Price paid: $ 325.52
Purchased from: Amazon
Sound — 10
I play folky rock music and this guitar does wonderfully with that. The sound is sort of a cross between a Gibson and a Martin. It has more bass response than my Blueridge BR-140, and it is louder, but does not sound as much like a Martin. Very nice mid tones like a Gibson; without the famous Gibson "thud." I was after a good slope shoulder dreadnought when I found this deal over the holidays on Amazon and it's been a year and I believe that this instrument has at cured my longing for a Gibson slope, at least for now. This guitar is very versatile. You're not buying a Gibson or a Martin, but what you get does sound very nice, regardless or style or genre.
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar retails for just over $700. I got it around Christmas last year for just over $300. I consider that an amazing deal for a great sounding and playing all solid wood acoustic guitar. Still, if I had the $700 to spend, I think this guitar would still be a contender. I can't say that I wouldn't spend the money a used 15 Series Martin, but since I only spent $300 on this instrument, I think it was more than worth the money. I spent more on my Blueridge BR-140, and I actually like the Recording King better. It sounds and plays wonderfully. It keeps me from going out and spending a couple grand on a fancy Gibson acoustic. I think it's my guitar-soulmate; at least until something better comes along!
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've installed a LR Baggs M1A pickup in mine and it does really well playing out. I've taken it to coffee shops, college, and political rallies and it's done pretty well in all of these venues. I Would definitely trust this guitar as a gigging instrument. I might replace the tuners eventually, but haven't had any problems yet. I am worried that when it does come time to replace the tuners that it's going to be a little bit of a pain, since they're old-school Golden Age Solid Peghead tuners. We're not at that hurdle yet, though. This guitar does not have a strap button, though I play to have one installed. I may also replace the pick guard. The one it comes with seems rather cheap and thin. It also seems to be peeling at the corner.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
It came set up pretty well. I've had it for almost a year and haven't made any adjustments yet. Action came set pretty low (not too low, though), and while I think it's risen some since I've gotten it that's to be expected with any guitar. I do plan to have it set up eventually, but am in no hurry to do that right away. I was pretty impressed with how well it played out of the box. Don't have any problems with buzzing, unless I'm playing really hard, or capo'd way up the neck. I changed the strings from light to medium, and I think they sound great.
Features — 10
- Year: 2012 - Made in: China - 14 frets to the body - 20 frets total - 1 11/16 nut width - 25.4 inch scale (the scale of a standard dreadnought, but this has the added bonus of a slope shoulder body) - Solid AA grade Sitka Spruce Top - Solid African Mahogany back and sides - X bracing on the top - Gloss finish (not as heavy as most Chinese made guitars) - Bone nut and saddle - Mahogany neck - Low C profile neck (very comfortable) - Golden Age tuners - Ivory Binding - Pearl Dot Inlays - Sunburst finish - Slope Shoulder Dreadnought - Rosewood bridge and fingerboard - Vintage style two piece tuners (3 tuners on one solid piece on each side of the neck) with creme colored buttons; open back. These seem to work just fine, which is good, because they might be a major pain to replace later on. - No electronics (although I installed an LR Baggs M1 Active Pickup in mine) - No Strap button is included (except the one on the end block) - No case - Note that I purchase a standard Gator dread case for this instrument, but because of the over-sized Recording King Headstock, the guitar was too long to fit in the case. I solved this problem by switching cases with my Blueridge guitar and the Recording King seems to fit just fine in my old no name dread case.