Price paid: $ 236
Purchased from: Davis Guitars (Singapore)
Features — 10
It was made in Indonesia. Ot has a 24.75" scale length and 24 XJ frets. With this scale length, I think it should've been 22 frets because the sound in higher frets die easily and quickly. Basswood body, maple neck and rosewood fretboard. It has a Black Satin finish (matte black) and I'm really pleased with it. Due to it's finish, I really take care of it. It an LP shape with ESP's Double Cutaway and the back has a nice contour like a strat. The finish is the same throughout the guitar. With the satin finish and thin u neck, putting my thumb over the neck and sliding up or down the neck is easy and comfortable. Tune-O-Matic bridge makes it easy for me to palm mute. Passive electronics with 2 volume, 1 tone knob, 3-way selector and HH configuration. Stock ESP Designed LH-150 pickups. ESP's non-locking tuners which is quite good. Doesn't run out of tune.
Sound — 9
I play mostly rock, hard rock, classic rock and some folk rock and metal. I run this guitar through an Ibanez TB15D. The stock ESP-Designed LH-150 is meant for rock, metal anywhere along that line, but it does well for other genres too. I changed the stock pickups to Tesla VR-2 for more versatility as I'm venturing into pop, blues rock and jazz. Partially also due to aesthetics. The chrome pups look great with the black satin. Don't get me wrong, the stock pups are great! I plan on installing them on my project guitars. Sometimes I feel like the pups produce distinct notes from each string, too distinct that it doesn't play in harmony with other notes, but I believe that's just me.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action was quite low, and with the XJ frets and the gauge 9 strings that I use, string bending is a breeze. When playing unplugged, there's some fret buzz on the lower strings, but when playing plugged in, the sound is flawless. The set up and intonation was great, have yet to find a flaw. I didn't check the pickup adjustments because I become too indulged when playing to realise think of it. The nut is molded but it's actually quite decent. With the satin finish, I put in extra care not to scratch it. The steel knobs give a nice touch to the smooth black satin finish.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I believe it will withstand live playing as it's quite reliable. The machine heads does its job. Although it's non-locking tuners, it doesn't go off tune. I haven't done a song where there's a need to do excessive bends, so I can't confidently say it's a completely solid machine heads but it gets the job done. I used it at a gig once to perform a few songs for community service and the guitar had no setbacks. With this guitar, I don't need a backup. The strap buttons are solid. Was taking off the guitar, slipped and hit my face, slid off my shoulders but I caught the strap in mid air. Worst experience of my life but it feels like I have a straplock on. With good care, I believe the finish will last long.
Overall Impression — 10
This is my third electric guitar, and I've had it for 3 months. I play it with a Beta Aivin's Distortion and Equalizer pedal. I have a Craftsman ST130 and an SX Standard Series Custom Handmade (worst strat copy, reviewed). It fits my love for adrenaline when playing rock but as I mentioned, I changed the pickups as I'm venturing into a wider range of genres and I want something versatile. If it was stolen, I'd be very pissed. If lost, would definitely buy the same series but a higher end model as I like trying out new guitars. But I'll try to find the stolen guitar. I bought this guitar because of its finish without testing it. No regrets, best guitar I've ever had. I wish it had an affordable hard case with it.