Price paid: $ 710
Purchased from: Musiciansfriend.com
Sound — 8
The AX-20 is designed practically to play any style of music. Its rosewood fret board adds body, rather than Darkness, to the overall tone. And the hard tail bridge sounds classically loud and sweet. The strings run through the body and are securely fastened by the locking tuners to the other end of the instrument. The Standard pairing of volume and tone controls is useful for exploring the wide range of tones. Although the AX-20 was designed to cover most genres, it is most at home in a country, rock, or blues song.
Overall Impression — 8
Sterling ball's AX series sets a high Standard for performance and tone from a budget instrument. The AX-20 is a geniune joy to play, hear, and show off. It will make a lot of Strat and Telecaster players feel much at home. I've been playing for about, 2-3 years now, and feel I am a decent player. I woud not buy this guitar if you are a metal junky like me. This guitar excels at blues, country, and light rock.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Seems like a very well Built guitar. Everything seems solid, and correctly placed. Even though I only played this at a music store, it seemed like it would last a long time before anything would give. This also goes for the Finnish, which doesn't seem like it will wear down anytime soon.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Well, The Company set up the guitar pretty well. I just had to raise the action a little bit, so I could play more Pinch harmonics easier. There were no obvious flaws in the guitar. Except I think this one was dropped or handled roughly in handling. A few scratch marks on the bottom, but nothing really noticeable.
Features — 9
The AX-20 has a body shape that is practically identical to the high end Axis guitar. It is made of light weight and warm sounding basswood, Capped with a quilted maple veneer top and wrapped with cream binding. Sterling zebra hum buckers are mounted directly to the body for excellent transference of Acoustic energy. As impressive as this budget guitar looks and sounds, it's the feel of the neck that just sets them apart from other instruments in this range. It's not very wide and carved asymmetrically, so that the left hand is positioned more properly and comfortably. It's the kind of ergonomically feel that you expect on a guitar that has been worn in through decades of constant use. The truss rod is accessed in front of the neck pickup, and the headstocks are cut in the traditional Music Man shape, with tuners split 2 on one side and 4 on the other. Incidentally, this configuration results in Strat-like jangly mids courtesy of the long G string, and punchy highs from the shorter top strings. The fretwork on this guitar was fantastic, and the medium jumbo frets were crowned superbly.
Body - Basswood
Neck - Maple bolt on, asymmetrical carve
Fingerboard - Rosewood
Scale - 25, 1/2
Hardware - Music Man designed hard tail, locking chrome tuners
Controls - Master volume and tone, 3 way blade pickup selector.