Rover RO10 Review

manufacturer: Washburn date: 01/15/2014 category: Acoustic Guitars
Washburn: Rover RO10
The body is tiny - about the size of a ukulele but thinner. In spite of that it still has a relatively long-scale neck (24") and 19 frets all of which are accessible because of the extremely small body.
 Sound: 7.5
 Overall Impression: 7.5
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Action, Fit & Finish: 7
 Features: 6.5
 Overall rating:
 7 
 Reviewer rating:
 7.5 
 Users rating:
 6.5 
 Votes:
 2 
reviews (2) pictures (6) user comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.6
Rover RO10 Reviewed by: unregistered, on october 02, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 200

Purchased from: Waterloo Music

Features: I bought mine in 2011 from Waterloo Music. It has a natural finish with a solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck and cream-coloured binding. The body is tiny - about the size of a ukulele but thinner. In spite of that it still has a relatively long-scale neck (24") and 19 frets all of which are accessible because of the extremely small body. The guitar comes with a nice, although very bulky, case, a strap, a learning CD and tools to adjust the action. Unfortunately, it's not available in a left-handed version. Major points off for this. I have adapted mine by restringing it and changing the nut, but the intonations is still off and because the top frets are only partial, I don't have access to them. At some point I'd like to re-channel the saddle for a full conversion. Tuners aren't the best, but if you keep the screws tight, they should last a long time. // 6

Sound: I've bought two of these guitars. The first one was a gift for my mother. After setting it up and strumming a few chords, I decided I had to have one for myself. For such a tiny body, the guitar has an incredible sound. Mellow and quite full but as expected, very quiet. Don't attach a contact pick-up to the body - all you'll hear are the string sounds and knocks against the body. Again, because it's a converted lefty, the intonation is off, but it's not too bad. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: On both examples I bought, the action out of the box was terrible and I had to spend some time adjusting it. I don't know if I should blame the manufacturer for this or the music store. It seems to me it should be the job of the music store to set up a new guitar properly. On the other hand, it comes with tools and instructions to change the action. Factory supplied strings aren't the best. But the build quality is excellent. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I've taken this on three bike tours - the latest from Ottawa to Halifax - and one hiking tour in the Chic Choc Mountains. It still plays perfectly. The only damage is cosmetic--there are some bruises on the top from it hitting the saddle rails on my bike. This is mainly my fault for not packaging it properly. Once I discovered this I started wrapping it in clothing to protect it. As expected, after the last long tour the tuning screws were loose. So check the screws when you go travelling with it! // 10

Overall Impression: I absolutely love this guitar! I'm giving it a relatively low rating, however, because I think all guitars with any aspirations towards quality should come in a left-handed version, especially something as specialized as this. If I lost or broke it and another company came out with a similar model with a lefty option, I would buy that instead, even if the sound and quality weren't as good. After I bought this I did find a left-handed Martin Backpacker for a very good price. I would've bought it too but couldn't really afford it at the time. The two guitars (Backpacker vs. Rover) are very different. While the Backpacker is essentially carved out of one piece with no truss rod for the neck, the Rover is built just like a regular guitar except scaled down. Overall I think the sound quality and playability of the Rover is better. Another thing I'd like for this guitar is a hard-shell, form-fitting case. What's the point of having a tiny, travel-friendly guitar if putting it in the case adds so much bulk? (I do not use the case while travelling with the guitar.) // 7

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overall: 7.4
Rover RO10 Reviewed by: grammo, on january 15, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: This was given to me as a birthday gift my wife in 2010. It has a solid spruce top & mahogany back, sides, & neck, with a rosewood fingerboard. Satin finish throughout. The body is tiny & takes a bit of getting used to to find a comfortable playing position - I find resting it on my left thigh with legs slightly apart, almost classical style works best. Scale length is 23 3/4" with 19 frets. The neck is thin, more of an electric profile than an acoustic & now the action is sorted it's a joy to play. It has a fitted hard case that is quite big for the size of the guitar but still fits easily in an overhead luggage locker. Also included was a cheap strap, spare bridge & shims & a wrench for the truss rod - which has seen a lot of use, more about that later. // 7

Sound: The sound is surprisingly good given the body size, obviously lacking in low end but reasonably well balanced with a sound somewhere between a regular acoustic guitar, a mandolin & a banjo. In fact I have used it in the studio to do a banjo style fingerpicking overdub on an indie/folk track & sat back in the mix it was quite effective! I use it as a travel guitar for practice as I now work in the oil industry so am away for long periods at a time. For this use its quiet output level is a godsend as I can practice without disturbing others in adjacent cabins. Generally it's more satisfying sonically when fingerpicking than when strumming. I'm giving it an 8 for sound in comparison to other travel guitars I've heard, not against a standard acoustic. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The general finish was quite good for a guitar of this price. Unfortunately the set-up was truly awful when I first received the guitar. The action was ludicrously high & the intonation was way off. I filed the bridge down quite a lot & tightened the truss rod which helped a bit but the intonation was still awful & the the neck was continually moving about. I took it on a couple of work trips but but after 3 or 4 attempts to set it up it was still far from good. I'm fairly good at setting up guitars but this one got the best of me. In the end I hung it on the wall & quietly forgot about it. Feeling increasingly guilty because it was a gift I took it down earlier this year & had another go at setting it up. I adjusted the truss rod again & left it a while to see if it was still moving about. When I went back to a week later it was still in good shape so I took it on my next work trip to see how it held up - the neck had finally stabilised so I had another go at giving it a proper set up. I'm glad to say that it now has a really low, stable action, the intonation is usable, not perfect but ok for practice. // 6

Reliability & Durability: It's pretty solidly constructed & its small size means it's not that prone to accumulating dings & scratches. The case is bullet proof & often I'll put it through checked luggage without any qualms. The tuners are not the greatest & I think these will be the first thing to give problems. This is not a guitar for gigging but should stand up well to the rigors of travelling. If I was backpacking I'd look into another (lighter & smaller) solution for a case even if I had to get a soft case custom made. // 8

Overall Impression: Before everything I was a bassist first & a guitarist second & have been playing off & on for 36 years. I was a professional studio/live engineer for many years & playing really took a back seat during this period apart from the occasional fretless bass session. Since changing careers I'm actually playing a lot more both for fun at home & in an acoustic duo/trio live. Now the action is sorted & the neck has stabilised this is a great travel guitar, perfect for a quick session to unwind after a stressful 12 hr work shift & for keeping the fingers in shape during my long work trips. I tried another one in a music shop a while back & it also had the same high action & terrible intonation so I don't think mine was a one off situation. If it was lost, stolen, or broken I would replace it but I think I'd look for a second hand one that had had a chance to stabilise. Come on Washburn, you've got a potentially great product here but you really need to look at the action / set-up; I expect to have to tweak the set up a bit on a new guitar but not to this extent & for this length of time. If it was not a gift & if I'd tried this in a guitar shop I probably would have put it back on the wall! Which would have been a shame as in the end it's a good travel guitar. // 8

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