Price paid: $ 999
Purchased from: Rondo Music
Sound — 8
I needed a good guitar which could handle all types of modern metal and technical / instrumental stuff quite well, so when I saw this guitar I ultimately knew from the design it was obviously made for that sole purpose. Well let's see what it sounded like when I put the guitar directly through my Laney IRT60H and Marshall MC212 2x12 cabinet: Whilst playing on clean with the EQ and Tone settings pointing at about 12 'o 'clock the guitar sounded crystal clear with great string definition. The bridge position had a bit more bite with added brightness and the neck was a still a little bright, but with added smoothness. I reckon the sound characteristics of the mahogany and quilted maple top combination give the guitar that little more clarity and bite. When I switched to the rhythm channel of the amp (with the following settings: Gain 6, Bass 5, Mid 6, Treble 6 and Tone 4) I noticed the guitar could give out a good crunchy sound with added grit / bite and still stay consistently clear with a fair amount of gain. With the integrated Boost on the amp initiated and set to about 4 you get a great rock / 80s metal rhythm sound and you can definitely hear the power of the amp and pickups alongside the tonal characteristics of the guitar. Punchy, chunky and still bright with added bite! When I increased the boost to about 6, pushed through a little reverb and switched to the lead channel (with the following settings: Gain 7, Bass 5, Mid 7, Treble 6 and Tone 4) I began to notice that under this amount of gain the sound remained tight, aggressive and still very clear. Also, whilst playing through some technical lead licks this guitar sung sweetly on the neck position and could still "scream" quite well on the bridge. Pinch harmonics and "dime squeals" were easy to create too. You begin to hear that the EMGs do add some kind of slightly compressed sound to the guitar, however I found the tonal characteristics to be pretty prominent throughout and you could still bring out the harmonics through your playing. It may not have been designed to be a versatile sounding guitar, but it's loud and tonally does the job that I want it to do!
Overall Impression — 9
It's a solid guitar with high end components at a steal of a price so I couldn't be happier! Apart from the initial problems with the guitar I recommend people should give this model or similar a try. You won't be disappointed if you like to shred, play metal and the likes!
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've gigged this guitar with my band many a times now and it hasn't failed once. Even though I sweat a lot the finish and components remain clean and rust-free (for now!). The only accident it witnessed was the slight neck collision into my other guitarist's guitar during a show, but it remained in tune and un-harmed!
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
It had to travel all the way from the USA to the UK so I was expecting some minor issues, but it was quite frustrating to play on when I first got my hands on it. Plenty of fret buzz, choking on bends (noticeable in the upper register of the fret board) and the Floyd was pretty tight and hard to use. Either way I was going to take the guitar for a set up and get it looked at so I wasn't going to be annoyed for long! After taking it to my local guitar the guitar played like a charm. All problems were solved, the action was set low and the Floyd Rose became excellent for dive bombs, flutters and light vibrato work. No matter how much abuse you give it, it still stays perfectly in tune.
Features — 9
This addition to the more modern Agile 6 string collection is the most expensive and consists of a 25.5 inch scale 5 piece maple neck (neck-through construction) contemplated by a fairly light mahogany body with a quilted maple top. The neck also features a nice rosewood fret-board (no inlays - fret markers located on the side) with scalloping from the 13th to the 24th fret. Hardware is as follows: - black USA Original Floyd Rose, black Grover tuners with 18-1 tuning ratio (accurate enough), black volume and tone controls, 3 way pick-up selector and an EMG 81 at the bridge position & 85 at the neck position (also both with a coil tap function - not mentioned on the site). The "coil tap" function is operated by a "push and pull" method on the volume and tone controls. Volume (top right of the 3 way selector) coil taps the neck pick-up and the Tone (bottom left of the 3 way selector) coil taps the bridge. Both hum-buckers are also mounted to the body via black, plastic pickup mounts. The quilted top finish is pretty astounding for the price paid and more so towards the fact that it was crafted in South Korea. When looked upon closely the finish looks as though it has a subtle blend of purple alongside the black. The neck, in my opinion, is similar to that of Jackson, but more rounded, yet still is very comfortable and easy to play on. The scalloped frets were slightly bizarre to play on at first but they have their use for easy bending and fast playability from your hands not having contact with the fretboard. Note: battery compartment for a standard 9v battery is at the back and battery comes included.