Price paid: C$ 350
Purchased from: Quest Musique
Sound — 7
When I bought this guitar it was sort of out of nowhere. I had tried it before through an Engl at the store once and liked it. I went to the store the other day and decided to just go for it. I've never owned a guitar with a single coil in the bridge and wasn't sure what to expect but I'm pleasantly surprised. I play a lot of metal, mostly progressive stuff, and a little bit of other stuff here and there (i.e. Thrice, Black Keys, Manchester Orchestra) and the guitar seems fairly suited to all of it. That being said, I was using Podfarm and some Yamaha monitors. On my actual amp, a Valveking head with a Maxon OD-808 in the signal chain, the guitar seemed a little lacking as far as high gain stuff (could just be the Valveking) but the cleans were alright and I could get some decent overdriven tones. I may switch out the pickups eventually but they'll do for now. The guitars tone isn't as bright as I was expecting but still has that great Tele sound too it.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall I'm really happy with this guitar. I've been looking for something a little out of the ordinary as far as metal guitars go so this is a nice find. I've been playing for almost ten years now and I've gone through a fair amount of guitars now, this one seems to be a step forward as far as finding the "right" guitar for me. I think the next best thing would be an actual Fender Tele. If I lost the guitar, I would probably replace it with either the same thing or another Tele from another brand.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I haven't had a chance to play this at a show yet but so far it seems pretty solid, the hardware seems pretty good minus the pick switch which I could see breaking off if the guitar gets banged around too much. I probably wouldn't gig with it without a backup but that's mostly because I always take one, regardless of how great my main guitar may be. The finish is pretty nice, I actually think I got somewhat lucky as some of the distressed finishes on these models are a little bit too distressed. It also seems like it could stand up to some bumps and things.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was ready to go as soon as I brought it home. The action is great, the intonation is fine and the pickups needed no adjustments. I may put some thicker strings on it eventually though, which might lead to some tweaking. I haven't noticed an flaws as of yet.
Features — 8
The guitar was made in Vietnam. It has 22 Extra Jumbo frets on a 25.5" scale maple bolt on neck. The fretboard itself is also maple. The body is made of alder and styled after a Telecaster with a distressed black finish. As far as hardware goes it's got a Tele style bridge with an ESP single coil in the bridge position (LTS-120) and an ESP humbucker in the neck position (LH-150). There's one volume, one tone and a three way pickup selector switch. The Tuners are ESP tuners.