Price paid: $ 151.24
Purchased from: Mikes Music
Sound — 8
With the coil tap swich, I can belt out Rock, Blues, and also get that typical clean Fender sound by tone controls on the guitar alone, which is a real bonus instead of messing with stomp boxes and amp settings. I am a typical SRV/Clapton/Page/Knoffler type player, and this guitar does it all, although I was in a caberet band for years playing anything from "A taste of honey" to "Smoke on the water" as the night wore on. I play through a Fender super reverb with 4x10 speakers, Marshall 80w combo, as a backup, and a Roland 60w COSM Cube for home use. The effects from the Roland compliment the Ashton moreso than my other guitars due to the larger range of tones avaliable on the Ashton. The pickups are high gain, and do produce some noise, much like the 60 cycle hum produced by single coil guitars such as Fender, but there are ways around this, by adjusting tone and selector positions, if needed. The guitar will go from a typical muddy Gibson LP sound to a shrill Albert Collins Telecaster wail with ease, and pinch harmonics are a breeze. I also own a Gibson Black Beauty, and an American Fender Stratocaster, both great in ther own right, but this cheap Ashton gives me the best of both worlds: I can get heavy with it, without worrying about wrecking a classic guitar.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar suits my style of music/playing, as mentioned above, and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of a "cheap" guitar that provides a lot of pleasure and tonal difference, and which I consider to be better than a starter guitar, or something that comes in a 'pack' for beginners, like the AG 131 which is also listed here. I have been playing for 35 years, and own a Gibson LP Custom, Fender Stratocaster, Wasburn 6 string acoustic/electric, Eko 12 string "Ranger" acoustic, Martinez 6 string acoustic. Yamaha MIDI piano, Technics electric piano. If the Guitar were lost or stolen, I would be very dissapointed as I feel I have picked up a bargain, and would not find another. I do dislike the shape of the headstock and the tuners, but one can be upgraded and other will take time to adjust to. I chose this guitar as being left handed, we don't have the luxury to pick and choose from hundreds of right handed units hanging from walls, and it was the only lefty in the shop! I wish it had a locking system fitted. All in all. It's a very good guitar for the price, and definitely not just for beginners.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar will withstand live playing, but better tuners are required if your going to play heavy. The rest of the hardware will last as the guitar is solid and heavy. The strap buttons are solid, and for a cheaper guitar, nothing seems flimsy or ready to fall off. I would not gig without a backup, just incase. The finish is exceptional, and looks very robust.
Action, Fit & Finish — 4
The guitar was a mess! High action, nut cut too low, bridge sloppy, pickup holding screw missing. However, the bookmatching is perfect. The strings were rusty, and the harmonics had not been set up, and it was just about unplayable. All the controls were tight and not scratchy. The pickup hights were not set, and overall the unit was dirty. I don't think the shop was expecting the guitar to sell at all!
Features — 9
Seeing as I have found no information anywhere on this guitar, I thought a review was long overdue. This will not be a shining no faults review, but you could do a lot worse than pick up an Ashton AG 220. The guitar is loosly based on the Strat shape along with 5-way selector swich, and slanted jack input. This is where the similarity ends. Designed in Australia, and made somewhere in the orient I suspect, as there are no I.D. tags anywhere. The guitar was stuck at at back of the shop, gathering finger marks and dust, so I decided to put it out of it's misery and purchase it. Pickups are H/S/H configuration, of Ashtons own brand. It has a solid mahogany body, with a red, flame, bookmatched top surface. One silver serated domed volume control, and one tone control, which also doubles as a coil tap switch, turning the 2 humbuckers into single coils and allowing a myriad of tones, but more on that later. The fat 'C' shaped neck is bolt on maple with rosewood fingerboard, with 22 jumbo frets fitted with "Sharks-tooth" design inlays. String spacing is quite wide with plenty of room at the nut end for those with larger fingers. At the same time, the fretboard is relatively flat, and fast. The bridge is very chunky with lots of chrome, and sports a 2 screw tremolo type Fender set up with strings through, and American Strat type saddles. This has been locked down hard as there is no locking system to keep the guitar in tune. The tuners are Standard Schaller copies that do slip a bit, which is fair enough for cheap units. The two body horns extend out further than a Stratocaster, and the body is a tad smaller giving it a very appealing look. No accessories apart from a truss rod adjuster were included, but for the price, I wasn't worried.