Price paid: £ 289
Purchased from: Dawsons Music
Sound — 9
I am not a particularly knowledgeable musician, but even I noticed that when it is played unplugged, it does sound a bit wimpy and flat. Don't get me wrong, it still sounds really good, the bass just isn't very... bassy, it doesn't project as well as you might like, and it sounds just a little bit flat but only a little. If this was going to be an all-rounder guitar for you, I would advise you to maybe stretch to the 700 or the CPX range, but I have a perfectly good acoustic guitar already, so wont really be playing this guitar very much unplugged. I don't know if this is all down to the laminate wood or the thin-line body (as obviously, with a solid wood, dreadnought style guitar you'd get a much richer, more full-bodied sound). But when playing it amplified it sound great. The pickups are really sensitive and pick up all the little slides and mutes which I love! The sound is lovely and crisp, and sounds gorgeous right through from gentle picking to heavy attack strumming.
Overall Impression — 10
After doing a LOT of research, from very early on, this guitar was the one that really stuck in your mind. I am confident to say that you could pay double the money for a guitar that still isn't quite as good. I tested it against a Gibson and Takamine in the shop and, as well as being a comfortable size for me, it was easier to play, it was lighter, and just generally nicer to hold and to play. My only issue was getting a case. It is too small for a big dreadnought style case, but too big for and electric style so (because I wanted a proper case rather than a gig bag) I had to get a classical acoustic shaped case. I was told in the shop that it is the only case that would really fit it, but because of the strap hook/sound output plug you have to slide the bottom end in first, then tilt it slightly so the neck fits. It is a little awkward and looks slightly strange when it's in, but it is a good snug fit against the sides and will still protect it well you can just tell though that the case clearly wasn't made for it. But other than that I adore this guitar. Being on a bit of a budget as I am, I could not have hoped for better it looks incredible, plays like a dream, and when plugged in sounds beautiful. Genuinely cannot find any major fault I love it!
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've only had this guitar for just over a week, but it seems very solid and durable. When it's not being played or shown off, it's in it's case, and I would definitely be confident to gig with it, without a backup. I expect this guitar to last me a good few years at the very least. It seems pretty solid, but I am yet to really test it. But overall I have no concerns really.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I had the guitar set up for me in the shop to suit my preferred action so that I really can't comment on. One of the main reasons I chose this one, is because I am female and slightly on the small side, so this guitar is a great size and shape. Its narrow body and thin fretboard makes it a dream to play, but if you a tall bloke with big hands, I might advise you to look elsewhere! The finish is seamless, I have it in black, and the body is super glossy and shiny, which goes really well with the dark rosewood fretboard and bridge. No loose connections or rattly wires. Overall, it is perfect in these respects.
Features — 10
My guitar was made in Indonesia, no date. It has 22 frets - all of them accessible thanks to the cutaway. It's made of a laminate top spruce, nato back and sides, and a rosewood fretboard and bridge, which looks great against the black that I have it in. It has an onboard Yamaha Die-cast tuner (which I've found is pleasingly sensitive, and I love having an onboard tuner - it means while your doing a quick tune up, you just glance down at your guitar and it looks like you're pitch perfect! ), volume control and 3-band EQ controls. It sports an updated Piezo pickup system, which replaces the old 3-Way in the 500. Having tested the 500, the 500II and the 700 (all both amplified and acoustically) I opted for the 500II. The only differences between the 500s and 700 is that the 700 has a solid spruce top, whereas the 500s are both completely laminate, and again, about +50-60. There was something about the 700 I didn't like, something I couldn't quite put my finger on. The 500II was just so much easier to play. Like the 500, it has and an unusual but stylish-looking oval sound hole, with cool sort of go-faster-stripes round it. The lead output is built into the bottom strap hook, which I like, the only issue there being that you have to unplug to take your strap off but that's nothing major.