Price paid: £ 1300
Purchased from: Thomann International
Sound — 9
The sound is the best part of this guitar. All I can say, is clarity, clarity, clarity. Single notes? Defined. Powerchords? Punchy and agressive. Full Barre Chords with high distortion? No problem. I haven't played many guitars that can pull that off convincingly. The guitar is a jack-of-all-trades, master of one. That being Metal. It still has a great clean tone though, and the coil tap option is actually pretty persuasive... I would describe the tone as rich and full. Not as bright as say, an Ibanez, but a great place in the middle. Leads are fantastic and does very decent rhythm work.
Overall Impression — 10
I play heavy metal/virtuoso style guitar (Steve Vai/Paul Gilbert/Kirk Hammet), mostly lead but with rhythm as well. I definitely chose well in terms of suitability, this is a real workhorse guitar. I've been playing for only 2 and a half years, but I've progressed a lot faster than I thought I would, so I thought I needed a pro-level guitar. If it was stolen, I'd go on a rampage then buy another. I wouldn't even think of trying anything else first. My main love with this guitar is that it doesn't really seem out of place in any setting. I started out playing some Metallica on it, then tried some Iron Maiden with the coil-tap on, then played Stairway (sorry, but nobody was around) and some chords/fingerpicking. At no point did I think 'hmm... this could be a little better in x or y'. I was considering buying an Ibanez instead, but I'm glad I didn't. An absolutely lovely guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The finish on mine seems to be extremely durable, I hit it against something earlier and I can't even see where I hit it. Original Floyd Rose stays in tune perfectly, as expected. Very neat tremolo rout, by the way. Everything seems solid, if anything the knobs were a little TOO hard to take off... but at least I know they're not going anywhere. The input jack seems to have a clip mechanism, which is good. You really have to push the cable in. Strap buttons are fine, but I'm switching them for Dunlop Straploks as soon as they come in the post, because I love them. Highly recommended.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Seeing as I bought this online (I couldn't be bothered to wait for one to be ordered in at my local shop) I had booked it in for a setup for when I received it. After taking it out of the box and playing it for a few hours, I canceled the setup. Granted it was ever so slightly out of tune, but the action was just how I like it and the intonation was perfect. I mean actually PERFECT, even up at the 24th fret. I adjusted the pickup height ever so slightly on the neck pickup, but that was more of a personal preference and not that the height was set badly. As far as I can see, there are no production flaws in mine, with the sole exception of the coil tap push/pull motion being a little dodgy, but I easily fixed that by opening the control cavity and fiddling. Which reminds me, this guitar had the neatest control cavity I've ever seen. The cavity was also painted black... God knows why. The fretboard is the tidiest I've ever seen, absolutely spot-on. The fingerboard grain has really popped out on mine, which I love. The binding area isn't perfect, but still good. I think to get any better quality I would have to get a custom guitar.
Features — 10
I don't know about the year made, but it's definitely new, so I'm going to assume 2009. 24 Jumbo Frets Maple Neck / Ash Body / Neck-Thru / Ebony Fretboard Plain Gloss White Finish Original Floyd Rose Bridge Gotoh Tuners Seymour Duncan SH-1 (Neck) & TB-4 (Bridge) 1 Volume (With Coil-tap) / 1 Tone / 3-way Switch Comes with fitted ESP hard case & wrenches. I know the spec isn't anything too revolutionary, but it's absolutely brilliant. I don't think I'd want anything else on it.