Price paid: $ 99.95
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
This guitar is very versatile, even though the tone dials are very simple, you can get a variety of sounds. I use a Crate GTD15 amp which has both a clean and overdrive channel. The guitar sounds great on both. With the clean setting, the guitar can sound anywhere from 'bluesy,' with a low tone, to an almost acoustic sounding high. There is very little fret buzz with this guitar, so it sounds very nice clean. However, I play mostly rock and hard rock, anything from Incubus to The Misfits, so I play with a lot overdrive. This guitar sounds amazing, and gives out a very dark metal tone with good crunch when there is lots of gain. With a lighter distortion, it sounds very Sex Pistols-ish. All around, you can pretty much nail any sound you're looking for. Being somewhat of a beginner, I don't play a whole lot of crazy stuff. It does pick up on pinch-harmonics well, but without a whole lot of a sustain. Palm muting also sounds great. I haven't been able to get remarkable sustain out of it, but it does the trick. If you're into metal and hard rock, this guitar is perfect.
Overall Impression — 10
Being somewhat of a beginner, this guitar suits me perfectly. I didn't want to pay a whole lot, so for 100 bucks it's pretty much a steal. I originally wanted a Dean ML, but they sounded very similar so I went for the cheaper of the two. I don't regret that choice at all. I love this guitar, especially the smoothness of the neck/fretboard. Moving up and down the neck, slides, hammer-ons; all effortless and extremely smooth. I have played several other guitars in this price range, but this one was my favorite. If you're just starting out, or just don't want to spend a whole lot of money, you should definitely look into the Vendetta XM.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I haven't done much damage to the guitar, just a scratch or two. It has fallen over a few times, and it's still fine. The strap buttons came a little loose after a few months but I tightened them up with a screwdriver and now they're on there good. I would definitely depend on this guitar. It's very solid and sturdy, but lightweight as well. The finish seems to be fine. It doesn't look too thick but I don't imagine it will be rubbing off anytime soon. Overall, a very solid, reliable guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar was surprisingly in good shape, seeing as it had been sitting around for over a year. It came with very smooth strings that I am still playing with, and was set up well. I didn't have to torque or tweak anything to make it sound good. I'm very impressed with the craftsmanship of the guitar, it's a very sleek but dark look. Everything was assembled perfectly.
Features — 9
I'm not sure when or where this guitar was made, all I know is that it had been sitting in the store for a year before I bought it a few months ago. I purchased the natural stain version which features a paulownia sculpted body, a string-through body, dual humbucking pickups, and a Tune-O-Matic bridge. The neck is of maple with a rosewood fretboard and 24 frets. The controls are pretty simple: a volume and tone dial with a 3-way selector. Overall, the features are pretty basic but very solid. Nothing extra came with the guitar (no bag, strap, tools, etc.) which is kind of a bummer for me, a gig bag would have been nice. The only problem I have had with the guitar is that the open pickups can get dusty easily and are hard to clean. No biggy though, just keep them covered when you're not playing. I don't expect to have to replace anything anytime soon.