Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 8
The buckers on this machine are pretty quiet, they're no EMG's but they're decent in the noiseless department. The pups are not very hot and require the gain to be cranked to get any sort of acceptable modern rock tone. I play through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe with an Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff distortion pedal. This gives me a pretty crunchy and clear tone, but not very tight. The bottom end is rather loose. I can get somewhat of an Avenged Sevenfold tone out of it? But that's about as heavy as it goes. This guitar really shines for anything Led Zeppelin. Using the OD channel on my Hot Rod Deluxe with the gain cranked full makes an amazing tone. Overall, this is a great Classic rock guitar, although if you have some intense distortion pedal I guess you could squeeze out some heavy metal.
Overall Impression — 8
I play classic rock, hard rock, punk, and some blues and this guitar covers it all. I'm a bit of a loser (I've only been playing 4 years) but I know a good guitar when I feel one. I would not necessarily replace this if it were lost or stolen, just because I'm getting more into heavier sounds nowadays, but if you were someone who loved Zeppelin, you would never put this guitar down. I play it every day. The Ultra II is a bit overpriced, but a great intermediate guitar. I'd definitely try it out before buying it. It's definitely not the best instrument out there, but it's worth playing at least once. I bet someone will love it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've had this for 2 years and it's never let me down. I gig with it regularly and I love it. The strap buttons have never given way (I've never dropped it), and I frequently use this without a backup. It's that trustworthy. Finish is hard to scratch and looks brand new, hardware hasn't faded much, and I hope to keep this guitar until the day I die. This is a 9 only because of the knobs that fell off.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Because I got this guitar as a present from my Grandfather off ebay, I have no idea if the previous owner set it up or anything, but it feels great. They action is medium-low, which I like. This certainly isn't a "shredding" guitar. The pickups were raised well and give great tone. However, the input jack has been breaking and giving me problems since day 1 and I have needed to tighten it and replace the plates a few times. Also, the pickup selector has gotten loose several times and almost fallen into the guitar more than once. These flaws are a pain to fix every time. But the hardware is looking brand new, and overall the guitar looks fantastic.
Features — 7
Okay so the Ultra II has been my first legitimate guitar. I had a New York Pro Strat before this but that sucked and didn't really count. Now, I bought this guitar with the intention that I would be using it for playing classic rock/punk and also Acoustic pieces. Well within the first month of having my Ultra II (I've had it for 2 years now), the knobs controlling the nanomag active pickup broke off. All of them. I'm not a guitar tech person so I didn't want to try popping open the back and pretend like I knew what I was doing. So I took it to Guitar Center and apparently these small, black, plastic knobs are pretty much impossible to get a hold of. After driving the 20 minutes to Guitar Center every weekend for about 3 months to see if there was any news on the knobs, I gave up and decided to just use the normal Alnico Classic pickups. The neck isn't too bad, a bit thick for my liking though, however, it is quite fast. I believe it's satin? I might be wrong though. The body is really light for a LP because it's "strategically chambered." The red and gold finish on mine kicks a** (Am I allowed to swear?) and my ex-girlfriend liked it a lot (Bro Points). The knobs are a master tone, and a volume control for each pickup, nanomag, neck, bridge. Tuners are grover, but they tend to wear out after awhile. Mine fall out of tune after even some moderate bending, especially on the G string.