Price paid: A$ 300
Sound — 8
For a starting guitar, it busts out some really nice cleans. The bloody thing doesn't work now so I'm relying on memory. The cleans are crisp and bright, a little underpowered, and have that distinct "strat" sound. Not as rich as a real Strat but still, there not bad. Distortions can be alright, depending if your amp is good. A PIECE OF ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS! GET A GOOD AMP! Spend an extra 300 bucks to get a better amp. I had a shit amp. It was demoralising. At least get a multi-FX unit or something. A nice amp will make your not as nice guitar sound nice! Don't get a Marshal Stack or something stupid like that. Just a 400-600 dollar amp would be fine. Anyway, back to the guitar. Don't downtune. Anything past half step down sounds muddy as hell. The Yamaha loves dire straits and things like that. I play a lot of different stuff, and its pretty versatile. Just avoid downtunning. For its price, I'll give it a solid 8.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, I LOVE THIS GUITAR. It has served me well for the years I have had it and nurtured me to become the musician I am today. It may be broken now, but I vow to restore her to much more than her former glory. If you are looking for a beginners guitar, I recomend the Yamaha. Its better than many others out there, and its versatile too. I have had a good run with this guitar, and keep it displayed with pride in my room.
Reliability & Durability — 5
Now here is where things get a little hairy, but bare in mine that I played this axe pretty darn hard. I took my Yamaha to the shop quite a number of times to get the bloody thing working again. The electronics are pretty average. Actually after a while they were absolute shit. Kept cutting out, crackling and carrying on. Really pissed me off. The pickups have deteriorated too. The machine heads don't hold tune when I do some screaming David Gilmour bends. The intonation is F***ING TERRIBLE. That bridge is all rusted now too, maybe due to the humid nature of where I was when I had this axe. I think this poor basted has a bad case of guitarthritis. But I have had it for almost a few years now. However I did play this live a few times. Back when electronic things weren't playing up OFTEN, it was pretty solid to play. Like really solid. The strap buttons held nicely and the body is as tough as nails. This guitar is faithful too. One time my flash-harry Prestige Ibanez guitar with its fancy floating tremolo was playing up. So I had to use the Yamaha, which I really didn't think was even going to last onto the stage. But she played magnificently. So when the chips are down, its nice to know I can trust on an old friend. But seriously the electronics suck, and I wouldn't bring only this guitar to a gig.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I found no real problems with the guitar when I first got it. Honestly I can't really remember, but I'm pretty sure it was well set up.
Features — 10
This guitar is based on a Strat with a humbucker, two single coils, a Vintage style tremolo, tone knob, volume knob, a maple neck, a rosewood fingerboard, some machine heads, some sexy curves and probably made in some dodgy factory in asia. Really what I'm saying is, its a typical Strat copy beginners guitar. Nothing really to say here, its got all a beginner really needs.