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July 21, 2010

The Epiphone Crestwood ET200 series

The Crestwood was launched in 1958 by Epiphone. The guitar was a double cutaway solidbody construction in mahogany with dual New Yorker pickups, three-on-a-side headstock and a pickguard with the Epiphone logo. In late 1959 the guitar was renamed the Crestwood Custom and the body's edges were rounded off and the pickguard go different design. In 1961 the New Yorker pickups were replaced with minihumbuckers, the dot markers were replaced with oval markers and the pickguard lost its Epiphone logo. By 1963 the body got a slightly longer upper horn, a six on-a-side headstock and the gold plating were replaced with nickel plating. Epiphone also launched the Crestwood DeLuxe which can easily be described as a three pickup version of the Crestwood Custom, it also featured an ebony fretboard with block inlays. The Crestwood DeLuxe was discontinued in 1969 and the Crestwood Custom the year after.

These ET 200 series were introduced a year later in 1970 made by Matsumoku in Japan when Epiphone moved production to the far east. Based on a very similar body shape with 3 a side headstock similar to the original late 50's/early 60's style. They featured 2 fairly powerful chrome or gold plated full size humbuckers and either a bridge and stop tailpice, wraparound (rare) or vibrato as fitted to other Aria guitars of the time. They were offered with either chrome or gold hardware in all forms and with "inlayed" or printed logo headstocks. These were well made (as fans of the Matsumoku factory will know) and had bolt on necks available in both rosewood and maple fretboards. The models consisted of the same basic guitar with different levels of binding and inlays with the higher number designation (ie: ET275/278/290) having a bound neck and headstock with block inlay fretboard.

Matsumoku got around the bolt on neck "hanging out" of the body so far, like the originals by having a "tongue" under the neck pick up, much like a Mosrite. I LOVE the necks on these Crestwoods and I think they're a great alternative if you can't afford an original. They have a real "SG" tone and are nice and light. We've had a few of these through the shop over the years and they still amaze me when they come in. They were offered in bass versions as well with similar features.
I own pretty much the whole line up of the original solid body Epiphones from this era inc a Crestwood deluxe and I still have a couple of these 70's Matsumoku made ones in that collection.


  1. I had one just like the black model with the arai tremolo in the 80s.
    I put DiMarzio pickups in it. It had a slim neck. I wish I would have kept it.

  2. I had the blonde model on the bottom and am going crazy looking at it.

  3. I have a body including all the hardware. The pickguard is broken right by the neck pickup but it seems this can be glued fairly easy. However I have no clue whatsoever how I go about either find a neck to fit the body or how to make one myself...

  4. oh I forgot to mention it's the one with the wrap around bridge, so awesome.

  5. Hi
    nice to find stumble on this site ive had a sunburst japanese crestwood since early 70's ,still my favourite neck EVER!nice bright edgy sound. mine is all original all working perfectly . always a headturner at gigs.

  6. i have a black one and want to change the pickups but i have heard that it is hard to find pickups that fit. any ideas?