Price paid: $ 130
Purchased from: Musciansfriend.com
Features: Okay. So the only reason I'm not cursing like a blindingly drunk sailor about this junk guitar, is because I've got a nice pasta artificial crab meat salad in front of me. This is the worthless as titties on a boar hog Rogue RAGCEQ-SN (sunburst)electric/acoustic. Purchased on-line from Musciansfriend.com for $129.95 with no tax and free shipping. How Musciansfriend manages to ship this to me in 84 hours via UPS is beyond me... Unless these guitars were bought from a b-stock auction at $1.99 apiece, lol.
Okay mine arrived undamaged. It has factory installed D'Addario strings* see UPDATE at end of review, and I pulled them to confirm, and indeed they do have the D'Addario color coded ends. Strings are fine except for a factory stringing accident on the high e string which crimped it in front of the saddle. But holy cow they are .012-.054 I'm certain, so yeah a beginner would struggle with those even after this guitar's nut and saddle get setup properly.
Action was WAY less than the thickness of 2 quarters at 12th fret on big e string, which is cool. So I'll be sanding the nut down to get it out of the high ouch zone up at the 1 -5 fret zone.
Guitar is sort of dead when not plugged in, and my guess is because there's too much bridge backer wood inside the guitar deadening this poor thing's soundboard - like 2 1/2 inches behind the bridge string pegs there's wood fer-cryin'-out-loud! Or else it's the fault of the shrink-wrap decal they call a finish on this guitar.
It's built like a battleship. But my gosh it's only 4 inches to 3 3/8 inches thick. So I think overkill on the thick scalloped bracing helped to do this thing in acoustically. The lower bout is 15 3/4 inch and the upper 11 1/4 inch at its widest. Hokey pick guard easily peals off without leaving a lot of adhesive glue behind, which is nice. But its removal doesn't increase the tonal quality any at all.
Frets are all seated and no buzzing. And there's no neck heel strap button. Came with an 8 foot amplifier chord which wasn't advertised. Truss rod wrench is taped inside box.
I'm thinking it was a mistake to mount the equalizer on the lower bout. Anyway, there is WAY too much slack wire flopping around inside. And the "Brilliance" feature doesn't seem to do anything. And apparently the "Battery" light only functions for a low battery. But hey, even if it were a black-market knockoff Fishman, it seems to work as good, and that's the incredible value of this guitar right there.
I'm pinning my bridge in three places to be safe. All in all it's an okay little beater guitar, but I don't know that there's a set of strings alive that'll better this axe's unplugged performance. Something really serious has robbed this baby of producing any sustained resonance at all.:-(
Turns out the strings were fake D'Addario! No crap. Also turns out that the saddle hadn't been pushed entirely into the slot. I know this because I removed the saddle and took the 1 mm shim out from under the Fishman pickup. And when I pushed the saddle back all the way in wah-la my action went down even lower. But it's cool, because one thing I'll say about this guitar is that the certainly lucked-out and got the frets right and the neck-set.
Now I have the nut sanded down for really low action up at the headstock. But damn-it there must be a slight twist in the neck, because I've got buzz on my big E-string now. So I'll have to shim it now of get another nut. // 1
Sound: Like I said. That overkill on the bridge backer wood inside the guitar did this thing in on unplugged sound. Turns out that not even new real Martin strings or getting the saddle pushed all the way down helped much.
The dummies have instructed me to type in 41 more characters in the "Sound" portion of this review. Okay. The sound flat sucks unplugged. But honestly it's a fun toy when plugged in, and all I've got is a Ibanez model TB15R 15 watt "Sound Blaster". The nonexistent bass of this guitar can be dialed in better with the amp and equalizer. // 1
Action, Fit & Finish: Hey it deserves a 7 for action based on that nothing had to be done with the saddle. I did so and removed the shim, but it was Killer low to start off. Let me add that the truss-rod is operational, and I got it to operate smoothly after soaking the nut with sewing machine oil. Barely tightened it 1/4 turn and my neck is flat under tension of.012 -.054 Martin strings now.
Finish is just fine, though I wish they'd mixed some yellow in with the sunburst. The nut was though hugely high, so be prepaired to pop it off and bare down hard on 150 grit sandpaper for 8 - 12 strokes. // 7
Reliability & Durability: Didn't have a neck heel strap button so I put one on. And be sure to make a 1/32 pilot hole with a drill when you do that. Like I said, the people at Rogue went overkill on this sucker. There must have been some huge confidence issues in whatever laminates they used on the top. Because for cryin' out loud there's a whole lot of wood bracing on it.
And I guess the crazy thing with the overkill behind the bridge has to do with some homemade anti-belly-bulge purpose, but they certainle killed the soundboard by doin' it! // 10
Overall Impression: Well it's built like a battleship strong. But only valuable as a little beater guitar that's got the Acoustic qualities of a muted piano. And although the Fishman equalizer and under saddle pickup were a joke to put on a guitar of this quality, they are in fact the great value of this guitar, and do sound good when plugged in. Even though the "Brilliance" slide-bar apparently is dead, the guitar is well worth purchasing to scavenge this electronic feature. Impressed with the thin neck and its quality in that it stays straight during the 60s to 80s temperature range it's already experienced in the 5 weeks I've had it.
In closing: Shame on you Rogue for over engineering this guitar to the point of making its unplugged capabilities absolutely nil. Or did I just get a Monday hangover guitar from the Chinese factory? I can't stress enough that it was a huge mistake to put that huge piece of wood extending perhaps 3 inches behind the bridge - that for sure killed off this guitar's soundboard. // 5