Price paid: $ 190
Purchased from: Yamaha
Sound — 9
Mostly, I play punk, ska, and heavy rock but I also have dabbled in metal. I've never been disappointed by it's sound in any area for the price but there are various limitations to these areas. For example, the sustain is really not that good. There can also be excess noise while not playing which can be annoying but I find that lowering the middle single coil pickup reduced the excess noise. This pickup is also the best for ska as it has a mellow sort of sound. Usually, I just use an Overdrive pedal which gives me the distortion I need and does not detract from the guitar's quality. Again, for the price, the sound is very good but if you want a really good sound maybe it's best to explore other options. If you are beyond beginner level it's probably time to select a guitar that suits your most common style.
Overall Impression — 10
I love it. It was my first electric guitar and I'm proud to admit it. It let's you explore any area of music until you find "your" area and can move on to a more specifically created guitar. It's a beginner guitar. Do not buy this if you are anything but a beginner or unsure about continuing guitar. As I said, I've played it for 4 years and it's never let me down despite several near catastrophes. My favourite feature would probably be the windows it opens to let you explore any music from classic guitar to metal (with the right settings). I use a Marshall Amp so the sound is good anyway and I also use an overdrive pedal. I used to have a distortion pedal but it broke. While I did have it, my 012 gave me the metal sound I needed. There is nothing I really hate about this guitar that can't be fixed. What can I say... I highly respect this guitar and it comes with my highest recommendation! Hope this helped anyone in anyway.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Live playing? If you have a better guitar use that... Obviously. But in reality, this guitar is durable, I've had it for 4 years now and it's never come close to falling apart. The strap buttons are solid (even after years of thrusting it all over the place) and are showing no signs of erosion or loosening. Safe to say it would survive Live. the finish is quite good but excess playing may scratch the area just above the pick-guard but with the right technique (which I didn't have at the time) I'm sure that this can be avoided. Overall, I'd trust on this guitar with my life in a Live situation as its solid build puts me secure in the knowledge that it'll see many more gigs before it dies on me.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
No clear signs of bad construction. My main criticism would be that the neck on my guitar can be a bit loose but it's never been a problem and usually doesn't affect tuning or sound quality. As I said earlier, the pickups may need to be adjusted accordingly to get rid of unwanted background noise but this is easily fixable and is not a valid reason to not start with this guitar. Occasionally (this may only be my guitar) the high E string can catch on something like the 17th fret and if you're playing a solo this is really annoying. Flaws like this can be remedied with a small file but it would be better to be flawless wouldn't it? Apart from these problems, I like the finish of this guitar. All frets are in equal height and the neck is very smooth and comfy to run along. The bridge is also fine and I have never had any problems what'soever with it.
Features — 8
This nifty Strat style guitar is a great way to start off on electric guitar. 22 frets on a thin neck of maple; the basics of any guitar and all you need to get a half decent sound. The tuners work fine for a while, although they may eventually become a bit stiffer (particularly on the low E string) but this aspect can be fixed with purchasing replacements. I really like the hum-bucker pickup as it gives a great meaty sound for anything from punk to metal (to a limit). On top of the hum-bucker, there are 2 single coil pickups which provide a great sound for reggae and ska and a five way selector ensures that these sounds can be achieved, making this guitar an all-rounder in style which is brilliant for beginners. However, it is important to note that there are limitations in each style. There are only to other controls on the guitar itself: the master volume and master tone controls.