Purchased from: Friend
Sound — 10
I play a lot of styles, although I have like both extremes of slower, clean licks with a sad sound to them and violent distorted riffs. The EM-81 proves superior in both situations, it gives great distortion and a crystal-clear, ringing clean. I'm using it with a Marshall MG 30DFX and it sounds awesome. I own a Boss MT-2, and although the overdrive channel on the amp is usually enough for me, it sounds good through the stomp box, too. It has moderate noise on the 81, but not so much that it's bothersome. It has a bright tone when unplugged, and through in amp it's capable of almost any tone, with the pickups and tone configuration. The steel-coils are good for punchy, kicky distortion like in Cannibal Corpse or Deicide, and the EM just screams. The only thing I dislike about this guitar is the body; it is extremely thick for the style (almost 2 inches front to back) and therefore very heavy.
Overall Impression — 10
I play rock, metal, soft rock, and Indie music, this leans toward the rock side, but it's good for softer things too. I've been playing since September of '03, and own this guitar, a Hondo strat-copy, a Marshall MG 30 DFX, a franken-amp made of a Silvertone pre/power amp combo and some speaker I found since I blew the original, and a Boss MT-2 Metal Zone effects pedal. The only thing I wish I had done before buying this was inspected the foratboard a bit more closely, but the only flaw is the sprung 15th so I would have bought it anyway. If this were stolen or lost, I would cry, because I've never heard of a Prodigy before this and wouldn't know where to look to find another one. I'd most likely buy an American Fat Strat and modify the hardware and pickups to match this one as best I could. I love the overall tonal versatility; I'm a metal head, but this can play a lot more than metal. I'm not too choosy if it plays well, but I love the tone and the feel of this guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is more or less built like a rock. The body is extremely sturdy and there are no pits or dings in the finish, (although there are scratches,) and the rest of the instrument is well made. It's stock Fender hardware, it will last quite a while. The strap buttons are solid, like everything else. I don't gig, but if I did, I would gladly use this guitar, even without a backup if need be.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Factory settings don't apply, but it was well-set when I got it. Same goes for pickups. The guitar is solid, all around. The only flaw is a very slightly sprung 15th fret which I will be having repaired soon, but then it is 13 years old and has had no prior work to my knowledge.
Features — 10
This guitar was made in '91 in the USA, although I hear this particular model features parts made in Mexico and assembled in the US. It has 23 frets, which I found odd but oh well. There is one volume and one tone knob, and a 5-way Switch; although how the 5-way interacts with the bridge humbucker and the middle single-coil I'm unsure. For a single tone knob, it is extremely versatile. It has an S/S/H pickup configuration. I believe the two single-coils are stock, but the humbucker has been replaced by an EM-81 active pickup; of the two, I prefer the 81 for it's clean tone, with a good deal of bite. Aside from the bridge pickup, all electronics are passive. I'm unsure of the wood in the body, but it's a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. The finish, I believe, is either polyurethane or polyester, and is straight black. The body is reminiscent of a Strat, but the cutaway points are a good deal pointier, and it's not totally symmetrical at the bottom end. It has a stock Floyd-Rose trem, with the locking nut and stock Fender tuners. The frets are about medium sized, the neck having a standard 25.5" scale length and a normal string spacing.