Sound — 10
I play mostly classic blues-rock and hard rock, with occasional interest in a good metal song! But I also like a good clean sound. After 30 years of playing, I'm very discriminating. The sound of this guitar just blew me away. Seymour Duncan: Nothing more needs to be said. I'm using larger tube amps for performance and a Marshall AVT 20 for practice and this thing sounds amazing through them all!
Overall Impression — 10
I have played guitar for 30 years and in that time I have played dozens of different brands of guitar. Recently my son joined a band (he's a drummer) and I began helping them out. So I began shopping for a mid-priced guitar with a fixed bridge and set neck for downtuning so I could play along with the modern stuff! I went to all the big stores and tried all the "affordables" out there. Usually I found each guitar would have one feature that was good and then several others that were mediocre. Usually, I found poor reasonance and a bad fret job, cheap controls and sloppy finish! Growing frustrated, the last place I went was a small locally owned shop. Instead of row after row of mass produced brands, the owner carried a few very good guitars at reasonable prices, and this Fernandes Monteray was the one I chose. Oh, I realize it's kind of old fashioned by today's standards, but then the other Fernandes models I tried played just as well as this one. Bottom line here: a friend of mine just bought a USA-made PRS and he had me do the set up on it for him. It's a beautiful guitar, but it ain't $2,000 more beautiful looking or playing than this Fernandes! If you are in the market for a mid-priced guitar and you have a Fernandes dealer within reasonable shopping distance, don't buy until you give them a try. Disclaimer: no, I don't work for Fernandes. But after all Internet surfing and the miles I have driven searching for a quality mid-priced guitar, you can just imagine how I felt when I played this one for the first time! I can't say enough good things about it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Solid as a rock! I accidentily ran the damn headstock into a heavy metal music stand while plugging it in for the first time, I just cringed and looked down. Not even a mark! Wow. I got lucky, but it proved the finish is pretty tough. Better than some of my more expensive guitars. All of the hardware is down tight and feels solid!
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I've been told Fernandes guitars are produced in relatively small numbers compared to the others. That makes sense because they have nearly flawless fit and finish, I couldn't believe what I was seeing for the price! Then I played it. The best neck I've ever played on a guitar in this price range (and believe me, I tried them all several times over the course of months before parting with my hard-earned money). I won't give it a 10 only because beauty is in the eye of the beholder and finish can always be improved! But some flaws add character, etc. Overall, this has the fit and finish of a much more expensive guitar.
Features — 10
Fernandes is a Japanese company, but this guitar was made in Korea. Mahogany neck and body with a finish that lets the real wood shine through (not a phony finish like on some)! Fantastic carved and figured maple top with several bindings and a bound headstock (although I still would have bought it without all that). Nice Grover tuners, Gotoh bridge and real Seymour Duncans! The heavy textured metal knobs move like they are set in stone, nothing feels cheap on this guitar. I didn't get the Fernandes' trademark "Sustainer" system because I have a lot of other gear and I didn't want that for this particular guitar. Otherwise, I've heard only good things about that device. Guitars without the sustainer get a coil tap.