very rewarding. Enjoy them both!

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Congratulations! You sound happy and that's the whole point! If I were you, I would upgrade the bridge pins in both guitars to something much harder than the original plastic: bone, brass, or (if you can afford 'em), fossil ivory. They'll save wear on your bridge plates and keep the guitars sounding good a lot longer.

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Congratulations! You sound happy and that's the whole point! If I were you, I would upgrade the bridge pins in both guitars to something much harder than the original plastic: bone, brass, or (if you can afford 'em), fossil ivory. They'll save wear on your bridge plates and keep the guitars sounding good a lot longer.

 

Funny you should say that, I've been looking at bone, brass and ebony bridge pins. I'm thinking bone for the AJ-45 and Ebony for the EL-00. I may get a set of brass to try in both and see if they make an appreciable diffrence.

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Sounds great. I found my EJ200SCE really did open up in time, not anything like my Gibson J200, but still quite full bodied and when appropriate, loud.

 

The Nano flex system is great and superior to what I have found on many other electric/acoustics.

 

For the Masterbilts, I have DR500mce, and it too is a great guitar for the price so imagine yours is comparable.

 

Your EL-00 sounds like a good buy! Buying a slightly beat up guitar at a discount and spending a few hours cleaning it up and doing a bit of carpentry is very rewarding. Enjoy them both!

 

Thanks I am enjoying them. Having been an electric player for many years I found the action of both guitars to be high (just personal taste). I fitted a new bone saddle to the AJ-45 and lowered the action to where it suits me better. Then serendipity stepped in - I put the original AJ-45 saddle into the EL-00 and it was perfect. lowered the action to exactly where I wanted it. You don't always get that lucky.

 

I want to fit a pickup/preamp to the EL-00. I initally thought about getting a nanoflex system, but the pickup costs almost as much as the guitar! I'll keep an eye out for alternatives. I would prefer a sound hole preamp so I don't have to cut holes on the guitar.

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Funny you should say that, I've been looking at bone, brass and ebony bridge pins. I'm thinking bone for the AJ-45 and Ebony for the EL-00. I may get a set of brass to try in both and see if they make an appreciable diffrence.

Cool! Ebony sure is pretty, especially with pearl dots - I put a set on my '68 Dove and like 'em a lot. Whatever you do, my suggestion would be to avoid rosewood pins: the little suckers sure do splinter!

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Cool! Ebony sure is pretty, especially with pearl dots - I put a set on my '68 Dove and like 'em a lot. Whatever you do, my suggestion would be to avoid rosewood pins: the little suckers sure do splinter!

 

Thanks for the advice. I'll go with ebony.

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Nice one (sorry two) Nad. I'll chalk up another AJ45me fan on my wall. I've been telling this lot how good they are for a year now. They will eventually get it. Nice to see a tale of someone bringing an old guitar back to life too. msp_thumbup.gif

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Then I tried a Masterbilt AJ-45. Wow. The vintage tone, "Gibson thump", massive sound and projection. It sold itself and followed me home. It also sounds wonderful plugged into an acoustic amp. I'm impressed with the nanoflex pickup.

 

Great to hear another satisfied Epi owner. The AJ45 is one I don't have. I do like my EFs, but I may have to pick up an AJ45 if a good deal comes along. I know Mick's been singing their praises.

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Nice one (sorry two) Nad. I'll chalk up another AJ45me fan on my wall. I've been telling this lot how good they are for a year now. They will eventually get it. Nice to see a tale of someone bringing an old guitar back to life too. msp_thumbup.gif

 

The AJ-45 is alot of guitar for the money. My bandmates, who play high end Matons, were very impressed with the tone and playability of the AJ-45. The EL-00 is a lot of fun. Amazing what a difference cleaning up the bridge plate made to the tone.

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Great to hear another satisfied Epi owner. The AJ45 is one I don't have. I do like my EFs, but I may have to pick up an AJ45 if a good deal comes along. I know Mick's been singing their praises.

 

I'm sure you'll become an AJ-45 fan when you try one [wink].

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I'm sure you'll become an AJ-45 fan when you try one [wink].

+1 for the AJ-45 [thumbup]

 

It keeps getting better. I'm even starting to like the satin finish (go figure). [rolleyes]

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+1 for the AJ-45 [thumbup]

 

It keeps getting better. I'm even starting to like the satin finish (go figure). [rolleyes]

 

I like the Satin finish. It reminds me of the finish on my Godin Kingpin (Cognac Burst) which is a favourite.

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+1 for the AJ-45 [thumbup]

 

It keeps getting better. I'm even starting to like the satin finish (go figure). [rolleyes]

 

I've noticed that Martin are doing satin finish bursts and black tops on their new 17 series. Wonder how they will be received? msp_confused.gif

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Just a quick update. I fitted ebony bridge pins to the EL-00 today. The new pins are ebony with a mother of pearl dot. They look much better than the original plastic. I'm not sure if they have made a difference to volume or overall tone, but they have definately improved sustain.

 

Resizing the ebony pins was an interesting exercise. The first one took me 30 minutes to do and the last one about 1 minute - I improved my technique as I progressed.

 

Now to get some bone pins for the AJ-45.

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I did the same to my EL-00 Pro about 2 years ago. I feel it made the same difference. And, yes carving the ebony pins down to size was a chore, but it got progressively quicker for me, too.

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I did the same to my EL-00 Pro about 2 years ago. I feel it made the same difference. And, yes carving the ebony pins down to size was a chore, but it got progressively quicker for me, too.

 

Carving the pins was a steep learning curve. Initially I tried sandpaper, which took a lot of effort for little return. In the end I shaved them down using a stanley knife (box cutter) - checking the diameter frequently with calipers. I'm not sure if the same technique will work with bone, but I'll give it a try - otherwise I'll use the dremel.

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I first used a wire cutter pliers and kept dragging it over the lower part of each pin to scrape the wood thinner, while holding the top with a pliers (I didn't have a vice), then I sanded each pin. Hard work for a little thang!

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Hard work, but worth it. I held the top in my fingers so I wouldn't damage it. Otherwise our techniques were simnilar [thumbup]

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