Price paid: $ 799.99
Purchased from: eBay (new with case)
Features: This is a 2009 made in Korea model.
It has 22 frets on a 24 3/4 scale neck. The neck is quite thin for a guitar of this type (single cutaway, LP style) but still thick enough to make it comfortable for extended play. Players who like the feel of an ESP eclipse or Washburn Idol will love this.
Neck is mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard. I would have liked to see ebony, but to Fernandes' credit the rosewood is quite nice. It's fairly dark and the grain is consistent. Body is solid mahogany with a maple top, which adds a little brightness to the sound. It's nice that Fernandes included the maple top even under the solid finish.
The finish on mine was a solid white, which looks nice enough. It's not that shiny, and there is no binding, so it's fairly Spartan. Does the job however.
Pickups were a combination of EMG81 and 60. While the 81 was a great choice for the bridge pickup, I would have preferred an 85 in the neck. Since this guitar is obviously targeted to lead guitar players (with the tremolo) it would only make sense to include an 85 (I made the swap to an 85 myself). The controls are 2 volume and 1 tone, which is fairly Standard. An EMG afterburner or similar gain booster would have been great for solos, but not really a must. I'm installing one myself instead of the tone pot. 3 way Switch for pickup selection.
Tuners are your average cheap-o Gotoh tuners, but that doesn't really make a difference because of the locking nut in place. I was disappointed that Fernandes chose to use a licensed Floyd Rose bridge instead of the real deal, but having played this particular bridge I can tell you it's not that bad. It doesn't feel quite as solid as an Original Floyd but is an alright compromise given the relatively low price of this instrument.
A molded hardshell case was included with my guitar, but is not standard. // 7
Sound: I play mostly metal/hard rock music and this guitar suits my style wonderfully. The tone is just PERFECT - I was shocked at how good it sounded. Playing palm muted open E's has never sounded so great. The EMG81 complements the woods very well and is a tone factory.. harmonics practically fly off the guitar. Solos sound clean and articulate. Crank up the Drive and the guitar sings.
While the EMG60 is great for clean tones, it's a bit mellow and the tone is too thick to be used for an overdriven lead tone. To fix this I swapped the EMG60 for an 85. The clean on the bridge pickup is not the best, but still sounds okay. Neck pickup sounds much nicer for cleans.
My setup consists of Guitar > Tube Screamer > (other pedals) > Marshall JCM2000 TSL60 Head. The tones that my amp produces with this guitar are thunderous.
Bottom line is if you like metal/hard rock then this guitar sounds great. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: Everything was PERFECT out of the box. The action was set properly with no buzzing anywhere. The pickups were set as per EMG specifications (as close as they will go without touching the strings).
The only flaw on the guitar was a tiny little crack in the paint by the bottom strap button, but I suspect this was the vendor's fault more than Fernandes' // 10
Reliability & Durability: I have owned my Fernandes Ravelle Elite for about 4 years now and it hasn't let me down. The build quality on this Ravelle Tremolo is just as good, so I don't think I will have problems with it.
The strap buttons were a little loose, but I replaced them with Dunlop Straploks so they are not an issue. // 9
Overall Impression: This guitar is exactly what I was looking for. It is excellent for the type of music that I play: Metallica, Atreyu, Avenged Sevenfold, Velvet Revolver/Guns 'N Roses, as well as original songs with my band (which is metal/rock oriented).
I have been playing for about 6 years and own a variety of gear and guitars. My main axe is an ESP (not LTD) Eclipse II. I also play a non-tremolo Fernandes Ravelle Elite.
This guitar blows the competition out of the water within the price range. The craftsmanship is unmatched for an instrument made in Korea.
Bottom line - if you play metal and are a lead guitar player, but also want to chug with the best of them, this guitar is perfect for you. The combination of Floyd Rose, mahogany body, and EMG pickups makes this guitar a killer! // 9