Price paid: £ 650
Purchased from: Nevada Music
Features — 8
The Edwards E-CS-140 Classic is Syu of Galneryus' signature guitar, seemingly inspired by his cherry red Explorer. He's a great guitarist, worth looking up if you don't know him. Mine is a 2013 model anyway, fully made in Japan. (Edwards were partially built just inside China for a while but this has ended now).
24 XJ frets, 24.75" scale set neck, with a fat C shape like a Les Paul. Basically a 24 fret Les Paul neck with tall shreddy frets. The body and neck are both mahogany, however it is a very light, non descript mahogany that is neither Honduras or Sapele and understood to be from a native tree that is grown in plantations in Asia. The trees are cut at a young age resulting in the light wood. I'm not kidding about how light it is, it's about the weight of a strat. My Alder bodied Gus 600 feels heavy in comparison!
The body is contoured for the forearm and chest, which makes it feel like a smaller guitar than it is. It nearly snuggles into you, like a strat. Whether you like this or not is personal choice. The body is a random star shape made in two pieces with no veneers, which is a feature of high end guitars, but ultimately pretty non-consequential in terms of tone. The neck is 1 piece maple, with a volute and a second piece of maple spliced on for part of the headstock. The fingerboard is rosewood, and might I say, a very nice example of it. Rosewood stock seems to have been getting darker and streakier recently. The finish is a very thin poly where you can almost feel the grain in parts, which nearly led to me mistaking it for nitro. The body has no top or veneer, it is just the two piece mahogany, but looks very nice.
The hardware is Gotoh. Personally I prefer the Grover tuners having tried both as they seem to turn smoother. The bridge is solid. The nut is bone, which is nice and shouldn't require any upgrades. There is one volume knob and two knobs, which isn't ideal, as having two volume knobs can be used to switch from a distortion sound on one pickup to a clean sound on another. It came with a tool which seems to be both a key for the truss rod and a screwdriver for adjusting the bridge.
Sound — 10
The guitar has a Seymour Duncan JB in the bride and a Jazz in the neck. It's geared towards the shred style Syu plays; the output is purposely low for clear note articulation, but still enough to throw out shriek harmonics. I'm playing it through a Boss GE-7, Wylde Crybaby, Boss NS-2, BBE G Screamer and Boss DD-3 into a Peavey 6505+ 112 combo. A rather high gain setup, but the guitar does not hiss at all. I have an Epihpone Les Paul and an LTD Gus 600, yet this is the only guitar to be completely quiet. The electronics are very well shielded. The tone is pretty centre field; not as warm as a Paul or as bright as a Strat. It's great for lighter metal, think AC/DC, though I suspect it would also be great for a creamy blues sound.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The stock setup was verging on poor for a guitar at this price range, especially for an Edwards. The action was way too high, intonation spot on though. Neck lacked proper relief. The bridge isn't positioned quite right, meaning the high E jumps off the fretboard really easily. The plastic ring for the pickup switch is warped and not flat, which is poor. The fretboard is decent, not perfect, but no high frets either. I got the action down to about 1mm and it can't go lower before bends on the higher frets start choking, but it's pretty good.
Reliability & Durability — 7
The guitar is as solid as the next one, though I wouldn't be surprised if the pointy headstock broke bits off if percussively persuaded to do so. The hardware is pretty solid, but the strap buttons are quite small and not much good until you replace them with locking buttons. I expect the chrome to tarnish over time so it won't look as good, but I'll just take the pickup covers off when that happens. That's the same as will happen with all chrome hardware guitars unless you religiously wipe them down each time after playing them. The finish is a thin poly, no imperfections, very clean around the binding. Syu's personal guitar has a lot of wear, though I would imagine it's reliced as I can't imagine the poly wearing easily.
Overall Impression — 8
I play everything from death-doom metal to classic rock, but this is great for power metal and rock. The sound isn't saturated enough for heavier music. I've been playing only for about two and a half years but I've played some very nice guitars and would like to think I can tell a nice guitar. My other main guitars are an Epiphone Les Paul Plustop Pro, a Korean Epiphone Les Paul Custom, and an LTD Gus 600 FR. This one is right in the middle of the Gus and the Les Pauls specwise; it has the sound and shape of the Gus, but the feel of the Les Pauls. It's very unique. The neck is a little heavy, but not a problem with a decent strap. Even with a nylon strap it won't dive.
As a previous user of Duncan Distortions, I'm not quite happy with the mild tone of the JB and Jazz pickups, but I do like how tight it sounds, so there is a compromise to be made.
If I lost this guitar, I'd likely replace it with the same again. For shreddy power metal material, this guitar is very near perfect. I'd only consider a Charvel Desolation Star perhaps, or another ESP/Edwards. Few other brands than ESP and its subsidiaries can give me what I want stock in a guitar. For £650 new, I couldn't be happier, either. Recommended if you can get hold of one, the only downside is these are pretty hard/impossible to find outside of Japan!