Price paid: $ 254.99
Purchased from: GuitarCenter.com
Sound — 10
I largely play praise guitar, which is mostly strumming. It sounds good plugged into a sound system. It has a full-bodied sound, and the bass response is very confident. For a guitar in general, it has a very impressive sound. When compared to other guitars in it's price range, not much can stand up to it. Of course, tone is very subjective, though much more experienced guitarists have commented on its full sound.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, this is an amazing guitar. I cannot imagine playing anything else for the next few years, and it is definitely the kind of guitar that I will "grow into." And after a few years, I expect the sound to mature and become even more impressive. I have played guitar for almost three years now, but this is my first acoustic. I've played other acoustics extensively, but this guitar sounds better than many Martins. An extremely objective statement, but I hold to it firmly.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar itself appears durable. I expect this guitar to last me a decade or so, until I can find a guitar with a better sound. It will hold up for live playing, though it's never a perfectly good idea to use without a backup. Strings break, even if the guitar doesn't. Certain acoustics are built for beginners, to be used for a year and replaced by a real guitar. Above a certain point, acoustics are built to last. This is one of those acoustics that are built to last.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The set-up was cursory at best, the technicians made sure it was playable, and stopped there. The truss rod was visibly bowed, the saddle was roughly 1/16" too high, and the strings at the nut were a hair too high. The action at the 12th fret was barely playable. The nut should ideally have half the wound strings above the nut, but the strings were buried in there. Also, the custom light strings are thicker than I am used to. I personally adjusted the truss rod to almost completely straight, I sanded my saddle down with 150 grit sandpaper, and I plan to file down the nut to my liking. If you don't care as much, you can drop $75 and have it properly set-up. The intonation is acceptable. The spruce top, while it is solid, has knots throughout. Overall, when it came in the box, it was not surprising given its price. It needs set-up to get it in top condition. The picture displayed is actually an older version of this guitar. This guitar has a more traditional, straighter bridge.
Features — 9
This guitar was bought April 2010, manufactured in the past year or so. It was manufactured in China. It has 20 frets, 14 exposed. It is a cutaway, and the fingerboard is rosewood. It has a solid spruce top and scalloped bracing, which are said to contribute to the bass response and overall tone. The dreadnaught body is laminated mahogany and the neck is nato. It has a high gloss, satin finish for the body, and the neck has a matte feel. The bridge has your standard compensated saddle. The active preamp requires a 9V battery. It has a 3-way EQ, a phase button, a volume knob, and a built in tuner. The tuner is more for a quick check than anything. It uses Fishman Presys pickups with pre-amp. It comes with D'Addario Phosphor Bronze custom light strings.