Price paid: $ 170
Purchased from: Yamaha showroom
Sound — 6
My genres include Classic Rock, Acoustic, Blues and Progressive Rock. Since above genres do not require massive gain level this guitar handles them all (except acoustic styles. When it comes to Classic Rock it does well with single coils. I can easily achieve tones suitable for playing Pink Floyd. The "woman's voice" tone popularized by Mr Eric Clapton can be easily recreated by rolling tone to zero and selecting the neck pickup. However I had trouble playing Led Zeppelin with this guitar without using substantial amount of gain due to poor sustain. I use the humbuckers to play progressive rocks though the tone isnt great but decent. I can pull off pinch harmonice with some efforts. Unlike guitars like (for example Ibanez) You cannot execute pinch harmonics at any spot you want. you have to sit with your guitar and take some times to find some sweet spots where they work( I found 4 specific spots so far. This humbucker is extremely noisy when you use moderate amount of gain. I have seen the 6th string to vibrate even if I pluck/pick the 2nd string..it is quite odd and unique to this guitar which can be attributed to poor quality tremolo springs, which resonates with vibrations and pass it to other strings. Unless you have a very good technique your playing will suffer. The pickup selector gives out different tones and adds to variety to sonic spectrum. The tone knob works well only after 5 and between 10 to 6 the difference is quite subtle. The volume knob is free from crackles, but it is quite rigid and thereby makes effects like "volume swell" and "tremolo" hard to achieve. I use this guitar with a Laney Lx 12. I use gain 8 to 10 there. The cleans are workable. However it's buzzy and too much bright which can be attributed to a maple neck and sonic characterless agathis. The tone is really thin which may be used for some blues. I had a honky tone when it came new but I removed the Tremolo cavity Plate situated at back of the guitar to get rid of the honky tone.
Overall Impression — 6
As I mentioned before this guitar can handle my Genres. I have been playing acoustic guitars since 2002. Picked up an electric in 2006. I had BC Rich Mocking Bird classic, Zoom 505, Jim Dunlop wah, JCM 800 head. These are now sold. Right now I am using this guitar, guitar rig 3, Laney Lx 12, and Peveay Revalver MK2. I had given up playing in 2007 because of some reasons and needed a cheap gear to restore my skill which this guitar had already done. If it is lost or stolen I would definitely put up a notice to find it back (because I used my own money to buy it).However if I cannot find it back and don't have cash I will look for a second hand Ibanez or if I have cash I will go for a PRS double cut.
Reliability & Durability — 2
Any sane person will understand that this guitar will not stand tours. The hardware is not good except the tremolo, neck, tuners, frets and volume knob. I look forward to see this guitar another 4 years without modification and repair (It has been a year I bought this). The strap buttons are solid and I use them without lockers. I used this guitar to play a gig attended by 2000+ people.Unfortunately 3rd string became detuned in the middle of a song. I transposed the notes to different strings. I have learnt the lesson not to ever play it during Live performance.
Action, Fit & Finish — 3
The factory setup was good. It was properly intonated and action is very low! I raised the action to the maximum limit yet it is not up to my Standard. The bridge screws are too short. The pickup setup is perfect though I lowered the middle pickup as my plectrum is gaetting stucked there. The neck is too thin, however it really doesnt't't't matter to me because I place my thumb against neck, not over the neck when playing fast runs. The scale is long 25'+ and frets are perfect, not too high not too low. The tremolo bar is amazing. I even used it to shift pitch upto 2 to 3 semitones with getting my strings detuned. However it's is quite loose and falls back to original position making noise when I release it. I solved this problem by wrapping some portion of the bar with tape. The paint job is not poor but it degrades rapidly due to use. The bridge became heavily rusted after use of 4 months. It gets a slight crack during winter in neck joint which fixes itself during summer.
Features — 8
This guitar was made in Indonesia. It is a Super Strat with H/S/S configuration (stock pickups are from Yahmaha). It has an Agathis body, Indian Rosewood finger board with 22 frets and a maple neck. It has three controls: a five way pickup selector, a tone and a volume. This guitar is available in gloss finish and comes with a cable and 2 wrenches to adjust truss rod and bridge.