Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: New-Counts Brothers Music
Sound — 10
If you are a metal head like me (Metallica especially, it looks just like James guitar from the Sandman video), this is one of the best guitars you could get. Currently, I'm running the guitar through a Marshall MG150 4/12' stack. The sound is very satisfactory. I play pickup are great. You are able to adjust the volume and tones to just about whatever you'd like. Running straight through the Marshall, you in Drop-C tuning (CACFAD) and the deep tones you get through the neck have to work to get any noise (like crank it up to harmful levels). Just recently, I purchased a Boss MT-2 Metal Zone pedal and the only time you get any noise is when you turn the pedal level up high, but that is a problem you'll get with almost any pedal.
Overall Impression — 10
As I stated before, I'm a big Metallica fan, so naturally, this was the guitar for me. I would suggest it to any other Hard Rock or Metal fan anytime. I'm 18 and I've been playing for about 4-5 years now. This is definitely one of the best guitars I've played on. If it ever got stolen, I would definitely try to replace it if I was able to afford it. I have very few problems with the guitar other than the pickups, which are more then fine, but I intend to change them out with an EMG 81 and EMG 85 as soon as possible. A lot of that is just personal preference. I don't really like the trouble thats involved in restringing and retuning the tremolo, but I hear its the same with all Floyd Rose.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've played several gigs with this guitar so far and found it to be very reliable. The double locking tremolo pretty much guarantees that It'll be in tune. You dont have to worry bout scratching the flat black finish like u would a more glossy one. Hardware appears to be very heavy duty. Strap buttons are very solid, but I quickly replaced them with strap locks, just as a precaution. I would suggest the same if your a heavy and "mobile" player on stage. I would and have used it in gigs without a backup, but if you can afford one, it never hurts to be prepared for anything. Everybody knows that when you break a string on a guitar with floating tremolo, it throws everything out of tune.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
From my understanding, this particular model of Goth Explorer with the double locking tremolo is fairly hard to find in stores. This is the only one I've seen. Straight from the factory, I would say set-up is good. Personally, I prefer to play on some heavy duty strings (Zakk Wylde Customs), so naturally I replaced the fairly light factory strings. I ran into some problems though with the tremolo when putting on heavy strings. The heavier gauge causes the floating tremolo to buck up off of the body. So to remedy this, I had to go and buy an extra spring to put in the tremolo to pull the bridge back down. I think it would've been nice to include extra springs with its purchase. Plus, putting on thicker strings, I had to adjust bridge and pickup heighths, which took a long time. Really, the only major probs I had was with the installment of new strings, which u could possibly say was partly my fault. Intonation was great from the factory. Pickups are good, but personally, I'd like to replace them with some EMG Actives as soon as possible.
Features — 10
Purchased in 2004. Made in Korea. Inspected in the US. This guitar has 22 frets. Neck and Body are both mahogany. Has 2 volume knobs and 1 tone knob. Comes with two Gibson designed humbuckers("Double Vacuum Dipped Alnicos" with "Ceramic Coated Wiring") at the bridge and neck. Both are passive. Select between them with a 3-way Switch. Hardware is all black chrome. Finish is a sharp-looking flat black (Think of Stealth Black) with black pickguard. Comes with Grover tuners and "Floyd Rose Licensed Copy" double locking tremolo. All in all, an awesome guitar. Only problem is that it didnt come with any accessories(case, strap, etc.) But that's something I should take up with the store where I bought it.