Price paid: $ 106
Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 6
First of all, this guitar is LOUD! It is by far the loudest guitar I have played with a laminated back and side material. I would say I use the guitar tuned a half step down about 95% of the time. The reason is, I like to play a lot of 90's grunge and some Guns N' Roses occasionally, and I just leave it tuned this way. When I get a notion to play some Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, and especially Alice In Chains, I just grab this guitar off of the wall and it's ready to roll! I guess the best way I can describe the sound is, it has a "Loud, Scruffy, rumbling sound." The harder you strum it, the more scruffy and rough it sounds. Anybody who has ever heard any songs from Nirvana "Unplugged" would say that particular sound/tone is exactly what you are looking for.
Overall Impression — 7
Brand new, these guitars seem to fetch $200. There is a version with a pickup that goes for $300. I got a terrific deal on this guitar from winning an auction for it on eBay. Very pleased with this guitar so far. I can't see getting rid of it anytime soon. This guitar's tone is perfect the type of music I play on it (acoustic grunge).
Reliability & Durability — 8
I bought this guitar used. It appears to be well made. I read a review online somewhere that made a claim that this series (Songwriter II) of Johnson guitars is the best made Chinese guitar he had ever seen. So far I can't say he was wrong with that claim. I would guess the guitar is at least 10 years old, and it is still in excellent condition. When you buy this guitar new it comes with a lifetime warranty, but I don't believe the warranty is transferable.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar is clearly made to look like a Martin D-28. It's a really nice looking instrument. There is a cool Herringbone trim around the top bindings and the sound hole. There is also a nice Herringbone pattern down the middle of the back. Like I said, it's a fantastic looking guitar. I have made some slight upgrades to this guitar. First, I switched out the plastic saddle for a compensated bone one. Second, changed the stock chrome tuning machines for some Grovers. I feel I must add that I have found that the guitar sounds best with a set of Martin 80/20 Lights. I have tried dozens of possible string types, and this tends to sound the best. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the action is perfect for my taste.
Features — 7
The Johnson JD-07 (Songwriter II Series) is an acoustic guitar made in China. Johnson is a subsidiary of Music Link which also owns Recording King. This particular guitar series (Songwriter II) is the best one you can get from Johnson currently. Anything nicer and they will fall under the Recording King name. It has a solid sitka spruce top and laminated rosewood back and sides. The fretboard and bridge are made from rosewood that has been "ebonized". I am not exactly sure what that term means, but I tend to think it means rosewood stained black. The neck is made from mahogany.