Price paid: $ 360
Purchased from: Braganza & Co
Sound — 7
Play mostly metal, with a bit of classic rock. Play lead in the school band. Sounds good for stock pups. Gets slightly noisy with gain at 10, can be fixed by muting low e and a strings. Roars rather than screams, if you get my drift. Running through an MG15CD at home and a school owned MG250 during jamming. Only using a DigiTech DF-7 for distortion, sometimes using a friends Korg AX3000. NOT reccomended for classic rock/blues players. Impossible to get a good AC/DC tone. Bridge pup gets a Killer Fear of the Dark tone, can get an almost ditto Megadeth tone (Sleepwalker) with a friends Roland Cube on the Boss MT2 model on my pedal. Neck pup kinda lacks bass, good for soloing though, cuts through well. Just don't palm mute, sounds vey muddy. FR not bad for licensed stuff-tuning goes only if you really, REALLY gang rape it. Had three springs fitted in the beginning, removed one of them, was way too stiff. Definitely meant for metal players. Should sound good with a pair of EMG's/Seymour Duncans fitted.
Overall Impression — 8
Good for metal, horrible for anything else. Not very versatile at all. Even with gain down, you still get a dark jaggedy sort of tone. Playing for 2 years now. Is my first electric. Got a Marshall MG15CD, DigiTech DF-7, and a no name electric Acoustic. If it were stolen, I'd probably save up for an MH-401 or something. But first I'd grab the thief and stick the headstock up his arsehole. Gotta love those pointy ESP headstocks... My ain grouses are the crappy tuners, the scratch+fingerprint attracting properties of the finish,and the lack of versatility. However,since I play mainly metal, it isn't that much of a problem. But it is wierd to hear "Back in Black" with a metal tone... Was rather better than the Ibanez and Squirs in my price range. Couldn't get my hands on any Jacksons though, so I can't compare it to those. Overall, a good guitar for the price, espescially for beginners.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Pretty reliable. Never had problems with it. Hardware is solid-hit someone on the head with it, the poor chap will be at the pearly gates in a matter of minutes, no damage to the guitar(except probably scratches on the finish, and lots of hard-to-remove stains if the guy oils his hair). Feels like it will last. I would NEVER use ANY guitar at any gig without a backup, even one of the 2000 dollar ESP standards. Strap buttons are good. Tore a hole through the gig bag once.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Setup excessively low. Fixed after a lot of fiddling with the bridge. Very comfortable to hold. XJ frets very easy to play, does not "mulch" fingers as some people say. Mine came fitted with D'Dario XL Nickel Wound Super Light Gauge strings. I suggest heavier gauge strings if you use D tuning or lower- these ones kinda go clicketty clacketty in C tuning, but can be countered by lighter Strokes. A friend once borrowed it and tried to bring it to A tuning. Was pretty much unplayable. The stock pups didn't like A tuning much either. Recomended tuning-D standard/drop D. Bridge is a pain to adjust after tuning changes. Lockers are good. Spotted no flaws, except a poorly set up neck pup-the side nearer the low e was almost completely inside the body. Didn't have a screwdriver, used a USB pen Drive to adjust it. Tuners are utter rubbish-impossible to keep in tune minus the locks. Can go from D to B flat faster than you can say "Crappy tuners!".A friend has this 150 dollar Ibanez GRX 20- even that keeps tune better. With locks, quite stable. Only needs fine tuning via the bridge every week or so. Frets quite good for vibratos and bends. Tapping is childs play. Finish looks absolutely stunning-can really make heads turn. Total finger print magnet-takes God only knows how long to clean up after jams. Kinda slippery too, difficult to use anchoring. Gets scratched easily too. Looks a lot older after only a few months.
Features — 9
Made in China. Don't know the year. 24 frets. 25.5 inch scale. Thin U-Neck Contour. XJ frets. Quilted maple top. Basswood body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard. Blue color. Strat style minus pick guard. Licensed Floyd Rose. Passive ESP LH-150 pups. I volume, I tone, I 3 way pup seletor. ESP tuners. Locking nut. Transparent finish. Black nickel hardware. Got a gig bag, strap, tremolo arm, 3 Dunlop picks, 4 allen wrenches.