Price paid: $ 595
Purchased from: Zager
Sound — 10
The sound is clear and very pleasant, perhaps a little on the bright side (but I have little experience in judging such things, and I've read that they will sound even better as they age), and the sound seems very consistent and intonation good in all positions. I don't claim to be an authority on guitars, but I do have musical training, have owned other guitars in the past, been exposed to friend's guitars, and have listened to guitar music all my life, so I am able to judge "good sound" to some extent, and I think this guitar sounds great. I listened to a more competent friend play it last night, which gave me an even better positive impression. When we compared it to one of his (a less expensive model typical of I might have chosen as a beginner) the difference was like night and day.
Overall Impression — 10
I just turned 60, and "learning to play guitar" is an item (the only one, ha ha) on my "bucket list." I have always "wanted" to play guitar well, but back in junior high I abandoned it when I learned how to read music on trombone. I majored in Music Performance on bass trombone many years ago, and then ended up programming computers for the last 30 years or so. Over the years I've tried several times to learn with minimal success (I did a little better on bass guitar since it was a more natural transition). When I tried to think of "bucket list" items, I decided learning guitar appealed to me the most as something I might regret not having done. It will also give me something enjoyable to pursue in retirement, and help keep my brain sharp as I age. Also, it's not something that will ever be "checked off" as "done" - I can continue improving and learning for the rest of my life. So, I'm back to square one as a total beginner, first trying to become aware of bad habits, eliminating tensions as I discover them, and retraining muscle memory so that I can move forward properly and much farther than before :) This guitar will be perfect for my goal - it will allow me to play more easily, comfortably, and for longer periods, and will reward me with a good sound when I do something right. It should also lend itself well to various styles such as finger picking should I gravitate in that direction. I'm extremely pleased with my choice, and think it is a very worthwhile investment (and try finding something of this quality made in America for his prices!).
Reliability & Durability — 10
I'm certainly not planning on knocking this thing around, but I am confident that there will be no problems as it is obviously well made by someone who cares, using top quality materials. I haven't had it long, but have already noticed it stays in tune longer than most guitars I've owned over the years. The finish looks top notch, the fit appears perfect, and I have confidence in his design and his experience in building them. Should it need adjustment over time, it appears that will be simple, and there is information on their website that will help me take proper care of the instrument.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
When the guitar arrived, it was set up nicely, and plays well right "out of the box" - all I had to do was tune it up (and it wasn't even very far out after having been shipped from Nebraska to Virginia). I'm by no means a luthier, but I can tell that the woods were carefully selected and matched, the joints all look perfect, the finish is flawless, and there are no imperfections that I can find anywhere. The attention to detail is obvious even to my untrained eye, and I can look as long and hard as I want without finding anything that looks less than ideal.
Features — 10
I ordered this new and received it Aug 27, 2013. Made in Nebraska by Dennis, great email ordering statuses handled by his son. I picked the smaller OM size because I figured it would be more comfortable, and I don't need the bigger sound of the dreadnoughts for my purpose. Neck/back/sides are a richly colored mahogany, top is spruce, and it has many other standard features that he puts into the guitars like Grover tuning pegs. Full specs are probably better reviewed by visiting their website than by restating here. They also included a handy little hygrometer, an extra set of strings, and several picks, among other things. I also added a hard case to the order (no brainer, in my opinion, to protect such a nice guitar). It was very reasonably priced as well, and is very well made. The fit is a little loose, so I would Imagine the dreadnoughts also fit in this case.