Price paid: $ 350
Purchased from: The Center
Features — 10
Came with a hard case. It was too cheap to pass up. I think the price affected my rating. If I had to pay $500 for it new, I'd probably give it a 9.
I don't know all the technical stuff. it's got a dark grey and gloss black color to it & gold machines. Normally I don't buy black guitars (I know that's old school, but I'm old... cool?) I usually buy a guitar without seeing it first (Technically they would accept a return for 30 days). Yamaha's claim to fame is the fact that they're factory style, so less soul than a usa custom shop, but they're consistent. 9/10 times you can buy one blind like off the internets and it's exactly like the one I have.
Sound — 10
The sound crushes. It sounds like weeping and gnashing of teeth. The old guys used to say if it sounds good acoustically it'll sound good plugged in. This guitar does both. The sound is why I bought it. I honestly didn't like the neck profile (it's like a baseball bat) but by golly she sounds nice!
It suits my hard rock, metal, rock & roll sound quite well! I ran it through a Fender Hot Rod that I modded the HECK out of. It sounded killer through my practice amp too though (The Roland Cube 15).
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The factory set up was fine. The action was fine. The profile of the neck is terrible tho. It fits like a baseball bat :/ I'm used to it now though. I don't know what bookmatched means. Bridge seems routed properly. I intonated it so I don't know how it came out the box. Plus I bought this one used.
I can't think of any flaws other than it being foreign and black haha. I never buy black wood. I never buy something without touching it first (musically anyway).
I guess I do have the issue of noisy pots/switch. I never adjust that stuff so I don't really care. I should note I cleaned them with the plastic cleaner stuff. I'm tempted to try something a little tougher tho. I don't think components are failing. Now that I really think about it, it's probably the cables fault anyway.
Reliability & Durability — 10
100% yes! I gigged a USA Strat for 3 years, a Schecter Diamond Series for 2, and this sassy black beauty for 3-4. She's needed a few set ups here and there, but I'll be honest, I ride her hard and put her away wet.
Let's be honest, this guitar is cheap. The hardware is sufficient. If I wanted to get more out of it i might put a warlock neck and grover tuning machines. I don't want to spend that kind of money. Heck the neck alone would cost what I put into this. The finish has put up with a lot of spilled whiskey and beer. *shrug*
Overall Impression — 10
I play rock, metal, and hard music, but not metalcore/hardcore. I've been playing since I can remember. I own a USA Strat. They're totally different tools. The Strat couldn't take as much abuse and doesn't sound anywhere near as fat, rugged, tough (arbitrary but whatever go plug one in at a guitar store and see for yourself lol). I went in to buy a Yamaha AES520 and left with the 720 because they explained it's the same guitar just more designed to sound "heavier." I'm guessing that's the pickups, but I honestly don't know the exact details.
It definitely fit my genre much better than my USA strat w/hotrails.