Price paid: £ 396
Purchased from: Island Music
Sound — 9
Obviously this is a metal guitar as it's Gus' signature and that's what I use it for. I'd mainly say it's designed for the shredder but can work as a mean rhythm guitar too. I'm using it through a Randall V2 head and Mesa Recto 2x12 Cab and this thing sounds HUGE. The stock pickups (LH-150's) are surprisingly good for cheap stock p-ups and can really get that high gain screaming tone as well as beautiful cleans, I've not noticed any unwanted noise coming from them either. However I will be replacing the pickups with either Seymour Duncan 59' (N) & Distortion (B) or the Gus Fire Blackout system so that I can really use this guitar like it's meant to be used. As far as variety go's you can roll off the volume nicely with a good tube distortion to get a nice clean sound if you wish or roll down a little less for that Vintage style crunch.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall this is a fantastic metal guitar for people on a budget but who don't want an entry level guitar. It may be the 1st line of ltd Gus models but it definitely has the feel of a higher end one. I'm a big Firewind fan so this was an obvious reason to buy it. I'm always using different guitars but this one will stick around for a while as I'm loving it that much! If it were stolen I'd definitely hunt it down and make use of the sharp headstock to settle the score. It would be nice if it had the coil tap the higher end ones do but I'm not that fussed, I'd only use it if it was there and would never really bother installing one otherwise.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I gigged this guitar the day after I got it and it did me proud. No problems at all besides the house gear used... A AVT combo with more hiss than volume! This guitar is durable and I happily gigged without a backup after only having it 1 day. As I said above the top strap button needs to be moved a bit to fix the diving issues but other than that they are solid. I'll eventually replace them with locking buttons but for the time being they hold up well. The finish is very shiny and can show fingerprints very easily so be sure to wipe it down before and after playing!
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The action on this guitar was ridiculously high when I got it so that had to be clanged immediately along with a neck adjustment to remove some annoying fretbuzz in several places. This could be a poor factory setup or the fact that my local music shop isn't one of the best... As far as everything else is concerned though I was very pleased with the pickup adjustment and lack of flaws (minus the above). The strings had to be replaced as tey were dull and had no life and I'm picky with my strings and like my guitars strung with Elixir's.
Features — 8
This is a fantastic guitar for the price! It features a bolt-on thin you maple neck with a 25.5" Scale and rosewood fingerboard, also the one thing I love about this neck is it has the Gus G fire inlays which is nice because some entry level LTD's wont have this option. The body is a solid piece of basswood that gives this guitar excellent sustain. It also features black nickel hardware, ESP Tuners, TOM Bridge & Tailpiece and ESP LH-150 (B & N) pickups. 1 master volume pot is given which is nice and simple as this is a metal guitar and a good 90% of guitarists in this genre don't have much use of a tone knob. The entire body, neck and headstock has a nice white binding on it witch is nice for a low end guitar. A drawback I'd say is the chunky neck joint which makes it's kind of hard to access those top frets easily. The strap button is most definitely in the wrong place and causes major neckdive. I managed to fix this easily by moving the top button alongside the neckplate and now it sits nicely. The input jack is also on the short fin which is the wrong place as this causes a problem if you wish to play this guitar sitting classical style and don't have a right angled jack lead.