Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Musiciansfriend.com
Sound — 10
The humbuckers lasted only a year o so. I laid down some serious cash for a set of Gibson Burst Bucker Pros in Gold to match. Wow! This is my baby and how! It looks better, sounds better, and feels better than the Gibson. Gibson was not available in blue. I play it on a Fender Twin Amp usually at the quarter setting since the new pickups are hot I don't want to wake the dead. I can play at any volume without any noise. I use a mogami cable. I play it at my local church and the sounds are incredible. I can play bluesy or rockish and I can go for sweet clean bell like tones when needed or called upon. The sound can be full and thick or mellow with a sweet simple tone, I can't explain it, but you have to hear it. I usually will ad my Korg Pandora PX4 for a desired effect when needed and I have added an Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer. I use the tube-screamer with a little gain to push the 100 watts at low volume to get a broader growl without waking up the whole dog pound. I also use the tub-screamer with a lot of gain set at the 25 watts on my amp to get outrageous distortion at a brain-shaking but not brain-cooking volume. All this at church. Maybe not your church, but you should check us out having church. God is real and we praise him with real praise and real loud.
Overall Impression — 10
In my practice time I play some blues or rock to keep my fingers limber and let bonnie blue breath. I have been playing for about seven years. I also own a Fender Strat and I will use a Marshall G15RCD at home for practice. If Bonnie were stolen, there would be a prayer sent to God to have the thief rot in hell for separating my baby from her sugar daddy. She is not replaceable. Only a PRS Custom 24 with all the bells and whistles could possibly assuage my grief. Can you tell that I love her? She makes me growl like a blue tiger. There is no better guitar at this price. A few improvements and you have a guitar for life!
Reliability & Durability — 9
I baby my guitar, it will last because she has a good owner. Let me say this, I don't care Who made it or where is came from, YOU have to take care of your tools or your tools will let you down. Everything on my blue is tight. I very often use it exclusively. The pick ups let me down and so I put them down. Since the upgrade, no problems. I recommend the burst-bucker pros. My total investment was around $800. Guitar (400) new pickups (300) and 100 for installation. This is still a bargain from the $2400 Gibson. My tech told me that he dropped Gibson as an authorized technician because they have lost a few steps in quality and don't pay him. He agreed that people can pay more but they won't get more, just a name. Get out there and play it loud.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The set up back then was not the best. I lowered the action and had the nut replaced with a graphite nut after the plastic one it came with broke. The pickups were set up alright but they didn't last. The fit and finish was and is superb for a $400 guitar. My guitar still draws much attention. Since it doesn't say expensive Gibson on the neck, people always ask because they think I must be using some complicated set-up to get the tone it has. They are basically shocked and scratch their heads wondering why their 335 in basic burgundy make a $2400 hole in their wallets and can't compete with my bonnie blue.
Features — 7
I bought it in 2001. Made in Korea. It has 22 frets, I believe Standard frets with a rosewood fretboard over a mahogany neck. It's a thin semi-hollow body similar to an 335 body. Its body is made of laminated maple. Mine is blue with a flame top. It has creme binding on the body. I need a new truss rod cover because mine says Gibson, what an insult. It has gold hardware and a Tune-O-Matic bridge. It came with passive pickups. It has two tone and two volume knobs. It's a right handed model. The gold tuners are not locking and I can't tell who made them. I use flat-wound strings, I just like it smooth. It didn't come with a case so I had to order it with a hard-shell case.