This is a bit of a saga so please bear with me.
It was described as having a silky oak back and sides and I took that at face value until I spotted a label on the bottom of the case which described it as silver ash - the serial number matched that on the guitar. I don't know about you but I doubt very much I could tell the difference without some robust help. However, the back and sides are not any tonewood I've ever seen before and it's nicely and finely figured but it's far from spectacular like rosewood or walnut.
When I bought it I was surprised by a number of things:
a) it seemed like it had never been seriously played. The back of the neck on a well played guitar is usually shiny from skin fat being worked into the finish. This wasn't obviously that way - but it is now.
b) the finish was pristine. I know it's not as easy to spot very minor defects on a semi matt finish but I might have spotted a small defect but I stuffed if I can find it again.
c) the instrument had a sweet smell like evaporating solvent which has since almost gone - although I don't claim dog like accuracy in the smelling department.
d) the case had the smell of something burnt. Not strong but distinct.
I suspect this was picked up from a fire damage sale and has rarely if ever been played - at least not seriously by a long term owner.
When it came, as in the other thread, it had coated bronze strings and I was not impressed. However, I was to mean to just change them as I thought the instrument needed "running in" anyway. So I left them on for a time. The plastic eventually started to fray on the G string and I took my courage in my hands and put on a set of Monel 11's to try and take the action down a tad.
The effect was clear but the guitar still didn't have that "ring" that a really good guitar should have. So I persevered. It has now taken about 3 or 4 months of on and off playing and suddenly it's come alive. Unfortunately, the monel 11's are not a great match so my next change will be to phos bronze 12's.
So what do I like about this guitar. I love it's ability to project - it sounds a little like a 12 string and I can get a whole variety of different sounds out of it by changing the way I use my pick. It can sound out for the songs that bowl along but can sound delicate for the quieter ones. Single notes chime out although the top B and E strings are a bit weak - I think that's the gauge (I'd expect better with 12's). Overall, the sound is almost as good (but different to) my Avalon at about a third the cost.
The only thing that threw me a little at the start is the fretboard is quite flat. As with so many things in life it is a two edged sword. My old, slightly arthritic, hands have to stretch more than I'd like but I make fewer wrong notes.
I also like the LR Baggs Anthem pick up that came with it. It is possible to dial in a reasonable variety of sounds by changing the balance and the relative volumes of the mic and under saddle pick up.
I had tried out a number L'Arrivees before buying this one. Not only was it cheaper than the new ones (around half the price) and it had a pick up which I wanted. It has a sound that is different to my other guitars and that gives me the flexibility to tune my instrument to the situation I'm going to use it in.
Am I pleased with my purchase? You bet I am. It's not what I expected and it seems different to what was advertised but none the worse for that. If you ever get a chance to try one, give it a go. It came up trumps for me.