Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 10
The first thing you'll generally notice about this guitar is how nice it looks, but then when you hear it, it really captures you. At the $350.00 price point, you will be hard pressed to find anything close to the rich bright sound. The reason is pretty simple; it's got a huge body! But this is rather important to know. I found the guitar very comfortable to play in the store for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. But after playing it for 30 minutes, it becomes much more noticeable that this guitar is really big. I have found that I have to hold it differently than other guitars because it will dig into my bicep. So if you are thinking about buying this guitar, make sure you play it for a while to be sure it's really a good fit for you. Outside of that, the sound is great. I personally love the sound when plugged in. I generally boost the bass end up a little and play it LOUD! I love to "feel" the sound as much as I love to hear it.
Overall Impression — 10
I like classic rock, blues and jazz, but that does NOT mean I can play that stuff too well. The bright sound is well suited for what I like and when plugged in you gain a lot more control. And for those of you on the spruce/maple top fence... just play it and ask yourself, does this "sound" nice? If you say yes (which you will), then it should be good enough for you. Short of that you'll need to double the cost to get an equivalent sounding spruce top guitar. For $350,00 you should have NO RESERVATIONS buying this guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The build is pretty good. Chinese manufactured goods for the most part suck and have been going downhill in recent years, but this guitar seems like it's quality is being maintained well. There are some slight issues you'll see with it, but come on, it's a $350.00 instrument assembled by humans. All-in-all it's fine.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Here's my big negative about the guitar... but there's an easy fix for it. I found the setup to be poor out of the box. The action was set way too high. But after a professional setup and new strings, WOW!
Features — 10
If you are researching the AEL20E, then you are probably already familiar with the features so I won't address those here. What I can talk about is how those features work and how easy they are to use. First off, photos do not do this guitar justice; it really looks nice. They Shine up beautifully and will improve the look of the entire room you play it in. The electronics work great and are easy to use (more on this later). The tuning pegs are tight and pretty sensitive and the guitar holds tune quite well. Being a large body guitar it is more susceptible to temperature changes so if you play outdoors you'll need to keep an eye on this. The on-board tuner was a pleasant surprise as being not only very accurate but more sensitive than stand alone digital tuners. The computer gives you a very narrow band of when it says the string is in tune. Nice.