Price paid: $ 50
Purchased from: Craigslist
Sound — 9
I'm currently playing this through a late 90's Peavey Bandit 112. This is the first guitar that I've owned which sounds good through the Bandit's onboard distortion. I also have a Jackson AT-3, RR3, and a few other electrics but they all sound super muddy through the Bandit's lead channel. I've used it through my MT2 pedal on the same settings as I use for the Jackson AT-3 and it sounds way too thin. This guitar as a TON of sustain and killer tone, the thru neck really makes a difference in how it resonates. That coupled with the solid Mahogany body and you've got a massive sounding axe for a budget price.
Overall Impression — 8
This guitar is a good match for what I'm playing. A lot of rhythm work with minimal effects so I'm relying a lot on my axe to give me tone. This is hands-down the best 'budget' line guitar that I've played (and most of my friends are cheapskates who own horrible manky guitars so I've played a LOT of budget axes).
Reliability & Durability — 8
I play this guitar a lot, would definitely feel comfortable gigging with it and using it on the road. I'm playing at least 4 hours a weekend at the moment plus practices during the week. The weekend stuff is all live performance either at church or with a garage band. The older models (like mine) may have some issues with the electronics (volume and tone pots) mine are a little dirty and will need to be cleaned or replaced soon. Not surprising as the guitar had just been sitting for a few years before I got it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Here is the downfall of this particular unit. I took it in to my local luthier for a setup and repair work, he's got about 30 years experience in setting up and repairing electrics as well as acoustics. The threaded inserts that hold the bridge studs had worked loose and were backing out. He repaired that problem and set about working up a full setup of the guitar. He couldn't get the intonation to set right, partly because of the design of the bridge that comes stock on these guitars (it's a non-adjustable one piece wrap around) but even after dialing it in as best he could it was still off. He started looking into it further and found that the problem lay in the fact that the bridge was almost 1/8" off from the correct point by scale length which meant that he would not be able to set the intonation any better than we had. Currently the adjustment screws on each end of the bridge are screwed all the way in but the intonation still needs to come up a bit to be spot on. I may wind up getting a better bridge installed at some point. Dean has a warranty available but it only extends to the original purchaser so would most likely not cover this guitar even though it has a massive manufacturing defect.
Features — 8
Solid Honduran Mahogany body, thru neck, twin humbucker LP styled guitar with a single volume and tone and a 3 way selector switch.