Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Pawn Store
Sound — 10
I play a lot of classic rock/folk, and it sounds great. Just a wonderful, balanced acoustic sound. It's not overly brassy and harsh, nor is it overly boomy and bass-heavy. I've had a few problems with strings buzzing that appear and disappear when I change the strings, but I figure that it's a consequence of the low action. I've had many people comment on the beautiful sound of this guitar, and they're surprised that it didn't come from Gibson or Martin.
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar will suit any style of acoustic playing. I've been playing for almost two years, so my opinion might not sound like much, but I've had people who have been playing guitar longer than I've been alive, who have played top-of-the-line Gibsons and Martins, tell me how impressed they were with this little made-in-China number. If something ever happened to my Imogene, I'd definitely come back to Yamaha for another guitar - I've been thoroughly impressed with the quality you get for how relatively little you pay for it. I've recommended this like mad to friends and acquaintances interested in picking up guitar or looking for another to add to their collection, and admonished music store owners for not carrying Yamaha products. This was the third or fourth guitar I tried in a guitar-searching expedition my father and I had, and even after 4 hours of searching and dozens of guitars tried out, I came back to this one. I have not regretted my decision a minute.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It does dent easily, but I'm pretty hard on it as well. I've left it leaning against a bed or desk and let it fall before, but it's never broken - though there are a few pretty nasty scratches in there. Nothing has affected its playability, however. After about a year and a half of owning it, plus however long the previous owner had it, the finish has lasted well. I trust in this guitar. It's never given me any surprises, and I don't expect that it will.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
When I received it (it's second-hand, remember), it was set up very well. Good low action. A dent in the body, but that was probably the fault of the previous owner. Overall solid, good construction. Frets are smooth, action is low, bridge pins wedge in right, tuning keys don't detune themselves. Nothing wrong that I could see. The finish on mine (brown sunburst) is absolutely beautiful and helps it stand out in a sea of natural and black guitars, which are the other two finishes offered for this model.
Features — 9
Great to have a solid-top for the price range. Pretty standard dreadnought dimensions. Not really thinner, thicker, longer, or shorter anywhere. The only special feature on the body is a cutaway. The electronics aren't terribly impressive, but I've not fiddled with them much, since I usually play either for myself or in the company of a few friends in an intimate setting. They're proprietary Yamaha controls. You can control the volume, the low/mid/high mix, and something labelled AMP - again, forgive me, I never plug it in, so I've not learned what all of these terms mean. Perhaps the most useful thing in the electronics for any player is the built-in tuner, which is exceptionally convenient. Nothing innovative to praise, but nothing to criticize, either.