Price paid: £ 400
Sound — 8
I wanted to get this guitar because the Yamaha FG700S I had was a good starter guitar but I felt it was a little dull, expecially as my style was starting to involve more fingerpicking rather than big strumming numbers. Its got a great sound when plugged into a nice amp, really bright and alive.. I always love it when one of my mates has a play and I can listen to how good it actually sounds! I tend to keep the prescence backed off on the eq settings as this can make the guitar a bit hissy and pick up on your fingers brushing on the strings as you change chords etc. I don't think this is the most versatile Acoustic in the world but if you love playing Folk, fingerstyle and even blues then I would certainly recommend it.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, even though this guitar isn't perfect I love it. As soon as I tried it in the shop I needed it, it felt and sounded amazing. I would seriously recommend just giving one atry if you can and you will see what I mean! It suits my style quite well, I like to play alot of fingerstyle and mellow Acoustic stuff and this fits the bill perfectly. I've been playing for almost 2 years and like I've said, I feel this was a perfect step up from my old Yamaha. If it ever got lost or stolen I would no doubt get it again, I just havn't experienced anything which feels/sounds so good at this price range. I love the look of it, the satin finish is sexy as hell and I love the snowflake inlays. The overall look is quite retro and understated... everyone who sees it comments on it! The only slight downfall is that perhaos this guitar can't handle big strumming style songs so I think I'll be looking to get my hands on a nice 12 string for that.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I'd be wary about how rough I was with this guitar. As I said before, its a really light feeling guitar and I don't think it would appreciate any knocks. I had a little accident with mine when I was changing strings with a pair of pliers (distracted by Top Gear on telly!) and nipped the wood around the soundhole and left a nice little bite mark. Was gutted, It didn't take much pressure to dig into the wood. Everything else seems fine though, I would certainly gig with it if I was doing something quite mellow and chilled, this aint a one to be throwing around the stage because it just feels too delicate!
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action on mine is simply delicious, no string buzz at all and really comfortable to play. The difference between this and my old Yamaha was really noticeable, a year and a half later and I still love playing this guitar. Everything on the guitar appears to be set up well except for one of the frets which doesn't appear to be set into the neck as well as the others. Minor complaint at the moment, its certainly not coming away or anything but I'll be keeping an eye on it. Apart from that everything seemed good, the finish was excellent, everything properly fitted and tightened... ready to just crack on with the playing!
Features — 7
I'm not sure where this guitar was made (or when). The guitar has 20 frets, the frets themselves being quite thin.The actual neck itself is a one piece mahogony affair and is really comfortable and easy to hold when playing. The fretboard is rosewood and has little snowflake inlays, I certainly like them, quite subtle and understated but definately a nice touch. The top is solid Cedar and the back and sides are mahogony. One thing which struck me about this guitar is just how light it feels. The finish on the top is satin and I imagine it wont be to everyones taste... I however think it looks amazing! The style of the body is cutaway and the overall size is quite small compared to the Yamaha FG700S dreadnaught I started off playing. To be honest I found this to be to my liking as the guitar feels really comfortable to hold and play. The pick up included is perhaps where I think this guitar falls down a little. The B Band A3T has an inbuilt tuner which is fair enough and does a job, along with bass, middle, treble, prescence and master volume control. The pickup seems to miss alot of higher notes unless the treble or presence is turned quite high up, which i think detracts from the sound of the guitar. As this guitar is probably more geared to a fingerpicking style this is quite an anonying little niggle, but not a huge deal and i'll definately be improving the pickup and EQ soon. The tuners are grover style and seem to do a job, this thing never needs tuning every 5 minutes like some guitars do. One thing I really liked was that the guitar came with Elixir Nanoweb strings. I love these puppies and on this guitar they sound extremely bright, not to mention that they will last a good while longer than uncoated strings! I managed to get a gig bag thrown in (no solid case), a Korg tuner, a pyrex slide and a few picks.