Price paid: £ 120
Purchased from: Argos
Sound — 3
I play a lot of rock, anything from bluesy Guns N' Roses style rock to heavy metal Metallica. This guitar is pretty specific on what it sounds good with. The tone of the guitar is very poor, it's a bit flat and empty and sort of cheap sounding. When trying to get a soulful or emotional sound out of this guitar you may find that it lacks a bit of passion, but then it is a cheap guitar. Having said this I only ever played this guitar on the cheap amp that came with it, though I do not think the sound would improve much on a full 3-part stack. However, when a lot of overdrive is used and the volume cranked up a bit it does produce a farily adequate heavy metal crunch which suits it's thin neck and narrow fretboard. It is far better for playing the heavier end of my music tastes than the classic rock stuff, it's just so limitted on what it can do. As a beginner guitar though, which is what this is, it's great for the simple tunes, scales and riffs that might be tought to a newbie as they get used to the way an electric works, I know it helped me get to grips with things a few years ago.
Overall Impression — 6
I got this guitar a few years ago when I decided I wanted to play some electric stuff as well as the accoustic I had been playing for a few years. I am about to buy a Les Paul Studio (the Gibson not Epiphone) and though I can see the quality floors in this guitar, I maintain that it is the perfect starting guitar for a younger player. I even used it for a Grading and it was great. I consider myself lucky that I got this guitar, mainly because I had absolutely no idea what I was buying (hence the fact it came from Argos), and also because I chose solely on the aesthetics of the guitar, which by the way are one of its strong points. I would recommend this to anyone starting out electric guitar for it's ease of use and overall quality of build and setup.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Now for a warning. Do not take this guitar to a gig/ tour or on stage! Apart from the sound which is not stage-worthy, this guitar is not up to continuous knocks and bangs and would probably break if thrown about in the back of a van. The hardware is pretty solid and things like strap buttons and tuning pegs are very tight and well fitted, but I wouldn't trust the body not to crack and the soft exposed wood of the neck will dent under pressure form a finger nail, so could wellbreak if given a good beating. The fret wire is very dense, I'm not sure what it is made of but my guess is a stainless steel that is very tough. It has not worn and there is a similar story with the fretboard; the finish is pretty weather-proof. It comes down to the purpose of this guitar. Sure, you don't want to take it on stage, but then this is a beginners guitar ideal for use in a bedroom or small practise room and is plenty strong enough to stand up to to odd knock here and there and quite a lot of playing.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The general finish of this guitar was top-notch. When you considcer that it got to me in a box that had been shipped around the world on the back of a lorry straight out of the factory with no set up or TLC, and all I had to do was tweak the acion slightly. It's solid and well bolted together and the frets were pressed in well. Overall I was impressed as a beginner is unlikely to want or know to adjust the bridge, nut or tuning and this guitar is pretty ideal for that.
Features — 7
The features of thos guitar are basoc and simple, it has a 5-way pickup selector, a tone and volume knob and a whammy bar. I got it as part of a Starter Kit which included a Yamaha 10W amp with shoddy cable, a dust bag for the guitar, spare strings, a few picks, some allon keys for adjusting the bridge, and a half-decent tuner. The tuning pegs are very tightly fitted. In fact they creak slightly when turned, however this has meant that they hold the tunng very well, important for beginners Who may not be able to tune all that well. The rosewood fretboard has 22 fairly narrow frets which, combined with the thin neck, make this guitar good for quick playing and reduces the distance the fingers and hand needs to stretch when playing, ideal for the younger or begining player. The guiatr was fairly well setup considering it came from Argos, although I had to make some minor adjustments to the action to stop my fingers getting cought under the strings when bending, but this only took five minutes. The guitar is always a highly glossy black paint and varnish over what wood I do not know. The bridge uses a tremolo bridge system following the same style as it's bigger brothers. It is very solid and holds everything perfectly, after adfjusting the action I have not touched it for over a year and everything is fine. Overall the package was very full and had everything a beginning player could need at typical Yamaha low prices.