Price paid: $ 100
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 9
This is where I feel Yamaha have a strongpoint-they put pretty good pickups in their guitars. I replaced the humbucker with a DiMarzio super distortion last christmas and I put a DiMarzio YJM single coil in the neck. Nothing was wrong with the pickups, I'm just a huge fan of classic rock and '80s metal. The pickups were pretty good, the hum was relatively hot, the single coils bright, just not my type of pup's. However, for the beginner, you shouldn't really care.
Overall Impression — 9
I really love this guitar, and I am going to keep it. I use it as my "alternate tuning" guitar. I mess around with it all the time and find it to not be all that bad as a practice guitar. The amp included I still use, dispite the fact that I have a Line 6 Spider II 112 (don't get me started) and a Marshall AVT50H half stack (my baby). It sounds good, plays well, and is a hell of a bargain. If you want a guitar for a friend just starting out or you want a good beater that can truly take a beating, this is your guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It's still holding up after a year of day-by-day playing, I'm very impressed.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
Alright, the only flaws are in the set-up. The strings were really high off the neck and the tuners really suck. All the knobs and stuff are pretty quiet and function like they should. The neck fells syrup slow, but the fretwork is near flawless. If you like to do lead, do not expect the type of ease-of-play as you would find in a Kramer or Jackson. You will fight this guitar to play fast, and this thing sucks to tap with. But, as I said before, a beginner should not care.
Features — 8
I got this as my first guitar last year. It has one humbucker, 2 single coils, a tremolo, and is relatively lightweight. It sounds pretty good, and the included amp was pretty good (remember, this is not a BC Rich or ESP, so don't expect a really amazing guitar). The humbucker is decent, strings are a little high for my taste and I wish that the tuners were a little better. It can actually hold tune pretty well if you use the tremolo, just don't dive bomb. The gig bag mine came with was pretty good. Overall, amazing for just 100 bucks.