Price paid: € 800
Purchased from: ART Music
Features — 9
Made in Indonesia, year of production is unknown. This signature guitar model is a standard Eclipse shape without any significant differences that I can find. The guitar features 22 XJ frets, 25.5 inch scale, Set-Thru construction, mahogany body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, 42mm standard nut, a thin U neck contour, black nickel hardware, ESP locking tuners, Tonepros Locking TOM bridge & tailpiece, two (2x) Seymour Duncan Blackout ABH-1 pickups for both the neck and bridge positions respectively, a custom graphic finish, 3-way toggle switch, master volume knob and finally an On-Off mini switch/killswitch.
Even though I've played mostly Strat-like guitars so far, I never really used the tone knobs on those models, since I preferred to alter the sound through my effects pedals or the pre-amp. Therefore the lack of any tone knobs is not important to me, as it shouldn't be to anyone who aims to achieve the sounds that this guitar can produce. If I could design it from scratch myself, I'd just put 24 frets in it.
Sound — 8
I play contemporary rock, classic rock, metal, heavy metal, some avant garde as well. I played a wide variety of tracks from various artists that I enjoy listening and even tried some that didn't seem to be suitable for this guitar. Even though the 600-EC absolutely nails the obvious choices like Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Black Label Society, Firewind etc., it also performs very well when it comes to other styles of music like Buckethead (well the guitar DOES have a killswitch), Paul Gilbert, Metallica, Megadeth and other more "chunky," thrash music.
What this guitar can't do however is give out some more funky, blues sound. The Blackouts are extremely warm and aggressive, performing excellently with even huge amounts of distortion, but clearly lack on the clean channel, despite the fact that they were designed in an attempt to prevent this typical active pickup behavior. It can be easily noticed that the clean tone lacks in the mid section, even though one can negate that by turning the mids way up on their amp for example. Other than that, this guitar is a metal machine. Throw everything that's heavy and it will perform.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The set-up was perfect from the get go, with the action been set as it was supposed to and the pickups were properly adjusted, even though the one on the neck position din't seem to be deeper into the body than the one on the bridge position. No sound level difference was noticed between them. The finish was perfect all around, the locking tuners were working normally and the bridge was ok as well (even though I changed the strings within the first day and generally tampered with the tuners and the bridge to ensure they're firm, I do this every time). What was unsatisfactory was the nut and the way the strings were passing through it. Instead of having relatively deep cuts for the strings, they seemed like they were pretty higher up, since the cuts were tiny. I got it set up by my local technician and that was the only thing he had to fix.
Generally the way that this guitar is designed and made, it will pretty much stay in good condition for a long time in terms of string intonation, action and string stability.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The 600-EC feels like a tank and the set-thru construction really helps in that department! Generally I believe that with proper care (not moving it between places with extreme climate conditions such as extreme temperatures or extremely low levels of humidity) it will last a lifetime. The guitar can withstand live playing even by the most cruel guitarists out there and can be definitely be depended for a gig without any backup. The finish will last as well, but it's kinda glossy, therefore sweaty hands during a gig will start sticking to the top of the body! The hardware is of high quality and will surely function as it's intended for a long time.
As for the strap buttons, with this being a heavy guitar, I switched them out for strap locks and advise doing the same.
Overall Impression — 9
For my taste in music, this guitar covers about 80% of it and that's huge considering I even listen to genres that are beyond the rock/metal/punk group. I've had the 600-EC for about 3 months now and I've really got the style of tones it can produce down. If you are a metal lover and even something a bit outside of these boundaries, this guitar is for you. If you're searching a guitar that can do many genres, you should look elsewhere unfortunately. Would definitely buy another one if it was stolen, broken beyond repair etc, the value for money is very high, especially considering how many other guitars are way overpriced for what they can offer. I just chose this because I needed an electric guitar for metal sounds and the finish really made it stand out to me at least, since it seems to me that everyone and their mother has an Eclipse/Les Paul style guitar nowadays and it certainly delivers. As I stated before, I wish it had 24 frets instead of 22 and in addition I wish the killswitch has a button and not an actual switch, as it would allow for way crazier sounds.