Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 6
No offence, but really didn't care much for the stock pickups. They were way too bassy sounding, the output wasn't the best and it seen like ESP was trying the copy a Seymour Duncan TB-4 and SH-2 and did a poor job at it. The cleans could be ok, but over driver took a lot of tweaking to get a decent rock and metal tone from. BTW, I would not recommend putting certain pickups in this guitar. The is a basswood body, so if use an EMG 81 in the bridge it will sound aweful since basswood brings out more highs and lacks a bass tone. An EMG 85 will work in the bridge though since it has more lows and less highs. This may sound odd, but the best pickup IMO to use if you want to replace these would be a DragonFire active set. For some odd reason they really work great with basswood, agathiest and are alright with alder since they are light wood. Mahogany is ope wood you never want to use a pickup with a lot of lows and lower mids. I found that out the hard way, it will make your guitar sound way to dark in tone.
Overall Impression — 6
In it's current state it fits my needs, in the condition a bought it in it had much to be desired. I've been playing for 28 years and it's amazing how much I learn everyday, not only about music but equipment as well. I wish I had view demos on this model and read reviews before I bought it, if I had I would of realized this guitar was not worth what I paid for it. If lost or stolen it would be no big deal considering my new ESP rocks :). If stolen I feel sorry for the person that tries to sell it to someone else, they're not likely to get much for it with a cracked Floyd Rose. If I had tried M-100FM I would of spent the extra money since it's a better designed guitar and sounds a lot better stock than this did. I bought the guitar over 4 years ago I realized in the past 3 years what a good deal is and what I bad deal is. If I had the compared this to anything I'd say it would be 1 step above an Ibanez RG120, but the Ibanez is at least sturdier but has less features and sound slightly worse. Video from YouTube:
Reliability & Durability — 5
In the condition I got the guitar in I would not relied on it for anything more than jamming around the house. It's was far from gig worthy when I got it. Now with all the mods I did to the guitar it's almost ready where I could gig with it. Once I replace the Floyd Rose it will be ready. After sanding the neck, adjusting the action and replacing the pickup with a DragonFire set it not only plays great, but also sounds a 1000 times better. For all the time, effort and money spend to get this thing playable is was not worth buying at all. I can't say it a total loss because it forced me to learn setup and mod skills which it very useful to know.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Since I got this guitar used I can't 100% judge it. I came with a chip on it so I assume the wood is not the sturdiest. It has a nice thin neck and the fretwood seemed fairly decent especially for the price even brand new. I personally hate neck with nay paint or gloss finish on the back of them, but I found a trick for this. I took a piece of very fine sand paper to remove to finish and got it baby smooth. After doing that, adjusting the truss rod and action the guitar is extremely playable for me now. There were a few loose knobs, input jacks and switch, but were easy fixes for me, so no big deal. The electrical work was done well. I didn't get a bunch of crackle from the guitar. Now on the other hand the licensed Floyd Rose is terrible on this model. When I went to set the action one a piece of the trem system cracked off and now I have to replace the whole trem system, the fine tuners stick a lot and are hard to move, but once set it does stay in tune decently.
Features — 9
Not sure what year this model is, my guess would be anywhere from 2002 to 2007. It a Strat style body made of basswood with a maple neck and a rosewood finger board. It has a lisenced Floyd Rose trem with a locking nut. Two ESP stock humbuckers (not as good as the newer M-100FM version pickups though), 1 volume and 1 tone control, a 3 way blade switch. Standard ESP tuner, 24 fret 25.5 scale length extra jumbo frets. Basic black paint and gloss and the neck is glossed too. I belief this is a Korean made guitar