Got this because - firstly I love Yamaha, and think that they produce some excellent instruments - and secondly because I was in the market for a Gibson-y guitar, as I'm mostly a Fender-y player.
- Really well built - can't see any flaws, lovely binding, no glue splurges or paint blemshises
- Feel is great - very Gibson-y, although I like the wrap around bridge much more than I like Gibson TOM style bridges. It feels nicer under the hand.
- Finish - I think it's a love it or hate it thing, but the matt top is really lovely - subtle maple under charcoal. Really, really good. It's going to "relic" quickly though!!!
- Neck - chunky! I like a chunky neck, and this one feels positively chubby, particularly as you move up the fretboard. Really comfortable though.
- Resonance - this is really spectacular - you can feel the top vibrate really, really powerfully when strumming. It has a superb acoustic quality to it.
- Sound - pros and cons here. Pros are that it does what I wanted it to - it's a meaty, middy and Les Paul-y.
- Nut - plastic (I think) and not great. Tuning stability suffers from this. I'll replace with Tusq or somesuch when I can be arsed.
- Frets - these are a wee bit pronounced under the neck binding. Not a huge issue, but I guess a sign that not huge amounts of time were spent on the guitar.
- Dry Switch - thought I'd love this - when I tried one out in the Yamaha shop I could think of loads of applications. Now, at home and playing through my own rig, I'm not so sure. I don't think that the tonal change will be significant enough to be useful in a practical sense. However, I've only had it a few days, and that could change. It would have been perfect with some kind of active bass cut/treble boost affair.
- Sound - not really a con as such, but the pickups are a little hot for my tastes. For me, the guitar lends itself to a vintage tone - given the acoustic properties of the thing, I think it's crying out for some vintage PAF style pickups.
Overall, this is a superb guitar. It's a real workman type instrument - not flashy - exactly my sort of thing.
OK, so last night I rehearsed with this guitar for the first time, and I thought I'd correct some of my first impressions.
The Dry Switch - actually, at rehearsal volume, this control is EXCEPTIONALLY useful. My set list goes from quite thick and grungy tones through to sharp, cleanish, trebly comping, and the dry switch allows this brilliantly, as long as you're set relatively bright on the amp (which I usually am) and the volume is high. It's really good - only one drawback is that it's actually fairly tricky to pull the knob out (as it were), and I found myself a second behind adjusting it on the fly. That's not a huge criticism, but I'd actually prefer it - and I think it would be more practical - to have a mini switch to engage the circuit.
At volume, tonally this is completely Les Paul territory. It's thick, rich and middy. Clean notes have real thickness & substance, and the dirty tones are chewy and awesome. I was concerned initially that the pickups were too hot - I don't this this is true now (or maybe I'm being less of a wuss), they're actually very responsive, saturated notes bloom nicely under gain.
I was more than happy with the guitar when I bought it - I'm now over the moon giving how it sits in my band.
This is me playing it.