Price paid: £ 225
Purchased from: Guitar Guitar Edinburgh
Features — 7
First here are the facts:
- Made in 2009
- Made in Korea
This is a 22 fret guitar at a 24.75 inch scale length. It features a mahogany neck,topped with a rosewood fingerboard, the body is also mahogany. It comes in a very smooth satin black although the back of the neck seems kind of glossy. It has a tune-o-matic bridge, two passive alnico humbuckers. It has 2 volume and 1 tone controls and a 3 way pickup selector. The best piece of hardware on the guitar has to be the set of Grover 14:1 tuners. A fairly decent feature considering the price I paid for the guitar. Thusly, the guitar isn't anything special feature wise, it is a stripped down, set neck explorer, can't complain about anything in that regard.
Sound — 6
I tend to play a fairly wide range of rock and metal music. Anything from Free and Bad Company to Cattle Decapitation and Cephalic Carnage. I have played this guitar through my Peavey 6505 +112 and I can get a fairly decent tone from it. The guitar seems to fit in with my style as the pickups are fairly aggressive, although that said it doesn't take much to make the 6505 break up on a clean setting. On a setting with everything at 12 o'clock on the Lead channel, it gives a nice mid focused punchy sound that could cover anything from Guns N' Roses to Iron Maiden and even any pop rock if it came to it. I have played it through a digital modelling amp I own and through a clean patch on that the guitar chimes. I have it dialed in for a nice tight,punchy piano like sound with a slight bit of delay, reverb and a touch of chorus. It produces a really nice run of the mill clean sound for arpeggiated chord progressions. This guitar does seem as if it could cover a fairly wide range of sounds if you needed it to and controlled the volume knobs well. It also has a killswitch, which to me personally is nothing more than something to mess around with.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The guitar came set up pretty well from the store. I had to lower the action a smidge for my own personal taste but other than that all was A OK. All the parts are set up and installed properly. The only thing I did notice was that the guitar had a significant neck dive so I have moved the strap pins to counteract the weight distribution. The nut I must say, is cut pretty much spot on for a cheaper Asian made guitar, I was afraid of getting a rough cut item where it would not keep in tune. The pickup selector as with most explorers is on the far end of the scratchplate. I wish this was in a different area preferably next to the controls so I didn't need to reach for miles for it constantly.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar is very much a meat and potatoes guitar. It's solid and should see you through a gig no hassle, no matter how hard your band thrashes or jives. The hardware seems pretty solid and shows no signs of tarnish, yet. I cant say I would gig it without a backup, as I never gig without a backup. Although in a stick, I'm sure it would manage fine. The finish seems pretty thick, which I am happy about. Theres nothing worse than a jet black guitar with bits of light colored wood showing through. That would really ruin the look of this guitar and I would need to touch it up.
Overall Impression — 8
This guitar fits my style of playing well. I own a few other nice guitars and one thing I am particularly keen on about this guitar is the nice tapered D neck profile. If it were lost or stolen, I probably would like to get another, aesthetically its extremely pleasing to me as it reminds me of the black explorer James Hetfield of Metallica played in the '80s/'90s. I love the way it looks, I just need to uprgrade the pickups to some Duncans or Bareknuckles and I will keep it for as long as I possibly can. I wish it had a tone pro's bridge and some nicer pickups but I can invest in that myself at some point. Overall a great guitar for the money I paid for it and I cant wait to pick it up and start thrashing again.