Price paid: $ 249
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
I play metal music (mostly thrash, death, etc. - Megadeth, Pantera, Slayer, Testament, Lamb of God). This guitar suits this style pretty good. I don't care much for playing lead (I'm more of a rhythm section kinda guy - but that's strictly as a result of lack of skills needed to play lead). This guitar handles rhythm playing well (the clarity of notes in the chords in distorted mode is pretty awesome). - As far as my equipment goes - I use a small Marshall practice amp (proverbial "I'm in the middle of amps" situation LOL). MXR Dime Distortion Pedal. DigiTech RP-90 Multi Effects Processor. - Guitar sounds very bright and all the notes are clear. But at the same time it is got some sort of punchiness to its tone and it makes a "roaring" sound (which sounds awesome). It has lots of sustain, which is not very usual for V-shaped guitars. It picks up harmonics right away. And there is absolutely no noise (no pickup hissing, that is so common to ears).
Overall Impression — 10
- So overall this guitar is perfect for my style of playing and my preferences in guitars. - I've been playing for about 7 years now (damn, I suck for someone who's been playing for that long )))). - There are not much reviews or YouTube demos on this guitar, so I wasn't really sure about what I was about to buy. But once I tried it in the store all doubts were shattered. This guitar is totally worth its price (not going for those cliche "it's worth much more than it costs" or "that's practically a steal"). Solid instrument for it's price. You're getting exactly what you're paying for. - "Anything you wish it had?" I guess it would be interesting to hear this guitar with 81/85 EMG's in it (yeah, it's becoming a trend, isn't it). So maybe later I'll change the pickups..... Or maybe not. - So, it's a great guitar. I recommend it to all the fans of metal music who are on a tight budget. P.S. I know my review is one of those "fanboyinsh" ones that have no cons stated about the instrument. But I really have nothing bad to say about it yet (considering the fact that I bought it just 8 hours ago). So I guess it's too early for me to write a review on this guitar, but whatever - there were no others, so at least I wrote something about it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
- I don't gig, so I have nothing to say about it's durability and reliability. I guess if I had to play a show I would definitely use it - it's not broken, so why not. - As far as not having some other guitar for a backup - that's just retarded. That's a textbook example of what not to do when preparing for a gig.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
- The factory set-up was pretty much flawless (hard to believe, isn't it? - considering it was made in China). The action was just right. - Pickups height doesn't really mater to me, so I didn't pay attention to that aspect. But I guess it's fine. - The only flaw I could notice was the oxidized screw on the bridge, but that's nothing - it doesn't affect playability at all and can be fixed in seconds. - No finish or hardware or wiring flaws.
Features — 9
- Not sure about the year it was made, but I'm guessing it's 2010. It was made in China (yeah, sounds bad, I know). - 24 XJ (Extra Jumbo) Frets. 25.5" scale. - Thin maple neck (U contour). Rosewood fingerboard. I was always skeptical when people are talking about "fast neck". In my opinion if your fingers are not fast, there is no neck in the world that would make you play faster. And I am usually a clumsy player, especially on guitars that I'm holding in my hands for the first time ever. But this guitar surprised me quite a bit. It was really easy to play, no stress on muscles and joints in the wrist and palm - overall comfortable neck. - Basswood Body. Really comfortable (despite the popular belief that V-shaped guitars are impossible to play sitting down - but then again I've played V-shaped guitar for years and absolutely love 'em). - Mine is a black color. - "TOM Bridge" - whatever the hell that is. Basically a "String-thru body" bridge (which gives awesome sustain). - Passive electronics (2 ESP LH-150 pickups). The pickups are another thing that surprised me on this guitar - they sound pretty damn good for stock pickups (even on a crappy practice Marshall amp). But having 2 of the same pickups in both positions seems a bit pointless and redundant to me. - 3-way toggle switch, 1 volume, 1 tone. - ESP Tuners (look like Grover mini tuners, but don't know if they match the quality of Grover yet).