Price paid: $ 80
Purchased from: Friend
Sound — 8
I use mostly John Pearse strings, which complement the guitar very well. Barring can be somewhat difficult. There is next to no fret buzz, and it plays beautifully all the way up the fret board until about the twelfth fret, trying to play above there is next to hopeless. It has great resonating lows, the highs are nice at first but begin to become more dull as the stings begin to wear. I play mostly '70s and '80s rock, and the guitar is very versatile, it can play almost anything I throw it's way.
Overall Impression — 9
As a starting guitar, it is amazing, and for the price it can't be beat. Due to it's very high durability, it would serve quite well as a beater guitar meant for camping trips or days at the beach. It plays just as well or better than guitars that are much more expensive. If you play more you might want to upgrade to a Martin or a Dean. This guitar has no real problems, and is perfect for what I need. I would recommend it to anyone Who is learning to play or just wants a nice, inexpensive, durable guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar stands up beautifully for Live playing, I would use it without a backup. I am a fairly clumsy person and this guitar's durability amazes me. I can stand even a major bump without so much as a scratch. The joints are very tight, Mine sat in a friends garage for a few years, but still came out ready to play. Almost every string stays in tune very well, except the bottom E string, which likes to go flat. The finish is beautiful, and has stood up marvelously throughout the years. I have had no real problems with it since the initial tune up due to the harsh garage conditions.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
It has a nice action to it, but nothing spectacular, which is to be expected of a guitar in this price range. I have only had to have it set up once, which was a year ago, and it still plays as nice today as it did then. Since I bought it used, I can't comment on how it was set up from the factory.
Features — 8
This was my first acoustic guitar, bought from a friend Who had it in his garage. Like all ART and Lutherie's the 21 fret guitar it was made in Canada. It has a two piece back that has a nice, warm sound. It has a very thin neck, which serves very well for fast playing. Surprisingly, the the thin neck doesn't lead to any durability issues. I'm not sure exactly how old it is, but I'm going to guess around 10 years or so. The bridge was a little high when I got it, and it was also beginning to come unglued, undoubtedly from the years in my friend's garage. It doesn't have a second strap button, but one of those can be added to the heel fairly easily.