Sound — 9
I currently own (in terms of electric guitars) a Gibson Les Paul Classic, and an early 90's Fender American Strat. I was looking for another guitar to get some new sounds but also with the intention to do some customizations that I'm too nervous to do on the others. I've awalys been a fan of the old Airlines but never got a chance to try the Eastwood versions, but always wanted too. This guitar sounds amazing. I was extremely and happily surprised. I had fully expected to have to add 'new pickups' to my list of things to buy, but thats not the case. These P-90's have an incredible sound which fit literally in between my Strat and LP. Full, but bright. Of course being a single-coil pickup, they have a cycle hum, but it has to be one of the lowest I've ever heard. I didn't even need to ad a 60hz parametric EQ canceller when recording. I plugged it into my pedalboard and hit the Way Hug Swollen Pickl and this thing screamed. Very Queen's of the Stone Age. On clean channel with some flange, its very 'The Cure'. I tried some Tool on it, and while it's no where near my LP for that, it wasn't at all that bad for single-coil pickups. Definitely a choice for players on a budget. Its way better than the Epiphone LP Standard I used to own.
Overall Impression — 9
Surprisingly fantastic. I usually cringe playing cheaper gear after playing Gibsons and Fenders but the 'cheapness' is all in the price. I may replace the tuners soon and maybe the nut some day, but I'm not worried too much about it. I've been playing for 10 years, and I've played my fair share of guitars, so I know the good from the bad. If it were stolen, I actually do think I'd be pretty upset and it would definitely be one the list for a replacement. I'm not so attached as I didn't pay retail for it and thought so much about buying and making the decision, but if I had I think I'd have a stronger response to this question. But having said that, its listed at $519 US dollars, and for that price, I don't know if there is much out there that could rival this for me. Its definitely built to last, feels way less cheap and plays better than any Epiphone or MIJ/MIM Fender I've played and it definitely has great character and if you're looking for the Johnny Ramone punk look or the Kurt Cobain Univox hi-flyer look, or even a Vintage retro look, this guitar is great. I play everything from Classic Rock (Zeppelin, Floyd), to NIN and TOOL-esque stuff mostly. Joy Division, The Cure etc. and this seems to do an admirable job at most. It won't replace my LP or Strat but at a quarter of the price of my LP and half of my strat, it definitely holds its own. To beginners and veterans alike, pick one up and give it a try. If its built like mine, you'll love it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This thing seems like one solid piece. Its heavy, thick and tough. I'm sure I could drop it on a concrete floor and though the paint might get scratched, I'd probably have to repair the floor instead. Strap buttons seem solid. I'm thinking already that this will be the guitar I play live at smaller gigs. I'm always wary about bringing my LP to roudy bars and so my Strat has become my gigging guitar but it lacks serious meatiness, which the Hi-Flyer definitely has. The finish seems to be an inch think, well not really, but once you pick up this guitar you'll know what I mean, so yeah, it'll out last you.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Again, I didn't get this one direct from factory so I can't comment. It was pretty mint when I got it, and everything seemed to be in perfect order, I don't think I will replace the bridge or anything which I thought I might have to. I will however replace the tuning machines with grovers probably as the D string tuner seems to be slightly broken and rattles when I play, but the others work alright so it shouldn't be too big an issue stock. I was set up on 9's though, which I can't abide. But it even made those sound nice so, once again a nice testament to this guitar.
Features — 8
I aquired my Eastwood Hi-Flyer in a trade. I wasn't looking for one specifically but tried to do some research and realized there isn't much in the way of reviews out there. I'm not sure as to what year mine was made nor where, but most sources point to their Korean factory. This guitar is surprisingly heavy, I don't mind as I play Les Pauls, but it definitely was a surprise. This guitar is SOLID. It has a nice carved Basswood body and a SET Maple neck; zero neck dive which you usually get for these SG type guitars. My guitar is the Johnny Ramone style Hi-Flyer. It's white with a stop tail Les Paul style Bridge. It comes stock with P-90's which is why I initially wanted the guitar as I've never had a guitar with P-90's and wanted to experiment. It has a 3-way selector and one volume and one tone knob, nothing fancy but its not really needed I'd say. The tuners are grover-style keystones. It has 24 frets, rosewood bridge. As I received it in trade, not sure what you'd get in terms of accessories.