Submitted April 4, 2015 by Joanne Hook in Hayward, CA
"Good bang for the buck. One of the easiest guitars to play I've ever had"
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An excellent lower end acoustic electric with a 3-band equalizer, midrange presence, built in tuner and good quality sound, both as an acoustic and amplified instrument. Light weight. a bit smaller in the body than most dreadnoughts, but also a bit deeper which tends to even out the sound. Extremely easy to play which also makes it very easy to over-control. Take some time to learn how to finesse this instrument. Your patience will be well rewarded.
The sound is sharp, clean and has good tone and balance up the neck. 12th, 7th and 5th fret harmonics sound good. Easy to play of bar chords at the nut with supplied strings. Very easy action on the fret board and it will take awhile for a new user to get used to the guitar to the point where they do not over control it. Finesses is the key here. It projects a nice clean sound with with the strings supplied, but I think that it will sound a bit more mellow with Martin Marquis light gage strings. Pickup has a good range and no pops or noise from the preamp or its controls at normal playing settings. Good range of adjustability. Above average sound in the acoustic mode. Plays very well for the folk and bluegrass genres. I trend to go with an electric for most Rock, jazz and blues, but what rock I've done on this guitar sounds good.
The preamp uses 2 AA batteries in a slip out case that can not be inserted improperly. The tuner is very close to concert pitch and compares favorably with my high end tuners, although I have to do a bit of fine tweaking on a couple of strings, but while I notice it, I doubt very much that my audience does. I am not over thrilled that the rear strap post is also the 1/4" plug socket as well. So far this has not been a problem, but I would suggest a right angle plug on this if you are using a normal guitar stand on stage. I would also suggest a very good quality leather strap due to this application
Ease of Use
The guitar works well with my Marshall amps, both practice and and full scale head and speakers. Like all acoustic guitars, it is susceptible to feedback at high volume levels if you are too close to a stage monitor. Like I said, it is an easy instrument to over-control especially with light gage strings so it will take some time to get the muscle memory for the instrument as it does have a narrower neck than most Martins and it will be very easy to over run the end of the fret on the 6th string if you are used to a wider neck. practice and patience, along with a bit of finesse in handling the instrument. On the plus side, it does make for very easy grace notes and ornamentation once you star getting the feel for the instrument.
So far, all seems well and I would not hesitate to use it on stage. The cosmetics are very good, the instrument, after getting the initial stretch out of the strings. The instrument came tuned 1-1/2 steps below concert pitch, it holds its tune very well and the tuners are smooth and easy to use. It seems to be very well made and assembled. I used an inspection mirror and a flashlight and looked over all of the bracings and gluing and didn't see anything to give me any cause for concern.
One of the things that I learned early on is that one has to pay an increasingly higher price for a relatively small amount of improvements with most musical instruments. Once you get into the price range of this guitar, minor improvements go up like a rocket in terms of price. This is a swell made instrument, well voiced, plays fantastically well and has good tone, balance and projection.
I have not had to deal with the manufacturer at all with this instrument and doubt that I will be doing so in the foreseeable future. This is a very good quality instrument in a properly fitted case.
The Wow Factor
While the instrument is a bit smaller than most dreadnoughts, it is also a bit deeper which tends to keep the clarity in the .low end of the instrument while maintaining good pitch, tone and balance through the range of the instrument. I am amazed that it plays almost the same as my semi-hollow body electric, right out of the case (which could us a bit better quality latches, but I will have to install a TSA approved hasp latch on this case before I travel with it. Outside of this, this is one of the best overall deals i have ever gotten from a lower end guitar. I get a real kick out of playing it!
Playing solos and with Celtic/folk/religious/rock and jazz-blues groups for over 50 years
Traditional Celtic (Irish/Scottish) American Folk, Bluegrass, Rock, Religious, Jazz and Blues
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