Purchased from: Rondo Music
Sound — 9
I play through a Line 6 Spider 2 112. On the clean channel the guitar sounds beautiful. The sound is clear and crisp on the bridge pickup. The higher notes ring nicely and this is where you can feel the wood and the weight of the guitar coming through. The sustain is phenomenal and with a high distortion legatos generate enough vibration so you don't have to pick the strings. I never play the neck pickup with gain on, just don't like the sound and it doesn't fit my style of music, so I can't say whether it's good or bad, sounds decent to me. The separte tone and volume controls for the pickups allow you to quickly change your sound on stage, but that is far from unique to this guitar. My favority sound probably came when I was playing clean on the neck pickup. It sounded absolutely fantastic! I am comparing it to my first guitar (Ibanez RG125, $200) and Godin SD ($400). The sound on the neck pickups was really warm and bassy. I know some people say that there no such thing as "good for the money" and it's either good or bad. So lets put it that way, if I was to play this guitar at a music store without knowing the price (or the brand for that matter), I'd put a price tag of at least $800 on it.
Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing for about 5 years and mostly classic rock/classic metal/blues. I owned an RG125 before and currently own a Godin SD. Playing through a Line 6 Spider 2 112. Overall, I am extremelly happy with the quality, looks, feel, and sound of the guitar. It looks great, feels smooth and fast and sounds good for what I play. I could ask for a bit more attack on the palm mutes, but I can't ask for too much from no-name pick-ups. I am planning to change the pickups on it and this baby will be a keeper forever!
Reliability & Durability — 9
I got the gold hardware because of my moist palms that corode anything without non-water corosive plating on it and only time will tell how it's lasting.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The set-up was not perfect. Intonation on the A and the G was flat, and that was fixed. BTW, that is the down side of the tremolo system with a nut. You have to unwind the string from the tuner to slide back the saddle. Either way, I was looking for good construction and materials, not anticipating a perfect set-up. There was slight buzzing on the 4th/3rd frets on the G and B strings but it could only be heard heard when the guitar is unplugged when played clean the sound was clear and well sustained. There's only so much you can lower the action by. Which brings me to my next point: the action on the guitar was suprisingly low. Finger tapping is a breeze and the strings land on the frets with the slightest touch (that might also be attributed to the soft thin strings). The pickups were just a tad too high for my taste so I lowered them just a bit but it's a matter of preferance. I have 2 complaints: while the pots work fine, without any noise and quite smoothly, they sit way too close to the body of the guitar and I think I can feel them grinding the body just a tad. The plastic itself also feels really cheap (much prefer the pots that have a jugged grip on them since my palms get moist when I play). The actual electroncs work fine though and this issue is fixable with a small investment. Another thing I noticed is the cap on the pup selector. It screws in loosely and the plastic was molded poorly with slight imperfection on it. A bit of filing and polishing fixed that. The frets are all well made, I ran up and down the entire neck of the guitar for half an hour playing around and did not find one issue (bending and grinding the frets and all). The finish was quite nice but looks glossier in the pictures on the site, I have yet thought ot give it a decent polish. The construction quality of the neck and the inlays look fantastic and the guitar just looks great overall.
Features — 8
This black beauty is made in Korea, has 24 jumbo frets on it. The guitar has a solid top mohagony on it with a fairly good quality satin finish. My primary concern was the Floyd Rose given the price of the guitar. However, after properly stretching the strings and locking the nut, I pulled the bar quite a lot and the guitar stayed mostly in tune (the mostly is attributed to not FULL stretching of the strings). The gold diecast grover tuners seem to be working quite well and only time will tell their durability. You can read the rest of the features on the website.