Price paid: $ 421
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 6
The pickup is hot, which captures pinch harmonics really well. However, the pickup lacks some sustain and overall depth. Due to the high output of the pickup, string noise is a factor, but this might be a good thing because it forces you to learn to play clean. The guitar sounds pretty good for heavy, distorted music, and it sounds decent clean. I would say the pickup is slightly better than mid-priced Epiphone guitar pickups. Also, it only has one pickup, and no tone control, so if you don't want a hot pickup, don't buy this guitar. However, the guitar plays very, very well, so replace the pickup and you have a strait up killer axe.
Overall Impression — 10
So the first thing to address is the pickup. Buy the guitar for 421 dollars, and an EMG 81 active pickup for 99. This is a great deal because the guitar plays beautifully, but it just sounds average. There is only one pickup to replace, so do it. For 520 dollars(421 for guitar, 99 for pickup), you will have a guitar that plays just as good as the ESP LTD Alexi 600 (1,100 dollars) and sounds even better! This is a true Diamond, you just got to massage it a little bit before you get a super killer deal!
Reliability & Durability — 9
Please, for any guitar, buy strap locks! I know from personal experiance. These strap buttons won't wear out, but if your strap does, kaboom. And the sharp edges and points in this guitar means increased stress concentration areas, so if it is dropped, you are likely to chip off a part of the sharp V points. However, if this guitar isn't dropped, it will last. I can't get it to lose tune, even after numerous divebombs. The only reason I would ever bring another guitar on the set would be to achieve a different sound. I would not be worried about this guitar failing. It is constructed beautifully.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Coming from Musician's Friend to Colorado in the dead of winter, you can't expect the guitar, especially with a Floyd Rose, to be set up perfectly. It took me about 4 hours to set up this guitar properly. If you are new to guitars, or not mechanically inclined, you would need to take it to a shop for set up before playing. However, after setup, I accomplished a perfectly low action, with no buzzes (after numerous truss rod adjustments), and good sustain. The neck is very fast and wide, making this an awesome speed/thrash/shred guitar. I love it! Also this thing looks killer. I liked the way the white guitar looked, but I went with black of a gut feeling. This guitar looks sooo sick with the silver accented hardware against the black body. The finish is nice, and the hardware tops it to make one killer guitar look!