Re: tfo signature rods
Full disclosure up front: I'm on TFO Pro Staff, so factor that in to my answer however you would like. But I do fish TFO exclusively because I like the way they cast, I like Rick and the other folks at the company, and I like being able to recommend rods that don't require a newbie to mortgage the house.
The Signature Series is a medium fast rod, although it is a little faster than what most people might consider medium fast. A signature 6wt is the first TFO rod I ever used. Rick gave us a couple to try out. We took them to a small lake with fish feeders and BIG carp. We were going to give those $99 (at the time) a workout before we gave up on the Scott rods we had both fished for several years.
They cast well, and fought fish well. By the end of the day we had tied on 20# tippets and were manhandling 7-10 pound carp away from the feeder on those $99 rods. We were sold.
I still have several Signatures, and while I fish the other TFO rods more often myself, I bring the signatures on guiding trips, especially for clients who are fairly new to fly fishing, or who have limited experience with fishing for and fighting big fish (carp). I also fish the 8 wt in spring for wipers when I'm throwing an SA Streamer express sink tip line, and the 10wt in winter when I'm throwing a full sink line for deep lake wipers. The signature is easier with those sinking lines than our other series, most of which are significantly faster.
Yes, they are our low end rod. They aren't built with the best quality hardware, that's why they are under $120. But, they are good rods that fish well. And the cork is better on the newer models than on some of the originals.
But you've received some good advice on this thread - your buddy recommends it, so you have a chance to throw his, so do it. And try a few other brands if you can so you find one that fits you well.
TFO, like most other good rod makers, has a lifetime warranty even against stupidity (ceiling fans, car doors, Labrador retrievers, etc.). $25 for shipping and handling and you get a replacement.