Sound — 8
Soundwise once again, I have been extremely impressed with this guitar. It has a great warm sound and from my experience plays better acousitcally rather than plugged in, where it tends to either get too tinny, or too bassy, it takes a while to find an equalization that you like. This is not the type of guitar to play with distortion however, way too tinny, not a good sound. I personally play a very wide variety of music and have personally found that this guitar is best for acoustic songs such as Taylor or tribute, but this guitar's real speciallity is fingerpicking. I consider myself a fairly accomplished finger picker and I have found this guitar to really excel in this area.
Overall Impression — 9
As I have said, my speciality is fingerpicking and this guitar suits me perfectly. It also has a great warm rhythm sound and I play a lot of Jack Johnson with it and it sounds excellent in tribute (Tenacious D). I have been playing for 5 years and also own a double humbucking J&D Luthiers but have played many other great guitars, including hand made spanish classical guitars, a $2000+ Ibanez, Fender stratocaster, G&L stratocaster, Epipone SG, Epiphone PR5-E and an Epiphone Les Paul Custom, to name but a few of the best. So if you are a fingerpicker or a wannabe Jack Johnson, or just someone Who wants a small guitar that he can chuck in the boot with his surfboard to just play with at the beach that still sounds excellent, then this is the guitar for you.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have used this guitar a few times in live performances and including two solo performances. Both times I had this guitar plugged in to a 60 watt Peavey amp and it was great. After a lot of fiddling with the equalization I managed to find a sound that wasn't too tinny or too bassy. I would rely on this guitar time and time again for Live performances just make sure you have a back up battery with you.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I only have one concern in this area with this Ashton Dualler. When I bought this guitar, the action (string hight above the fretboard) was extremely high, making it nearly impossible to play bar chords cleanly. When I bought this guitar I had hardly played steel string acoustics before, I had always played electric guitars, and I found this guitar very difficult to play anything really. However a few months ago I went to the local music store where they lowered the strings and pretty much reconditioned the whole guitar. Now, it is a pleasure to play and sounds better then ever before. Other than that this guitar was set up perfectly and I have had no other problems. So depending on your playing style this guitar is an excellent choice just remember that you may have to outlay some extra cash to lower the strings, depending on your personal preference.
Features — 9
For the price that I paid for this guitar, it is packed full of features. It has a standard 5 band equalizer with a built in tuner, which I have found very useful. Instead of having the lead imput coming out of the strap things it is instead a few inches lower where there is a pa imput, standard 1/4 inch lead input and the battery compartment. It features two pickups, one at the neck which is very discreet yet stylish and a hidden one at the bridge inside the guitar. One of the greatest advantages I have found with this guitar is its size, the body is slimline and small and comfortable to play. The size and shape of this cutaway make it very easy to play up to the 19 frets this guitar allows. From the features point of view I think it is excellent the only downside I have found after owning this guitar for a year is that the battery tends to use up power regardless of whether it is plugged in or not or if the tuner is on. So if you leave it for a week with the battery in chances are next time you go to play it you'll have a flat battery.