Price paid: $ 429.99
Purchased from: Cherry Street Guitars
Sound — 8
Very suited to my style of playing which is mostly thrash style...all palm mutes and power chords! I use this guitar as my Eb tuned guitar. I play through a Peavy Vypyr amp and almost always get a good sound when using any type of distortion. Recently have been playing through a Boss Mega Distortion pedal...but I do get quite a bit of buzz...thinking of installing Duncans or EMG pickups. As I said very good distortion sound. But the clean can sound pretty dull, so if you like a good bright clean sound...don't bother. Although I love chorus or a little phase on a clean channel with this guitar.
Overall Impression — 9
As I said I'm a metal player. It is a very good match. I played for 7 years seriously...3 not seriously...then 1 1/2 years not at all...and just recently picked it back up...this is my first guitar since I started again. I also own an LTD V300 and right now the only amp I own is a peavy vypyr 30w. If the guitar were stolen I would probably go with a higher end model...one that actually has Kirk's signature on it. I bought it because it was Kirk's guitar and most of the stuff I learned to play as a teenager was metallica. The only thing I dislike about the guitar...and this is the case with all locking tremolo guitars...they usually only will support one tuning without setting up the floyd tension and all that after detuning. I wish it had active pickups...other than that...I love it!
Reliability & Durability — 9
I think this guitar would perform just fine...I haven't had the grand opportunity to perform live yet but it would do just fine. It stays in tune perfectly and I have yet to break a string. Very solid strap buttons...but if you constantly are putting on and removing your strap the buttons will stretch the hole and may cause the strap to fall off. I would never gig without a backup...you NEVER know what might go wrong.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Had the dude at the guitar shop set it up for me...lowered the action to offset the big fat XJ frets. Pickup adjustment is fine. All hardware was in perfect shape...once I loosened up the floyd from the newness it performed great. No body or paint flaws...
Features — 9
I'm not sure what year it was made....probably in 2009. It has 24 XJ frets (a little big at first but with time are comfortable and not noticeably big.) 25.5 scale as are all esp's with 24 frets. Rosewood fingerboard with "skully" inlays...very cool. Alder body and I think maple neck. Solid black finish that shows EVERY fingerprint and smudge. Sort of a Japanese Strat style body shape with Floyd Rose licensed tremolo and Dual ESP humbuckers (supposedly based on the EMG HZ.) Two volume controls one for each pickup (I love this as you can do the Randy Rhodes style kill Switch sound) and one tone control. Non-locking tuners but who needs em!