Price paid: A$ 700
Purchased from: drumpower
Features — 9
This guitar was made in 2004, its got 24XJ (extra jumbo) frets and a mahogany body with a maple neck and rosewood fret board. Gloss black finish, ltd locking tuners and a Floyd rose special bridge. EMG-ESP active pickups with 1 volume, 1 tone with push/pull coil tap and 3-way pickup switch. The back of the neck has a grippy finish which can make sliding difficult until you get used to it. The pickups are better than expected and deliver great sound.
Sound — 10
I play mostly metal of varying types, and this guitar is best suited to this type of music. I use with a Blackstar ID-60 and it works well. Very good chugs and can keep a clear sound even when distorted. Very little noise unless you split the pickups. This guitar doesn't like clean very much but this guitar is designed for metal and can play rock and blues as well. The only thing this doesn't really do at all is stuff for acoustic, but very rarely do electrics manage that anyway.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Everything was setup perfectly and I took it straight out of the box and started playing, all the controls and even the action was fine even considering it had been sitting around in a warehouse for a few years. The paint was flawless and the guitar looks amazing, just like on the website. The inlays are really nice, they are a lot easier to see than the standard dots and mother of pearl is hands down the best inlay for darker neck wood.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have played this live a few times for some small scale stuff but this guitar is like a rock. Strap locks are unnecessary. If you don't need to retune this will play through a whole gig without going out of tune, even while two-tone bending and using the tremolo bar. The finish has lasted me a year with the only noticeable mark a tiny scratch from my cast when I broke my arm. The only problem I've ever had was the tuners were a tiny bit loose after two years of playing, but that is unsurprising.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a metal beast, and probably not for anything but rock and metal. I have been playing 5 or 6 years and although I do not own any other guitars I have tested 10 or more so other guitars thoroughly and nothing in its price range (even after they stopped making it and the price jumped to $1200. I love everything about this guitar except the bridge which doesn't let you retune without re-tensioning the strings. Amazing but not good for alternate tuning. If you want to sound great and look good doing it this is the guitar for you.