Price paid: A$ 700
Purchased from: Leading Edge Music
Sound — 10
I play Metal, mostly thrash, and this guitar does just what I need. I was previously using an Epiphone Les Paul, and the pickups on that were amazing, and this guitars tone matches it very closely, it's amazing. I use an overdrive pedal (old cheap Boss rip off) and a Marshall Valvestate head that runs through a bass amp combo, and the sound through this is perfect, high gain, with a lot of overdrive (Just how I like it), the tone I use sounds good with pretty much any of the stuff I play, from black metal like Dimmu Borgir, to Iron Maiden, and everything in between. Without the overdrive Pedal I get almost no noise, which is awesome considering I had a lot of noise with the Epiphone. This guitar has a fair bit of low end, but can do high pitched squeals quite easily because of the pickups high output.
Overall Impression — 10
For my style of music (Thrash Metal), this is perfect, I couldn't ask for more for $700, I've only been playing for a year, but I play fast, so my gear has to be able to withstand rough playing. I don't own any other gear myself (Except for the typical 10watt practice amp and Stratocaster copy every beginner guitarist will get) although I use my mums bf's gear, and he owns a Jackson Kelly, made in Korea in the 90's, and an Epiphone Les Paul, and this guitar is as good, if not better than both. If this was stolen, I would probably buy a Jackson RR guitar, although if I couldn't get enough money, I'd definatly get this again. I love how easy this guitar is to play, and how awesome it looks. The amazing tone is definatly my favourite though. I didn't really compare this to anything else, I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it, and after playing it I wanted it so bad... I wish I had active EMG's, and a proper Floyd Rose, and some better inlays (I love sharkfin inlays) but I can Live without them.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I believe this guitar would withstand a full gig, I played for about an hour or so fairly violently the other day with a lot of whammy squeals and I didn't need to tune it. The hardware is fairly sturdy, although the black paint on it has started to get weak in some places already. The strap buttons have shown no signs of letting my strap slip, although they're in good positions, these aren't as good as the strap buttons on the Jackson my mums bf own, they wouldn't let a strap go if you ripped it off (Non locking). The finish is beginning to scratch already, after 4 days of playing... But probably because I clean it too often, and the cloth has a couple of rough spots, a rough cloth will just take the finish right off.. So I'm a little worried. I would never gig without a backup guitar, although I believe I could rely on this.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
When I got this guitar, it was set up and tuned perfectly, I just had to screw on the strap peg on the neck joint and I could play straight away, the pickups were in a fairly good position, although I moved them a little. The neck and frets have no problems, although a guitar of this model that I saw in a shop had a poorly glued on fretboard, so every guitar might not be as good as mine. The controls are fairly snug, no lose knobs or anything, and the toggle Switch is fairly good, although it clicks fairly loud, and can be heard through the amp, and the ring around it comes loose.
Features — 9
Not sure when the guitar model was introduced, but I think mine was built this year because it took so goddamn long to get here, built in Indonesia. This guitar comes with EMG-HZ H4's, which in my opinion are just the passive version of EMG 81's, they are high output, and have a low noise level, even compared to some of the more expensive guitars I've played. I was a little put off by the agathis body, but it really isn't as bad as you'd expect, the tone is thick and solid, and the guitar is very light even though it is fairly thick. The liscensed Floyd Rose on this guitar is surprisingly good, it holds it's tuning and the movement is smooth. The only problem I've experienced with it is the whammy bar is slightly loose, so when I change the direction of my Drive, it wobbles a bit, but no dramas. The guitar has a fairly simple control setup, 1 master volume, 1 master tone and a 3way toggle, but I'm not complaining, I never really used the guitat controls anyway. The body of this guitar resembles that of a Jackson Randy Rhoads guitar, although I think the large wing is slightly longer than that of a Jackson, as the wing is really bloody long, I can just see it getting broken off. The only downside I've come across so far with owning this guitar, is the finish is quite low quality, I've had it for less than a week, and the finish already has a lot of scratches in it from just using a fairly soft cloth, mine is in black, so I get a lot of fingerprints on it. This guitar came with a good gig bag, with fairly thick padding, and the interior wont scratch the guitar. It also came with all the needed tools and an extra spring for the bridge, along with a short, low quality cable, good for using with a tuner.