Price paid: $ 269
Purchased from: Ye Olde Music Shop
Sound — 10
The Cedar top gives it a very warm, balanced sound. Rich bass, but not boomy like a Martin, and bright treble, but not tinny like a Taylor. This guitar has pronounced harmonics and a long, haunting sustain. It's great fingerpicked, but also responds surprisingly well to hard strumming (the "overdriven" sound works nicely for rock). The tone sounds slightly darker to me than the S6 Original. I find it a rather distinctive tone, and easily the best feature of this guitar. True, it's not a Vintage Martin D-18 or Gibson SJ-200; it's much more subtle, and every bit as beautiful.
Overall Impression — 10
When I tried this guitar, it didn't have a price marked; I literally didn't know what it cost until I took it up to the counter. I've grown up to the sound of my dad's Martin D-18, so I know what a good guitar sounds and feels like. I was expecting three or four times the price at least, and would happily have paid it. I probably still would to this day. I don't buy guitars to fit a particular style; I develop my style around my guitars. I especially associate this one with an R.E.M. sound. "Drive," on this guitar, is simply haunting. It's nothing like the sound on "Automatic for the People"; but it's the sound that should have been there. This guitar is not perfect -- nothing is -- and I'll be the first to admit it's not for everyone. Some people like a tougher finish, or a different tone. But I feel strongly that the only "entry level" feature of this guitar is its price. It's a beautiful guitar, with a unique sound, and I would not trade it for the world.
Reliability & Durability — 7
It's a thin finish and scratches easily. It hasn't even been a year, and mine's well on its way to looking like Willie Nelson's. In contrast, my 12-string (same woods, but a natural semi-gloss finish) is older and takes much more abuse, and it still looks brand-new. The bridge pins are also a little iffy. They're cheap plastic, and mine looked rather mangled when I changed the strings. That said, this guitar is solidly built, and if you take care of it, it will take care of you.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The sound grew on me as I played it, but what immediately won me over was the setup: this was, out of the box, the most comfortable guitar in the shop. I've had it nearly a year and have yet to adjust anything. I took points off only because the neck is a little thin for my taste; I'm used to the slightly thicker, and much wider, one on my 12-string. I don't normally care for sunbursts, but I like this one. Like the tone, it's warm and subtle; you can see the wood grain clear to the edges. Perhaps it's not a coincidence that I attribute much of this guitar's unique tone to the finish.
Features — 10
This is a dreadnought size Acoustic guitar. Slim maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, 21 frets, 1.72" nut. Solid Cedar top Wild Cherry laminate back and sides. Matte sunburst finish. Made in La Patrie, Canada. Mine does not have electronics. No accessories included, but I bought a gig bag for mine, and I usually keep it in a stand.