Not too long ago, we looked at a great and affordable acoustic guitar model, perfect for beginning and current players alike: the Epiphone FT-100. Now, we are taking a look at its sibling, the FT-100CE. This is essentially the same guitar with two notable differences. We’ll take a look at these differences, as well as the base features and why they might be of interest to you no matter where you are on your playing journey.
First of all, I’ve filmed a few samples of this guitar, plugged and unplugged. The video also features my initial impressions of the instrument.
Solid base features
As stated previously, the FT-100CE is generally the same instrument as the FT-100. You get a very versatile dreadnought-style body. This is great because strummers and finger-pickers will be happy with the projection and tone, no matter which playing style they employ. The building materials used here are of the same nature as the ones found on more expensive models; spruce for the top, and mahogany for the neck, back, and sides. The combination of size and woods works very well and produces a traditional acoustic tone that everyone will enjoy.
The neck has a slim profile. Beginners will appreciate this design choice because it will make things slightly easier for those first steps. Also, players coming from the electric world might prefer this type of construction (to easily bridge the gap between the two worlds).
I’ve received three different guitars, each with a different finish. There is obviously a traditional natural finish. This is a mostly transparent, glossy coat that reveals every detail of the top, back, and sides. It’s usually how people imagine a guitar.
The sunburst is a nice variation that gives the instrument a classy edge and pays tribute to Gibson-style decoration. You’ll still see some wood detail in the transparent centre of the top, but the edges have an opaque paint (for that three-dimensional effect we know and love). There is also a cream binding, which is very easy on the eyes and adds even more depth to the package.
For someone looking for something slightly different—or perhaps a little more incognito, there is a black finish. The contrast with the cream binding, also present here, is absolutely lovely. The back and sides are transparent, so you’ll still have some wood grain to marvel at. Mahogany has a beautiful texture, and you might catch yourself admiring it more than you’d think!
Future-proof your investment with these added features
The FT-100CE has some added features that offer a lot of flexibility to the instrument. First of all, there is a cutaway. This is a concave area (made by removing a block of material from the body) to offer access to the higher register of the fretboard. Usually, acoustic guitars have a joint at the 14th fret, and the notes are difficult to play in that area of the neck. The added range is a welcome addition, especially if you plan on playing melodies and solos. It’s also great for funky chordal accompaniments that can definitely be refreshing to hear on this type of instrument.
Also, there is a passive, under saddle piezo pickup for your amplification needs. These types of electronics are a common solution for performing live with an amplifier, or simply recording your acoustic. The jack is integrated in the strap pin, leaving everything intact. An advantage of this type of system is the fact that it doesn’t require any kind of battery, so you don’t have to worry about swapping 9Vs at any time.
If you are just starting out, these options are an excellent way of ensuring that you’ll be playing your guitar for the foreseeable future. Without them, you might be wishing you had access to a higher register or you’ll need to get a pickup installed down the line for performances. If you are certain to pursue your musical goals to the fullest, make sure you consider these factors when choosing your first acoustic.
Great quality, easy playability
My favourite aspect of the FT-100CE is the fact that it feels good and is easy to play. I caught myself noodling on it many times, exploring chord progressions, melodies, and various songs. This is a sign of a well-built instrument, no matter its price tag. The neck is very comfortable and lends itself to many playing styles. Its glossy finish isn’t sticky and feels very good no matter your hand’s position.
Sound-wise, it’s convincing in its dreadnought tones. You get that nice balance between lows and highs, as well as pleasant mids, which are supported by the warm mahogany. Plugged in, although I’m usually left wanting more with piezo-style pickups, the guitar has a decent, usable tone. You can hear it in the video.
A great choice, no matter your level
As it was the case with the FT-100, the FT-100CE is a great choice for beginners. For a slightly higher price, you get the added benefit of more range and a simple, ready-to-use pickup system. It will take longer to outgrow this model, thanks to its added characteristics. Eventually, you might want to explore different shapes and materials, but you’ll always have this one as a solid dreadnought choice.
For the current players, this is a great option as a first acoustic or even as a backup. These types of instruments are usually rather expensive, but always in demand in many musical situations. Having this kind of model on hand and as a backup will save you some stress from the fear of damaging your prized possession. This is especially true when carrying your guitar to a friend’s house or on a camping trip. The added flexibility of a pickup system means you’ll also be able to take it with you for any kind of performance.
If you only own electrics, this is a great model to fill the acoustic void in your arsenal. Its playability, good sound, and flexibility will cover all your needs for those times when you need that sweet type of tone.
Make sure you check out the FT-100CE on Best Buy’s website.