Am thinking about using this as my "base" base/starter theme... was worried about its bloat previously, but have been doing some testing of page load times as well as SEO, and it seems very impressive. One especially remarkable result with SEO improvement on one site...
Would also give me a small selection of pre-built child themes that I could offer those with a lower budget (customise a little if necessary), while knowing the quality of the code underneath (unlike the majority of Themeforest type themes...).
Wondering if anyone's had much experience using it at all?
I give Genesis a thumbs up basically for the points you mentioned. It has great performance, isn't bloated and includes out of the box SEO.
I use Genesis child themes for clients who are happy with a spruced up template. I have tried elegant themes (primarily Divi - http://www.elegantthemes.com/gallery/divi/ ) but it seemed a bit too bloated and out of the box SEO wasn't as good as Genesis.
For clients that are paying for a professional graphic designer i generally code the site up from scratch. I'm pretty efficient at this and I find it much easier to cater for any intricate details the designer may throw my way.
Yeah that's what I've been doing up 'til now, though I see some pretty decent dev/designers are using Genesis as their main "go to" base theme.
It would be nice if the parent theme was even less styled than it is though, I feel like I'd need to remove a bunch of styles first to really have a "blank canvas" style-wise, with just a very basic structure/layout in place.