Price paid: $ 999.99
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Features: This guitar was made in spain (I believe) in late 2010. It features all solid woods, canadian Cedar for the top, indian rosewood for the back and sides and ebony for the bridge and fretboard.
The neck is a standard classical neck and feels very nice in my hands. The heel is shaped in a very comfortable manner and the playability is fantastic. The neck is finished but it pretty slick all things considered. The tuners are quite smooth and have a high degree of accuracy which makes it easy to tune quickly. The body is also standard classical size and is quite comfortable even though I usually play a slightly shallower Concert guitar.
The aesthetics are a real winner too; the woods are all fine pieces though the Cedar top does have a small imperfection. I think the ebony may be stained however, it's too dark and too perfect looking. I'm also in love with the rosette, you don't see them made like this one every day. The polyurethane finish may be a tad on the thick side but it's very well done. // 10
Sound: I typically play "fingerstyle" Acoustic guitar, think Trace Bundy, Andy Mckee and crew. Being a music major however I also need to study classical and practice technique which is what I use this for.
The tone is very rich on the low strings however it's a little bit weak on the top three strings. Those top 3 strings have a very sweet, warm tone to them though which makes it worth it. They may not cut perfectly but they sound oh so good. The sustain is great across the neck and the notes fade away to ringing harmonics. Some people dislike that sound but I've always been a fan.
Some of the notes are a little bit...honky? Not like wolf tone but something different. I'm hoping time will lessen that a little bit and maybe a new/different set of strings. It's something to keep an eye out for though! The guitar very sensitive to touch and dynamics. One can achieve almost cello like tones by playing near the neck as well as very bright and punchy tone from plucking at the bridge. The guitar easily handles a wide range of sounds. // 8
Action, Fit & Finish: From the factory the guitar was surprisingly well set up. The action is great though I may raise it a tad as when I do rumba work around F and G it buzzes out sometimes. As stated earlier, the woods are all very nice and the top is VERY resonant. Extremely so. It's quite prone to sympathetic vibrations when I'm playing my other instruments. There's a small imperfection in the Cedar top (as I said) but one can not expect PERFECT wood, even on a 1000 dollar guitar.
The finish is very smooth and very well done. It may be a little bit too thick, I'd truly prefer a thinner coat but it does protect the soft Cedar top quite well. It looks nice too! // 9
Reliability & Durability: I certainly expect to have this guitar the rest of my life if I take care of it. It seems to be very solidly constructed and hopefully with decent treatment and careful humidification it will stand the tests of time. I plan to use it as my ensemble performance guitar instead of my Taylor 712 and I believe it is up to the task. I doubt I'll even feel the need to bring Taylor with me, it seems quite reliable.
The guitar is very light, even fragile feeling but tapping the body and top with some force show that it is solidly build. // 10
Overall Impression: It's probably the perfect guitar for me. I don't use it for my primary work, it's mainly a student/practice/ensemble guitar. I didn't need to go out and buy a Ramirez (it's the steel strings I'm stingy about!) I'll I could ask for was all solid wood, good tone and good playabilty for around $1000 and I got more than I hoped for. It's a fantastic instrument. It's also the least expensive one I own.
If it were stolen I would be heart broken, I've really gotten attached to it. There's a good chance I wouldn't buy another simply because it's not something I need, it's just another tool to augment my education. It would hurt though!
I compared it against all of the other comparable all solid wood guitars from other makers. Basically the bottom lines of Ramirez, Rodriguez, etc. It stood up to (and beat) all of them while still costing at the very LEAST 200 dollars less. I was really blown away.
I strongly recommend if you are looking for a classical guitar that you go out and buy this one. If it means bumping your budget up a few hundred dollars, do it. The guitar will last you much longer than whatever you were thinking about buying. If you're thinking about going low end Rodriguez or Ramirez. Reconsider dropping your budget and checking this one out.Seriously. I own a few fine guitars (one of them costing over twice as much) and it has it's place among them.
I have been playing 5 years, am a music major, play semi professionally (when I have time between running, school work and practicing!) and hope to move on to either professional playing or graduate school in music.
I own a Taylor 712 with an LR Baggs Anthem System
A Fender Deluxe Reverb
A PRS electric guitar
and a Squier Strat which I've customized to hell and back.
Check out my profile for a link to my youtube page and an audio sample of the guitar (with mics and everything) and continue to check back because I'll be using it a lot in the near future. // 10