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Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric Guitar Vintage Sunburst

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Epiphone continues its historic Masterbilt Series with the Epiphone Masterbilt 2015 AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric. The legendary J-45 round shoulder drea...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

Legendary J-45 round shoulder dreadnought hybrid with Shadow electronics.

Epiphone continues its historic Masterbilt Series with the Epiphone Masterbilt 2015 AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric. The legendary J-45 round shoulder dreadnought has been the driving power behind decades of classics in every genre -- rock, pop, and country. From Hank Williams to John Lennon, the J-45 has been the go-to guitar for songwriters and rhythm guitarists. Epiphone' first Ltd. Ed. reissue of the "The Workhorse" J-45 earned it a œMark of Excellence Award from Guitar One magazine and now the Masterbilt 2015 AJ-45ME brings two legends together for the first time.

Legendary Masterbilt Series
First released in June 1931, the original line of Epiphone Masterbilt guitars made a big impression on musicians and heralded the first great era of acoustic guitars. Today, the new line of Epiphone Masterbilt instruments continues that reputation around the world.

The original Epiphone Masterbilt catalog made the promise: "The possessor of an EPIPHONE instrument has the assurance that every possible precaution has been taken to build instruments for lifetime performance and pleasure." And Epiphone still stands by that promise today!

Guitar Player 2015 Maximum Gear Award Winner
"All Maximum Gear awards are unanimously selected by the GP editors to celebrate the past year's products we feel are transcendent, awesome, top of the tops, and totally deserving of the magazine's most prestigious Hall of Fame honor. We all felt this wonderful piece of gear exemplified our goals for the 2015 GP Hall of Fame Awards." - Guitar Player

FEATURES
Body
  • Body type: Advanced Jumbo
  • Cutaway: Non-cutaway
  • Top wood: Sitka Spruce
  • Back & sides: Solid Mahogany
  • Bracing pattern: Info not available
  • Body finish: Gloss
  • Orientation: Right handed
Neck
  • Neck shape: Slim taper, D profile
  • Nut width: 1.69 in. (43mm)
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood with Pearloid Dot inlays
  • Neck wood: Mahogany
  • Scale length: 24.75 in. 
  • Number of frets: 20
  • Neck finish: Satin
Electronics
  • Pickup/preamp: Yes
  • Brand: Shadow
  • Configuration: Undersaddle piezo
  • Preamp EQ: 2-band
  • Feedback filter: Phase
  • Tuner: No
Other
  • Headstock overlay: Rosewood
  • Tuning machines: Grover Sta-Tite 18:1 ratio
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Saddle & nut: Bone
  • Number of strings: 6-string
  • Special features: None
  • Case: Sold separately
  • Accessories: Info not available
  • Country of origin: Indonesia

Order this sweet classic today!

Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
EpiphoneMasterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric Guitar
 
4.6

(based on 11 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (8)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

90%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good feel (11)
  • Stays in tune (11)
  • Consistent (8)
  • Fun to play (8)
  • Good audio (8)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Jamming (3)
  • Practicing (3)
  • Recording (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (5), Professional musician (4)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Masterbilt AJ-45ME WoW!

Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic, Is extremely nice guitar. I own a Martin D18 acoustic, In my opinion this guitar is almost as good and the martin was 4x as much, my feeling about...Read complete review

Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic, Is extremely nice guitar. I own a Martin D18 acoustic, In my opinion this guitar is almost as good and the martin was 4x as much, my feeling about this guitar is that with time it will be one of the nicest sounding guitars I own. My only complaint is that this guitar came with fingerprints and a scratch on the back, it was sold to me as brand-new and I'm not sure if it actually was or not, however I love the guitar. In my opinion all guitars require professional setup and this guitar is no exception, although it does play very well right out-of-the-box I'm very happy.If you're thinking about getting one of these guitars think no further this was an excellent purchase.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Decent Guitar, not great.

Here's some of the guitar's measurements before setup.

Action at the 12th fret (Bass side) 8/64"
Action at the 12th fret (Treble side)...Read complete review

Here's some of the guitar's measurements before setup.

Action at the 12th fret (Bass side) 8/64"
Action at the 12th fret (Treble side) 6/64"

Nut Action at the 1st fret (Bass side) >.024"
Nut Action at the 1st fret (Treble side) .021"

Neck relief measured at 7th fret (capo @ 1st fret, string depressed at 15th fret) .008"

Guitar came with Cleartone Strings gauged .012-.016-.025-.033-.043-.053
^measured with caliper.

As you can tell, like most guitars this one needed a setup. If you have the tools it's
a pretty simple job. Most of the measurements were too high for my preference.

Out of the box it plays pretty well. The guitar is much nicer looking in person. And
the quality of construction shows. The frets needed polishing but they were level.
And that's really saying something for a guitar in this price range. I guess the "Plek"
system did it's job. And the tuners do an excellent job of keeping the guitar in tune.

Two problems.
1. The guitar I received had problems with the pickup system. It kept cutting out on me (not batteries).
2. There is competition at this price point. And I don't think this guitar is your best bet.

I compared it to my Martin DX1R. And although the construction and looks were better on the
Epiphone, the Martin has much better sound in my opinion. The DX1R is around 10 years old,
so the top aging might have a little to do with this. The Martin is much more lively. And the Martin
cost less.

To sum it up. The Epiphone isn't bad, and I do like the brand. It's just not great. Even considering
the price. I have to wonder if it's overbuilt. Maybe that's why it doesn't resonate as it should. In time,
maybe it will open up a bit. I'm keeping it. Though I wouldn't really recommend it.

Reviewed by 11 customers

Displaying reviews 1-11

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(13 of 17 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

AJ45 is a great guitar for the money!

By Terry Dean

from North Carolina

About Me Professional Musician

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Pros

  • Good Feel
  • Rich Sound
  • Stays In Tune

Cons

    Best Uses

      Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

      The 2015 Epi AJ45 Masterbilt is Awesome. The guitar played well right out of the box but ... the intonation was a little off and the saddle was a little high for my liking. I ordered a DR500MCE 2 weeks ago and it was "Plexd" very good - no need for a guitar tech. The AJ45ME needed a little setup. Seems like the Plexd can vary from guitar to guitar or wherever that process takes place. I think it is an AWESOME guitar ... most all guitars need a little guitar tech love - then they play like a dream! Great guitar for the money!

      (7 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      Decent Guitar, not great.

      By Jack White

      from Southern Alabama

      About Me Experienced

      See all my reviews

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Consistent
      • Good Feel
      • Stays In Tune

      Cons

      • Doesn't sound great.

      Best Uses

      • Practicing

      Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

      Here's some of the guitar's measurements before setup.

      Action at the 12th fret (Bass side) 8/64"
      Action at the 12th fret (Treble side) 6/64"

      Nut Action at the 1st fret (Bass side) >.024"
      Nut Action at the 1st fret (Treble side) .021"

      Neck relief measured at 7th fret (capo @ 1st fret, string depressed at 15th fret) .008"

      Guitar came with Cleartone Strings gauged .012-.016-.025-.033-.043-.053
      ^measured with caliper.

      As you can tell, like most guitars this one needed a setup. If you have the tools it's
      a pretty simple job. Most of the measurements were too high for my preference.

      Out of the box it plays pretty well. The guitar is much nicer looking in person. And
      the quality of construction shows. The frets needed polishing but they were level.
      And that's really saying something for a guitar in this price range. I guess the "Plek"
      system did it's job. And the tuners do an excellent job of keeping the guitar in tune.

      Two problems.
      1. The guitar I received had problems with the pickup system. It kept cutting out on me (not batteries).
      2. There is competition at this price point. And I don't think this guitar is your best bet.

      I compared it to my Martin DX1R. And although the construction and looks were better on the
      Epiphone, the Martin has much better sound in my opinion. The DX1R is around 10 years old,
      so the top aging might have a little to do with this. The Martin is much more lively. And the Martin
      cost less.

      To sum it up. The Epiphone isn't bad, and I do like the brand. It's just not great. Even considering
      the price. I have to wonder if it's overbuilt. Maybe that's why it doesn't resonate as it should. In time,
      maybe it will open up a bit. I'm keeping it. Though I wouldn't really recommend it.

      (6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Typical Masterbuilt Awesomeness

      By Dude from Vera

      from Vera, OK

      About Me Experienced

      Pros

      • Consistent
      • Fun To Play
      • Good Feel
      • Rich Sound
      • Stays In Tune

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

          I have a 1965 Gibson J-45 that I bought new. A great guitar. But the Masterbuilt sounds much better acoustically. Electronics are very good, too. Some reviewers contend that you can get a better deal at this price point with other guitars. I haven't found one. Just make sure you're comparing apples to apples & you're getting a solid wood guitar, etc. I've played guitar for 55 years & think I know a thing or two about them. I don't know of a better deal with respect to price and quality for an acoustic/electric. I am VERY pleased with this guitar and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a quality instrument.

          (4 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Most awesome playing guitar ever!

          By Dusty (New Again)

          from Bainbridge, OH

          About Me Professional Musician

          See all my reviews

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Consistent
          • Fun To Play
          • Good Feel
          • Looks Great
          • Rich Sound
          • Stays In Tune

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Bluegrass
            • Gospel
            • Jamming
            • Recording

            Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

            This is by far my favorite guitar I have ever played! I had done a lot of research on this guitar when it was first introduced because I am a huge fan of the Gibson J-45. I had read where someone said that the more you play a masterbuild guitar the better the play and that is the truth! I have had this guitar for almost a year now and it sounds better every time I take it out of the case! I am the lead singer and rhythm guitar player in our bluegrass gospel group and this is the guitar I play every time we perform and practice. This guitar plays wonderful, sounds wonderful, I really like the flat satin finish, stays in tune really nicely and is very well made! My brother and I also collect guitars, so I am comparing this to Gibson J-45's and Martin D-28's as well as other Epiphones and Finders! If you are looking to buy a well built guitar that will last for a very long time and don't have the money for Gibson J-45, this guitar is every bit as good and a great price!

            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Sweet Guitar

            By Blu parrot

            from North Florida, FL

            About Me Experienced

            See all my reviews

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Consistent
            • Fun To Play
            • Good Feel
            • Rich Sound
            • Stays In Tune

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Practicing
              • Recording
              • Small Venues

              Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

              I own a few masterbilts and have been impressed so far. Comparing this to the DR-500MCE i would say this guitar shines more as a finger picker. A very smooth rich balanced responsive tone when playing with your fingers. Playing with a pick i find this guitar to be a bit less impressive then the DR-500MCE. If you can own both of these guitars they compliment one another very nicely. I have listened to side by side comparison demos on Youtube of these guitars but the audio quality of those demos were compromised by the subpar mics used and the rooms they were recorded in so while some of the reviewers did a nice job trying to describe the sonic tone differences between the two instruments the audio was inadequate to hear how different these two masterbilt models sound. Its really a much more dramatic difference then recorded in those demos. If your strickly a strumer go for the DR-500 if you prefer the more intimate sound of a butter like smooth finger picker the AJ-45 is the winner. I bought the AJ-45 as an open box deal here at MF. Had to change the strings imediately upon recieving the guitar. Once i replaced the stock strings with new ones the guitar came to life. As far as electronics go the esonic 2 stereo pickup system on the DR-500 is the clear winner and its not even close. With that said for performing out plugged in the DR-500 is the better choice. For recording you cant go wrong with either guitar. I just purchased a AJ500 RCCE so i am looking forward to hearing these masterbilts in Rosewood sides and bottoms. If the AJ-500 Rosewood is as good as the Aj45 and DR-500 mahoganies then next on the list will be the EF500RCE finger style rosewwod model. Might sound like a bit of a heavy investment in the masterbilt series but when you consider that 4 of these guitars together cost less than 1 of my Gibson or Adamas models and can hold their own with either sonically id say these guitars are a no brainer,

              (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Masterbilt AJ-45ME WoW!

              By Benjamin Fish

              from Western New York

              About Me Professional Musician

              See all my reviews

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Consistent
              • Fun To Play
              • Good Feel
              • Rich Sound
              • Stays In Tune

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Jamming
                • Practicing
                • Recording
                • Rock Concerts
                • Small Venues

                Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic, Is extremely nice guitar. I own a Martin D18 acoustic, In my opinion this guitar is almost as good and the martin was 4x as much, my feeling about this guitar is that with time it will be one of the nicest sounding guitars I own. My only complaint is that this guitar came with fingerprints and a scratch on the back, it was sold to me as brand-new and I'm not sure if it actually was or not, however I love the guitar. In my opinion all guitars require professional setup and this guitar is no exception, although it does play very well right out-of-the-box I'm very happy.If you're thinking about getting one of these guitars think no further this was an excellent purchase.

                (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Price increase ??? !!!

                By Stringbabe

                from Boston, MA

                About Me Experienced

                See all my reviews

                Ask me a question

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Consistent
                • Fun To Play
                • Good Feel
                • Rich Sound
                • Stays In Tune

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                    Five stars for the guitar, however......
                    Why is the price HIGHER than the original price from the ones advertised a few weeks ago ???

                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    awesome guitar

                    By Talley

                    from illinois

                    About Me Novice

                    See all my reviews

                    Verified Reviewer

                    Pros

                    • Consistent
                    • Fun To Play
                    • Good Feel
                    • Stays In Tune

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • church
                      • Jamming

                      Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                      This is my first higher quality guitar a own two other epiphone's. The masterbuilt amazed me from the first strum. Very smooth to play almost effortless I have a hard time putting it down

                      (1 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Great guitar, excellent for the price!

                      By DU in KS

                      from Kansas

                      About Me Experienced

                      See all my reviews

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Consistent
                      • Fun To Play
                      • Good Feel
                      • Rich Sound
                      • Stays In Tune

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Anywhere, even for performing...

                        Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                        I bought this guitar to travel with and to play at the beach. I have several nice acoustics that I perform with including a Guild D-55 and a Gibson J-200, but I am not keen on taking either out of the country or to "rougher" environments, so I bought this Epiphone to enjoy in less than ideal conditions and venues.

                        I was really surprised at the set up right out of the box and the sound. Solid top, back and sides and nice level frets, bone nut and saddle (something that my luthier has had to do will my other guitars) and at this price point,I doubt you'd find a better playing and sounding guitar.

                        I am even going to give it a test drive at my next coffee house gig! It's really that good.....

                         
                        5.0

                        Impressed from the start!

                        By Kenny C.

                        from Pinellas County, FL

                        About Me Professional Musician

                        Pros

                        • Fun To Play
                        • Good Feel
                        • Rich Sound
                        • Round-shoulder short-scaled classic tone
                        • Stays In Tune

                        Cons

                        • Case not included

                        Best Uses

                        • Boom-chik
                        • Finger style with a capo
                        • Moderate to heavy strumming

                        Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                        After being disappointed by a few online acoustic guitar purchases over the years, to say I was being cautious is an understatment. Afterall, there can be & often are major variations in tone & playability, even from high-end makers' models.

                        After reading countless favorable online reviews and listening to online video/audio demos, almost all of which had flaws with presentation & recording techniques. Even with this, I as able to hear something I liked & wanted. So, I decided to order the Epiphone AJ-45ME. It exceeds my expectations!

                        Keep in mind, this is just out-of-the-box, tuned up & tested (often) over the last 5 days.

                        To me, the most important aspect of any guitar is the intonation. (I don't care what a guitar sounds like if I can't change from one chord to another without sounding like it's out of tune.) No problem here; all first position chords sound true. (Even the dreaded B string when switching back & forth from D to E major chords!) This holds true at least for the first 7 frets and I just don't play much above that. Plus it does very well with a capo on any of the first 5 frets. I rarely find it necessary to go any higher.

                        The tone is special; the low end is quite pleasing... not boomy but puhchy. The mids, while present, have somewhat of a scooped & smoothed sound. The highs are crisp, somewhat subdued & even a bit dry... just as I feel a round-shouldered short-scaled dread should be! (Think early James Taylor.)

                        The narrow nut width & slim taper neck works well for me. But if you have large hands or thick fingers, it may not be the right choice. Also, the neck is a 14" radius. Most capos seem best suited for 15"-16" radius necks. I insist on placing the capo's edge directly on the fret - where it should be! My G7th Performance II works fine, but my Keyser doesn't get along with it well... just something to keep in mind.

                        The Epiphone AJ-45ME isn't just a great guitar for the price, it's a great guitar, period!

                        (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        4.0

                        My son was happy with this,but small pin hole in the body

                        By Mon

                        from Michigan

                        About Me Novice

                        See all my reviews

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Good Feel
                        • Stays In Tune

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                            Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                            Return it twice still has small pin hole on the body, wish someone would inspect it right otherwise the sound is good my son is happy

                            Displaying reviews 1-11

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