Price paid: A$ 450
Purchased from: Harrison Music
Sound — 7
Acoustically (or amplified in my case) this guitar is worthy. I have tried several 12 string guitars such as Takamine, Martinez, Ibanez and Cole Clark and the D552 can stand toe-to-toe with them. The solid spruce top and mahogany back/sides give it a bright, almost chimming sound and the natural chorus effect is pleasant to hear. Whilst not as loud or as bassy as a Cole Clark, nor as prestgeous, the Walden can match it in overall sound quality.
Overall Impression — 8
If you are in the market for a good, reliable 12 string Acoustic at a price that won't hurt your wallet then this is for you. Its modest, has great sound quality, is durable and won't leave you in debt to your nearest musical retailer! If mine was stolen I would immediately buy a new one, a good 12 string guitar at that price is stupid to pass up! Whether you're a guitar pro that wants a cheap 12 string for the road, a beginner guitarist that wants to learn, or someone that wants more depth to their sound then this guitar has something to offer. The flexible nature of the guitar (in terms of upgrading) makes it a guitar that each owner can personalize to their needs. Whilst some attention might need to be payed to the initial set-up, overall it is a delight to play and own.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is certainly a reliable tool in your musical arsenal. With the exception of not having a preamp or pick-up, you shouldn't need another 12 string. The hardware is all of good quality and will last for years. I actually dropped my D552 onto my metal bed-frame (a sickening bang that made me dread to open my eyes) and from a harsh fall it only sustained a small dent in the bottom right hand corner. A fall that would have surely cracked a Martin or Taylor guitar, only wounded the Walden, a thing I am very proud of!
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The satin finish on the D552 is spectacular and is comfortable to hold, not too heavy and not too light. A tortoise style pickguard adorns the sound hole, accompanied by a suitable rosette. The quality and craftsmanship of the Walden is clear from the moment you see it, very few flaws in sight. The only flaw (if there are any to mention) is that the action was slightly too high for a 12 string. Initially pushing down on the strings was a struggle at the high end but it was a problem easily fixed and now its incredible.
Features — 8
The Walden D552 Natura is a great value 12-string with modest features. The D552 has a wonderful satin finish that gives a great natural feel to the body and neck, similar to the Cole Clark and enables quick fret changes. The best things about this guitar is the fact its not a show off. The headstock is simple, the dreadnaught body is simple etc. Its the simplistic nature of the guitar that make you appreciate it, as you can see and hear the beauty without being distracted by flashy inlays or cosmetics. In addition, if you are like me and like to customise your guitar then this is perfect. You can purchase an acoustic/electric model of the D552 but the sound quality produced is not exceptional. So I installed a Shadow 5 band EQ with an under saddle piezo and a set of elixir strings to mine and now its even more incredible, so theres room for growth if you require it.