Price paid: $ 350
Purchased from: Used - Music Forum
Sound — 10
I can't speak for the stock pickups as the previous owner swapped them out, but the guitar has a good metal tone and sounds nice with my old Peavey amp and Metal Zone pedal. I haven't experimented a whole lot yet, but I've heard everything from nice and crunchy to bright and clear sounds from other players with similar instruments.
Overall Impression — 10
If you're looking for a unique mid-range guitar that's pretty metal the NJ Warlock fits the bill. The shape, tone, quality, and factory action are very nice and every example of this model I've come across has been of similar quality. The only item that can be bothersome to newer plays is the floating tremelo, but you'll get used to it after a couple of string changes. It can also be block off from the back and will be a bit easier if strings break or you start wailing on it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I have never played this instrument live but it does get played just about every day and has shown on signs of wear on the hardware. The only maintenance it required was re-lubing the bridge tuning adjusters so they would turn more smoothly. Small scratches have developed in the path of my picking but there is little to do about it since no pick guard is present. The headstock and body edges still retain their original paint and haven't shown any signs of wear. I keep it in the hard case and am careful where I point it to avoid poking eyes out and chipping the edges.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The previous owner mentioned that he had never touched the action or had any adjustments done. I checked the setup the first day I had it and didn't see a need for any adjustment. The action is nice and low and I've never had any buzzing strings. I've never done a lot of trem work and dislike the extra setup a Floyd Rose trem requires so I followed the previous owner's advice and placed a small shim between the body and the trem from underneath which effectively disables the floating function and won't leave you high and dry if a string blows. The instrument also manages to stay in tune even after a lot of hard bending and trashing. When it does go out of tune the adjustments on the bridge make it very quick and simple to re-adjust. The head tuners are very smooth and solid as well but you won't be using them very often if at all.
Features — 10
I purchased a 2004 NJ Warlock on impulse and was very happy when I started using it. It had seen a lot of use under a college kid's care but was in very clean shape when I received it and the only item requiring a tweak was the output jack. The hardcase is a must for this guitar as the corners will get crushed and chipped when transporting and it's difficult to find a stand or rack that can securely hold the instrument. The finish itself is very nice. It's a dark blue two-tone that looks black until the light catches it just right and the blue begins to shine.