Price paid: C$ 349
Purchased from: Music City Instruments
Features — 9
This guitar is made in Vietnam, but it says it was inspected in the USA. It has 22XJ frets, 25.5 inch scale length, it is a bold on neck with a maple neck and fingerboard. The body is alder and it has a candy red finish which almost sparkles in light (super good looking), there is a almost cream binding around the body and it looks to have a 3ply pick guard. This guitar is telecaster shaped but the neck is simply amazing, satin finish and a thin U neck contour, it feels great and it very fast. The bridge is a traditional flat-mount one with 6 individual saddles; its pickups are not amazing but for the price you can just change them. Layout is a volume, tone, then a 3 way switch. The neck humber is very warm and a lot quieter then the single coil in the bridge which is low output. I am going to change them to some Bareknuckles to get some punch. It has these LTD tuners which are good, they hold so no complaints. There is a belly cut on the body which is perfect.
Sound — 7
The sound right now even though the pickups aren't great is still really good. I play metal, blues, jazz, rock, and sometimes even worship music and this guitar suits it all. Some bands that I cover using this guitar are: Pantera, Alexisonfire, Thrice, Manchester Orchestra, Atreyu, Being As An Ocean, Circa Survive, Dustin Kensrue etc... this guitar handles it all. I was tired of my Gibson Les Pauls sound so I figured that some single coils would do the trick. I'm going into a Orange CR120H and a Marshall MX212 2x12 with this guitar and once you tweak the amp to compensate for the pickups it is a monster. This guitar is very versatile and with the right pickups you can honestly play any style with it. The single coil can be noisy at times but hey it is a single coil. The neck does suffer bit of volume loss but when you play clean with reverb it is heavenly.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar was very well setup from the factory with a low action, I haven't changed it at all yet, but I did put on DR Dimebag 11s on it. The pickups sound fine in the position they are in, but I would recommend changing them. I am tuned to drop C right now and there is absolutely no fret buzz or dead frets. There is really no flaws on this guitar other then the fact that there is a tiny space where the neck pocket is, but it isn't very noticeable. So I'm going to give the action, fit & finish a 10.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is reliable, even though I have not gigged with it yet I plan to soon. The hardware is great so I believe it I going to last, and I haven't found a need to install strap locks yet because the buttons hold. I would play this guitar without a backup just because it is well build and has the sound that I am after. The finish has no flaws so far even though I dropped it once or twice. The only thing that I am bit worried about is the binding right where the neck pocket is, but this guitar isn't for starring at.
Overall Impression — 9
I bought this guitar because Andy Hull from Manchester Orchestra has a Fender in the same colour, and so does the guitarist from Don Broco. I have been playing for about 5 years and I own a Gibson Les Paul Studio 2006 in black, a Simon and Patrick acoustic, and a crappy Epiphone SGJ from like 2005 (good first guitar for students). This guitar does what I need it to do and I would recommend it to anybody who loves the telecaster look but not the neck or feel. If it were stolen I probably would go buy another one right away. I do love this guitar and I am very happy I bough it, this is 200 times better than any Squire with their gloss necks. If you are a metalhead, blues or country rocker I would go for this guitar; honestly just put your favourite pickups in it and you will be fine. If ESP reads this put some better electronics in this guitar and it will be a winner that will compete with Fenders.