Price paid: $ 300
Features — 8
My M100FM is still from Indonesia. 24 frets, 25.5" scale. Standard dot markers, basswood with flamed maple top and maple neck with satin finish. Two LH150 pickups, with 1 vol and tone and 3-way switch. Standard LTD tuners and a FR Special tremolo. I had mine upgraded with a set of DiMarzio D-activators, push/pull tone switch to get the coil tap for singles. Came with stock .009 SIT string set. I play usually with hybrid .009-.046 EB's. With the inverted head stock the pull offs are a really easy thing.
Sound — 8
I play mostly Nightwish, Metallica, some Petrucci. The guitar was really ok on the stock pickups, I'd say even surprisingly good. I've changed to DM due to the missing power of the standard pickups as well as I dint like the palm mute sound of them - it was too flat for me. Most of the time I play it with Fender Mustang I or Axe FX Ultra. With Axe it sounds just amazing. For the Fender I had to turn up the bass more for my liking. With the stock pickups it was rather a middle loud guitar with a darker sound. On DM it sound more rich and loud and in my opinion from a record you couldn't hear the difference from a 1K $ plus ESP or Schecter. With the stock PU's it is best suited for metal and some jazz mixture. On DM I'd say it's a jack of all trades from heavy metal to nice clean sounds. I must highlight that the guitar has a really nice acoustic sound without any annoying buzzing or metallic sounds. Warm and nice.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
the setup was done rather poor for the FR. High action and the bridge was setup wrongly. The intonation was off for all strings. The pickups I had to adjust as the neck one was too high and the bridge one was almost hidden in the body. As for the finish it's one of the best finished guitars I've seen in a reasonable price range 250-700 $. The paint job is really excellent and brings up all the nice shapes of the flamed maple. As for the hardware - everything worked 100% ok, all screws were tightened. The fret work is really nice. Smooth and the finish around the edges is really nice - a surprise for me.
Reliability & Durability — 8
For sure live playing is not a problem with it. If I didn't block the bridge I'd rather have a support guitar though (all the FR Special tremolos are in different quality, some hold the tuning and some will never do. My is somewhere in between - of course it all depends on the mounting of the bridge itself as sometimes you can see the heads of the two screws holding it aren't parallel to the body). For sure the black nickel coating will come off after 1 month... especially if you play PM's a lot... out of that I had no problems with it.
Overall Impression — 9
In this price range it's really a solid option and I'd choose it any time over Ibanez, Epiphone, Cort etc. The only thing I'd consider would be Schecter or Jackson JS32R. Fore sure I'd buy it again and if it was stolen and I would find the thief well believe me you wouldn't want to see him after 'd be finished. Now I want to try out a set of Elixir 10-56 on it. Wondering how will it sound. Overall this is really a great looking and sounding guitar. It's quite heavy due to FR so for the beginners it might be a problem to hold on a strap for a longer time. If you exchange the pickups and block the bridge (only if it can't be setup correctly like mine) it can be a really good pick even for advanced players and they'd be really happy with it.