Price paid: $ 768.6
Purchased from: Bond Street
Sound — 10
I mainly play jazz (Pass) blues (Hendrix) and rock (Muse/Radiohead) The guitar can be modified to sound comfortable in most genres. It's three position tone selector is perfect for reaching the most definable tones every guitarist needs when playing. The extent of which tones is conveniently configurable on the control panel as well. The only thing this guitar has difficulty replicating is the twang of a single coil, which I miss. But is not a feature you expect from a H/H guitar, even a coil tapped one. I use the guitar through a Zoom GFX8 through my PC into my Sony 5.1 Surround sound system. It sounds amazing. This guitar doesn't produce any static noise, mainly due to there being to single coils in sight, but also due to the fnatastic quality of the wiring job under the hood.
Overall Impression — 10
I know how a guitar should play and sound. I chose this guitar because I wanted a guitar with the reliability in build and sound of a classic strat/tele/LP, yet unique and much more versatile. The AES820 looks fantastic, has so many strong sounds and seems like it will last forever. It is perfect for me. It will not be replaced in my collection for a long time, perhaps until I die.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar looks great, totally unique. Its hardware is no exception. Each locking tuner is a different size to compensate a different tensile stress of a string. They appear very hard wearing. The custom DiMarzio are fitted securely and adjust without wobbling all over. Looking in the control panel, the wiring is very well soldered and looks like it could go the distance. The only real issue is the potentiometers. The nuts have difficulty gripping the finish. This only requires swift spanner and allan key action though and you're sorted.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar was set up too high for me, but this was no problem correcting thanks to the Tune-O-Matic. The truss rod was adjusted perfectly and the pickups optimal distance from the strings, until of course I changed the action. The saddles were set for perfect tone on all strings and the finish was perfect. Wouldn't expect any less from Yamaha.
Features — 10
With its blend of traditional single-cutaway AES styling and a radically sculpted top, the AES820 is a picture of sleek efficiency and retro-cool. And what you'll hear is huge! Two gain-laden custom DiMarzio humbuckers dishing the hooligan filth, with a flexible rotary tone control system that will also simulate more open-voiced single-coil sounds. If all that isn't low-down and dirty enough, the guitar also comes as the Drop 6 AES820-D6, with a longer 666mm scale length and heavier strings enabling down-pitching to A or B without losing string tension or having to learn new tunings. Truly Grunge-O-Matic!