Epiphone EL-00: The Travel Guitar Killer
May 8, 2008 (Updated May 9, 2008)
Review by ahand
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Nice value, good choice for an imitation.
Cons:Not a blues king, but that would be quibbling.
The Bottom Line: For 300.00, it's a specialized small volume guitar, but a fine one.
Any who sees this rather pretty and vintage looking guitar will recognize it as an Epiphone version of the Gibson Blues King. Given how popular the Blues King is (and often lusted for), this could qualify as an outright public service if the guitar can even deliver 50%, which is does in spades.
Recommend this product?
Predictably, it delivers your standard Epiphone acoustic, solid and not super spectacular, but, the smaller body and solid top do make a difference. You do get a more clear and class blues tone, very much like a 20's guitar. Not too deep and echoed, but lots of liveliness in the mids and highs, like the notes are brighter but not tinny.
The bass would be considered thin by some, but to a practiced ear, the sound has better balance across the strings. Most cheap guitars make up for poorer quality by being "boomier" and giving the impression the richness. True value lies in even tone, and this guitar does a good job of it. It's a great finger picking instrument as a result.
At a minimum, I would take this Epi over a lot of the travel guitars and other "baby guitars" that passes for neato just because of the headstock. It's size also makes it very easy to just pick up and play and let lay about. Perfect volume level for indoors, nice tone response, and comfortable to hold. Makes you wonder why parlour guitars ever did go out of style.
The sides are laminated mahogany, with a solid spruce top, with good tuners, and the usual good neck. I've said this a lot, and while some may disagree, I've noticed that Epi necks tend to one of the best things about their acoustics.
Also, very nice vintage sunburst finish. One thing that's good to see in 2008, that we're decades past where companies made the cheaper lines look ugly on purpose.
There's been a lot said about how expensive American guitars have gotten, and most of it's true, and most of all that is a bubble based on nostalgia. Believe me, there will come a time when you will be able to get a used Les Paul for 800.00, if anyone will pay that much. Until then, just believe I'm nuts.
American companies have realized two things. One, imports make good guitars affordable again. Two, American companies have become like the old car companies, and are no longer able to make a competitive product at an affordable price.
Eventually the Asian companies may figure out they can make the guitars even cheaper without the middle men. But that isn't certain, the partnership so far has made guitar playing a pleasure we can all enjoy, no matter where we are economically.
More and more, we find the phenomenon of the guitarist who owns an expensive or rare guitar, but doesn't dare use it live or take it out gigging. There's the usual (often snobby) complaints about imported guitars, then it's models like the LL-00 that get packed up and taken out for a night of fun.
Sure, it's a more "expendable" guitar, but if the truth be known, most players think these guitars sound good enough and play pretty well for the money.
In the case of the Epiphone EL-00, you get a taste of the good life as if you owned a Blues King after all, except now you're the king.
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