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mgrasso

Masterbilt AJ-45ME - VSS

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I find the AJ-45ME really nice for the price. It is not as full-ranged as the Gibson J-45 but definitely has the dry characteristics associated with the model plus it is really nice to play.

Visiting shops and talking to people I learnt that no many people (at least in Europe) pay attention to the masterbuilt Epiphone models and I find it a bit strange and in my opinion a marketing issue as most people associate Epiphone with the really low budget range.

We have done our 1st acoustic session in TonePedia the other day and one of the 1st guitars we demoed was the AJ-45ME. We also demoed a Gibson J-45 but haven't uploaded it yet, it will be great to compare the two. I will upload them in the next few days or so.

In the meanwhile if you feel like it check the Epi, I think that the sound speaks for itself.

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I find the AJ-45ME really nice for the price. It is not as full-ranged as the Gibson J-45 but definitely has the dry characteristics associated with the model plus it is really nice to play.

Visiting shops and talking to people I learnt that no many people (at least in Europe) pay attention to the masterbuilt Epiphone models and I find it a bit strange and in my opinion a marketing issue as most people associate Epiphone with the really low budget range.

We have done our 1st acoustic session in TonePedia the other day and one of the 1st guitars we demoed was the AJ-45ME. We also demoed a Gibson J-45 but haven't uploaded it yet, it will be great to compare the two. I will upload them in the next few days or so.

In the meanwhile if you feel like it check the Epi, I think that the sound speaks for itself.

Link?

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Still playing mine almost every day. It sits here by the sofa as I watch TV and I pick it up often when ads are on or when I here some music on the telly that I fancy trying. It still sounds and feels just right to me even though I have a J15 and other very nice guitars. It's got that mellow something about the tone that's just right for gentle strumming and the odd picking session. Love it!!! msp_thumbup.gif

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This Masterbilt AJ-45ME looks just like the Epi Limited Edition 1963 J45 but with a Masterbilt headstock. It needs a few changes. The rosette is too wide and too fussy. It needs to be more like the simple rosette on a Gibson J45. And as for the pickguard!! Well what can I say? It needs to be a teardrop at least. If this guitar is all solid like other Masterbilts and looks the part, I for one cannot wait!!!

ps having looked closely at the spec I would prefer a slightly wider nut 1.72 at least

 

Agree with all your points. I was excited to hear Epiphone was going to finally issue a Masterbuilt J-45, but my first impression with the AJ45ME did not go well. I love a good Satin finish on stained wood (mahogany top guitars are gorgeous) but a flat paint sunburst with Satin on top is dog ugly. A sold black or maroon would be tolerable, but Satin Sunburst is the most disgusting paint job you can give an acoustic guitar. You can sure feel the shorter nut-width and short string spacing on this model too. My first impression with the AJ45ME is that it felt and looked like Epiphone took the Inspired By Texan and mixed it with what use to be the AJ500. But after recording samples of it I've changed my tune a bit. It feels nothing like a J-45, but it's tonal character is certainly in the ballpark. A bit thin, but I think for players looking for a modern J-45 tone on a $600 budget the AJ45ME is the way to go.

 

It's my least favorite guitar presented here

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Agree with all your points. I was excited to hear Epiphone was going to finally issue a Masterbuilt J-45, but my first impression with the AJ45ME did not go well. I love a good Satin finish on stained wood (mahogany top guitars are gorgeous) but a flat paint sunburst with Satin on top is dog ugly. A sold black or maroon would be tolerable, but Satin Sunburst is the most disgusting paint job you can give an acoustic guitar. You can sure feel the shorter nut-width and short string spacing on this model too. My first impression with the AJ45ME is that it felt and looked like Epiphone took the Inspired By Texan and mixed it with what use to be the AJ500. But after recording samples of it I've changed my tune a bit. It feels nothing like a J-45, but it's tonal character is certainly in the ballpark. A bit thin, but I think for players looking for a modern J-45 tone on a $600 budget the AJ45ME is the way to go.

 

It's my least favorite guitar presented here

 

I was so excited when it was first announced, I did expect it to be more like a J45 than it turn out to be. It is a bit of a compromise but understandably Epiphone could not produce a J45 lookalike and soundalike and get away with it. Daft if they did Gibson would lose out to the tune of millions. But they did a fair job and it does have a nice tone. I soon got over my initial expectations of its looks and settled for it having a great sound and feel. On the subject of satin sunbursts, Martins 00017s seem to have been well received with no critical mention of the dull finish. Names on head stocks, it's all about names!!!

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I was so excited when it was first announced, I did expect it to be more like a J45 than it turn out to be. It is a bit of a compromise but understandably Epiphone could not produce a J45 lookalike and soundalike and get away with it. Daft if they did Gibson would lose out to the tune of millions. But they did a fair job and it does have a nice tone. I soon got over my initial expectations of its looks and settled for it having a great sound and feel. On the subject of satin sunbursts, Martins 00017s seem to have been well received with no critical mention of the dull finish. Names on head stocks, it's all about names!!!

The 17 series 'bursts photograph really well, but seeing one for real is a tragic letdown. Still, they sound OK - to my ear, better than the 15's - but it seems to me that, even by Martin standards, the price should justify a bit more guitar for the money.

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Got my AJ45-ME from Andertons a few weeks ago. The satin finish is different but I don't find it too off-putting. Sound is quite good, but it is a new guitar and a new guitar is never at its best. The saddle was rough and not a good fit, same as when I got the EJ200SCE, so had a good one made that fitted properly. I also ditched the Cleartone strings and put on Polyweb 80/20 12's. Starting to sound better now. One thing that really irritates is the sharp corners of the nut, anyone found that? The edge by the top E string just catches my hand from time to time.

 

Bob

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Got my AJ45-ME from Andertons a few weeks ago. The satin finish is different but I don't find it too off-putting. Sound is quite good, but it is a new guitar and a new guitar is never at its best. The saddle was rough and not a good fit, same as when I got the EJ200SCE, so had a good one made that fitted properly. I also ditched the Cleartone strings and put on Polyweb 80/20 12's. Starting to sound better now. One thing that really irritates is the sharp corners of the nut, anyone found that? The edge by the top E string just catches my hand from time to time.

 

Bob

Mine is about 10 months old now and the sound is really starting to come into its own. I was really anti the satin finish before I bought it, now it doesn't bother me at all - except in certain lights I can see the beginnings of "worn" patch where my strumming arm brushes against it.

Yes, I also had the nasty sharp corners on the nut, most noticeable when playing an open B7 chord, I rounded them off with a little bit of sandpaper.

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Just picked up one of these from a Craigslist seller. Lucky for me the seller was a bit of a guitar tech and had lowered the bridge a bit and optimized the nut by filing the nut slots. Also had polished the top to a semi-gloss, and threw into the bargain a decent case and a G7 capo. Got all this for about half of what it would cost new. I have too many guitars already, but I couldn't pass up an all solid Masterbuilt for that kind of money.

This guitar plays every bit as well as my Taylor 524. As far as sound, well, you can try this at your own risk, but I played a little passage first on the Taylor and then on the Epi while my wife listened from the other room. Before I had even finished she says " I like the sound of that second one"!

I'm going back and forth between the Taylor and the Epi, and for some things I prefer the Taylor and for others the Epiphone. Two different sounds, both good. I really like the looks of this AJ45. I like pretty much everything about the styling except that they seem to have used a pickguard meant for the EJ 200. I like the Batwing pickguards, but look at the old J45's that had them and the curves pretty much matched the body contours. Doesn't really compare to the Taylor in the fit and finish department, but lately I'm playing the AJ more often. Just a great guitar!

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I have one and love it. Check these two videos. I call this the "Elvis in Hollywood" model. Same dull finish, same pickguard.

 

Ha, ha. I haven't seen an Elvis clip let alone a movie for ages. Notice how the batwing pickguard parallels the curve of the body. Can't seem to find anywhere to order a proper pickguard that matches the bodyshape. I'm debating making one from a blank.

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I tried to convince myself that the pickguard didn't bother me too much but then one morning I just couldn't take it any longer, so after about three minutes with a hair dryer it was off of there. Didn't leave a speck of adhesive. That finish was flat under there!! After about ten minutes of polishing I had it matching the rest of the top. Looked so good I decided to use a clear pickguard. Ordered it from Amazon and it was there the next day.

See what you think.

post-82023-009817000 1480895242_thumb.jpg

post-82023-015657400 1480895261_thumb.jpg

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I tried to convince myself that the pickguard didn't bother me too much but then one morning I just couldn't take it any longer, so after about three minutes with a hair dryer it was off of there. Didn't leave a speck of adhesive. That finish was flat under there!! After about ten minutes of polishing I had it matching the rest of the top. Looked so good I decided to use a clear pickguard. Ordered it from Amazon and it was there the next day.

See what you think.

post-82023-009817000 1480895242_thumb.jpg

post-82023-015657400 1480895261_thumb.jpg

 

Your AJ45 looks great with a gloss top.

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I tried to convince myself that the pickguard didn't bother me too much but then one morning I just couldn't take it any longer, so after about three minutes with a hair dryer it was off of there. Didn't leave a speck of adhesive. That finish was flat under there!! After about ten minutes of polishing I had it matching the rest of the top. Looked so good I decided to use a clear pickguard. Ordered it from Amazon and it was there the next day.

See what you think.

post-82023-009817000 1480895242_thumb.jpg

post-82023-015657400 1480895261_thumb.jpg

Looks good! I just ordered an AJ-45ME form Sweetwater and noticed the stock pickguard has been reshaped and moved further out on the rosette. I think it looks much better now.

post-82966-097902100 1481304130_thumb.jpg

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Looks good! I just ordered an AJ-45ME form Sweetwater and noticed the stock pickguard has been reshaped and moved further out on the rosette. I think it looks much better now.

Kieth,

I agree. It looks so much better, showing the rosette properly and matching the curve of the body. I wouldn't have replaced that one.

Enjoy!!

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Kieth,

I agree. It looks so much better, showing the rosette properly and matching the curve of the body. I wouldn't have replaced that one.

Enjoy!!

 

That is the way it on mine too. I have just finished polishing the back and front. I used Meguiars #105 Ultra Cut Compound. I used my electric car polisher on the back and the main part of the top, then used a hand pad on the fiddly bits. It is so much better looking now. I have just ordered Zymol GBC# Gloss Finish Restorer to get the shine up. It is a blend of carnauba and bees wax.

 

Bob

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I don't think I posted on this thread. So here's one for the count.

 

I bought my AJ-45 after reading this thread. It helped me make up my mind. Got the better placed pickguard on it too.

But has a typo on the label that reads AJ-54. Not a big deal. I wonder if any others will have this?

 

I'm in the camp that likes the satin finish. Had it out for some Christmas carols on Sunday. My guests thought it was a beautiful guitar.

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