While jumbo guitars were originally developed by Gibson a lot if not most, manufacturers have jumped on the jumbo bandwagon and brought their own innovations to it. Epiphone, with their AJ-100CE Cutaway jumbo guitar, has created a beginner-friendly jumbo guitar that can also be enjoyed by a professional at any level. The thing about jumbo guitars is that they are… well, they are massive so a lot of beginners stay away from them most times. BUT its biggest advantage is the volume and amazing punch that cannot be compared to anything else. So if you are one of the more daring beginners who are not afraid of the drawbacks that jumbo-sized models can sometimes come with, you are in luck, my friend.
If you are looking for a great volume and sound, jumbo guitars are the way to do it. But not all jumbos are created equal. Just like with any acoustic guitar, tonewood and construction are what make or break the instrument. And I am not saying that all the materials used have to be top-notch (well, that would not be the worst-case scenario) to provide beautiful sound and durability. What matters is the right combination of tonewood. Epiphone is not a stranger to high-quality tonewood but they also know which materials work the best together. That is why they have combined select spruce for the top with a mahogany neck, back and sides to achieve a bombastic sound that is so characteristic of jumbo guitars. As I have already mentioned, jumbos are not that easy to handle, especially if you are a beginner. That is why it is vital when developing a more beginner-friendly guitar to add certain features that make playing easier. That is why this cheap acoustic-electric guitar has a cutaway that makes it easy to reach upper frets and a Mahogany SlimTaper neck that makes your experience that much smoother.
The AJ-100CE has a rosewood fingerboard with a pearloid dot inlay. The chrome hardware and Nanoflex pickup are what make this model stand out among many, many affordable acoustic guitars. The ultra-thin profile and flexibility allow it to conform to any surface shape. This under-saddle pickup uses ultra-responsive 7 layers of sensor material to pick up all vibrations. It also has active amplification to avoid the signal from passing through wires and keeping it perfect. You also get Epiphone Sloped Dovewing headstock with premium quality machine heads. One thing, I have heard some people complain about is that since this is a “beginner” guitar it should come with a gig bag. And I guess a gig bag would not be a bad thing, especially if you never owned a jumbo guitar and do not have a bag of your own but in a lot of cases, gig bags are just a “buy it and we will give you free stuff that will deteriorate within months” kind of a deal so I would not say that this is a big disadvantage.
Epiphone AJ100CE Sound
The deep, woody tone and amazing intonation are a result of good quality construction and years of trial and error on Epiphone’s end. Since this is a jumbo guitar it would be impossible not to mention great projection due to the size and build as well as the combination of tonewood. The only thing I would suggest doing is putting on some new strings on this baby to achieve the optimum sound and crispiness.
Overall, this is a great advanced jumbo model for beginners not only because it is affordable but also because it is extremely comfortable. That being said, if you are a professional looking for a temporary guitar or a cheaper guitar the AJ-100CE will not disappoint you. Great for practice or even on stage this baby delivers some nice volume that could compete, easily, with guitars at a much higher price range.