Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: Omega Music
Features — 9
This guitar is a 2013 (NOS) CMG Guitars USA "Ashlee" model in amber that I bought from Omega Music, Granite City, IL. The guitar is hand crafted in Statesboro, Ga, USA. All wood and sourced parts are products of the good ol' USA. The body and neck are mahogany with a rosewood fret board. The arched top is satin finished curly maple at least 3/4", maybe 1", thick. You can tell how thick it is because it has "masked binding." Scale length is 24.75" and it has 22 hand filed and leveled frets. The dot inlay fret markers are on the top side of the neck. I like the clean look of the fretboard.
It has a single tone and single volume control with a three way selector switch. It has dual "Mighty Mite" humbuckers (you can order with DiMarzio, Seymour Duncan, or Frog Dog Flatface Humbucker USA pickups). It comes standard with Grover 18:1 tuners. It came with a soft case that somebody put a lot of thought into. It even has a head/neck cushion built in. The tailpiece and roller bridge are made by Frog Dog in the USA.
Sound — 9
I play it through my Fender G-Dec Jr. All the effects on this amp are wasted on me and the type music I play. It plays clean in acoustic, and growls in hot rod. Sustain forever. Like a Les Paul, this guitar would be suitable for all types of music. I'm not into "heavy metal," etc, but I've heard it played on this same model on you-tube. Since they use a treble bleed in the pickups wiring you don't have to crank up the volume to get a full tone (the wife appreciates that). I prefer '50s to '70s style rock, blues, and country music.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Since the owner, Chris Mitchell, personally test plays each and every guitar that comes out of his production plant, I feel confident in his knowing how his guitars are supposed to look and play. Mine does have a barely visible discoloration on the back of the horn cut away. The light has to hit it a certain way to even see it. Omega Music said it didn't come to their store that way so I'm guessing someone rubbed it when they were using it as a demo. I've never even held a guitar so well put together including some Gibsons I drooled over in Guitar Center.
Reliability & Durability — 9
As for the finish holding up to gigging, I couldn't say, but, this guitar was used as a demo for two years and other than the above mentioned discoloration I cannot find the slightest nick, bump, or swirl. Maybe it's the hard satin finish. CMG claims that all the woods and components down to the screws that attach the pickup collars are made in the USA. All the chrome looks to be top quality (again, made in the USA). After playing my guitars I wipe them down front, back and strings with ultra soft cloth before putting them away. Weird, huh?
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar fits me perfectly and I can foresee my keeping it for many years to come (been playing for 53 years and I still have my '75 Alvarez). I'm not an accomplished guitarist but I play well enough for my own enjoyment. I'm glad I bought this little known brand guitar. My Ashlee has quenched my thirst for a Gibson for half the price. If you've never heard of CMG Guitars and want a high quality US made guitar check out their web-site. If you take their "factory tour" (under "about us") you can see how they make them. Amazing!