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Epiphone EJ-200 made in USA identification help needed


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Hello Epiphonists!

 

I am trying to identify the date and place of manufcture of this nice Epiphone EJ-200 guitar (see photos).

 

The label displays made in the USA and a seven-digit serial no. (8206048) which I was not able to retrieve in various sources in the web.

 

My guess would be: YY 82, MM 06 (June) and either factory code (048) or manufacture no. 048?

 

Has anybody come across these kind of Epiphone guitars - made in USA?

I thought most of Epiphones's production was offshored to Asia so could it be that this guitar was still made in USA?

 

When an where was this guitar built?

Does it have a solid spruce or is it laminated?

Any idea of a reasonable second hand price?

 

All input or comments are highly appreciated!

 

Cheers

audionaut

 

post-93398-023054800 1530687061_thumb.jpg

post-93398-066669700 1530686973_thumb.jpg

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First of all, welcome to the forum!

 

As for the instrument in question, it is highly unlikely that this guitar was built in the USA.

 

I would initially have said that it was probably made in Korea in the '90s, and that is still a possibility.

 

But the pinless bridge is something I have not seen on an actual Epiphone with a mustache bridge. Therefore, I'm wondering if this is a Chinese knock-off.

 

In either case, the label is most likely intended to deceive the buyer.

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Dear bobouz,

 

Thanks for your welcome and comment!

 

It's true that this pinless Moustache Bridge is rather unusual. I have not found it on any web Picture of an EJ-200.

 

However, maybe this is a good hint for identification either as a real US made Guitar or as a counterfeit?

 

Regards

audionaut

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However, maybe this is a good hint for identification either as a real US made Guitar or as a counterfeit?

Yes, the pinless bridge on a jumbo body is a significant clue, as it does not conform to any era of Epi construction that I've seen to date.

 

Never say never, but it's almost a certainty that this guitar was not made in the USA. If it were, it would have been made by Gibson (since they own Epiphone) - and likewise, it does not conform to the common norms of Gibson USA construction.

 

The EJ-200 first appeared in the early 90s, when Epiphone acoustic construction was based in Korea.

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Bozeman, of course, never even bothered reproducing the pinless bridge on their various Everly Bros J-180 reissues. Other than that model the only other Gibson I can think of that came with a pinless bridge would have been the J-40 in the 1970s. But the big question is where would the money be in manufacturing a guitar In the U.S. with the Epi moniker that was already in production.

 

As far as I know, the only U.S. built Epi acoustics after 1970 were models which had originated in Kalamazoo in the 1960s such as the 1993 reissues of the Texan, Excellente and Frontier. As a starting point though, I am also pretty sure that if this guitar were built in the U.S. it will have the serial number stamped on the back of the headstock.

Edited by zombywoof
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 years later...

Epi guru

I had heard at one time only that the original manufacture date of the ej200 was 1988. I've never seen one, but the serial number on this one is highly probable to be the 1988 model. If so this would be one of the rarest Epiphone EJ 200 I've ever seen.  One thing you can do ,  is   tilt the guitar up and look through the sound hole towards the neck .  The older models stamped the date  inside . On the other hand, I ran the serial number through the official Epiphone website known as guitarInsite, unfortunately the serial number could not be recognized by this serial number search application.

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I'm pretty familiar with the various domestic runs of Epiphone and i can't think of any run it could have been a part of. The nearest things to a J-200 that Epiphone made were the New York/Philadelphia made FT-210 Deluxe from about 1950-1957 which yours absolutely isn't. The FT-210 Deluxe had a single cut away and was actually slightly larger (17 3/8" lower bout)  than a J-200.  During the Gibson/Kalamazoo Epiphone years  nothing even close was produced domestically although from 1973-1979 there were two J-200 type models called the FT-570 BL (natural finish)and FT-570 SB (sunburst finish) which were made in Japan by Matsumoku. They were generally a J-200 type model although  with completely laminated woods, white pearloid block fret board markers and plain black J-200 type pick guard with a white/faux pearl epsilon. The bridge was similar to the the six pin, non-adjustable one used on the contemporary Gibson J-200 with no cut outs and two swept comma pearloid inlays. During what was known as "The Norlin Era" (1970-1985) Gibson acoustics were not enormously popular or famous for their build and material quality. While there were some electric guitars branded as Epiphones made domestically(primarily 1981-1983) I can't think of any USA-made acoustics made in this time frame. About 1992 production of the EJ-200 was started in Korea by Samick . Aside from the plain pick guard on yours, for all intents and purposes this is the guitar you have. Nothing other than the label (which is questionable at best, suggests any connection to USA manufacture. The head stock shape, the machine heads, the three screw truss rod cover, the fret board markers, all suggest Korean manufacture. The bridge while interesting can be explained as an after-market replacement/modification as can the pick guard. As far as the interior label it looks to me as if white-out was used to block out the original "Made In Korea" designation and someone thinking they were clever then added the made In The USA. Why people do such things is anyone's guess. Perhaps to defraud or maybe just to make someone feel they had something special or unique. As I said, I see nothing having to do with the guitar which suggests anything other than 1990s Korean manufacture. As far as value, I'd guess in the neighborhood of ~$300 - ~$400, maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less. If it plays well I wouldn't worry about the minutiae and particulars and just enjoy it.

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  • 6 months later...

The Inspired by Gibson acoustic line was rebranded shortly before it was released. The shipping boxes (and even some interior labels) refer to them as Masterbilt models. They are the same guitar. Every example I've seen is from Indonesia.

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On 4/7/2021 at 12:18 AM, RonWjon7 said:

I want to buy one of the new Epiphone solid wood  J200 by Gibson.  How does it compare with the Master Built same model 

 

Epiphone only has one acoustic model made in the USA by Gibson - the Epiphone USA Texan. 

They just released the Epiphone Inspired by Gibson line with the Hummingbird, J200, and J45. All made overseas. People seem to really like em! 

There is also one kind of inbetween - the early 00's Epiphone Elite J200. made in japan, great quality. 

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