Price paid: $ 201.3
Purchased from: iMuso
Sound — 6
Well the Kustom amp it came with isn't half bad and is still my only amp until I get my Marshall DSL401, clean is okayish it looses that clean sound when turned up a lot. iMuso must have kindly put decent strings on mine, because when I replaced the low E with one of the Encore ones it sounded terrible it buzzed and made some strange murky muddy mess of a sound when played clean and loud. Get some ernie balls on it and the sound quality increases considerably. This guitar sounds better distorted than clean, the distortion out of the amp was generally a loud crunchy sound. notes can sometimes be lost in it but it's not bad. I play a wide variety, Indie, alternative, emo, punk, rock, metal. and it's not too bad as an all rounder, it's noteably bad at metal. Master Of Puppets could sound better to say the least. And you sure won't get any of the really heavy sounds like Pantera out of it nicely. It can still do them to a limited extent.
Overall Impression — 7
I was a young vunerable inexperienced guitarist when I got this. It was cheap and came with everything, badda-bing badda-bom. Not a bad choice actually, could have done worse for a Starter Kit. Possibly could have done better (Squire or low end Epiphone). But I don't know, my friends Squire really dosen't seem different too this at all. If your starting out guitar I would advise this quite strongly actually. It is designed with beginners in mind. This seems to be the best in the Encore range. I have been playing for a year now and have an Epiphone G400 now. If this guitar was stolen I would believe it or not be pretty damn sad about it, it was my first electric after all and what I learn't guitar on (never was one for acoustics) I still use it now due to it's thinnish neck and whammy bar. It is my gigging backup. Wish it had? it's got everything you should expect for the price. Could do with a little less weight I suppose but oh well.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I have never gigged with it and do not intend too, This guitar would survive Live playing though and any attempts at trashing all the gear up. But I would strongly advise against gigging with it due to quality of sound and any guitarists in the crowd would likely shout, 'Encore,' before throwing something solid at you. You could gig without a backup if you really coulden't get a better guitar but I think this is more of a backup guitar itself, it is for me. As already mentioned after a year of playing the finish is fine with all damage unoticeable.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
Well after reading the other reviews, I got lucky or iMuso sprinkle their guitars in magical dust. This guitar holds it's tune INCREDIBLY, but most others seem to be terrible. I put it throught a lot of serious bending, shredding, loads of whammying (dimebag fan) etc, checked the tuning and still fine. more luck/magical dust, the action came spot on and never needed adjusting. Pickups were fine and never needed adjusting either. Careful when getting the plastic film of the pickguard, I still have some stuck under the pots and in the gap between the neck pickup and the fretboard. This helped the pots to stay in position though. The body is a tough heavy thing. mine has a few dents and scratches but you seriously cannot notice them. The body on this thing is tough as hell, someone could challenge you to a game of 'smash guitars together until one breaks' and you could safely bet your mother you would be victorious. Unless they have one of these as well, then you'd have to call it a tie. Anyway back on topic, The chrome finish although cheap, has not chipped over the year I've had this. As mentioned it's all as tough as hell. I have bent the pickup selecter somehow once but it bent back to shape easily and has been fine since. Noteably after a year of use the whammy bar does not swing around smoothly like it used too, when you take it out of it's hole it seems to bring some of the guitar with it in a dust form so I'd advise you not too remove it too much. A tough finish, but a cheap looking and feeling one.
Features — 7
I have owned this guitar for a year and have recently replaced it, but still own it. I don't know when or where it was made. This is a Strat copy, mine was in black. It has a maple bolt on neck with a heavily laminated body, I'm not sure if it even has a body wood as it's so damn heavy, I got used to the weight though and only noticed when comparing it to friends guitars. It has 3 single coil pickups and a 5 way selector. Has 1 master volume and 2 tones. Has a traditional tremolo bridge, chrome hardware, rosewood fretboard which isn't half bad to the touch. Came as a pack (obviously) which included: a Kustom 10watt amp with effects, a basic adjustable nylon strap, whammy bar, an electric tuner, an instrument cable, a guitar stand, a set of Encore strings, 2 Encore picks (.75) and a basic guitar bag (not padded in any way and with no pocket but does the job for carrying about, I use a different one anyway). Money worth here.