Price paid: $ 350
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
IMO accoustic guitars come in two flavors. The first is the kind of trebley/jangly type - think your typical $50 dollar dreadnought. The second kind is the full/more bassey kind - that is what this guitar is. If you spend a good majority of your time fingerpicking this guitar may not have enough edge for you as it leans towards being mellow and full. When played with a pick (or a well angled fingernail) it sounds very rich and full. Put it this way, if you get a more "dark" flavored accoustic, you can always pick closer to the bridge or change your pick angle and easily brighten it up. By changing your playing nuances this guitar can cover many different sounds - a big plus in my book.
Overall Impression — 9
I got this guitar after having played guitar for about a year and a half. I wasn't very good then and was drawn to the fullness this guitar provided for me. I felt like I was making some good sound when I quite frankly sucked. Now, a couple years later, I have been playing for about 3 years total. I finally learned some rhythm and I still love this guitar and am very glad I chose it. I doubt I will get another accoustic guitar for a very long time. Maybe a Taylor T5 someday. Those are sexy.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar is huge! And by that I mean you'll bump into stuff when you move around. I am careful, too. It's just huge and it's going to happen unless you play outside in a meadow. The knicks don't show up too bad really. They are more like smudges you can wipe away. I bet it could take a few shows. The strap stays locked on nicely and the guitar doesn't move around on me. I use a thick leather strap though so if you like thin straps check 'em out with it first and see if it works for you.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Action was very nice by default. Intonation was excellent all the way up. The finish was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen at that time (and is still up there). Just about the only thing that I might be able to find fault with it is that the nut could use a teensy bit of filing to make the first fret a bit easier to push down. Maybe. I'm not around the guitar right now and am going by memory of the long history I've had with this guitar. For some reason that one detail has evaded me.
Features — 8
2007 ish model. 20 frets. It comes with nothing. Guitar center through in a nice fuzzy green, tight fitting case for me. Figured Ash body. Out of the two of these that were in-store one was absolutely gorgeous and the other. So-so. I obviously picked the uglier one /sarcasm. But kidding aside the flame pattern varies widely from guitar to guitar but that's probably a given. Coming from a strat, the neck seems more full and thick. This is good in my book. IMO much more playable. Action was set up very well. Semi useless cutaway. Those high frets could make you contort uncomfortably, especially on the low strings. The high ones are bearable. It is fairly similar to a les paul except the body is about 2-3x thicker making it similar to holding onto a beach ball. The body has a curve in it that you can sort of reach your picking arm through if you tilt the neck up at a high angle. This makes reaching around the huge body less of a struggle. I haven't really used it plugged in hardly at all (after 1.5+ years even), so I can't really be a good judge of this guitar in that respect, but I have used the guitar's preamp plugged straight into my Zoom HD16 and gotten some good tones out of it.