Price paid: € 269
Purchased from: thomann.de
Sound — 8
This guitar actually has a nice versatility when it comes to different styles of playing. Originally it's a shredder's guitar for the fans of Kirk Hammett for example, and therefore playing record breaking solos is comfortable and sounds really nice thanks to the 24 XJ frets, thin you neck contour, a nice curve in the body under the last few frets for comfortable playing on the 24th fret and of course the Floyd Rose Special Bridge for adding colour to your solo's. But this guitar can also play blues and jazz perfectly when you set up the pick-up height right. Check different guitar forums on this topic and you should get all the help you need. Although if can save enough money I'll recommend you'll change the pickups for a better tone. I played this guitar on many amps from normal 15 watt spider to 120 watt Fender tube amp, that's because I gig actively with the band and in different venues we get amps on which we can play on. And the rich tone of this guitar can be best heard on tube amps. Although small modulated amps will work with the guitar just fine.
Overall Impression — 9
9, 8, 9, 10 = 9 as far as my calculations are right. This guitar is solid and cheap, will last your for long even when actively playing live or actively showing off in front of the girls. If you think you can handle adjusting some screws in order to have fun with the whammy bar then you'll have no problems with this guitar and you will be well satisfied with the versatility, comfort and ease of play it offers, especially if you upgrade the pickups.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've played many gigs and been on many rehearsals with this guitar, I've dropped it many times, walked on it etc... And still it looks and plays like new apart from the dust that gathered on it. The finish will last for very long and scratches are hardly visible unless you scratched it with a butcher knife. The Switch works fine as for now and the knobs seem like they will last for decades! The only thing that ever broke on this guitar were the strings after abusive dive bombs during the messing around on rehearsals.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was terribly set up when I first got it, but after two hours of messing around I got it set up perfectly without any buzz noise and with perfect harmonics. The worst part was setting up the Bridge so that it will be in line with the body. As for the electronics everything worked and still works perfectly. Despite of the poor factory set-up the guitar was well finished and the quality of the materials used looks, feels and sounds solid. The body even has a nice Acoustic resonance when unplugged.
Features — 9
Made in China, I got it fresh from the factory in late 2010. This guitar has 24 XJ frets on a great looking rosewood fingerboard with a 25.5" scale. It has a basswood body with a bolt-on neck construction and a thin you neck contour for easier and faster shredding. The finish looks really nice, it's a little glossy and the ebony really looks nice together with the rosewood fingerboard and chrome hardware(tuners, locking nut, bridge etc). Also as you can see on the pictures the way the body is shaped with it's curved surface makes the guitar look unique and also is comfortable while playing. The volume and tone knobs are very solid and definitely will last your for a long time without any problems. Although the 3-way pick-up selector isn't as solid as the knobs I haven't had any problems yet. The pickups could be better though but if your not fully satisfied with the tone and don't want to spend half of the value of the guitar on new pickups then I recommend you try changing the pickup height and adjust it to your personal preference where should it be crunchy and full of treble like a Strat or more Acoustic and bluesy like a Les Paul or Tele. Of course you won't get a Les Paul or Tele sound from this guitar, I'm just using it as an example. Finally the Bridge that comes with it was one of the main reasons why I bought this guitar and not a Les Paul. The newer models or at least the one made in the last 2 years should have the Floyd Rose Special Bridge instead of the Standard Floyd Rose Licensed. The Bridge is really awesome in spite of the pain in the a** it will give you when it comes to changing strings, and even worse when moving to a different gauge of strings! Your best of using 9's if you don't want to regulate your Bridge and probably brake the new strings while doing it. But as I said the ability to do dive bombs, squeals and all that crazy stuff is really satisfying especially when showing off! The Bridge operates smoothly and efficiently. While the 42mm locking nut keeps the strings in tune for a very long time. Sometimes to get it back in tune just pull back gently on the whammy bar and it will put the strings back in tune. The Standard ESP tuners aren't the best nor the worst their just fine. Remember not to tune your guitar when the strings are locked with the locking nut!