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Bernie Fitz

"Waking up" new EJ200SCE

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Hi, I'm new to the forum and I just got an Epiphone EJ200SCE as a birthday gift. For the most part I've been enjoying this guitar, the sustain goes on forever and you can really feel the chords vibrate through the guitar right into you. This is my first acoustic guitar in almost 30 years and for the last 10 or so I've rarely picked up my old Washburn so playing acoustic everyday again has been an adjustment in itself. The thing is I can't help feeling that I'm not getting the most out of this thing. It seems like there is a lot of untapped potential in there. I was wondering if anyone had ideas as to whether a string change or adjustment might be the way to go, or both? I'll show my ignorance and ask if lowering the action on a jumbo like this would open up the tone by allowing the strings to vibrate more freely or would raising it be better to increase volume and tone? Along the same lines would a lighter or heavier gage string be more responsive on this particular guitar? I think the factory strings are D'Addario 12-52. I'm not having trouble playing it aside from the differences switching from my Tele to this one so it doesn't need the action lowered for that reason it just seems like it's almost there missing some special ingredient. Hope this makes sense, thanks for reading.

Bernie Fitz

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Hi, I'm new to the forum and I just got an Epiphone EJ200SCE as a birthday gift. For the most part I've been enjoying this guitar, the sustain goes on forever and you can really feel the chords vibrate through the guitar right into you. This is my first acoustic guitar in almost 30 years and for the last 10 or so I've rarely picked up my old Washburn so playing acoustic everyday again has been an adjustment in itself. The thing is I can't help feeling that I'm not getting the most out of this thing. It seems like there is a lot of untapped potential in there. I was wondering if anyone had ideas as to whether a string change or adjustment might be the way to go, or both? I'll show my ignorance and ask if lowering the action on a jumbo like this would open up the tone by allowing the strings to vibrate more freely or would raising it be better to increase volume and tone? Along the same lines would a lighter or heavier gage string be more responsive on this particular guitar? I think the factory strings are D'Addario 12-52. I'm not having trouble playing it aside from the differences switching from my Tele to this one so it doesn't need the action lowered for that reason it just seems like it's almost there missing some special ingredient. Hope this makes sense, thanks for reading.

Bernie Fitz

 

Just playing it a lot will loosen the top and cause its sound to break in over time. Plus, as its a solid top guitar, as it ages it will keep improving. One thing you can try if you want to try it is raising the saddle so the strings are a bit higher which will increase the volume, so the tone will resonate more/louder from the soundhole. Rather than purchase and carve a new saddle, just try cutting a small strip the size of the saddle from an expired credit card or hotel hard plastic or synthetic hard cardboard (or whatever those things are made of) door key card...and, put it under the saddle as a shim. This will raise the action a bit to give you a chance to see if you like the higher volume from a higher saddle. If not, or if it raises the action too high for your liking you can just remove it. If you like it, no harm in keeping it under the saddle indefinitely rather than carving or purchasing a higher saddle.

 

12s should work fine on it.

 

Hope this helps.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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Hi, I'm new to the forum and I just got an Epiphone EJ200SCE as a birthday gift. For the most part I've been enjoying this guitar, the sustain goes on forever and you can really feel the chords vibrate through the guitar right into you. This is my first acoustic guitar in almost 30 years and for the last 10 or so I've rarely picked up my old Washburn so playing acoustic everyday again has been an adjustment in itself. The thing is I can't help feeling that I'm not getting the most out of this thing. It seems like there is a lot of untapped potential in there. I was wondering if anyone had ideas as to whether a string change or adjustment might be the way to go, or both? I'll show my ignorance and ask if lowering the action on a jumbo like this would open up the tone by allowing the strings to vibrate more freely or would raising it be better to increase volume and tone? Along the same lines would a lighter or heavier gage string be more responsive on this particular guitar? I think the factory strings are D'Addario 12-52. I'm not having trouble playing it aside from the differences switching from my Tele to this one so it doesn't need the action lowered for that reason it just seems like it's almost there missing some special ingredient. Hope this makes sense, thanks for reading.

Bernie Fitz

Welcome😊 Odds are good that your guitar will come into its own without a lot of tweaking as far as string height and the like. The main concern for me would be to play the daylights out of the thing on a regular and frequent basis. That should loosen it up a bit and continue to do so over time. Since you're acoustic playing is pretty much confined to one guitar, you should see progress sooner than some of us who play several and divide our playing time accordingly. There's some thought that using slightly heavier strings enhances the breaking- in process, but there's also some debate on the subject. Personally, I'd just trust my instincts and enjoy the guitar.

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Thanks Question Mark and Old Cowboy. It's only been just under three weeks I've had it and I'm trying to play it at least a bit every day. I guess I'll wait a bit longer and see how it develops.

Bernie

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Adjusting the action of the guitar won't have an impact on tone, only playability. As the SCE has a solid top, hope is, however, that the soundboard will eventually open up over time -- even more so the more frequently you play the guitar.

 

If you'd like more sound out of your jumbo right now, medium gauge strings might be the way to go, as they provide a generally louder sound and more sustain.

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Adjusting the action of the guitar won't have an impact on tone, only playability.

 

Leonard, I think you missed the point of the point I included in my post by your making your statement. Raising the height of the saddle will certainly increase the guitar''/ volume which will increase the volume of the tone of the guitar. For you to tell the original poster otherwise is not true. However, as you and I both mentioned, it will also effect the playability...as I mentioned that affect will need to determined if acceptable by the player. Just thought I better clarify so correct info is out there. (FYI...disclaimer. My personal preference is to have the strings a bit higher off the sound hole for its increased volume...plus, it works well with my fingerpicking. But, everyone has and should have individual perferences on their guitar(s)' setup(s).)

 

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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Thanks to everyone for your responses and help. As I said the sustain on the guitar is exceptional as it is though changes to action and/or string gage may increase it even further. As I play it more it's beginning to seem like the strings are a bit dead, almost muffled at times. The guitar arrived from Sweetwater in excellent condition, even in tune after shipping. They seem to do a good job of going over the instruments but I don't think they re-string? Maybe the strings have been on there a while just sitting unplayed. So maybe new strings is the place to start. I know a lot of people don't even play a new guitar before re-stringing. I just hate changing strings. (Do love those first few hours with a new set, though). Thanks again

 

Bernie

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Raising the height of the saddle will certainly increase the guitar''/ volume which will increase the volume of the tone of the guitar. For you to tell the original poster otherwise is not true.

What I said is perfectly true: adjusting the action of the guitar won't have an impact on tone, only playability. Also, raising the height of the saddle to increase string height doesn't automatically increase the volume of the sound of the guitar as well. It's only that through increased string height you are able to pick the strings of the guitar much harder without causing buzzing than you could otherwise on a guitar with low action (where rough playing would cause buzzing much sooner).

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What I said is perfectly true: adjusting the action of the guitar won't have an impact on tone, only playability. Also, raising the height of the saddle to increase string height doesn't automatically increase the volume of the sound of the guitar as well. It's only that through increased string height you are able to pick the strings of the guitar much harder without causing buzzing than you could otherwise on a guitar with low action (where rough playing would cause buzzing much sooner).

 

That is just not true. Raising the string height enables the strings' vibrations to be picked up more by the guitar and thus the ear. Here's three supporting articles quickly found on the internet.

 

http://www.sweetwater.com/insync/does-string-height-affect-guitar-tone/

 

http://www.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/string-height-tip-0204-2012.aspx

 

https://mmguitarbar.com/2012/09/28/raise-your-action-a-plea/

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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That is just not true. Raising the string height enables the strings' vibrations to be picked up more by the guitar and thus the ear. Here's three supporting articles quickly found on the internet.

 

http://www.sweetwater.com/insync/does-string-height-affect-guitar-tone/

 

http://www.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/string-height-tip-0204-2012.aspx

 

https://mmguitarbar.com/2012/09/28/raise-your-action-a-plea/

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

The Gibson article you linked to underlines my point nicely. Thanks, mate!

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No it doesn't. Paragraphs 4 and 5 in the Gibson article supports the same concept as I stated and that is in the two other articles. But, read it as you so choose if you feel it supports your theory. Setting one's string height is a personal thing anyway...

 

Bernie-I hope what has been shared with you is helpful. Enjoy your new guitar!

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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Hey my friend. Firstly ... welcome to the forum. Get ready for a ton of info from these guys, in both opinion and actual fact form !! Mostly actual fact !! As for me, I did the same thing you did about a year ago. I found this real nice Epiphone EJ200SCE on E-bay. It was about 6mos old, and a "have to sell" seller put it up. I got it and started the same way as you, having played guitars for a number of years, but not recently.

I'll cut to the chase of this post and tell you what I did that really made this beast come alive. I changed out the synthetic Nut and Saddle for Bone. The original string height was right on for me so I just insured that the new Bone Nut and Saddle were the same height as the originals. After a little studying, I went with Gibson J200 Light strings. The action on them is real nice and they have a good feel to them, and produce awesome and very clean volume un-amped. Other than that, I've just been enjoying having a guitar that out performs me and makes me look real good playing it !!

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I changed out the synthetic Nut and Saddle for Bone.

 

Yeah, that would make a difference. Also, sounds like new strings are immediately called for. But what really increases the volume and presence is when you plug her in! rolleyes.gif

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Hi, I'm new to the forum and I just got an Epiphone EJ200SCE as a birthday gift. For the most part I've been enjoying this guitar, the sustain goes on forever and you can really feel the chords vibrate through the guitar right into you. This is my first acoustic guitar in almost 30 years and for the last 10 or so I've rarely picked up my old Washburn so playing acoustic everyday again has been an adjustment in itself. The thing is I can't help feeling that I'm not getting the most out of this thing. It seems like there is a lot of untapped potential in there. I was wondering if anyone had ideas as to whether a string change or adjustment might be the way to go, or both? I'll show my ignorance and ask if lowering the action on a jumbo like this would open up the tone by allowing the strings to vibrate more freely or would raising it be better to increase volume and tone? Along the same lines would a lighter or heavier gage string be more responsive on this particular guitar? I think the factory strings are D'Addario 12-52. I'm not having trouble playing it aside from the differences switching from my Tele to this one so it doesn't need the action lowered for that reason it just seems like it's almost there missing some special ingredient. Hope this makes sense, thanks for reading.

Bernie Fitz

 

Welcome aboard. I did have one ej200sce and the changes I found to improve the sound was replacing the strings to elixir 12 53 phosphor bronze. I also changed the nut,saddle and bridge pins to bone. Those changes really helped my guitar as I hardly ever played mine plugged in. Hope this helps you.

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Hi, I'm new to the forum and I just got an Epiphone EJ200SCE as a birthday gift. For the most part I've been enjoying this guitar, the sustain goes on forever and you can really feel the chords vibrate through the guitar right into you. This is my first acoustic guitar in almost 30 years and for the last 10 or so I've rarely picked up my old Washburn so playing acoustic everyday again has been an adjustment in itself. The thing is I can't help feeling that I'm not getting the most out of this thing. It seems like there is a lot of untapped potential in there. I was wondering if anyone had ideas as to whether a string change or adjustment might be the way to go, or both? I'll show my ignorance and ask if lowering the action on a jumbo like this would open up the tone by allowing the strings to vibrate more freely or would raising it be better to increase volume and tone? Along the same lines would a lighter or heavier gage string be more responsive on this particular guitar? I think the factory strings are D'Addario 12-52. I'm not having trouble playing it aside from the differences switching from my Tele to this one so it doesn't need the action lowered for that reason it just seems like it's almost there missing some special ingredient. Hope this makes sense, thanks for reading.

Bernie Fitz

 

Raising the saddle will impact playability but will increase volume and strumming headroom, by way of the strings being further clear of the frets and avoiding bottoming out when hit hard, and the break angle over the saddle being increased, generating more downward pressure via the saddle and bridge to the top, therefore transmitting more energy and creating more volume. The opposite is true of lowering the action, you will end up with less volume and (depending on how heavy a right hand you have) the perception of a thinner tone as the treble strings will ring less cleanly due to their proximity to the frets.

 

My advice is to leave it where it is unless playability is an issue, and play the hell out of it. The most common mistake I see as a guitar tech is artists I work with having their acoustic set up to play like an electric and complaining that their £3000 guitar now sounds like a bag of nails. I tend to split the difference by cutting a slightly taller saddle and suddenly the tone is back and everyone's happy.

 

It's a fine line but unless you're experiencing buzzing or your guitar feeling like a handful to play, I'd leave things as they are setup wise and have a play with different strings, your EJ200 will have a factory setup for 12 gauge strings so maybe experiment with a few different makes. Martins feel stiffer and sound darker, D'Addarios lighter and brighter, and the likes of Ernie Ball, John Pearse and Rotosound are somewhere in between. Lots of fun to be had!

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I sent my original saddle to my tech and he said it was poorly made. The width varied along its length, and was not a good fit. I had a decent bone one made and slightly higher. Now it is great with good volume. I also read somewhere that increasing the break angle can enhance the lower end.

 

Bob

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Well, Bernie F. It's been around 9 months. Your new Epi should be sounding noticeably better just from the playing in. Stings, Saddle, picks make a difference regardless. One trick some here feel helps shortcut improving the sound, is to prop your guitar on a floor stand alongside a good sized radio, CD player, etc. You'll feel the 'sympathetic' vibrations if you get it situated right. The wood will think you're playing it. No 'rap' though !

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Well, Bernie F. It's been around 9 months. Your new Epi should be sounding noticeably better just from the playing in. Stings, Saddle, picks make a difference regardless. One trick some here feel helps shortcut improving the sound, is to prop your guitar on a floor stand alongside a good sized radio, CD player, etc. You'll feel the 'sympathetic' vibrations if you get it situated right. The wood will think you're playing it. No 'rap' though !

Now, I fully agree with the concept of 'sympathetic vibrations' in both breaking-in a newer instrument and helping a mature one to stay played-in. Some folks don't agree - I recall catching some good-natured incredulity the last time the topic arose😒 To the doubters, I still say😚 (good naturedly)😁

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Yeah, but using your existing music system/speakers and just putting your guitar nearby - is infinitely cheaper and easier than a ToneRite. . And, though I've not had or used a ToneRite I would guess the wider variety of actual music from your playlists would provide more ... variety to your young wood - than a tone rite. G'Luck.

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The discussion about string-height makes me wanna add 5 Yen : Definitely my experience the lower action dampens the sound.  Now I'm not a scientist, but everything I've done  and own show that pattern. The steel rings out in a grander way the higher they fly.

Apart from that : Is the guitar in Q with solid or laminated maple.  The latter I would think, , , but read and been told otherwise !?!?

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