If you’re in the market for a good electro-acoustic parlor style guitar at a reasonable price point, the EL 00 Pro from Epiphone may be the perfect fit for you. In this Epiphone EL-00 Pro Review, we’ll take a look at this guitar’s features, tone and overall value proposition.
Epiphone EL-00 Pro Specs & Overview
The Epiphone EL-00 Pro is a parlor guitar that promises a classic bluesy tone and comfortable playing. The EL-00 Pro also puts a strong emphasis on value, as most Epiphone guitars do. Despite being fairly affordable, the EL-00 does stand up reasonably well against top models like the Cordoba C10 and Larrivee P-09. Expect tight, rich mids and plenty of old-school blues tone on tap if you buy this guitar.
- Mahogany body and neck offer strong sustain
- Tapered D-profile neck for easy playing
- Soundhole mounted tone and volume controls offer versatility without visible electronics
- 19-fret neck limits upper range
- Velcro battery attachment can shake itself loose
- Stock strings sound tinny and harsh
EL Pro Review
Here are some of the standout points from the EL-00 Pro’s features and specs.
Neck and Body
The EL-00 Pro’s body consists of mahogany back and sides with a spruce top. This composition gives the guitar the resonance, bass response and sustain that you would normally associate with mahogany bodies.
The spruce top also gives it a punchy midrange and clear, full treble tones. The neck on this guitar is a 19-fret tapered mahogany neck with a scale length of 24.75 inches. The tapering on the neck allows it to play very smoothly, while the mahogany wood further improves the guitar’s tone. With only 19 frets, there isn’t as much room to play into the upper range as you’d find on a 22 or 24-fret guitar. It should be noted, though, that a 19-fret neck is fairly standard for a parlor style guitar.
The most important feature of the Epiphone EL-00 Pro is its Fishman Sonicore under saddle pickup with adjustable volume and tone controls. Paired with Fishman’s Sonitone preamp, this pickup captures much of the guitar’s acoustic tone and reproduces it with fairly high fidelity. The ability to adjust volume and tone is extremely convenient for shaping the overall sound of the output signal.
Another of the high points you’ll find in the EL-00 Pro is Epiphone’s use of Grover tuners. Grover is likely the most famous brand of tuners and is well-known for its quality. These tuners ensure that the EL-00 Pro stays in proper tune, even during long playing sessions. Because they have been featured on so many famous models from Gibson and other brands over the years, these tuners also contribute to the guitar’s vintage appearance.
Finally, you’ll find that the EL-00 Pro offers excellent intonation as a result of its compensated bridge. Though small and largely unnoticeable, this feature adds a lot to the guitar from the player’s perspective.
Sound and Tone
As one might expect from a parlor style, the EL-00 Pro’s tone tends to be richest in the mids. Surprisingly, this guitar also brings in a very pleasing treble range, particularly when played through the Fishman electronics.
The bass range is the weakest link, but the guitar’s mahogany construction definitely helps to bring out the lower tones a bit. Overall, the EL-00 Pro offers a tight, punchy tone with a beautiful high end.
Though it’s a good all-around electro-acoustic, the EL-00 Pro really shines when used in fingerpicking styles. Classic blues and country sound great on this guitar, as well as some folk styles. Don’t expect acoustic rock ‘n roll or other styles dependent on heavy strumming to sounds quite as great, though.
Action, Fit and Finish
The Epiphone EL-00 Pro comes well set up and ready to play right out of the box. The frets appear to be well-fitted and play very comfortably. Likewise, the truss rod seems to be properly adjusted.
Although you’ll find that it plays extremely well without and additional setup, you’ll probably want to change the strings before playing seriously. The stock strings are one of this guitar’s weaker points, but an upgrade to a set of high-quality brass strings will quickly solve the problem.
As for finish, there’s not much to criticize. The EL-00 Pro looks great and is put together well. The binding is tight and the guitar is packaged well enough to protect the attractive sunburst finish from blemishes.
The only issue in this area is a tendency for the “E” logo on the pickguard to fall off.
Reliability and Durability
Overall, the EL-00 Pro is a high-quality instrument that can stand the test of time. Epiphone builds its guitars well enough to withstand both regular playing and stage performances. Thanks to the Grover tuners, the EL-00 Pro also stays in tune quite well, even if it’s being transported.
The EL-00 Pro is a serious contender to be the best parlor guitar at its price point. This guitar offers many premium features and comes in at a price almost any musician can afford. If you’re looking for an affordable parlor style guitar that offers good tone and is made with premium components, the EL-00 Pro is likely a good fit for you.
For the beginner or intermediate blues or country player, this guitar more than delivers on its promise of high quality at a reasonable price point. The Grover tuners, Fishman electronics and compensated bridge really enhance this guitar’s value proposition, since these are all features you’d typically see on more expensive models.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Parlor Guitar
When considering these guitars, you should be paying special attention to the woods used to construct the guitar and the pickup that comes with it. Both of these factors will significantly influence the guitar’s overall tone.
Mahogany bodies, like that found on the EL-00 Pro, tend to produce a rich, punchy tone. Rosewood, another common acoustic guitar body wood, results in a brighter tonal quality. Walnut and koa woods generally produce very bright, sparkling tones, while maple gives a punchy sound with less sustain than mahogany. Be sure to consider which wood’s quality will best fit the style of music and the sound you want to achieve.
Parlor style guitars are usually best for blues and traditional country musicians. Since they produce a tone that’s more associated with older musical styles, you may prefer not to buy one if you’re going for a more modern sound. If you’re looking for something more modern, consider the dreadnought style acoustic that’s more popular for acoustic rock and bluegrass.
What Is a Parlor Style Guitar?
This style of guitar is small and elongated, making it suitable for playing in smaller spaces. These guitars are significantly smaller than concert guitars and were originally invented to be played in homes and small musical venues.
What Are Parlor Guitars Good For?
The smaller size associated with these guitars puts the emphasis on the midrange tones. As a result, you’ll find that parlor style guitars are great for traditional blues, country and folk music.
Some musicians especially prefer parlors when playing with a slide. Guitar slides and parlors style guitars originated around the same time, and both contributed to what we today think of as the sound of classic blues.
Are Parlor Guitars Good for Beginners?
A parlor style guitar is a very suitable choice if you’re a beginner selecting your first guitar. In addition to being generally affordable, the smaller body size of these guitars makes them very comfortable to play.