AJ-220S review by Epiphone

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  • Features: 8
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (1 vote)
Epiphone: AJ-220S

Price paid: £ 80

Purchased from: Ebay

Features — 8
After looking for a fairly cheap acoustic I came across this. Nice vintage sunburst finish on bell shaped body that feels smaller than other guitars of the same style. The neck has a satin finish on the back and a rosewood fretboard that feels pleasant to play. The tuners are no name but the do a good job, at least no issues yet. The top is solid sitka and the sides mahogany, I can't tell if the sides are laminate. The neck is on the slim side. To be honest i'm not that familiar with acoustic guitars but i can't fault it.

Sound — 8
This guitar sounds great, not amazing, but great. The notes have a fair amount of sustain and ring true. Chords are clear and articulate. You get a surprising amount of bass and plenty of midrange. The top end is there but no as present. I've used this as a a rhythm guitar mostly and it's cut through a band mic'd up. I can't complain about the sound for what I use it for but it's never going to measure up to a Martin or Sigma. But then it's really not supposed too. We all know tones subjective but i'm quiet happy with the sound, not too bright, not to much low end.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I cannot find fault with the finish or action. Nicely set up, no chips or knocks, no dead frets and no signs of wear. No nut issues and no signs of loose joints or faults in the bracing. As is the case with Epiphone (and Squier) is usually a mixed bag with quality control so check carefully before you buy. I got pretty lucky with this but it is second hand so I'm unaware if the previous owner had it set up professionally. As it is I have no issues with it as is. Again bear in mind that this is really only used to write and play a few songs on, a more serious acoustic player might find faults that I wont.

Reliability & Durability — 7
It's been gigged live on many occasions and no problems so far. If it was my main gigging guitar I would buy another as back up, but really does anyone gig without a backup? In the future I will upgrade the tuners and may change to a bone nut/bridge, but that cause I like to mod rather than a comment on the guitar itself. It's by no means bomb proof but then is any guitar at any gig? The tuners could probably do with an upgrade and so could the nut which I can do myself, but if you had to pay someone to do it then you'd be better off upping your budget and getting a better guitar.

Overall Impression — 9
I've used this to write song and then played those songs live so to me this has done its job. As someone who mostly plays rock and metal this first experience with an acoustic has been great. Would it suit an exclusive acoustic player? Probably not. Are there better sounding guitar. Almost certainly. But for the electric player who wants something cheap to write with, or a beginner with a budget this is ideal. If it was stolen or broken I would probably get another if I got a good price, I never really looked at any other guitars in the same price range so maybe I would do some research first.

My one and only gripe about this guitar is the neck width. It feel too small, which is great for young beginners but not so much if you have giant bear hands like me. Something to be aware of.

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