Price paid: $ 915
Sound — 9
I love metal so this guitar fits my style perfectly, the emg pickups work like a charm. I only own a Fender frontman amp so it's not getting the amp it should be but I have used it through a PA where it sounded miles better than the rest of the guitars using the PA. No tremelo so it can't do no crazy dive noises but it still is capable of doing amazing pinch and natural harmonics.
Overall Impression — 10
I love this guitar, I have been playing about 8 years using a Squier and an Ibanez RG320 fm which is extremely good, but my ltd puts it to shame. Everytime I see it I have to play it. I wanted this guitar because of the crazy Explorer shape and because all my other guitars are quite Standard shapes, so this is my first crazy guitar. I think it would be cool with a flod rose but I'm glad it doesnt't have one because they are so annoying to re string and keep.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have had it a couple of months and no problems so far. I've not played a gig with it yet but I think it would survive so I wouldn't go with a backup. There are crazy spikes so I will probably chip the ends. The strap buttons seem attached firmly enough and most of the hardware is all working and should last a long time.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I had to raise the lower strings because they buzzed, but now it's fine. The pickups were fine for me so I have not altered them. The paintwork is fine and the wood seems alright so far. There was a little scrape where the wood had been scratched at the end of the neck just before the head but it's so small and misable that I'm not that bothered.
Features — 8
Explore body, I bought it in black, the metal plating was cool but I was happy with black plus it was cheaper. Mahogony body and tune o matic bridge. 22 Frets so not 24 but not a great problem. Volume and tone controls as well as 3-way pickup selector. EMG pickups to produce quality sound. Grover tuning pegs. I bought a gator case where you build up the padding to fit your guitar shape so I have a good case for it.