Sunday, May 10, 2015

Meet Some of the Kids

They are mine all mine. Budget instruments? Absolutely.Suitable for me? You bet.

Yamaha F310 Acoustic

Inexpensive and perfect for an amateur like myself. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it is a budget acoustic after all.

My little description is just a bit less exciting than Yamaha's, "The F310 offers the same focus on quality, design and sound as all Yamaha acoustics and puts it in an incredibly affordable package. "

Some specs:

Spruce top
Meranti back and sides. What the hell is Meranti wood? South Asian wood. A.K.A. Luan or Philippine mahogany. Good, bad? No clue.
Nato neck. What the hell is Nato wood? It is wood from the Mora tree. Trees primary located in northern South America, and southern Central America. A bit of a drive from the manufacturing plant in Indonesia. It looks nice.
Rosewood fingerboard and bridge.

What I like about this acoustic:

It sounds beautiful. Really! It is rich and deep. It resonates nicely. I am surprised by the sound. Since I bought it 5 years ago, I could swear it sounds even better.
Fit and action are nice. It is easy to play, and was setup nicely from the factory. Very playable, if that makes any sense.
Tuning. I threw new strings on it on day one, and since then seldom re-tune. It just keeps staying in tune. It is baffling. I play it for months without needing to do nothing more than a tiny adjustment.

What I don't like about this acoustic:

Sides of the fretboard are a tad rough. I catch a bit on the fret edges nearest the higher frets. Not major, but not great.
Inlays. Obviously off center on the sides of the fretboard. Not perfect on the top, but not anywhere near as noticeable as the sides.

Are you thinking, "Didn't you check it for rough frets and all that when you bought it?"
Yes I did. It just sounded so damn good for a budget acoustic. I had to have it.

Yamaha RBX 270J Bass

  • Body: Alder
  • Neck: Bolt-on Maple
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Scale: 864mm (34)
  • Frets: 24
  • Bridge: Vintage Style
  • Pickups: Split Coil x 1, Single Coil x 1
  • Controls: Front Volume, Rear Volume, Master Tone

I probably wouldn't know a good bass from a bad bass. I think it's great, for me anyways.

What I like:

It is light and easy to carry on a strap
I think it looks quite good for an inexpensive guitar
It sounds good. By that I mean that coupled with my Fender Rumble 75, it sounds good enough for a beginner like myself.
It is inexpensive. A trait shared by many of the things I own.

What I don't like:

The finish. While the natural wood look is appealing, the finishing job itself is not well done. Little bumps in numerous places show that it was likely sprayed while dust and other particles were present. You can easily feel it when yo run your fingers over the body. A shame, even for a budget guitar.
Frets could use a little work. Maybe I am getting too picky considering I am not spending more on equipment, but some of the fret work has left it a tad sharp in places.

Would I recommend it?

For a newer player, the answer is yes. Just look one over before buying (likely used by now). I would also recommend a thorough examination of current budget models.

Epiphone Les Paul Special II

The guitar I love to hate

It is a guitar for new players. That doesn't necessarily make it bad. Epiphone thinks it is quite remarkable. I love their description, "Seasoned pros also love the Special II because it's a great-sounding workhorse of a guitar that allows them to leave their more expensive axes at home." I find that a little funny for some reason.

Mahogany. It's a solid guitar with an Epiphone 650R Humbucker neck pickup, and a Epiphone 700T Humbucker bridge pickup. It sports the very nice LockTone™ Tune-o-matic bridge and the LockTone™ Stopbar tailpiece What's not to like?

What I like about the Special II:

It sounds okay. No matter how I adjusted it, it was either sounding a bit to treble or a bit to bass, but still a rocking sound. No annoying hum. I think many people would have no complaints.
It is solid. You could kill someone with this thing.
It looks nice. Mine is black, and more appealing to me than the other finishes, but that is just me. Chrome hardware stands out nicely.

What I don't like about the Special II:

Tuning pegs. Ya, I know it is a cheap guitar and most like it have poor pegs, but it is a bit of a pain to tune so much.
Rough frets.

Now to be fair.

This guitar would be fine for a new player. Just take your time and get one with a smoother feel around the fret edges.

I just really don't like mine. I can't really put my finger on it, I just don't like it. Is it the rosewood fretboard (a tiny bit rough, but not bad), or is it just me? Neck radius? 

Did you ever buy a guitar and within weeks realize it just feels all wrong? I did.

It is a perfectly good guitar. It really is just me. (This is starting to sound like a bad breakup.) The Special II just doesn't feel right to me. Of the small number of guitars I own, this one just isn't fun to play. We just weren't made for each other. Like a failed movie romance, we need time apart.

I need another Tele.

I appreciate any comments.

No comments: