Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 7
I'm a woman interested in country, bluegrass, alt country, etc. It is a straight acoustic; no electric capabilities. No amps, no effects. I do notice the low E buzz that others mentioned; however I assumed previously that it was my own lack of skill that caused it. It can produce a pretty big sound; however I try to play much more quietly because 1) I suck and 2) I live in an apartment and the neighbors hear me singing plenty enough as it is.
Overall Impression — 3
I am hoping to learn country and bluegrass. I think an Acoustic or Acoustic-Electric is a good fit. I don't own any other guitars currently; in the past I owned a classical nylon 6 string, a 4 string electric bass, and a 5 string jazz electric bass. I wish I'd asked to take it out of the package and check the action before I bought it, and I most definitely would not buy it again, as I can't stand playing it. It looks nice, the sound is decent, and it holds tuning marvelously well; however none of that matters if you can't stand to play it. My ex-bf convinced me to buy this over the Seagull that I wanted, saying that if I invested the time, I could upgrade once I got better at it. I should have known better and gotten exactly what I wanted, because if I get something I love I'm more inclined to play it. This is all hindsight, but if I were advising someone on what guitar to buy, I would say go for what you like that is the best you can afford (and this guitar was not then and is not now the best I can afford.)
Reliability & Durability — 8
Finish is good; I'm pretty careful with it so I don't know how it would stand up to rougher use. I don't play live and have no intentions of doing so anytime soon. The strap attachments seem fine - the button on the bottom is solid, and the top of the strap is affixed with some black cord and a clip.
Action, Fit & Finish — 1
Here is my beef: I read many reviews before buying a guitar, and all of them said that this guitar is great for beginners - but these reviews were all written by more experienced players. This guitar is NOT GREAT FOR BEGINNERS. The action is HORRIBLE - it is way too high and almost impossible to fret any chords on the B or high E string - and it just gets higher as you move down the neck. Just so you understand where I'm coming from, I had a few classical guitar lessons as a kid, and I am 5'11" tall. My left hand measures 7.25" from base of palm to top of middle finger, and my middle finger is 3.25" long. I have large hands and long fingers; I knit and crochet and sew and have a great deal of manual dexterity and hand strength. At my first lesson last week, my teacher was surprised and impressed by my left hand positioning. Over the weekend I went to the guitar shop and played a variety of guitars - a Seagull, or a Taylor, or a Martin among them, all in the $350 - $550 price range - and I had NO problems fretting the chords on the B or high E. I come home and try to practice, and it's a disaster. I'm going to take it to a repair shop to see if they can adjust the truss rod and fix it; otherwise I'm selling it as fast as possible.
Features — 8
This is a solid-top spruce guitar I bought in late 2008; I'm assuming it was made within the year. It was part of the value pack that comes with gig bag, tuner, strap, etc. It has a high gloss, classic Acoustic finish. I'm also assuming that the back and sides are laminate; it is a very basic Fender model.