Actually I got each of these about a month ago, but I believe in properly putting a guitar through its paces before you start talking about how good/bad it is.

Also, apologies for the crappy pictures that don't show you much. I only really do portrait stuff, guitars are a little awkward for me to photograph (not to mention rather boring when they're your own guitars that you've been staring at for a few months).

First up, I've wanted a super-Tele for a while and something with a non-recessed Floyd, so I grabbed myself a Charvel San Dimas Style 2.

I didn't know it was actually MIA, I thought all Charvels were MIJ or MIC. But hey, I'm not complaining.

Alas, it's impossible to find a purple one in good condition, so I had to make do with black. Good price on it though (£499, not bad given they're usually around £600) and other than a bit of 'store abuse' (I'm sure many a 14-year-old tried their best to shred on this thing through a dimed Marshall MG), it's in top condition.

Specs read as follows:
  • 3-piece alder body (medium-thickness poly finish, akin to Fender American Standard guitars)
  • 1-piece maple neck (oil finish)
  • Single 500k volume control
  • Non-recessed Floyd (seems to be an OFR, could be a FR-1000; it's got a full-size block and steel baseplate anyway)
  • SD '59 neck pickup
  • SD JB bridge pickup
  • Grover 18:1 tuners
  • Full shielding

My A-string had a bit of an accident when I last restrung it. Looks ridiculous, but that's the beauty of locking bridges and nuts. I can **** up restringing the guitar as much as I want and it still won't go out of tune.

Not a bad little lot. Nothing flashy, but that's the point. Plays like an absolute dream, of course; the neck is similar to a standard Fender C-shape, but just a tiny bit wider at the nut. Frets are a touch bigger than ESP frets, feel a little smaller than Ibanez frets.

My only gripe is that to get to the toggle switch you've got to reach over the Floyd's arm, and the volume control is a little too high for my taste. Not a massive issue though since more often than not I'm only using the bridge pickup on full volume.

The neck 59 is a bit odd. Sounds like a single coil most of the time, but it's certainly not wired split or parallel (it's got braid/single-conductor wiring, no splitting posisble). At first I thought it was a bit of a pain, but now I'm finding the middle selection (both pickups) is great; much clearer than most 2-humbucker middle position sounds are.

I forgot how hard it is to keep black guitars looking clean. Ah well. Look, brand names you recognise! Cheap thrills! Note the odd matte mounting rings and knob against the otherwise gloss-black guitar. Also note how I really need to buy a macro lens, because a portrait lens with f/1.4 really isn't up to this task.

And that's it for that one, because it's a pretty boring-looking guitar and there are pictures of them all over the internet. Just know that it's pretty darn great.

Second, Epiphone Les Paul Ultra-II.

Quite a looker - I'm not usually a fan of quilt maple so it was nice that the black burst finish turned out to be as dark as it is.

I was going to buy one of these a year or so ago but was put off by the idea of spending £500+ on a MIC guitar. Then the new version came out at the end of last year and Andertons sold off all their stock of this version extra cheap. £300 for an Ultra-II when Standards are £250-£300 was too good to miss out on, so I ponied up and, in a rare move for me, bought it blind. Turns out it's one of the best guitar purchases I've ever made.

The most important point I want to get across here is the notion that Epiphone moved all production to China. Everyone misses the 'old' MIK Epiphones. Even though it was a bargain price, I wasn't too excited about buying a MIC Epi... except this is MIK. Made in 2011. So er, some Epiphones are still being made in Korea, I guess. Hurrah! Who knew? I sure didn't, the Epi site said they moved everything to a dedicated plant in China. Well, I'm happy anyway. A MIK guitar for less than most MIC and MII guitars cost? I'm not going to complain.

Yup, made in 2011 in Korea. Epiphone don't even know what factories they are using any more!

Spec reads:
  • 3-piece ''mahogany'' body, heavily chambered (this guitar is acoustically louder than my Thinline Telecaster) with quilt maple veneer
  • laminate mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard
  • Thick gloss finish on body top, thin gloss finish on body back and thin satin finish on neck
  • Two standard Epiphone pickups based on the design of the Gibson '57 Classic
  • LockTone bridge
  • Shadow NanoMag pickup embedded in the fretboard
  • Twin jacks
  • volumes for each magnetic pickup, volume for NanoMag pickup, master tone for all pickups, volume, bass and gain trim pots for NanoMag
  • Grover 16:1 tuners

The neck on this thing is amazing. It is by far the slickest, most comfortable neck I've ever played. apparently it's modelled after the Gibson 60s SlimTaper, but I have that on another Les Paul and this one is considerably thinner at the higher frets. Most importantly the satin finish is incredible; most satin finishes turn glossy after some use, but this one isn't. I've got another guitar with a very thin and completely raw purpleheart neck, and this Epi actually feels faster, at least to my hands. What's really nice is it's got a consistent curve to it. Many thin necks have a flat portion in the middle of the back of the neck, which I find very uncomfortable. This one doesn't, it's a fully rounded profile while remaining very slim. Absolutely fantastic for thumb-over techniques.

It's also the lightest Les Paul I've ever found, although this is to be expected considering it's mostly hollow and has a huge chunk taken out the back for a rib contour. It's lighter than my Thinline Telecaster or my 1-piece flat top Les Paul Special.

The tone is what's really exciting. There is nothing this thing won't do. The NanoMag does have some use as an acoustic pickup, but the realy beauty is in mixing the NanoMag's tone with the magnetic pickups and using the NanoMag bass and treble controls to change the character of the guitar. Roll both treble and bass down and add the NanoMag in just a little bit for extra resonance and the guitar sounds like an ES. Roll all the bass down and max out the treble, mix in the NanoMag halfway and it sounds like a Telecaster. Max out both bass and treble and put the NanoMag at 1/4 volume and the passive pickups start sounding like an EMG 81/60 set. It's ridiculous. Its best trick is putting the treble just above minimum, putting the bass about halfway and setting the NanoMag to just 1/5th volume - it sounds like a Rickenbacker.

The ''acoustic'' tone of the NanoMag itself is pretty poor unless I run it straight to the mixer/PA or into an acoustic amp. Then it does a fairly good job of simulating an electro-acoustic tone (think Ovation). It'll never do full dreadnaught-style acoustic sounds though. But even through a regular electric guitar amp, it sounds good enough that it'll do for when I just want an acoustic sound for one verse or some such.

It is an Epiphone though, so of course it's not flawless. As expected, the ''gold'' hardware is starting to fade after just a month of use. The magnetic pickups, by themselves, are rather bland and sound a little muffled. The nut is cut well but some of the excess plastic has just been left hanging around, which spoils the look. The volume and tone controls havea a stupidly loose feel to them and it's very easy to accidentally knock the volume all the way down.

The one big complaint I have is with the installation of the NanoMag pickup. Or rather, the binding around it. They've not even tried to put the binding around the pickup or finish it cleanly, where the pickup is they've just cut the binding short and left it hanging - there are small gaps all around the pickup and there's enough of a gap betwene the end of the binding and the fretboard or pickup to fit a .80 pick in. You don't notice it usually, but it's annoying when you point out the Shadow pickup to someone, they lean in for a closer look and all they see is a bunch of really poorly-fitted binding. There's also a little excess glue or finish over-spray in the same area too.

Shoddy camerawork aside, you can see the poor binding job they've done. Real shame on such an otherwise nice-looking guitar.

Thing is, even if the guitar had been twice the price (which it was, six months ago), the tone and feel is so good that I would still be happy with it. I can't stress enough how amazing the range of tones you can get out of this is.

Not a bad little lot for a price that totals less than a Fender American Standard.
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Quote by Nico the Great
Post a full body shot of that Charvel! HNGD though.

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a tele that can do ratt.
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Quote by gregs1020
a tele that can do ratt.
Mine mostly does Mötley Crüe (and I once tortured it and played some Poison). I've yet to bless it with any Ratt. I shall make amends soon. It's really wrong to not play 80s stuff on this.

Quote by Nico the Great
Post a full body shot of that Charvel! HNGD though.
Quote by jkielq91
Quote by omidmash
Well, since you asked so nicely

I don't have a lens that's wide enough to get the whole thing in one shot in my current space. Also, I don't know how the hell to photograph glossy black things. Turns out it's really hard.
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You need a chair in a garden

Awesome stuff mate, I agree with you on the Epis, they are great guitars.

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Happy New Guitars Day!!

I have a couple of those USA Charvels too but now I want a black Tele..

I'm a big Charvel fan myself.
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Quote by Tom 1.0
You need a chair in a garden
First I'd need a garden!

I'm just falling over my shit here. Part of the reaosn it took me so long to get around to posting these was because I thought I might nip them over to me parent's place where there's room and light. I hate taking bad pictures but I'm pretty much living in a cardboard box here.
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Quote by MrFlibble
First I'd need a garden!

I'm just falling over my shit here. Part of the reaosn it took me so long to get around to posting these was because I thought I might nip them over to me parent's place where there's room and light. I hate taking bad pictures but I'm pretty much living in a cardboard box here.

Well if you ever run out of room and need someone to look after your guitars, im your man (oldfield park here)

i've been liking those charvel teles more and more recently. good deal, i've seen a few around that price (actually probably a little more than yours, more like £599), but only in black.

it's an frt-2000 on yours, far as i'm aware.

'59 sounds like a humbucker to me. it is a bit scooped, though (and the tele shape/construction probably isn't helping).
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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