Price paid: C$ 260
Purchased from: Best Buy
Sound — 10
This guitar is obviously for classical music. I tried the La Patrie Etude ($300-ish CAD) and I used to own a Yamaha G-231II. I'm finding the sound on this nicer than the Yamaha, and a little crisper than the Etude. For the price, I think you won't get much better unless you have a fully solid wood guitar. I'm looking forward to how this guitar ages. Because my old Yammy 231II was about 20 years, and it was nice sounding, but this one actually has a solid top. In a room with nice acoustics, or using a nice condenser mic, this guitar can sound very good. I also played the Takamine EG128SC ($350-ish), and the Yamaha sounded a little better. But the Takamine is a hybrid, so I expect a fully acoustic to have a bit better sound. I'm very pleased with the sound.
Overall Impression — 9
I play jazz primarily. Second to that would be classical. And out of popular demand only I play rock (no metal). I think this guitar is going to do me well for what I need right now. I'm not displeased in the slightest. I've never played an expensive classical, so I don't really know what I'm missing. The difference of the nylon strings, and acoustic sound really turns my ears on. So I get extremely excited to play it. I think if you run across this guitar used, I'd buy it over one of the old G-200 series (or lower) any day. I think it's worth the 229 price tag easily. But the 25 or so in tax was a little over the line. If you get a deal, and are looking for a classical, snag it. Be warned though. It may need a proper set up if it's new.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The guitar is a little light weight. I think it'll stand the test of time though. The purfling doesn't look cheap like the old "all-laminated" Yamahas of the past. The neck looks strong, and the joint at the body looks well constructed. I've only had it a week so far, so I can't attest to this for sure. I plan on keeping it until I finish my classical guitar exams. Or if I start playing concerts or parlour gigs. I just bought a soft case that is a little extra thick, and has a hard foam block holding the neck straight in the case.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The look of the cedar is nice. I like that the cedar matches the hue of the nato. The spruce version has a lighter top... Obviously. When I played the demo in best buy, the guitar had nice action. The guitar I picked up, however, had a much higher saddle, and I had to shave it down. Now it's nice. I might just shave it down another 1.5 mm. The other thing is, this guitar doesn't have a truss rod. This may or may not be a deal breaker for you, but to me, at this price, I'm cool with it. My old G-231II didn't have a truss rod either, and it lasted like 30+ years. I don't know for sure how well it would take high tension strings. They seem light-to-medium out of the box. I'm use to less slack. But I'm enjoying the ease on the fingers for now.
Features — 9
Made in 2012, Made in China. 18 fret Solid Cedar Top with Nato laminated sides and back and neck. Rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Matte finish. Decent tuners it seems like so far. Not sure if rosette is real wood or not, I'm pretty sure it's a decal. Black purfling suits it nice. The purfling doesn't look cheap like the old G-series Yamahas. Neck and headstock look well constructed of a few different pieces. For the price, a solid top is nice, and I prefer the matte finish. 9 because (although the tuners are not bad) they could be better.