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A while ago, I mentioned on these forums that I was looking into getting an Epiphone AJ45. After the resounding support, my interest was definitely piqued. Now I’m in awe of my new AJ45!

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I think my beloved Texan is going to be sitting in its case for a while as the AJ45 has become my go-to acoustic. It’s simply an incredible guitar! I record with it, I do (virtual) gigs with it, and I somehow feel like an elevated singer-songwriter with it...

There’s so many reasons why the AJ45 is amazing! 

All Solid Wood

I was considering this guitar, a Sigma JM-SG45 and a Guild DS 240 Memoir. Sure, the Sigma and Guild certainly looked almost identical to the Gibson J45. And they sounded really nice. But the Sigma and the Guild didn’t have all solid woods–despite being comparable in price to the Epiphone.

That‘s the crucial advantage for the Epiphone. And it was the deciding factor for me. I wanted an all-solid wood slope shouldered dreadnaught that I could actually afford. The AJ45 is just unbeatable value. I’m impressed with everything about the construction. It's flawless. The attention to detail is impeccable. 

Playability 

I’ve been playing Epiphone acoustics (and electrics) for long enough that I’m used to the comfort of their neck profile. As a result the AJ45 immediately feels familiar to me. At the same time, due to the shorter scale length it’s distinct enough than my Texan in a refreshing way; for example strumming and picking are more accessible. The Aj45 is all around more comfortable.

The fact that this guitar came Plek’d has also made quite a difference. I was surprised in terms of how smooth and easy it is to play as a result. There’s no fret buzz whatsoever. The action, which was already great, feels even better now that it's been set up. 

The AJ45 is perfect for my singer-songwriter type music, including acoustic blues, country, and even pop. I strum pretty hard. I use a capo a lot. I do fingerpicking sometimes. I play arpeggios all over the neck and I’m a light flat picker. I absolutely keep coming back to playing this guitar because of how good it feels and sounds. 

The Sound

This is what I’ve always wanted an acoustic guitar to sound like.

And honestly, the AJ45 is the exact sound I imagine in my head when I think of what an acoustic guitar “should” sound like. Deep resonating bass; perfectly balanced mids and highs. As a result the entire warm tone is lively, responsive, and projects wonderfully. It’s especially full and rich when strummed. Massive tone. Not to mention that the sustain seems to go on forever. 

Like I did with my Texan, I’ve changed the AJ45’s Shadow Nanoflex pickup to an L.R. Baggs Anthem. No question. A guitar that sounds as superb as this deserves a magnificent pick up system. 

Aesthetic Appeal

The AJ45 is a beautiful guitar. I personally love the satin finish; it almost seems like it's a semi-gloss from some angles. There’s something immensely pleasing when the sunlight hits it just right. Kind of like it melts into a whiskey sunset. All warm, worn-in already, and yet this guitar has an understated elegance with just enough eye catching colour to stand out. 

I really like the original 1930s Epiphone headstock as well because I feel it complements the guitar’s character. Interestingly, my AJ45 came without a pickguard. I'm going to be adding one in the future for sure. I’ve noticed that most AJ45 owners obviously stylize theirs after the Gibson J45. However, I thought that the AJ45 looks far more like the Gibson Southern Jumbo. So that’s the guitar I modelled the aesthetic of my AJ45 after and I think it looks even more fantastic this way!

Many, many thanks to all the amazing people at Long & McQuade for always taking such good care of all my guitars. This one is no exception and it brings me so much joy when I play it. 

Without a doubt this is the best purchase I’ve made for an acoustic guitar. I couldn’t be happier and I’m enjoying every moment I spend playing my AJ45.

Thanks folks! 

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Thank you for your detailed descripton on a fabulous guitar. I own one of these AJ-45's as well. For singing and song writing it is simply delightful. The sound, the  natural volume and warm deep tone are unmatched for singing along with. I also own a very wonderful Gibson J-45 standard...you know, those pricey ones! And I enjoy my AJ-45 epiphone  ..EVERY BIT AS MUCH, as my Gibson J-45. Both have the rich Gibson tone. Some people actually think that you need to pay almost $3000 for a nice J-45 type round shoulder short scale guitar.  Others, like you, are wise enough to realize they are wrong. This guitar is perfect in every way. And it is the most comfortable guitar to play and hold that I have owned, and I've owned over 40 high end guitars. Most of them are sold off now. No more squandering of money for me. Guitars like the Epiphone AJ-45 make GAS easy to overcome.  Because for under $700, this guitar will give you everything any good performer in the world  will ever need to make his or her audience happy.! Best wishes, and good luck on that all solid wood, Hog/Spruce, bone nut and saddle, short scale gem, that drips of the Gibson tone! It was a very, very smart move on your part, having done the research. And if you are a singer, the short scale of this guitar offers an enormous advantage for vocalizing songs. It stands BEHIND your voice...not in FRONT of it, letting your voice shine through in a way I have never found with a full scale guitar. All of my remaining herd of 6 guitars (Three Gibson and three Epiphones)  are ALL short scale because I never play without singing, and the short scale acoustic can be a secret hidden gem for the true singer/performer! Keep it humidifed to the usual 45% area just like you would for a $3000 guitar because it's made of all the good same stuff......just has a different name on the headstock.  Best of luck with it! 

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Thanks so much for checking out my post! 

I’m really glad you have nothing but positive things to say, especially as someone who also owns a Gibson J45. There really is something about this guitar’s short scale length and tone woods that brings out the very best for singer songwriters. I’ve noticed that it complements my voice wonderfully when I play it, and it resonates so well too without being overpowering. It’s just perfect.

I appreciate all your well wishes! I’m having the time of my life playing this guitar 🎶 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
On 12/7/2020 at 12:06 PM, mascino said:

Absolutely stunning acoustic, congrats for you NGD!

Never saw an AJ45 with those neck inlays before...is it a limited run?

Thanks very much! It's my go to acoustic guitar.

No, those are neck inlay stickers ☺️

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On 12/23/2020 at 12:43 PM, mgrasso said:

I have checked online stores and have not found the AJ45 with the older Masterbilt headstock and parallelogram neck inlays.

Where did you find this?

Was this a Canadian exclusive?

Thanks so much for checking my AJ45 out!

I honestly didn't know there was any other Masterbilt headstock, this is what they look like in Canada. I know the 2020 onward Masterbilt and acoustic line has the new (or old?) Kalamazoo headstock.

As for the parallelogram neck inlays, those are inlay stickers! 😄

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On 12/7/2020 at 12:06 PM, mascino said:

Absolutely stunning acoustic, congrats for you NGD!

Never saw an AJ45 with those neck inlays before...is it a limited run?

Thanks for your well wishes, I really haven't put it down since I started playing it!

This isn't a limited run; those are fret inlay stickers 😏

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I would be interested in knowing how real those fret sticker inlays look close up, and where they can be bought! I would consider putting them on my beater epi to make it look cool, if the stickers look real close up, and do not peel off in time, or with cleaning the fret board...anyone know?

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31 minutes ago, Red 333 said:

Yeah, WTF is this guitar? I've never seen one with those inlays.

He said they are stickers, those are for cases.

Congrats on NGD.

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  • 1 month later...
On 3/23/2021 at 12:18 PM, ALD323 said:

I would be interested in knowing how real those fret sticker inlays look close up, and where they can be bought! I would consider putting them on my beater epi to make it look cool, if the stickers look real close up, and do not peel off in time, or with cleaning the fret board...anyone know?

I bought some off eBay once about 13 years ago for a cheap $50 beater I would take to the beach and not worry about.  They actually looked pretty cool.  I've got a picture somewhere let me see if I can find it.

 

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