Price paid: A$ 1600
Purchased from: meestursparkle (ebay)
Sound — 9
I play metal and only metal and the Active Seymour Duncan Blackout delivers. Its supposed to be more quiet than an active Emg 81 by 6db (I think) and this is true to my ears, this pickup pumps a lot of gain so you don't need a lot of gain on your amp/pedalsbut when you engage the MM-04 by the toggle switch the volume and gain is increased to a maximum of 20db. This also increases feedback a lot even a low volume. (Check a website for full info in case I'm wrong) In short it sounds like an Emg 81 but more gain and quieters. The volume/gain booster is controlled by a trim pot inside the control cavity by a Phillips head screwdriver and is preset already as well as the active equaliser 3 toggle micro switches to match Alexi's settings. I've only increased the gain a bit and even I think its too much gain/boost. Now to get a clean sound (when it was set-up for E standard) is a bit of a pain. I play with a Fender 15g practice amp and a MT-2, and when switching the MT-2 off with the MM-04 engaged the volume is much louder than the distorted volume and the tone is also distorted/overdriven due to the MM-04 being a gain booster. So you need to turn off the MM-04 when you want a clean tone or you can find that sweet spot' by balancing the gain on your pedal, MM-04 and the volume of your guitar, amp, and your pedal. Either way it's a pain in the arse. Sustain on this guitar is awesome say somewhere between 8 or 9/10, which is excellent for harmonics and whammy bar abuse. Now I've changed the setup to Drop C using Alexi's Dr 56-10 gauge strings and have not adjusted the pickup height because it seems fine to me but trying to get a tone close to Children of Bodom uses was a bit hard. This is what I think was because of the combination of thicker strings, using the gain booster and the active pickup. It gave the tone too much bottom end and low notes were getting a bit muddy so I increase the treble on my Bugera 6260 or the MT-2 (depending on if I was using just the Bugera or just the MT-2 and Fender 15g) past what I had set for bass and got a good COB tone. (still needs to be tweaked a bit)
Overall Impression — 9
I play metal only and I'm a big fan of Children of Bodom and Alexi Laiho so naturally I would want his signature model (or something to that respect seeing as he doesn't use Edwards guitars) and play metal and learn their songs, but I'm sure you can play something boring and soft on this guitar but why would you? This is by far my favourite guitar I own (check this list of the other guitars I own if you feel the need) mainly due to the playability of this guitar i.e. fret access, ebony fingerboard and scalloped frets and sustain. If it would lost or stolen I would buy this again and this is the only guitar I would, because it was cheap but with excellent features and build quality and I bet you couldn't find a guitar to compare it too for this priceI dare you to find one. I don't care the fact its pink it looks great and I would gig with it, besides the Blacky version of this guitar doesn't appeal to me at all, in fact they should call it err Greyie? (its more grey than black) You could criticise about the fact of the single pickup but I rarely use the bridge pickup on my other guitars. Bottom line is I like this guitar for its shape, colour, features, and playability. A brilliant guitar. This guitar deserves a 10/10 rating for cost, features, etc, but the fact that it doesn't have bridge pickup (even though I don't care) and this is proper review, not a shrine to myself and my guitar like a lot of other people who write reviews do I will give this guitar 9/10 overall rating. Sorry for the long review but I was trying to be as informative as I can about this guitar. Thank you for reading and I hope this helps. Side note: The Ebay store I bought this guitar from meestursparkle is brilliant and all Ebay stores should take a leaf out of his book in how the sells and pack guitars. He double boxes, used about 10m of bubble wrap and a soft case to send this guitar from Japan to Australia (He ships worldwide). Takes a lot of photos of the guitar you want to buy. Just check his store/feedback, he is just brilliant and you could trust him 100%.
Reliability & Durability — 9
If you look after your guitar it will last, its just common sense. The strap buttons are solid and in a nice position on the guitar for a proper standing V guitar position and I didn't have to replace them for Schaller locking ones as it already came with them. I would gig with guitar but I would have a back up in case of sting breakage as most guitarists would do if the had a guitar with a Floyd. The paint on this guitar seems fine to me but like all guitars if it you drop it etc it will chip or break something off of it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was setup excellently with the usual 42-9 gauge strings; intonation and string action could be very minutely adjusted but I didn't bother, even when I changed the strings to 56-10 gauge I didn't adjust anything besides for the usual balancing act of the Floyd Rose and the string height to stop buzzing. Now the build quality and components used is absolutely brilliant and really professional. This is due to the care this builder had to nicely sand and smooth out the routed cutaway for the Floyd before painting it unlike other guitar factories they just rout it and paint it leaving ugly exposed wood fibres. (it's not glossy like the finish so it probably is the undercoat base black paint). The fact that it doesn't have a bridge, spring cover plate or a depression for one is great due to the fact that I always leave mine off all the guitars I own and shows that this guitar is not just a generic body in a production line of normal guitars but a proper signature body guitar in a production line lol. The wiring is neat and excellent, the best example of this is the single wire that is soldered on the spring holder where is normally on top is now hidden underneath the spring holder and is barely noticeable. Now I've never played a guitar with ebony fretboard or scalloped frets and those two features are fantastic. The ebony fretboard looks and feels like black glass when I got it and when I polished it with lemon oil, this helps by having very little friction between the fingers while playing i.e. faster playing. And the fret access to the 24th is brilliant. The scalloped frets are a treat to play bends with as you can really dig in and bend without rubbing the fretboard causing a slower and less smooth bend. Single notes, tapping, or tremolo picking on the scalloped frets feels a bit odd because you don't touch the fretboard but you get used to it. The neck finish is a flat clear finish and can be a bit abrasive for your thumb but you also get used to this and I think it helps you play faster with this finish. Ok the only things I can pick on this guitar for is a small imperfection on the back of the headstock like a grain of sand that landed on it as they were applying the neck finish, the pink on the body and headstock of the guitar is darker than the inlays now I only say this is because when I compare this to images and videos of the ESP custom shop version it looks like to same shade of pink. Also when I was looking at buying this guitar on Ebay from meestursparkle the images shown (there were a lot) of the colour looked the same. Not a big deal but I was a bit disappointed. The hardware colour i.e. the Original Floyd Rose, locking nuts, and the volume knob on the ESP custom shop is black but on my Edwards it is a very slight black chrome. Again I only noticed while comparing the two, not a big deal but I was a bit disappointed. And the black chrome on the volume knob is rubbing off but this is what normally happens.
Features — 9
For those who don't know Edwards, they are a company owned by ESP (I think) only for the Japanese market and they make the ESP guitars with the same specifications, same build quality, but at a lesser price (better than the best LTD guitars I think) but with Edwards on the headstock and Produced by ESP on the back of the Headstock. So this guitar has almost exact same specs (details later) as the ESP custom shop Alexi Pink Sawtooth which costs a ridiculous $6000AUD. BODY : Alder, Japanese built so it has the shorter lower horn NECK : Hard Maple 3P FINGERBOARD: Ebony, 24frets (20-24fret Scalloped) w/White Binding including headstock INLAY : Pink Sawtooth SCALE : 25.5 inch (648mm) NUT (width): Lock Nut (42mm/R2) JOINT : Neck-thru-body TUNER : GOTOH SG360-07 BRIDGE : Floyd Rose PICKUPS : Seymour Duncan AHB-1 Blackouts CONTROLS : Volume, MM-04 On/Off Switch COLOR : Black with Pink Pin Stripe Comes with Schaller strap locks installed, soft case which only fits the shorter lower horn model (my LTD Alexi-200 doesn't fit), usual tools and instruction manual but it's in Japanese.