Price paid: $ 220
Purchased from: Rondo Music
Sound — 8
Running though Church sound system. We have a very nice setup there with some excellent signal processors and subs. Also run through Headphones with Boss ME-50(don't judge me) or an iRig through Jamup (really don't judge me). She sounds amazingly rich and full. She was tuned E-e (.10-.46) with the stock strings the first time I played her with my band, and after the set we all listened to the recording where I was blown away at the richness of tone. Very thick and full sounding. The highs were decent but not super clear (humbuckers... Go figure.) The stock pups were very mid-lows strong. There isn't too much versatility to the sound, but realistically any Les Paul style with the 3-way selector switch and two simple humbuckers is limited anyway. So there shouldn't be any disappointment there. After some adjustments the highs did come with more definition but were not spectacular. The style is up to you and your band. But the sound is more like that big girl from "Precious" than the girl from "The Hunger Games." Just Imagine who you want more in a street fight, and I think you will know if the sound is what your looking for. 8: Cuz' I like big girls.
Overall Impression — 6
I play Christian worship most of the time, but love heavy metal, hard rock, and what ever else excites my soul at the time. This guitar is good at finding a tone and sound to fit in each genre, albeit maybe an awkward fit. I own a PRS copy, some Squires, and A Fender Thinline Tele. This guitar is something of an oddity, as it was meant to be different. The biggest problems I have with her is I am not sure how I feel about the neck yet (even after 4 months) and the weight. The tone is a huge win for me, and the smooth jazz feeling I get when playing her is very enjoyable. If it was stolen, would I get another... no. I have too many projects already to get another that needs fixing. I would miss the tone, but honestly not too much else. If I could change things about this guitar, I would change the deception about it's weight (do I sound bitter yet?), the neck thickness, and the quality control issues. She is a fixer-upper, and maybe in stronger hands/back she would be better guitar. I wouldn't recommend this as anyone's first, but she isn't a bad one for someone willing to work with her. 6: Because of all the issues that clouded her amazing sound.
Reliability & Durability — 5
I addressed some of the quality issues in the section above. The jack lasted about 5 cable inputs before popping off in the body. And after about 3 months the bridge pup came unwound and I had an exposed winding coming up from the tape. I tried to tuck it in and/or cover it but was unable to, and the winding finally broke. Glad I had an extra set of humbuckers around. It is a shame because I really did like the rich/hot tone out of the stock ones. The ones I put in DO have nice tone (I am beginning to understand how the body and neck can affect this more than just pups.) but they are not quite the same in thickness. The jack was equipped with the wrong sized nut from the factory and would pop off into the guitar if enough pressure was applied. (Emailed Kurt and... was acknowledged... Lol.) Fixed it... Had to file out excess finish there also to fit jack in properly. The guitar seems ok enough, the neck/body does sometimes make noise when I am tuning it up, but I think it may be the inconsistencies in the neck pocket. The stock buttons were fine, but I don't know if this is a deal breaker for most. The case it comes with is pretty decent, but I am not sure it would last another year of regular/hard use. 5: because too many problems with a brand new guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 4
(reads over UG's suggestions on what to write next) Oh! The setup. Out of the box, she played nice. The action was high and she did need a going over to make it better. The first thing I noticed, other than the weight, was how thick the neck is. This thing is a baseball bat. Very thick! There is little to no slimming or thickening the entire length of the neck. 23mm at the bottom of the fret board 1st fret to the bottom of the beck and she goes on and on worse than a console debate. 14" radius, and very fat frets. Don't press too hard or you will alter the pitch. (This can be seen as a negative, but I found it as a fun little alternative to bending to simply fret harder on the notes.) The neck binding is a little sloppy but the fretboard looks nice enough. Frets are not too bad. Neck has some gaps I want to fill at the heel... But maybe later. The nut was ok, but happier with the bone replacement I put in. All the strings to NOT center over all the polepieces. This may be an issue for some, but I don't care much. Bridge and stop piece bolts wiggle (Heh, I love that word... wiggle.) in the studs a bit when the strings are removed. I don't really know what the proper expected tolerance for wiggle is with these things. I am going to try and get some snug fitting bolts later today. But she does intonate and maintain tuning fairly well. The tuning machines are ok but not great quality. I replaced the tuning "buttons" (the little knobs) with black plastic ones and there was a very noticeable difference in neck weight. The finish is ok, chips very easily. I had to file off excess paint/lacquer from the neck pup well to remove it without headache when I was installing pup covers. Controls worked well, the pots were not installed with consistency so I had to remove a washer from the neck volume pot to prevent the knob from rubbing the top of the body. Geez... After writing this I am not feeling too good about the $200 I spent. 4: Because it had very little quality control, and because I had NO help or offer of help from Rondo.
Features — 5
I had the strong need to play a Baritone guitar for over a year now and finally got some extra cash to spend on trying one out. (There were NO baritones in any of the music shops in my area for me to even play around on.) So between eBay, Amazon, and Rotten.com (Not sure why I thought I could find a Baritone over there.) I cruised over to Rondo and found this beauty. Here's the story of a lovely lady, who has 3 somewhat annoying little faults: (specs from rondomusic.com, edited the b.s and exclamation points after every feature (it read like a 5 year old narrating the battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader) out) - Single cutaway arch top body made from solid alder - Hard shell case included - Bolt on maple neck with an adjustable truss rod - 27" Baritone scale length. - Bound rosewood fretboard with 22 jumbo (2.7mm) frets and trapezoidal inlays - High quality humbucker pickups - Two volume and two tone controls plus a 3-way pickup selector switch, tailor your sound - All chrome hardware (including diecast sealed tuners and a stop-bar tailpiece)! - Weight: 8 lbs <------ (Incorrect) - Bridge Studs: 2 13/16" apart, Width of the Neck at the Nut: 1 11/16", at the 22nd Fret: 2 3/16", Length, Including the Strap Button: 42 1/2", Scale Length: 27" - Width at the Widest Point: 13 1/2" First off let me tell you the weight is NOT accurate. She is heavy. 9.6lb! I emailed Kurt a few weeks after and informed him of this error but as of date, it is not fixed on the website. This p-ssed me off because weight can be a BIG issue for some players. This comes off to to be deliberate mis-representation since it hasn't been fixed yet. If it hadn't been for the return shipping cost and my belief that I could compensate somehow, I would have returned the guitar. 5: Because no one likes being lied to.