Price paid: A$ 300
Purchased from: Gallin's Mucisians Pro
Sound — 7
This guitar is more suited to harsh distortion, think Nirvana rather than Hendrix. The humbuckers sound decent enough clean, but are definitely at their best with loads of overdrive. I use this guitar with an Orange CR35, a Boss OS-2 Overdrive, FZ-5 Fuzz, DD-7 Delay and Hendrix Wah. Crunchy powerchords and thick heavy riffs are the guitars strength; clean intricacies or acoustic simulation won't be found here. The guitar is very quiet (what did you expect from two humbuckers?) and is very warm sounding. This guitar is best for hard rock and grunge.
Overall Impression — 8
I play a range of music from classic rock/blues (Hendrix, Led Zep) to Grunge/Punk (Nirvana, Children Collide) and prog/alt rock (Muse, The Strokes). This guitar is a good enough match for most of those genres/artists, it's just let down by a mediocre clean sound. I've been playing for a year and a half, and this is my second electric guitar. If the guitar was stolen I would go out and buy a Blacktop Strat, as that seems more like the sound I want, but this guitar helped me to realize that. I love the distorted sounds and thick riffs this guitar is most comfortable in. The clean sound is fairly bland and messy. I'd prefer coil tapping, or a single coil for clean sounds, but if you just need distorted/overdriven sounds for a great price, this guitar is perfect. It has served well live, and done nearly everything I've wanted it to do.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Hit the head stock on a rough rock ground and had no damage to show for it. Had it for 6 months and no noticeable damage has occurred despite having a few gigs with it. I could definitely depend on this live (and have a few times) but it's good sense to bring a backup. Finish is great and is showing no wear yet. My only problem is that being an SG style guitar, the top strap button is on the BACK of the guitar, so be careful when picking it up/putting it down (definitely don't pick it up by the strap).
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Action was a little high (Easily adjusted with two quick turns thanks to the bridge set-up). Pickups were at the right height for a punchy sound. Top and bridge were flawless, overall good quality. The rosewood fret board was pristine and smooth, tuning pegs were tight, controls were tight, pretty quiet pickup selector.
Features — 8
This guitar was made in 2005, in Indonesia. 22 frets, the 12th fret has "eyes" instead of the standard two dot inlay. The neck is rosewood on mahogany (bolt-on). The neck scale is "Slim-Taper 'D'" with a 12" fingerboard radius. It feels thick (compared to a standard Strat) but you can still wrap your hand around for thumbing bass notes. The finish is of course a special "Emily the Strange" design with trippy 60's/70's curls and words. The body is very SG-like. Tune-O-Matic bridge, and two passive humbuckers (Neck: 650R, Bridge: 700T). 2 volume knobs, 2 tone, one three-way toggle switch. Non-locking unbranded tuners, but they do a great job (again compared to a Mexican Strat). Came with a case and a strap.