Obviously a lovely looking guitar and an inexpensive one to take here and there, especially with its more rugged design.
I guess I am not so lucky as some, as I have only had one guitar out of 8, bought from online places that didn't need lots of work in terms of fret levelling, nut grooves and saddle filing. It's no big deal for me and I have just come to expect it now. I can't really afford expensive guitars but it would be nice to get another guitar that I can just unbox and play it. The one that was pretty much fine cost £118.
I would urge caution buying cheaper guitars if you don't know how to do these setups, or simply can't be bothered to learn or are just being overly conservative with your wallet. Certain YouTubers seem seem gleefully prepared to gloss over various aspects of setup shortcomings, no doubt after been sent (probably free) guitars to review that were given the full attention. This one, bizarrely and alarmingly had both the low E and A tuned to an F! I find it slightly difficult to believe it was checked before being dispatched, and if it was, then perhaps someone should be having a little less Schnapps. I realise this is a busy time of year for retail, but... Personally I think guitars should be sent out a tuned a tone or semitone lower than standard, as it could be very hot, or very cold in transit depending on the season. At 1st I thought perhaps this perplexing tuning had twisted the neck, but it was the typical grooves in the nut which needed deepening especially on the lower strings, so I put my concerns behind me and set about making it more playable.
I still have some fret leveling to do on the higher frets and took the action down as low as possible. This is after all an acoustic which has lots of frets. I will be playing lead guitar parts for acoustic sets and recordings, and in my eyes it's scarcely worth all the frets if you can't play them without a degree of swiftness with a low enough action, but this of course takes some work to achieve and there are a number of frets causing issues. Not really surprised, but for some, that would totally suck if they don't want to be bold enough do some fretwork, and remain knowledgeless perpetually frustrated every time they hit a certain fret. We've all been there, but c'mon, YouTube is your friend with these issues. You can help other people with inexpensive guitars, kids learning to play etc.
The neck is looking straight but at any rate, I couldn't get into the access point for the truss rod anyway as the screws are in so tight that I just couldn't unscrew them for fear of stripping the screw heads, it's almost like no holes were pre drilled or something. I have the right size head on the driver, but it's only a small one without a decent handle more for electrical stuff, but I will need to apply a little relief on the neck as I plan to put a set of 10s on this. I'm used to playing 11s for standard tuning, main guitar thing, but this feels more like a set of 12s to me. The sound is very nice, better than I expected and there's that old school Ovation type crispness to it, but with a surprising amount of depth (the 12s I think) but I obviously want something lighter for lead guitar stuff (especially on account of the fact that I'm apparently a wimp who can't remove a screw)
My other steel acoustic has GHS phos 14s on it for low tunings so I don't really need anything in the middle. I would another cheap acoustic for even lower baritone or other experimental tunings, but I have 3 classicals guitars with different tensions for different tunings, so I must behave in terms of acquisitions, plus I need an electric and headphones next, because my housemate is now working nights and I can't really disturb him with playing, which really sucks after buying these acoustics and fancy sets of carbon strings. I think a nylon in Nashville tuning would be good (Same, but a tone down D G C F A D. Flat capos are available)
I had considered sending this back and looked at it for a number of days but decided to bite the bullet and start sanding and filing again, as I had done with the cheap black £50 HB electro classical guitar a few days before.
Unless something is drastically wrong, for this money, its worth persevering with setups, especially if you enjoy doing it.
For the price, I can't really give it any less than 4 stars, despite the issues.
I will be doing my Al Di Meola impressions soon.