Price paid: $ 378
Purchased from: Soitin Laine
Sound — 9
I play mostly thrash/speed/death metal like Mokoma, Testament, Anthrax and Death and it suits my needs perfectly. At home I play through a Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff and a Roland MicroCube and I can can get an awesome tone with them. I use the clean Black Panel channel on the Cube and take the distortion from the Muff. At band practice I play it through the Muff and Peavey Valveking head and a Hugness & Ketner 4X12 cabinet. The saund is absolutely crushing and perfect for the music I play. The viper has also a very nice rich and full clean saund when you throw a bit reverb in to the mix. I'm very satisfied with the tone and the variety on HZ-4's, so I give it a 9 for sound.
Overall Impression — 9
As I said earlier it suits my style perfecly. I've been playing for about 1 years now and this is my second guitar, my first guitar was a Epiphone SG Special which was also very good value for your money. The other gear I own are Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff and a Roland MicroCube and I use Planet Wawes cables. If it was lost I would propably buy a 400 series Viper. I just love the overall look and sound of this guitar it fits me like a charm and the favourite feature is propably the eye catching finish. I have thougth about chanhing the pickups for a pair of Seymour Duncans but we'll see what happens. The next target for me is to save money for a Randall RH150G3 head and a nice 2X12 or 4X12 cabinet with Celestions. But I think that this guitar will stick with me for the rest of my life!
Reliability & Durability — 8
I've had this for 5 months now and there hasn't occured any problems so far. I haven't had the chance to use it Live but I'm very positive that Live playing won't be a problem. All the hardware seems very solid so I think it will last without problems, and you can always replace the hardware if some problems come up with it. I use straplocks that I've made myself and they work perfectly. I would totally rely on this guitar Live, but no matter what you should always have a backup axe with you, just incase. Finish is very solid and it should last for years. I give it a 8 on reliability and durability.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Cos' I bought this used I can't obviously say much about the factory set-up. I have adjusted everything on the guitar by myself from the trust rod to the pickup height. I also had make saddle holes bigger becouse the heavy gauge strings I use. And I bought it used it had a few scratches here and there, but they don't bother me at all. The finish is very solid and the craftmanship quality is even so I believe this guitar will last for many years to come. I give it a 8 for finish.
Features — 8
Cos' there's no review on this specific model I decide to write about my Viper. I bought this piece of art used from a local guitar shop in September 2007. It was made in 2004 in Indonesia. The body shape is a modern version of the classic SG shape. It features a 24 3/4 scale set-neck, a 24 extra jumbo fret 3-piece painted mahogany neck with a rosewood fingerboard, the inlays are abalone dots (which look amazing) with the model name on the 12th fret and it also has a aged white binding on the neck and the headstock, the body is made of agathis with a flamed maple top which looks absolutely gorgeus with the see-thru black cherry finish, the bridge is a Standard TOM bridge with a stop tailpiece and the tuners are Standard non-locking ESP-Ltd tuners, all the hardware is black which fits the guitar perfectly, because the guitar was made in 2004 it has better specs than the present guitar that goes by the same name, it has real EMG HZ-4 passive pickups instead of the present EMG-ESP LH-300 pickups, the controls are volume, tone and a 3-way selector for the pickups. The one thing that I demanded from this guitar that it can handle the strings that I use, cos' my picking technigue is kinda rough an the tunings I mostly use are drop-D and Standard D, so I use a little stonger set, 11-70 to be precise. This guitar has no problem with the tension that is caused by the heavy gauge strings. The specs are very good for the price that I paid for this guitar, so I give it an 8 for the features.