Price paid: € 269
Purchased from: Fnac
Sound — 7
This was my first guitar. Playing almost only metal, the guitar sounds all right. Using it with the bundled GA-15 you can get a decent distortion type sound using the Bridge pickup and the gain channel of the amp. Though you need to EQ it properly, otherwise it can sound really mettalic, and not in the good way. The neck pickup gives a nicer sound when you play in the highest parts of the neck, but it's very noisy and sensitive. I ended up buying a second hand Boss MT-2 pedal for the ability to Switch for clean to distortion. The resulting sound is good enough to practice, play on your own. It's too metallic though for recording purposes. I rate it 7 because as a noob, I thought the sound was pretty good. If I compared it to the sound I get from my Virgo, I'd only give it 3.
Overall Impression — 7
As I said I play metal and I can get a satisfactory tone ouf the guitar and the amp it came with. I've been playing for a year and two months, and I feel I have outgrown this guitar. I just bought BC Rich Virgo and will review it once I have spent enough time playing it. If it was lost, I'd be sad. As my beginning guitar I'm attached to it, but I wouldn't buy another one of these. The overall quality of the guitar is consistent. It's a plesant guitar to play when you haven't touched another guitar yet. This is important though: Do not consider this guitar if you already know how to play. It's perfect for discovering the instrument, practicing and all but the quality won't allow you to Shine live or in recordings. If you've never played the guitar and you can get the bundle for under 200 bucks, go for it!
Reliability & Durability — 6
Unlike what most people seem to think, I found the ERG 121 to be quite durable. It only has a few micro-dents. The paint only chipped in one of these micro-dents. It's still in a very good state. The finish is extremely prone to finger marks. I haven't played many guitars, but they were all covered in finger marks, so I don't hold it against the ERG 121. Either the strap buttons totally suck, or the bundled strap does. It's ok to play standing provided you don't move around too much. I'd totally put strap locks on if I had to play live with this. It will definitely last for a bedroom beginner.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action was pretty low with factory settings. I didn't end up changing it. The pickup setup was good too. There was a piece of paper explaining how to alter the pickup height and the consequences of doing so. Which is a nice piece of information for a beginner. In the end, the guitar didn't take any altering to be playable. No flaw whatsoever.
Features — 7
As far as I can see, it's impossible to find out specific information about the guitar : The serial number search on yamaha.com doesn't yield any result. Because of that, I'm unable to tell the year it was made, the wood of the body nor the neck (that and I don't have enough experience with other guitars yet). Other than that, it's a plain but pleasant looking Strat shaped guitar, complete black finish with HSH stock Yamaha pickups. Only available in a bundle together with a tuner (not chromatic), a strap, an amp, a gigbag and some picks.