AEL20E Review

manufacturer: Ibanez date: 07/18/2011 category: Acoustic Guitars
Ibanez: AEL20E
Once seen, the Ibanez AEL20EDPS is a hard guitar to forget. It's loaded with great features such as high-performance Maple back and sides, Ibanez Gold Die-Cast tuners, and a Fishman sonicore pickup. Topped off with a Deep Purple Sunburst High Gloss finish that stands out on stage and in the showroom.
 Sound: 9.8
 Overall Impression: 9.8
 Reliability & Durability: 8.8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9
 Features: 9.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (4) 35 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.6
AEL20E Reviewed by: Keemo1000, on october 15, 2007
10 of 10 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 350

Features: 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. // 10

Sound: 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. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 9.8
AEL20E Reviewed by: nashvillelespau, on august 08, 2007
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: Last year I purchased my first Ibanez I am pleased to say that it is the best for the price and beyond. It has a good action and amazing neck. having a 20 fret neck is great for acoustic lead stuff. Rosewood Fretboard. My Ibanez is a Jumbo Cutaway. Acoustically it has a beautiful tone and bass plugged in it's even better with a Fishman pickup and 4-band Ibanez SST Preamp. Grover Tuners make it breeze to restring with a great bridge and Piezo Pickup. I love the built in tuner that you can use live and no one heres you. // 10

Sound: I play a lot of fingerstyle, country rock, acoustic lead, ragtime, and some '60s. And it suits every bit of every aspect of these music styles. I am using an X Brand Amp straight plugged in. This guitar has a pure tone or it can sound like Fender strat just using your EQ. it has a warm rich sound. there is so much diversity. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar setup was great except for those awful strings by A'Darrio. I use Elixir Phosphor Bronze Custom lights. These give it the right tone. Pickups are setup well. No flaws. The buttons for straps are sturdy. Properly Routed Bridge and proper top. Absolutely no flaws. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I love playing this Live. this guitar has survived everything from little kids kicking it to cats knocking it over. Now I hang my guitars on the wall no damage! I can depend on this guitar forever. Strap buttons are solid. I still wouldn't play at a gig without a backup. just because of so many possibilities for damage. Trust Me I play this Guitar a lot and no finish problems. Don't leave it in high humidity or the truss rod will have to be used. // 9

Overall Impression: I play a lot of Fingerstyle, Country Rock, Acoustic Lead, Ragtime, and some '60s. This is a great match to play all of this. So much you can do with this this sounds great with a slide and tuned a step down. I have been playing for 3 year although am at a pro level already. If it were stolen or lost I would be so mad and would by another one in a heart beat. If I upgrade I would buy a Breedlove AC25 SR Plus. it is comparible. // 10

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overall: 9
AEL20E Reviewed by: tpvikke, on january 23, 2009
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 350

Features: This is my first acoustic guitar and I bought it in December 2008. With the guitar came also a gigbag and a strap. The guitar was made in China. It has 20 frets. The woods used in this guitar is: mahogany (neck), maple (back and sides) and flamed sycamore (top). The body is a cutaway style body and the finish I chose is transparent black cherry. The tuners are Ibanez's own tuners and with these the guitar stays in tune pretty well. The guitar looks very nice and is comfortable to play with. // 8

Sound: I play mostly metal and rock, and this thing suits well for playing these styles. I'm still playing the D'Addario strings that came with the guitar. Unplugged the guitar has a rich, bright sound and especially the low end notes sound cery nice. To put it simply, the AEL20 has killer tone when unplugged. Also plugged into an amp the B-Band pickup has nice sound, and the SRT preamp gives you good abilities to adjust your sound. The notch filter is a very nice feature with which you can easily change your tone completely. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: When the guitar came out of the package for the first time and I tuned it up, the action was great. It still is. I don't know if it's true but I have a feeling that Ibanez always deliver their guitars set up properly and professionally. At least that's the impression I have got over my short years. The finish on the guitar is a dream, not a flaw, only a beautiful look. So basically I thought that everyting was well set up straight from the beginning. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I haven't played this guitar Live yet, but I'm sure it will withstand Live playing for a long time. The hardware on this guitar is made to last. The only thing I have mentioned is that on the "pickup panel" one button is a bit loser than the other ones, but it will last, since it's in a quite secure area. The finish on the other hand is very good, and it won't wear off. I still haven't got even one scratch in it. I have already accidentally bumped the guitar into a table pretty hard, and it still didn't affect the finish. // 8

Overall Impression: This guitar's sound matched with it's look is a killer guitar for metal and rock. I've been playing guitar for 3 years now and I thought it was time for me to get my first acoustic. I don't' regret buying it and if it ever was stolen I'd definately buy another one. I totally love this guitar because of it's sound and look. When I was about buying an acuostic I compared this one to an Ibanez AEG model. I chose this one 'cause I thought it had better sound and was more comfortable to play on. // 9

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overall: 9
AEL20E Reviewed by: adagosto, on july 18, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 200

Purchased from: eBay

Features: 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. // 10

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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! // 7

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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