Price paid: $ 219.6
Purchased from: ebay seller
Sound — 6
This suits my style fairly well, I've played for just under a year now, but since I play between 1 and 4 hours a day am not too bad. I play 70's rock, stuff like Motorhead, The Clash, Deep Purple etc. and some modern stuff, and it's not bad for these. Obviously this is a pretty damn cheap guitar, so no magic tone or sustain, but through the right pedals n stuff it sounds pretty good! Has a coupla big(-ish) problems tho, the hum from the amp on the bridge and neck pickup settings is dire, and the sustain is pretty weak. Apart from that though, it lets me play whatever I want to. Tapping and harmonics arent easy on this guitar tho, and you have to tune it before every use.
Overall Impression — 8
A great gutiar for beginners, overall. Doesnt really do justice if you have brilliant technique, but it sounds pretty solid and is easy to play. I have been playing for about a year, and I am thinking of getting a better guitar fairly soon - maybe an Ibanez? This Encore looks the business though, very cool Strat-like exterior, with some really nice paint options. Hate the fuzz on some of the pickups, and would be nice if it had a few more frets, a locking bridge and a little better tonal control on the knobs. I think people exaggerate the tuning problems with this guitar, the only real problem is with the whammy bar. But its a comfortable, easy guitar to play, and ideal for beginners with not much money.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Not played any gigs (yet), but its really reliable for what I do play (home and for friends), straps have a tendency to fall off tho. Would definetely use it at a gig without a backup, as have no other choice, but I reckon it would be reliable enough. The finish is great on this guitar, dented it repeatedly (one scissor kick too many) and it's hardly noticeable, it doesn't chip at all. The hardware might need a tigtening up every so often, and when I got it I had to take it apart to get the damn plastic crap offa it, it got stuck under the buttons.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Worked fine straight out of the box, fairly low action, nice thin, gauge strings, and perfect bodywork. The lead connection was dodgy (though it coulda been the cheap-ass lead), but we took it apart, fixed the connections and it worked fine.
Features — 7
I got this, my first electric, on ebay, for about 120, with bag, amp, leads, tremolo bar etc. included. It's blue with a really nice finish, and a really sweet marbled scratchplate. It's a Strat body style, so the top frets (of which there are 22) are easily accessible. Non locking bridge, so it goes totally out of tune if you try any crazy stuff with the whammy bar. I play it through a BB Blaster amp (which came with it) and a Zoom 505 II effects pedal.