Purchased from: Paul Bothner
Features — 7
- Made: 2005 in Indonesia
- Frets: 22 large
- Top: Solid maple
- Body: Hollowbody, maple top, sides and back
- Neck: Set-in Canadian maple with rosewood fretboard
- Finish: Transparent Cherry Red
- Bridge: T.O.M bridge & stop tailpiece
- Electronics: Passive ClassicRocker-II (H-H)
- Controls: 2 tone, 2 volume, 3 way toggle
- Tuners: Non-locking Vintage
This guitar is a little awkward to play for those used to strat-shaped guitars and the stop tail bridge also feels a little clumsy because of that. it has a nifty scratch plate that I use to anchor on. Controls a good space apart.
Sound — 9
"How does it suit your music style" - Some of you are about to hate me for this. I play a load of improv and sort of melodic what I feel music. I tend to do a lot of jazz chord voicings and blues tricks and feelings and this guitar is great for all of it. But I took it to my metal bands practice session and they love it's sound compared to my Ibanez with my Seymour Duncans. I know I drop C'd a hollowbody but it was for 2 hours. But for what I want this fits the bill. I use a Roland ME-80 preamp and all that into a Roxy MG120 head to make it louder through my 4x12 cab.
This guitar has such a full sound I don't have to do much eq or effects filling. I would be fine with putting it straight into a PA system and playing like that. It just has something about it on any setting or pick-up. Super warm on the neck with just this super smooth sound. Nice and bright on the bridge with just enough snap in it from the plectrum. A little thin but just as clear and cutting in a mix. No noise that I have noticed playing in my room, at chapel or even at death metal band practice (sorry bout that again). Only some temperamental feedback facing the amp but also a very quiet guitar. I am now a believer in the power of maple wood guitars.
What kind of sounds can this guitar make? Barring my effects emulator it does the whole package of jazz and blues sounds with some rock-ability up its sleeve. I mostly play Jazz chords and inversions (drop-2 voicings and all that) with simple pentatonic flavouring. Then it can get some grit in it when you turn on your over drive and then is a different thing for metal altogether. I can't even describe it. You just have to try and see. But that aside this is comparable to any other hollow body in my opinion. The sound you get is how you play it. It puts the tone in your court.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Set up out the factory. Perfect intonation, awesome low/medium action to play on for this kind of guitar. I put a set of 11's on it because I like being able to feel my strings when I play. Pickups were well adjusted. Has all sorts of compensation angles on them. The neck is super low, which is good because it is already so full. You don't want it getting boomy. The bridge also is lower on the higher strings so that it doesn't kill you when you play on them. Also parallel with the strings despite the curve of the body which was impressive to see. Could do some fine work with the screws but that's a minor issue.
Something that kills it for me is the toggle. This one is really bad and feels like it's going to break in my fingers. And it sometimes drops my neck pickup and I need to toggle it up and down a bit to get it back. Input jack is doing that annoying loose nut thing (am I the only one this happens to?). Other than that I am all happy. A couple of probably masking tape errors in painting but unless you were looking for it (like me just now) you won't ever see it.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This will play live. just so long as you keep it mildly tame. I may be over protective of my baby but it doesn't have the sense of a guitar that will last without a hard case. The toggle is a serious concern I have but the rest of the hardware seems solid after 3 months. Tuners are stable, bridge rocks. Tone controls control tone and volume reliable volumes.
Strap buttons? Check. Solid? double check. Strap-locks? Only if I can pry my strap off of these to fit them. Can I depend on it? Heck yeah! Unless I fail a power slide like JB in Tenacious D. But I don't do that. I don't spank my strings or strangle them with bends so it should last pretty well for any gig. No backup needed, they would pale in comparison. Finish will only take damage if you don't look after it. The gloss and red are all over the body and neck, just wipe it down with your guitar polish cloth when you are done and it will treat you just right.
Overall Impression — 8
I play a hearty amount of acoustic, rock, a fair shot at jazz and blues. But I never expected this guitar to put up with the metal I played on it. But seriously, play a II-V7-I and tell me you're not impressed. Been playing for 5 years this year. I also own a Cort X-2L and an Ibanez RG370DXZL. I wish I could have asked the shop if they could throw in a hard case. They are attuned to not giving the best deals but what's done is done. This could have come with more. If it were stolen I would sell one of my guitars to raise funds to buy this again. I plan to keep it as long as I can.
Love? I love it's tone and playability. The scale is so much nicer for me to play on. Hate? The contours feel a bit awkward and this is not a good guitar to sit down with, it's a little bulky. Favourite feature would be the neck being set firmly into a solid block of maple running through the guitar. The tone the construction gives is unbelievable.
I compared this to a number of guitars. Ranging from a Cort M-600 to a $2000 telecaster (no competition but at that price there wouldn't be) and this guitar just was the most well rounded of them all. I play a bit of this and a bit of that and I am always experimenting with playing styles and tones. The hollow-body warmth just hooked me and I don't regret this one at all.