Epiphone AJ 18S Sounds Sweet!
Aug 4, 2000 (Updated Dec 27, 2001)
Review by swb
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:sound, appearance, moderate price
Cons:nut may be a little high
The Bottom Line: Good instrument...if it has the sound you want!
12/27/01 UPDATE...With the passing of time, alas, this guitar has been sold. Over time, I came to the conclusion that the sound was just too dry...not enough ring or warmth. So, I am now playing on a Seagull S6+Spruce (separate review) and feel it to be a superior instrument to the AJ18S. My comments about the Aj18 still hold, but as I play and study, my ear is changing. Again...evidence why you should always play a guitar...everyone has their own ears and opinions!
Recommend this product?
I'm the proud owner and player of a Epiphone AJ 18S acoustic guitar. The model I have does not have any built-in pickup, and is not a cutaway design. It is a natural finish acoustic dreadnaught with a spruce top and mahogany body. The fingerboard is rosewood with nice diamond inlay markings. The tuners have a gold finish, and overall, the instrument is very attractive. More importantly, the instrument sounds nice - it has a mellow balanced tone, and is well suited for finger picking and acoustical style playing. The sound level is moderate, not as big and bluesey sounding as my son's Epiphone PR 100. As with any guitar, you want to listen to it to see if it produces the sound you are looking for.
I use a Dean Markley Pro Mag Plus pickup with this guitar and patch it into a Crate GFX 15 practice amp. This combination produces a very nice sound, and the built in digital effects on the Crate are fun to play with (chorus, reverb, flange, delay). The volume is fine for around the house - obviously, you will need a bigger amp for gigs. I play the guitar for fun and haven't reached the level where I am performing in public (need more lessons!!), so I haven't used this guitar and pickup with larger amps.
The sound of this instrument is very dependent upon your choice of strings. When I first started playing this guitar, I was using light gauge strings. Recently, I switched to Dean Markley medium light strings, and the sound improved greatly (more volume and resonance).
The overall set up of the guitar was pretty good. The nut may be slightly high, and I am thinking about having it adjusted. Overall fit and finish is quite good for a guitar in this price range. The tuners work smoothly, and it holds pitch quite well. The neck is slightly thinner than some guitars (i.e. Epiphone PR series feature thicker necks), therefore newer players may experience some difficulty with barred chords. And, some additional set up may make a difference. I have had my guitar since January, and it is a very solid instrument.
UPDATE!!! Just got my Epi back from being set-up by a pro......what a difference. The nut and saddle, along with the truss rod were adjusted. The action i much lower, and it is so much easier to play. Words of wisdom to all purchasers of guitars....spend a few bucks and get it set-up by a good technician. Ask around and I find a good one.....you won't regret the $$ it cost, and your fingers will be sooooo grateful. Strum on, children...strum on!
As anyone that plays will tell you, play a guitar before you buy it, as there are so many instruments available. But, I think that Epiphone makes some nice instruments for the money, and my AJ 18S is a nice instrument.
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