TMJ 17 CE Blackbird review by Samick

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 0 (0 votes)
Samick: TMJ 17 CE Blackbird
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Price paid: $ 260

Purchased from: Ebay

Features — 9
This was made in Indonesia and features a solid spruce top, mahogany neck and rosewood sides and back. The finish is black throughout with black Grover tuners as well. It has an abalone inlay around the binding and sound hole. If has a Fishman active electronics and the fingerboard (which features block inlays on the standard areas plus the first fret) and bridge are rosewood as well. It does not have a strap button on the base of the neck, so either drill into the guitar and install one, or use the top of the neck.

Sound — 9
I play mostly rock (Christian and secular), pop, metal and country and for those styles it suits me well, although one of the old ladies at my church did complain about the fact that it was black with a sharp cutaway. She said it looked the the kind of guitar that Bret Michaels would play. This guitar is slimmer than normal (about 2x as wide as my PRS Singlecut copy) but the volume is still plenty loud although that may vary depending on what strings you use (I am currently using Ernie Ball aluminum bronze medium light gauge strings). It has electronics, but I have only used it once (on a Peavey KB-15 keyboard amp) and it sounded fine.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I got this used but there did not seem to be any issues that I noticed aside from some minor cosmetic issues with the finish in one area and that was barely noticeable. I will say that I am a big fan of the black finish with the abalone inlays with black Grover tuners. The fingerboard has block inlays at the standard areas plus the first fret (for some reason). It features a rather sharp cutaway that I am fond of. I restrung the guitar when I first got it and that went without issue although the pins were pretty tight. I had to reach inside the soundhole and push them out as I pulled on them.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I cannot yet speak of the longevity of this guitar as I have only owned it for a week but it feels solid and I bought it used so it is likely years old already but still is in great shape. I almost always bring a backup when I gig (you don't know what might happen) but if I was forced to, I would be fine playing a gig with this without a backup. I haven't used the hardware much, but from the little I've used it (with a Peavey KB-15 keyboard amp) is sounds fine. The built in tuner is a nice feature and works just fine.

Overall Impression — 10
I have been playing guitar on and off of years, but only started playing again recently (I took some time off to focus on bass guitar). This is my first acoustic guitar and second guitar overall, I also own an electric guitar (a PRS Singlecut copy). I have played it alongside my friend's Martin and my other friend's Taylor and I would say those were better, but not by much. That's saying a lot if you consider that those guitars were over $1000 and I paid $260 for this, I think I got the better deal. The only things that would have been nice would be a pickguard and a strap button at the bridge of the neck. Although that last thing is less of an issue because I like the way it looks to have the strap at the top of the neck anyway. If it was ever lost or stolen I would love to replace it, but sadly since this model has been discontinued do so would be a herculean task.

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