Price paid: $ 149.99
Purchased from: Musiciansfriend.com
Sound — 8
It sounds a lot like my Strats. Very warm and somewhat resonant. I tried it through my Peavey Windsor w/MS412 cabinet along with 2 OD pedals (SD1 and TS808) and some chorus and a noise suppressor. With that I can get a good rock or oldschool metal sound out of it using the humbucker. The single coils sound nice and twangy with lesser overdrive and distortion. The single coils also produce a lot less noise than my other single coil guitars. I also tried it on my solid state Randall on clean, and the pickups sound very good on clean either way you use it. Overall, it's a good sounding guitar that can be pretty versatile.
Overall Impression — 9
I play various types of rock including classic rock, blues rock, old school heavy metal, and modern rock and metal. This guitar is good for all of them. I've been playing almost 4 years and I own a lot of other gear literally too much to list here. If I lost it somehow, I would just buy another one because they are so cheap right now. I like the fancy speedloader system, tuning stability, overall tone, and the overall quality of the guitar. The only thing I don't like about it is the strings. They seem to run pretty expensive, and kinda hard to get (I've been literally waiting a month for my spare sets at Musiciansfriend.com). Hopefully they actually keep producing the strings. I didn't really compare it to anything else because it's in a class of it's own. In closing, it's a neat but familiar feeling guitar that you can pick up for under $150 right now.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I'm not sure how good the speedloader strings are overtime, but I have a FR Discovery SSS guitar. After a lot of rough playing, they haven't broken yet. The hardware is top notch seeing how it's all from the Floyd Rose company. The strap buttons appear to be good, but I'll probably replace it with some Dunlop Dualdesign Straplocks. If I were to gig with it, I'd definitely bring a backup(especially since it's only $150). Everything also looks sturdy to last for years to come.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Like with any Floyd Rose tremolo systems, you really have to fine-tune it to get it in tune. This guitar was completely out of tune out of the box, so I had to adjust it. With the speedloader system, you have to actually take off the backplate and move the screw on the tremo-no thing screwed into the back of the body to loosen or tighten the strings to your liking. Then you just fine tune the bridge like any other floyd rose system. It should come with some instruction on how to tune it other than looking online though, like a little manual. It's all pretty easy once you get used to it though. Other than that, everything looked to be intact and solid.
Features — 8
I believe it was made in 2005 in China. It has 22 medium frets with a 25.5" scale. The neck smooth, unfinished, thin, and it's made of maple. The fretboard is rosewood. The body is made of basswood colored blue. It's kind of shaped kinda like a Stratocaster, only a little thinner. It has a pearloid pickguard like a Strat, but slightly modified. There are 2 high output single coils and 1 hot humbucker with the usual 5-way Switch and a volume knob with no tone. The biggest feature on this guitar is that it has a Floyd Rose speedloader tremolo system. It allows you to change the strings very quick with ease. It also eliminates the need for tuners on the headstock giving it kind of a cool looking hollow headstock. It also comes with a gig bag, the allen wrenches for tuning the floyd, and the screw-in whammy bar for the divebombs.