Price paid: A$ 2700
Purchased from: Rockshop (NZ)
Sound — 8
I play in both a metal band and a corporate/festivally style covers band and it really covers all bases pretty well. It's obviously better suited for the metally heavier songs, however it doesn't disappoint in other styles either. Obviously though, this guitar is probably best suited for heavier styles of music although the pick-ups do REALLY sparkle for clean tones. The biggest suprise for me was the amazing tone you can get for Jazz/Fingerstyle songs. It gets played through a Mesa Nomad 100 and a Mesa Recto 2X12 Cabinet and works really well in the package. Effects wise I'm pretty boring with just a Homebrew Electronics THC (Triple Hound Chorus) and a Boss delay. The pick ups are pretty noisy in regards to feedback, in high gain applications however clean they are great. Overall, this guitar is ALMOST a jack of all trades, but naturally excels in Metal/Rock/Hardcore etc more. It has a HUGE distortion sound that is still very clear (i.e. each note is very well articulated in open chords)
Overall Impression — 7
Overall, this guitar is great. Personally, I think it was a little bit of a shame it wasn't great straight out of the box, but with the minor niggles mostly ironed out it is, overall, just a very well made, well balanced guitar. I first picked this guitar up as I was in the market to buy an ESP Eclipse and wanted a solid comparison through some of the higher end ESP models and in turn liked the FX more - however I do wish it had the Ebony fret board that the Eclipse has. The guitar is incredibly easy to play for long periods of time as it is comfortable and also quite light. I was a little disappointed in the Sperzel locking tuners as they seem quite tinny to me and aren't as stable as the Shallers that are on my EBMM JP6, but that's a hard guitar to beat in terms of stability anyway. I would quite happily buy another if they put out more finishes as the satin black and woodgrain finishes don't float my boat in any way - on that note too, I was a little suprised that the Snow White finish was going to (I bargained ) cost me $300 more. Just because it wasn't black. As I stated earlier, I play a lot of styles but bought this mainly for the metally band. I'm not a huge fan of heaps of lead work in my songwriting and this guitar is brilliant for chunky riffage but still great blazing solos and upper neck playing for when I do "solo" (the FX has amazing upper neck access which is another reason why I chose it over the Eclipse). Its not the best guitar I've ever bought, but it certainly wasn't a bad way to spend nearly 3k (NZ/AUD) either. I'll most likely post up some sound bytes on YouTube too, so watch this space!
Reliability & Durability — 9
This is probably the area where this guitar shines completely. Its so basic (2 pick ups, set bridge, 3 way toggle, volume and tone knob) that very little could actually go wrong. I would quite happily play this guitar without a back up (as long as I had some spare strings! ). The battery for the pick-ups lasts forever. This guitar is built reliably and for this reason deserves it's 9.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
My FX is finished in the rarer "Snow-White" which, in my opinion, is an amazing finish. The finish is very very precise and smooth, the frets have been set very very well - the neck feels gorgeous and the fret-feel is probably the best I've played. The neck is a thin U profile which feels solid and very playable. The factory set up was (excuse this) F***ing appalling. It buzzed everywhere. It had 9's on it which felt like rubber bands and the nut was pretty poorly cut which meant it was binding quite a lot and led to pretty poor tuning stability, however, the shop sorted that out for me with some 11's (soon to be 12's), and I got someone else to re-cut the nut for me so now the tuning is incredibly stable. If i was judging on the factory set up, It would get a 5 purely for how poor it was at day Dot (but I was buying this guitar knowing it sounded amazing and would be better once it had had a set up) so, after the work done this easily rates a high 8 to 9. Overall, a 7 now as there are still a few tweaks which need to be done.
Features — 7
This guitar is actually pretty simple on the face of it. It's the Japanese Made '09 edition with: Mahogany body (Explorer Shape) Sperzel Locking Tuners Active Pick Ups (EMG 81 Bridge - EMG 60 Neck) Gotoh Tune-o-matic Bridge Set Neck Bone Nut 22 XJ Frets Came with the moulded hardcase (as it should for a guitar of such odd proportions) User Manual and Truss rod adjuster. Overall I thought the case candy was a bit sub-par really although the guitar itself is well equipped. For this reason I give it a 7