Other Guitars

Early 70’s Epiphone ea-250


Anybody have any experience with these Japanese made bolt-neck hollowbody Epi's? They look interesting.


I have one of the earliest versions, which is designated 5102-T... The model number was changed in 1972, I believe, to EA-250. Even so, the guitar itself didn't change.

These were introduced in late 1969, and built by Matsumoku... The same build was also sold under the Univox brand as the "Coily" model.

Bolt-on neck, fully hollow with a large tone post and a 9.5" radius fretboard. The pickups are interesting .. appear to be generic Japanese humbuckers, with on set of pole pieces being fixed "staple" style bars. And the pickups actually sound pretty darn good! Mine originally had a crappy floating bridge that I replaced with a floating TOM bridge, and the harness had dry rotted, so I replaced that too. While I had it apart, I went ahead and wax-potted the pickups. Mine is a 1970 model... It has a blue "Epiphone, Kalamazoo Michigan" label in the body, falsely implying (but not implicitly stating) that as the place of manufacture. However, the neck plate is clearly stamped "JAPAN"... Removing all doubts.


If by "interesting," you mean "terrible," then yes. These were the epitome of "cheap Japanese guitar," when that was a derogatory term.

They bore no resemblance to any original Epiphone designs, but were built by Matsumoku and branded Epiphone, Lyle, Univox, Ventura, Aria and many others. For tone, playability and consitency, there are SOOOO many better options for the money nowadays.

The prices on these have been creeping upwards, but I suspect that's due to players with a sentimental attachment, if that was their first guitar way back when. It's certainly not because of the actual quality of the instrument.


Mine is definitely not a total dog, but yeah, I wouldn't pay more than $350 for one in tip top shape. Average condition, I'd probably pass. I bought mine years ago for $50, and the previous owner had taken it apart to try and fix a "dead pickup", which actually turned out to be a dead pot instead. So I have maybe $75 in parts in mine... Making my total cash investment $125.00.

The hardest thing for me to get used to is the 9.5 radius... almost everything else I own is 12" radius. I will add that I did have to shim the neck in order to make the TOM bridge work.. the original bridge profile was a bit lower.

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