Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 10
Put jazz strings on (12-52). Smoothed out the sound for a more mellow jazz sound when playing rhythm. If I use "on the edge" distortion, it's smooth and I can get heavy, sustaining distortion with out any effort (Crate GT500H amp with 2-12" Jensen Vibranto speakers - open backed cab). The tone works fine from bright to mellow and is thick enough for "chunk" sounds. The amp and speakers are the weakest link in any setup so scrap the Marshalls and get older all tube amps!
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar is a good match for most styles if you aren't "anal" about the result. I've played rock, Christian, folk, and some heavy stuff and it shines with the right amp settings. I'd buy one again and have no regrets with the purchase. Other than the "work" involved with changing pickups, I'd like to install a set of SD Jazz P/Us. A pickguard would have been nice! I ordered one from StewMac and installed it myself - same as LesPaul. And it preserves the top! (recommended)
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've been playing it live for a year now but replaced the strap buttons with strap loks. (only for security - the originals were ok). The finish does seem to "shine" when played for a while - right arm tends to polish the matte finish. My amp at church (Peavey Triumph 60 head) is problematic but otherwise the sound is great. I also play it through a Leslie (homemade) and it has the true "guitar through a Leslie" sound!
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Mine came in perfect condition. Only set it up with a string change for the heavier guage. The pic online was a faded cherry but it came in a rich red. I contacted the vendor and they have since changed the pic. F-holes are "blackened" in. No dots in the neck. Still beautiful as far as the "look"!
Features — 9
Got it last year (2009) worn cherry which is a rich red. Stock pickups (open HB). No special features, black hardware, binding, and pickups. Hot bridge pickup though. Standard scale - 22 frets. Satin finish which starts to Shine from your arm rubbing it. Stop tailpiece, fully adjustable bridge. Standard double cutaway, semi-hollow body with F-holes.