Purchased from: Born Custom Guitars
Features — 10
The guitar was custom made in 2014 in Boulder, Colorado, USA. The body is a stat style and features a top made of a beautiful, 2,000 year old piece of redwood salvaged in Oregon from logging operations in the 19th century. The redwood top features an oil finish, giving it a very understated matte-like appearance, and is complimented by a two-piece swamp ash body, flamed maple neck with 22 frets and a "wide/fat" neck profile, and granadillo fretboard with a custom third fret inlay.
Many bridge options were available, but I chose a Tune-O-Matic with a Hipshot Baby Grand tailpiece. Electronics feature a "super strat" pickup arrangement, with one volume and two tone controls, a 5 way selector and a mini toggle switch to split the coil in the bridge position humbucker. Included a TKL flight case.
Sound — 10
I use this guitar in two bands, one playing primarily R&B/Funk style guitar and one playing '90s/'00s alternative rock. Playing through a Blackstar HT Soloist 60, Peavey Mace VT212, and a variety of pedals. Pickup positions are very strat-like, including a great neck pickup sound as well as a tight, fourth position "out of phase" tone. The tone is very punchy and strong, not muddy at all. Sounds great with the amp clean and my Dyna Comp set with the output at 3 o'clock and sensitivity at 11 o'clock. Doesn't get super dirty, even with a high gain pedal (Z.Vex Distortron or T. Rex Yellow Drive).
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Guitar played perfectly straight out of the box from the FedEx delivery guy. I received it about 45 minutes before leaving for an afternoon gig, and I was able to play it for our entire set. The finish on the guitar, particularly the top, is gorgeous. My bassist commented "That's f--ing sexy" upon seeing the guitar for the first time. The only possible "flaw" I've found is that the cap on the pickup selector slips off occasionally. The output jack is recessed slightly, making it difficult to use anything other than straight cables at the guitar body, but that is not a big deal.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The guitar seems very durable. The redwood top has only an oil finish, so I expect that the top will see some wear and I continue to play it since the wood is relatively soft. However, this is a positive for me as I like the guitar to have personality. Hardware seems sturdy, including good strap buttons. I have not tried the included (but not installed) strap locks. I have used the guitar for two gigs in the last month, each time for the entire set. Very reliable guitar, and in each case I carried a backup only in case I broke a string.
Overall Impression — 9
The guitar is a perfect match for my group that plays more funk and R&B style music. It sounds incredible for clean to moderately overdriven tones. The combination of the lighter wood and the partially routed body makes it harder to get super aggressive tones out of the guitar, so for more distorted songs I'll grab a guitar equipped with dual humbuckers or P-90s. I love the overall tone of the guitar, and the flexibility of the coil-tapping switch. However, I don't notice as much of a genuine single coil sound on this guitar as I do on my Epiphone ES-339. The sound is very good, but there isn't a huge difference in the sound of the pickup with the coil split versus normal.
If I could change anything at this point, I would have chosen different volume and tone knobs. The chrome top hat style knobs are harder to grab in a rush than the clear, "Guild style" knobs I have on my two PRS guitars. This is not a builder issue, of course, since I chose the knobs myself. If I lost this guitar, I would not hesitate to replace it. The only possible concern I would have is the cost - at $3,000 it is by far the most expensive guitar I own. It is definitely worth the cost, in my mind.