Purchased from: Walmart online
Features — 7
Brand new Kona K2 acoustic/electric guitar, single cutaway with a 3 inch depth on the body rather than the traditional deep depth. Spruce (read laminated) top with a Sapele sides and back, mine is in a dark sunburst color, with gold hardware, binding on body, neck and headstock, with a 3 band graphic equalizer. The body style is dreadnought and the outfit came with 2 pickguards, one black, one tortoise and an allen wrench for neck adjustments if needed. It was also strung with D'Addario strings which was nice. I believe the pickup system is a standard piezo in the bridge. I'm giving the guitar a rating of 7 for features, as it is just a basic standard acoustic electric.
Sound — 8
A couple of months ago, I picked up an Oscar Schmidt 12 string acoustic electric for a real cheap price at a pawn shop, and was having so much fun with it I decided I wanted to get a 6 string acoustic. After checking some Pawn Shops, and some Music Stores/Sam Ash, GC, Locals etc., and music go round, I didn't see anything that really excited me until I saw a Kona K2 in one store, but I thought that they were asking too much for a used instrument. While looking online, just for giggles, I checked out Walmart online, and found the Kona for a "black friday" special of 99 bucks. I took the risk and ordered it. Okay, here goes The sound that comes out of this guitar is actually quite impressive. For a thinner bodies guitar, the sound is very rich, not overly trebly, with a deep bass response. I'm not going to say that this guitar is on par with a Martin or a Taylor, but the sound is very good. While the top is laminate, it is spruce, and the guitar does have a woody tone. Played through my guitar amps, the equalizer works quite well as I can really control the tone, and get some cool variances on the tone. I am really enjoying getting to know this guitar, and acoustically, I am very pleased with it's tones. The fact that the guitar was strung with quality strings, I was able to tune it, and after stretching the strings, start playing and get some good sounds out of it. I have had other acoustics, and despite the price of this one, it does get a really good tone, both chords and individual notes, and for what I play, will give me good service. It's not a solid top by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a solid performing sound none the less. Also, I have been told that when played electrically, the laminate top can come in beneficial as it can slightly mute the treble characteristics. I'm rating this a solid 8, and in a good way.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I ordered this guitar online and had it delivered to walmart so I was a little skittish on how it would come. Upon unboxing it, the first thing that I noticed is that the setup was okay, not fret buzz, no blemishes on the finish etc. After stretching and tuning, I was able to play without any other adjustments so that was a plus, and the over all fit and finish was great. The color on the top of the guitar is sunburst with a deep color to it and the rest of the guitar is finished just as flawlessly. The binding is very well seated and good, and for a 99 dollar guitar, again, not sharp fret edges, and the treble, mid and bass controls all work flawlessly. I've had 500 dollar electrics that didn't work like this. The hardware is gold finished and looks real nice, but it is new, only time will tell how it will age so I really can't give the greatest assessment of this, but all of the rest of the hardware, the bridge the nut and the controls are very solid. Overall, I again am giving this a solid 8, and again in a good way.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar is very solid, so yes, I believe it would withstand live playing, but that being said, as with any instrument, you do have to take care of it. I would be comfortable playing it without a backup, as it is the only acoustic/electric six string I own, and I don't plan on buying another one at this time. The finish on the guitar is very good, I think it will last, what really impressed me the most is the attention to detail when they made this guitar. Everything from the binding to the strap buttons were done precisely, and with attention. The richness of the color and the shine, make me feel confident that this guitar will keep it's finish for a long time. For a Chinese guitar, it is very well constructed, and overall very solidly built. Again, a solid 8, in a good way.
Overall Impression — 10
I like to play various types of music, and wanted a cheap acoustic guitar. Since getting to play and know this guitar, I'm very happy and pleasantly surprised with it. Acoustically, it does exactly what I wanted, even beating my expectations for tone as how boomy and deep the sound actually is, and when plugged in, it will be a great "acoustic" sound, but with the controls, and the thinner body, I can have a little fun with it. I was able to play a little "jazzier" stuff when plugged in, and had a little fun with that. I have had both cheap and good acoustics, laminate and solid top, and while I will not say this rates with all of the solid tops, I will say this, it is definitely on top with all of the laminate top acoustics out there. I had tried one of these years ago, and liked it a lot, so I took a chance and bought this one and am very happy, and will definitely make great use out of this guitar. If it were lost or stolen, I would replace it, and actually could see myself buying another one for a backup as that is how much I like this guitar. The rich tone is worth the price alone, but the very good fit and finish and overall solid build seals the deal. I am giving it an overall of 10 because for the price, and the fact that this is a guitar that I wan use and work with, it merits the rating.