Price paid: $ 429
Purchased from: Funky Munky
Sound — 7
Stock pickups of Korean's model looks very close to EMG pickups, but have no title on it. They sounds good for classic rock and somoe other slower type of music but have no enough sustain for some violent solo parts a la Dimabag. Sound is rich by mid tone and suitable like rhythm guitar. Not recommanded for lead. USA's model have different pickups, with two blades on each and they sound much better.
Overall Impression — 9
This is good price for this guitar and if you are middle experienced guitar-player it's recommanded. On stage player with this axe looks very dangerous and if you can afford some better pickups, like DiMarzio X2N & SD'59, or B. Lawrence L-500Xl & L-500R it would be ultimate guitar for nailing Dimebag's sound through any valve amp.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Tuning machine are relieble and after you put new strings (I'm using E. Ball Super Slinky 2223) on it they stay in tune without help of nut locker! Strap-button are good and with some middle quality belt you will have no problem. Because licensed floyd rose and well-known problem with it, its not recommanded to use this guitar without backup (I'm using Flying V). Finish looks enough good to last, except that serial number on backside of peghead is easy to erase because it's like sticker (decal) not imprint.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Action is low to middle, easy for playing. Shape is well made and neck is very nice, fast. Pickups are easy adjustable like many other PU. Finish is good but shiny black body is very difficult for keep the clean surface. Matt color would be better IMHO. This guitar is comfortable and you feel it like a glowes.
Features — 9
Axe's body is shaped with big three extremly streched horns giving on this way nice resonance. Roughly, we could to say that it is Gibson Explorer shape with V tail. Body-color of axe is high shiny black. Hardware is matt-black. Body material is probably basswood. Axe has bolt-on neck, made of maple and rosewood fingerboard. Dimension of neck are: 24-3/4" Scale & 1-11/16" nut. Neck has medium 22 frets, with low height (in comparison with some other axes like ESP KH series). On this way, neck seems very fast and comfortable for fast axe-player. There is no inlays on the fingerboard, except small dots on upper lateral side. Neck is fixed with 4 screws and double plate from backside, whith title Dean on it. One of screws serve like strap-holder. Other strap is bellow upper body horn. On the nut is locker with three allen-screw. Headstock has special V shape, so tuning machine are also divided into two row. Tuning machine are by Grover and without help of locker strings stay in tune. On opposite side of axe is bridge: licensed double locking Floyd Rose. For those that aren't familiar with those type of bridge is something painfully at first time to replace all strings: there is no holes and user must cut off Bullet on end of string and carefully use proper Tool in order to fix this end of string. On Net are many instruction about it. This action sometime demands more than half hour to put axe in tune but after that all seems like kids-game. Floyd is nice, not too much strong and offer dozen of tricks and licks for experienced player. Between bridge and neck are two pickups, with size of classic humbacker; they are black with two blades on each. Pickup's output is controlled by three modern fast-knobs: two for volume and one for tone. For pickup choice is 3-way Switch. Bridge pickup has brighter and a more higher output than neck pickup. Sound is clean and offer plenty possibilities with a little help of floyd. Neck pickup has somehow warmer sound, with more colored tone, so that player has not so oft need to use tone knob. Generaly spoken, neck pickup is very good for rhythm role in band and playing through tube powered & hybrid amp offer almost brutal tone especially chords often used by HM player! Switching to bridge pickup turn upside down tonal characteristics because bridge pickup start to scream in good HM manner. Normally, this axe is suitable also for slower kind of music and it is possible to use without problems for playing songs like "Stairway" even it's shape say: "heavy metal, please." Axe isn't heavy, some 12 lbs. All in all, this is nice axe for offered price and depending on type of amp you use you will be able to catch this or other type of sound, it's up to you. This model is made in Korea. Some guys call this model also Phantom.