The flatpicked guitar reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!
161 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: www.thomann.de
The sound is very clear and direct. It is neither harsh nor sweet - it's somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. The sound is well balanced over all the strings and over the range of the fretboard (at least up to the 12th fret, I don't play any higher than that). The notes have a good attack.
The guitar works particularly well for fast single note playing (i.e. fiddle tunes). When playing chords with all six strings the sound is too full for my taste - the single notes don't melt together well, they seem to drown each other. Playing alternating bass backup works well, as long as you play only 3 or 4 strings in the chord part and you don't go in too hard. The bass lines have a good drive and punch.
To me, this guitar sounds best when flatpicked with a thick 1.5 - 2.0 mm pick. It is not for casual pop/folk strumming and singer/songwriter stuff.
For fingerpicking, the guitar seems to sound at least OK, but I'm not really a fingerpicker. I'd probably use different (lighter) strings.
This guitar sounds better than you would expect from a guitar that costs 4 times more.
Sound Rating: 8
The setup was as you find it on most new instruments: usable, but too high. I've lowered the action at the nut according to my taste. String height at the bridge works well for me.
Setup Rating: 8
I have the red/black sunburst version. The sunburst looks cheap but kinda cool. I prefer it to the "natural" look of a cheap laminate top. The mahogany veneer on the sides and the back looks very nice. The guitar looks like a fun cheap guitar, it doesn't pretend to be anything else. There is no unneccessary bling.
The lacquer is not too thick (as often on cheap instruments) and has no blemishes.
The overall workmanship is flawless and surpasses what you'll find on many more expensive instruments.
Appearance Rating: 8
This instrument is built very solidly (it's laminate!), but not overbuilt. The tuners are of good quality, they're smooth and precise and keep the tuning well. Again, I've seen worse on more expensive instruments. I don't see how this instrument could ever fail. When I buy a more expensive instrument sometime, I will keep the fender as a campfire guitar
Reliability Rating: 9
I have not dealt with fender, yet. Service from thomann was excellent, as always.
Customer Service: not rated
Maybe I'll replace the plastic nut and bridge inlay with bone someday. I'm also tempted to replace the sealed tuners with open geared or kluson tuners, but thats purely cosmetical.
Components Rating: 8
I first saw this guitar at a friends house. He was just starting to play guitar and bought a fender, because that was the only brand he recognized. My first thought was "if you had asked me for advice, you had probably gotten something better. Fender sucks for acoustic instruments", but I didn't want to spoil it for him. Later that evening I played a bit on the guitar and was impressed. The next day I ordered mine. In terms of how much fun I've got out of it, it's definitely the best 123 Euro that I've ever spent on any piece of music equipment.
I've owned maybe half a dozen guitars over the last 30 years, and guitar never really inspired me. They were mostly collecting dust in the corner. I mainly play banjo, mandolin and ukulele. Once I had this guitar, I started playing a lot, and began to methodically approach learning guitar (I'm working my way through the flatpicking essentials series). I'm neglecting my other instruments. I would love to buy a more expensive, better and more beautiful guitar, but within my budget of 1000 Euro (~$1000 at the moment) I haven't found anything that I like better. Maybe I'll save up for the real thing (Martin D-18). But I don't think I will ever sell this guitar - it's been too good to me ;-)
If I had given the ratings relative to the price, this would be a solid 12 out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8
'Baltic Amber Tuner Button' 12 days
'Martin Hippie Guitar' 12 days
'I Saw the Light' 21 days
'Weber Rawhide Archtop Guitar' 31 days
'1946 Epiphone Triumph Guitar' 31 days