Encore EA255 Reviews 4

Before I start this review, I need to get a couple of things off my chest. Judging by some of the comments you hear in these reviews it's fairly obvious that there are a lot of people out there whose knowledge of acoustic guitars is, at best, rudimentary and, at worst, non existent. You know the kind of thing: "It sounded great when I bought it but after a couple of months it stopped sounding so good" - perhaps changing the strings might be a good idea? or "I had to tighten up the truss rod so much to get the action down the neck got warped" - plonker! or "I'm a crap guitar player but I sound really good when I play my Gibson" - no you don't, boy! There is also, alas, the occasional tired old snobbish fart (Dan? - if you really do teach guitar, thank God you didn't teach me). OK. My main guitar at the moment is a Crafter (lovely) which replaced my old Epiphone which has served me well for 25 years and has now earned an honourable retirement. I keep the Crafter in standard tuning but I also use open and altered tunings a lot so I was on the lookout for a second guitar since it's a pain to have to keep retuning the one guitar. I spotted the Encore in a second-hand shop, priced at 30 - worth a try at that price. It was obvious that the guitar had hardly been played, strings a bit tarnished but no wear or damage. I tuned it up and picked a few chords and riffs and was suprised how good it sounded - a crisp bright tone, even with the old strings. The action was a bit higher than I prefer but no more so than many guitars I've tried over the years - and it was perfectly playable - and a quick check of the nut, neck and saddle indicated that the action could be lowered without problem. I bought it.

The main atraction of this guitar has to be the price. OK, I had a bargain but I believe that they retail brand new for aroung 80 (and for that you also get a cheap gig bag, strap and other bits and bobs). It's a simple, no frills instrument but of reasonable quality and construction (see below) and, for the price, is very good value indeed - the sound is particularly good, better than many more expensive guitars. And, of course, you get an inbuilt transducer so you can play it through an amplifier - more on that later.

For an 'entry level'guitar, not much. As I said, it's a no frills instrument, no mother of pearl, etc but I don't care for 'glow in the dark' guitars anyway - why spend good money on frills that don't affect the sound! I understand that at one time, Encore used a scratchplate with the brand name written all over it - very tacky I'm sure. My guitar has a plain black scratch plate so no problem.

These guitars are mass produced in China (as are lots of other makes) but, even so, the quality and construction is quite good. It is a dreadnought style, non cutaway, top is laminated spruce, back and sides laminated nato, fretboard rosewood, tuners sealed chrome, workmanship is good. It is fitted with a passive (no battery) undersaddle transducer with volume and tone slide controls. Because the transducer is unpowered, the signal going to the amplifier is weaker than a normal (powered)electro-acoustic so you will need to tweak the amp controls a little - when you get it right it sounds quite respectable. As I said earlier, the action was higher than I like (just like most guitars I've tried 'off the shelf'). I deepened the nut cuts slightly, tensed up the truss rod a little (neck concavity was approx 1.5mm at middle of fretboard - I took it to virtually straight)and reduced depth of saddle by about a third. Action is now about 4mm at 12th fret. It's well worth using good quality strings on these guitars - they improve the sound even more. I've tried a few different makes and gauges over the last couple of months and have settled on Martin SP Phospor Bronze 11's - I use the same make 10 gauge on my Crafter but the slightly heavier weight suits lower tunings better. I keep the guitar tuned to standard D (DGCFAD) which is normal tuning down one tone (this is a good tuning to use when playing with friends because the different voicings of the transposed chords give some nice colour to whatever piece you're playing) . And from there it's easy to tune up to open D (DADF#AD) or down to open C. I use a variant open C (CGCEGC) - which is open D down a tone. This is a very low tuning and can cause problems on some guitars but the Encore handles it fine.

From some of the comments you see in these reviews, I was expecting a completely rubbish guitar. On the contrary, it's not at all a bad instrument: quality and construction are reasonable; playability is OK and, with a little adjustment, very good; sound is bright and clear and as good as any laminate guitar, even ones costing much more (like bottom end Martin's for example?).

Simon rated this unit 4 on 2004-06-02.

I am just starting out learning acoustic guitar and the amount of choice is amazing. I didn,t know where to start looking fo a guitar,I didn,t want to spend to much,well thats a lie I couldn,t spend too much , I saw the encore EA255 electric acoustic in the local argos store price 79.99 you might think cheapscate you would be right, but when i played it the sound was so crisp i couldn,t believe my luck. I took it too my next guitar lesson, when my teacher played it ,after putting down his 2000 martin he would not believe how much i paid for it .I think its great value for money ,but i still want to buy myself a martin when i can afford it.

the guitar has a deep crisp sound.

nothing at the moment.

the quality of this guitar seems to be of a high standard.

If you are starting out i don,t think you could go wrong buying this guitar , Iam happy with it but i thik you will just have to give it a try for yourself.

kevin rated this unit 4 on 2003-12-01.

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