AEL20E review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (116 votes)
Ibanez: AEL20E

Price paid: $ 350

Sound — 9
My personal styles conclude metal, hard rock, rock 'n' roll, blues rock, all in instrumental forms (Joe Satriani/ Steve Vai style with a twist) and have recently been interested in exploring the first forms of guitar music, or whatever it is which means buying an acoustic guitar. I've never owned one before, but I did however want something that would sound good unplugged (So that it could be played like a normal acoustic) and something that's also good to use with an amp (electroacoustic). I went to my ex-local guitar store and found some really good priced Epiphone electroacoustics but really hated how they were all really thin and could only be played with an amp. I looked at some yamahas which had a digital screen tuner, but besides that sounded to piezo acoustic to me (kind of a plasticish sound which many people look for. I look for the natural sound). And after some research at home, I've found that the AEL20E was the best electroacoustic for me. The next day I went to try it and it took me less than 10 minutes before my wallet was out paying for this guitar. The guitar sounds truly amazing and very clear. The natural resonance and reverb in it are amazing and could make a small room with 3-4 people listening cosy in winter if they were to listen to someone play that guitar. I haven't got the chance to fully master the preamp that comes with it but when setting all the parameteres to the exact middle (so that they're all pointing in the direction that's away from the player) it sounds really clear. And I'm sure that if I mess around more with it I would be able to get even better sounds. It sounds better on an amp if you have a chorus pedal. I personally use Line 6 toneport for now and it sounds great on that. I have however started to notice some slight buzzing on some of the strings which I've once experienced on my electric guitar, but I think that a quick string change would do the trick.

Overall Impression — 10
Once again, I play instrumental rock and 70% of my songs almost always have to have clean parts in order to create the full effect, mood, and feel to the song since that's what instrumental music is about. The AEL is an excellent acoustic rhythm guitar for electrics to play over, and also sounds so crisp and clear for lead parts. I really love how Ibanez made a guitar that would suit all my needs for an excellent price, this being my first Ibanez guitar. I also like how it looks but think the glossy finish has a downside which is that your fingers kind of print on the neck and body which makes it easier for AEL to collect dust, so be sure to clean it every once in a while with a dry towel or so. If it were stolen, I would'nt buy it again unless I manage to save for it. Earlier I said that I chose this over other Yamaha guitars. I'd like to pay my tribute to Yamaha by saying that they're an amazing company which doesn't only specialize in musical instruments for a start. But really when it comes to guitars with Yamaha, I would buy a normal acoustic as I did not like their electroacoustics. I think they're just better at making normal acoustics. Just look at Dave Navarro's white guitar! Overall, the AEL20E is an excellent guitar and would be a shame for anyone not to atleast take a look at it if he/she were to spot it in a music store or so. For all of the above reasons.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar will definitely withstand playing live. And it will even look great as all the colors in which the AEL comes in are all great. The strap buttons are strong and are also gold like the tuners but I really hate the position of the second button as it is at the top of the guitar body a few inches after the sound hole but from the back ofcourse. I'm used to playing with electrics so maybe others could adapt to it quicker if they're acoustic players.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The strings which came with the guitar (D'addario EXPs) sounded really good even though other reviewers suggested experimenting with different strings. So the factory set up string-wise is pretty good. The bridge was routed properly and looks like it wont die for a very long time. I do hate however how the flamed maple top could get affected by the pick if you touch the guitar body too much. invisible scratches that only appear under light start to appear, and when you have too much of them, it would look like the guitar's been used without care. So just try to avoid that. Also, be careful of banging your AEL20E against any wall or desk as it could get scratched and the headstock could have small parts of it's corners chipped off by accident and ruin the beautiful finish on it. So it's a guitar that sounds great and looks great but needs an adult to care for it.

Features — 10
I'm not sure what year it was made in, but it was made in china. It has a gorgeous flamed maple top (mine's dark red sunburst as the blue one was out of stock), maple back and sides, gold Die-Cast tuners, Fishman Sonicore pickup, an extremely handy and accurate onboard tuner, with some basic preamp features, pearl dot inlays and really good-looking sound hole design. The bridge and fretboard are both rosewood and the neck itself is mahogany (which is really sturdy), and comfortable. The picture does this guitar no justice. It looks much better in real life and you wont believe the goodness of the frets on this guitar.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    this is a dreadnaught body. not one of the slimmer acoustic bodies more in line with an electric. either way it's a very solid guitar
    the only problem is the dot inlays I HATE dot inlays, I'll have to change them out on mine. But this guitar is amazing!