After spending several days with my new Hot Rod I'm ready to offer some thoughts. Bottom line, this is a very
nice guitar! As Lenny promised, it arrived with a great setup. The nut is perfectly cut, the fret ends are nice & smooth and the action is just right for playing the slide & finger style combination common with open tuning. It arrived with .013-.056 gauge strings (I think) and it sounded and played great out of the box. Since I'm used to the Martin bluegrass reso string (.017-.056) I put a set of these on the guitar after several days playing on the original set. As expected, the guitar got a bit louder with the thicker strings and the action got a bit stiffer, but the neck has stayed as straight as it was with the lighter gauge set. A good sign, IMO!
The workmanship looks really good. I haven't taken the cover off and peaked inside yet, but looking through the F holes it looks like the kerfing work is good and the neck/body joint is solid. The tuners are OK, not butter smooth but not bad at all. Time well tell how they hold up but they are at least as good as any tuner you'll find on guitars in this price range. The satin finish looks good in a low rent kind of way, it's a quality paint job but I have a feeling it will look really cool as it ages & gets knocked around a bit. I'm actually looking forward to watching the satin finish age a bit. The color is described as a green/gold combo and based on the pics on Lenny's site, I was not sure if I'd like the color. My guitar looks (to me) almost like a gun metal blue color with some very subtle gold flake mixed in. Not sure if I can capture this in a photo but I'll try when I can find time to take some pics!
The sound? I've owned a National Radiotone Bendaway and this guitar gets pretty close to that tone. It's nice & mellow when compared to a metal guitar but it still has plenty of bark when you dig in. It's also very balanced from low to high frequencies. Being a plywood body, I'm not sure how much it will settle in as it ages but I have to think it will improve a little bit.
A bit long winded, but that's the story. I'm a happy guy
I will post up some pics if I ever have a spare hour to take some, but that would be time taken away from playing the guitar!