Price paid: A$ 330
Purchased from: Five Star Music, Ringwood, Victoria
Features — 10
This is solid top Mahogany beauty is made in China using Martin schematics. The back and sides are laminated Mahogany. Its got a nice narrow neck and a 25.5" scale. The neck is mahogany too. The fretboard is rosewood with small abalone markers. The tuners are chrome plate Grovers and the nut and saddle are bone. So far so so. This guitar has really great specs. It looks quite plain at first sight as it lacks any other decoration. On closer inspection it looks very nice and very woody. I am rating it out of 10 because it has the best specs of any acoustic in this price range by a long margin.
Sound — 9
We have a Yamaha FG700 at home that is now about 5 years old. The guitar has a beautiful sound that is well rounded in the bass and treble department. We were looking for a guitar with a different character to complement the Yamaha. This Sigma fits the bill perfectly. It really shines in the middle registers. It definitely does not go as deep as they Yamaha does. It has bass but its much tighter and more defined. The strength lies in the middle tones where it is able to display a really delicate nature. I would say its an ideal guitar for finger pickers. Even for strumming its nice because of its restrained bass. Many dreadnoughts become a bit muddy when strummed hard. This one doesn't. Its not perfect of course but it was certainly nicer than everything else in the store under around $1000 (very subjective opinion).
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action on this guitar was really good. It came with medium Martin strings and had not fret buzz at all. The quality and setup were so good I decided to postpone the free setup that was part of the price till the three months point. I have looked this guitar over very thoroughly and it is virtually flawless. The frets are nicely polished along the top but some of the ends are not as smooth as I like. The edge of the neck is soft and rolled. The body of the guitar has a small radius that makes it reasonably comfortable.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Here is where I am most unsure. I have probably been brainwashed by Yamaha. Their guitars are beautifully made and finished and feel solid. This guitar just doesn't have the Yamaha name behind it so I will always feel that it might not last the distance as well as a Yamaha. This may of course be proven wrong but perception is reality. There a small things about this guitar that make it appear to not be as tough. First of all it does not have a thick coat of lacquer. While that may be good for sound its probably not going to be as resistant to knocks. Then it does not have any binding. Most guitars with plastic binding can take a decent knock. Having said that its got good hardware and looks and feels solid.
Overall Impression — 9
When I was shopping for guitars I looked at another Yamaha, I also contemplated Epiphones, Washburn and Seagulls. I am sure they all nice but what drew me to this one was its smaller size and promise of a slightly different character from the Yamaha. It's a great match for our other acoustic and will sound distinctive in a jam session. I have been playing around 4 years and this guitar will play stuff from Dire Straits to Pink Floyd and The Beatles. For that this guitar is ideal. I like this so much that I am seriously thinking of buying the larger Sigma dreadnought the DM15.