Price paid: $ 178.5
Purchased from: Music store at a local mall
Features: The BE15 is an electric guitar made by Washburn. It says "Bucklay by Washburn" on the box and headstock. Bucklay is a series of inexpensive guitars Washburn markets towards the European market. They're basically from the Lyon series, renamed and repackaged. This one is the LI-15 model. No idea when this guitar was made, but my guess is late this decade (2009-2011). Like many things, this one was made in China. It has 22 medium sized frets. The wood is maple, I think (I'm not an expert on wood). It has a solid body, and again, I have no clear idea on what wood it is made of. The shape of the body looks like the bastard child of a Les Paul and a Stratocaster. The neck is bolted on. The bridge is non-tremolo (which I prefer). It has 2 volume and 2 tone knobs, and a 3-way selector (much like the one a Les Paul uses, only placed near the guitar's knobs, like a Strat). The pick-ups are humbuckers, 2 for the bridge and 2 for the neck (stock, I believe).
Came with a 10-watt amp (Global G-10, again, a Chinese brand), cord, strap, electronic tuner, picks, and padded gig bag. Also, this was one of the last three of its model available at the shop. I choose this one because it never came out of the box prior to selling. This is my first electric guitar, as my first guitar was an old acoustic Epiphone dreadnought a friend of mine gave to me. I have to say something about the packaging though.
Other products came in glossy boxes (usually with an endorser or model on the front playing the instrument). Not this one. It came in the kind of cardboard you'd expect fruit and vegetables would come in, and the front of it simply had the logo, "fragile" and "this way up" signs, drawings of the guitar models sold in the series, and the stuff inside the said box. Not really an issue with the instrument itself, but the box might make other buyers who don't check the contents turn away from the product. Gladly, I asked to test the instrument first before purchasing it (as everyone should). // 8
Sound: I have to say that this one suits the style of music I play (old rhythm and blues, garage rock, heavy blues, whatever music The Cure plays, punk). I use the amp it came with, which has a built-in overdrive button. It sounds fantastic. When played clean, it sounds much like an acoustic. When played without an amp, and if the room is quiet enough, it still sounds good. That's a good way of telling if an electric guitar sounds really well, in my opinion. Planning on borrowing some effects from my friends to hear how well they sound, specifically with a flanger and a chorus. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: The whole thing came out perfect as I took it out of its box. Not bad for a China made guitar (which, I've noticed, have had bad raps). Had to check if it was in tune before I left the shop, and it slightly was off tune. Nothing a few adjustments using the electronic tuner didn't fix. It has stayed in tune ever since. I don't find aesthetics highly important in a guitar, but this one looks rather good. It is a shiny black colour, which looks amazing whenever I wipe it clean of my fingerprints. It feels very comfortable to play with. The weight isn't much of an issue with my thin body frame (I was able to carry the whole thing, box and all, across the mall towards the exit with relative ease).
One other thing I can say about this guitar: my back and arms don't hurt when I play this standing up, sitting down, and lying down (I'm lazy). Very comfortable to play. // 8
Reliability & Durability: I have traveled with this guitar via land. The road was long and bumpy, and it still was in great condition. I have not yet used this guitar live, but I will update if I did. It looks like it will last. Not sure about the strings it came with though. Might replace them soon. The strap buttons are very solid.
Is it dependable? I would have to say yes. Would I bring a backup? Even if your guitar is a top of the line one, ALWAYS BRING A BACKUP. The finish, I don't really care if it stays shiny for a long time. What's important is if it can still sound good after a long time, which from the looks of it, it will. // 9
Overall Impression: As I've said, I play mostly hard blues, garage rock, and punk. The sound it produces fits. I've been playing for more than 2 years now, with an old, beat up, acoustic Epiphone (it was made in Calcutta, India) that still plays well. Before I bought the guitar, I asked around, did some research, tested it out, and bought a friend who plays better than me. If it were stolen, I'd file a police report. If lost, damn it, I'd still file a police report. Would I buy it again? Probably, if they still have one in stock. If not, I'll look for something else.
What I love about is, despite its origin and price, it actually sounds great. What do I hate about it? Nothing much. My favourite feature is the 3-way selector. I can switch sounds, from bright to full with a flick of a switch. I had a choice between a Stratocaster copy and this one, and I picked this one, due to the better quality it had (and I didn't want a tremolo. I have nothing against the tremolo arm, I just don't like using it). I wish it came with a hard case, but that would be asking for too much. // 8