Price paid: € 400
Purchased from: Kitarataivas
Features — 7
I bought this guitar as a birthday gift for myself one and a half years ago and it's my first own Floyd Rose guitar. It's the more affordable version of the ESP M-1 George Lynch signature model.
Can't say too much about the specs:
- Made in China
- Maple neck with no "additional" fingerboard so it's all maple
- Basswood body
- 22 frets
- Single humbucker only which I believe is the ESP standard pickup that they use in all LTDs
- No tone control
- Floyd Rose special bridge.
Sound — 4
When you only have the ESP humbucker and no tone control there's not much you can do change the sound. I play mostly '80s hair metal so the guitar is more than suitable for that but it really took some pickup and amp adjusting to make any cleans sound tolerable. This is the main thing that makes the rating so low. Playing guitar is after all only about making different sounds and this axe is pretty much a one-trick-pony.
The ESP humbucker has a rather bright sound and it picks up additional scratches and noises pretty easily but that makes dive bombing and harmonics nice and easy. I haven't tuned this guitar to any ultra low Slipknot tuning so I don't know how well it deals with that kind of sound but it suits my playing (or my playing suits it...)
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I bought the guitar from a local shop and it was used but set up again in the shop so the action was pretty close to perfect back then. Now after 1,5 of playing and divebombing and using different sets of strings I need to pretty often adjust the springs to make the action high enough so I can actually play the high notes. Something somewhere is giving up a bit and then something else is getting loose. Despite I bought it used there was no scratches or anything in the finish and who wouldn't like riding a tiger? All in all it's a beautiful thing if the colouring doesn't scare you off. Not much to complain about on this department but I'm sure there's a ton of better guitars in the world.
Reliability & Durability — 4
Well... This is actually the reason why I started writing this review. It's pretty heavy in comparison to many other guitars I've played and feels durable. Not in a Schecter way which make you feel like you could kill a person with the guitar and you wouldn't even need to tune it after that, but a lot more durable feeling than with cheap strat copies and such. However this apparently doesn't concern any parts on the guitar that aren't made of wood.
2nd time tuning this guitar: nut lock screw becomes rounded so now I have to screw it with pliers instead of the allen key. (And I didn't even squeeze it hard!) 1,5 years of pretty active dive bombing but no stupid abuse like lifting from the whammy bar and now either the bar or the hole in the bridge is bent so now it doesn't sit in there well and easily becomes loose and falls off.
A couple of weeks ago playing live, imitating an orchestra hit by hitting the guitar body to make noise and the top adjustment screw of the pick up flies out. Something's broken in there but at this point I'm starting to feel like I don't even care, this thing is just falling apart slowly. It has survived quite a bit of live playing, traveling and punishment but definitely it shouldn't be breaking apart like it is now doing.
The bridge is actually pretty good. I have seen reviews where people complain about losing tuning but I can easily play a few hours pretty intensively and it's still in tune. It takes a week or two to get it so badly out of tune that I need to open the nutlocks to tune again, mostly the fine tuning is enough to keep it in tune.
If I had posted this review half a year ago this rating would have been 9, now it's 4. Lesson learned, don't play a rock hero with Chinese toys because they won't last.
Overall Impression — 6
It's a cool average guitar for a player who can deal with the problems that come when you have no variety in the sound but if you like the way it can scream you'll love it. If somebody offered me to trade it for a guitar that has similar humbucker, a Floyd Rose bridge and a single coil neck pickup I'd go for the deal immediately. Most likely you can pretty easily find a better guitar for the same price so don't do the same mistake that I did and fall in love with the tiger stripes and then buy a guitar just because it has tiger stripes.