Purchased from: N/A
Sound — 6
With the Yamaha GA-10 amp this guitar produces a limited sound range but this is to be expected. This guitar and amp combination is best suited to metal due to the un-subtle and hard sound produced, though this is probably a result of the amp's exaggerated Drive setting. You get the impression that this is a loud and brash guitar which is probably ideal for the beginner and for the money, the sound quality isn't bad. I tried the guitar on a Fender Frontman 25 and a greater range of sound was available, so the sound is more dependant on the type of amp you are using rather than this guitar (to a certain extent).
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, the Yamaha ERG 121 is a good beginners guitar for most types of music depending on your amp combination. With a good amp it will fare quite well as it is comfortable and generally produces a decent sound. It beats other beginner guitars I own (don't go near an "Encore") and although it isnt the prettiest, its fun to get rockin' with! If it were stolen I would get a better guitar on the insurance because I've had it for a while. With a better build and look, the ERG 121 would rock pretty hard and would be a bargain at its price.
Reliability & Durability — 6
I've had this guitar for 3 years and apart from the problems mentioned earlier, there has been no experience of durability problems. The guitar would probably withstand live playing but the standard issue strings would not (get some Eddie Ball strings). The build quality is suspect but this isn't the fault of Yamaha; the materials seem solid. If you take it all apart and re-assemble it yourself you could probably trust it for a gig without a backup. As I already said, the finish is pretty bad but then again the guitar was not expensive so you cant complain.
Action, Fit & Finish — 2
The fit and finish is the ERG 121's let-down. The finish looks cheap and though the materials are solid, the build quality is poor. This guitar is easy to dent and the volume/tone controls are loose and difficult to maintain. The pick ups are badly screwed and often come loose. The greatest flaw is the awful selector Switch. This is tight for the first week or so but after a while it takes a long time to achieve a good connection on the first and last pick ups as the tension is lost. You have to fiddle around to change pick up and this is really annoying. The machine heads also lose tension which means that the guitar needs to be re-tuned too often.
Features — 6
Have no idea where made and frankly don't care. Has 22 frets with a "quick action" thin neck (ideal for metal), and rosewood fingerboard. Black satin finish and mock Strat body style. Has volume/tone controls, 5 way selector Switch, 2 humbuckers, 1 single coil pick-up. Came in set with GA-10 amp, gig bag, tutorial book (with CD) and a short lead; no strap.