Price paid: $ 110
Purchased from: Al Corey Music
Sound — 9
I bought this guitar as a first guitar, to start off, see what I could do with it. When this was my only guitar, I played mostly light rock, indie bands and oldies. Modest Mouse was my primary band to draw on, since most of their songs could be played by an acoustic without much sound change. Also in my repritoire was Red Hot Chili Peppers, for the same reason, and Green Day. As my musical tastes evolved over the course of a year, I managed to sound out such bands as Tool, Dream Theatre and Opeth, as far as their lighter, more clean songs were concerned. I also used it to simply mess around, improvise chord sequences to see what sounded good. And for the record, the harmonics on this sound better than on my B.C. Rich Mockingbird on clean. The sound is like many other acoustics, though more saturated at the low ends, I'm not sure why. Many acoustic pickups don't work well with this guitar, once again I'm not sure why. In all, it has a very nice sound for a very modestly priced guitar.
Overall Impression — 8
It's a wonderful starter guitar, in all. If you need a very basic model to try out guitar, this is it. I've been playing this, my first guitar, for a year and a half, and it's still going strong. I'll never regret buying it, and I hope to keep playing it for long time to come. There's nothing to really be the "best" or "worst", it's an entry-level guitar. I compared it to a plethora of other guitars, and chose this one because of my $140 budget, a 5% sales tax, and the fact that I wanted a coffee at the time. Were it lost, stolen or otherwise incapacitated, I would mourn the loss of my first guitar, and then buy a higher end Indiana, and probably a Fender or Dean. Bottom line: if you're looking for a good entry-level guitar, look no further.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar is far too low-end to even think of being onstage. It's fine for sitting around with a bunch of friends and busting out a few songs, but for crowds? You're insane. Indiana makes several higher end models, which are just like this as far as value goes. If you think you only get what you pay for, these guitars might just surprise you. The hardware is definitely built to last. Everything here is built to last, if you treat it correctly. It'll withstand being in your kid's back closet, and them trucking it to all their friend's houses on the weekends (well, that's what I've done with it, anyway), and it'll still be going several years down the road (mine is). I've never tried the strap buttons, but they sure look solid. Like I said, I'd never want to use it at a gig, but I might use this as my backup if I were to need an acoustic backup at a gig. The finish is 100% solid. No chance of it deteriorating, ever. Except on the neck, it's started to wear away on frets one, two and three (a year and a half of chordwork add up after a while).
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
It was set up perfectly for an entry-level guitar. It was simple: pick up the guitar, place in lap, grab pick, tune a bit, and play. On that subject, this guitar holds a tuning for months on end, with and without playing. I think that the only complaint I could possibly have is that the action is a little high, but that may be necessary to keep the intonation in tune. Other than that, it's all good.
Features — 8
Made in 2004 in China, this guitar came to life with a destiny to be loved by a budding guitarist. And that it has been. 20 frets on a maple neck, not sure of the fingerboard, as it's been painted black, but it looks like a fairly low-grade wood, nothing super-special. It's got a laminate top, some sort of laquer finish, maybe nitro. The body smells sort of like balsa wood, but judging from the grain I can see, I think it's probably a fir or spruce or pine. The finish is probably the best and most impressive part of this guitar. It's a sparkly, shiny, razzle-dazzle blue, and I've seen others in every color of the rainbow, and then some. It's the first thing that people notice on the guitar: "nice sparkly guitar, man!" Having said thus, it is my favorite part. The body is a bit smaller in comparison to other acoustics, but it's a full dreadnought, but the tail end is a little skinnier than ones made by Fender or Dean or Gibson. Tuners are, surprisingly, Schaller. Very nice and smooth, but a little high-geared (they don't tune "fine"). It came with a gigbag, which could be upgraded to a hardcase for an extra 50 bucks.