Price paid: € 500
Purchased from: Guitar Center Dublin
Sound — 7
My style usually follows a grungy rock kind of sound (Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Blur, Cage The Elephant). I run it through an old Trace Elliot, single speaker, 100watt, tube combo, usually over driven clean sound. Plays nicely with the tone rolled back to a 6 or 7 full volume and your amp cooking, the great thing about P90s is if you play aggressively and they sound rocking but if you lightly strum away even on full volume you can get a nice mellow tone (maybe roll back on the anp a bit for this one). This guitar falls into the age old P90s lack of versatility, they have a real nice ballsey tone for a straight up rock sound but that's about it.
Overall Impression — 8
I play all sorts but mostly just light distortion rock guitar, when I get my Amp and Guit into the right groove I could play away for hours, this guitar is perfect for the job, I sometimes long for a little bit more versatility but overall I am quite happy. I have been playing for about a year now and I only own a nylon Acoustic I was trying to learn off of. I was choosing between this and a MIM strat, in the end I think I made the right decision, this guitar was calling out to me but I think a Strat might be next on my list. I wish I had asked about the wraparound cause when the strings started sliding around on it I though I had bought a piece of shit, its easy to move the strings back and its a nice, simple, design. If it were lost or stolen I think I would try something else, just for the sake of trying something else. I love and hate the P90s they are amazing but are only really good at being amazing, if ya get me, I also really like the scoop in the cut away, great for reaching those high notes. I compared with a few different strats, and an Epi hollow body, I chose this one because this was the only one telling me to take it home. I wish I had another volume pot and 93 Strat Ultra.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Yeah I would happily gig with this, seems to be a very sturdy guitar, Pete Townshend used a simialar guitar to this in the 60s and 70s (SG Special I think) and they took regualr abuse night after night, I fell of my bike with it on my back in its bag but it didn't seem to take a scratch. Tuners look a little unreliable but so far I have had no problems and they have been very stable, I think the electronics are of high quality and will last. Straps buttons are very solid, my strap wasn't ready to go at any minute but I put some washers from grolsh bottles on there to be safe. I would trust this guitar to be able to go solo with this live, no backups, but I'm more of a safe than sorry kind of guy so that probably wont happen. The finish is nice and thick, although the back of the neck has worn away a fair amount, the rest of the finish is standing up to playing.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Everything was great out of the factory although I think most of the adjustments were done in the shop, action was perfect, lowish, very nice still haven't had to adjust it at all, no problems except for the switcher started getting noisy and sometimes didn't work but I brought it in and they fixed it right away, also the strings move around on the Bridge but that's what you get with a wraparound. Only two flaws I could find.
Features — 8
Not to sure about the year, 09 or later I'd say, I purchased it in early 2011. Like the rest of the Fret King Blue Label Series it was made in Korea. 22 medium jumbo frets, mid-thick neck, rosewood fingerboard, set in neck. Solid slab body with a PRS style scoop in the cutaway for upper fret access and another scoop up where your right arm is which is quite comfortable when you are sitting down but is made redundant if you are standing up and prefer to have your guitar around your belt. Mahogany body and neck, did I mention rosewood fingerboard? Mine has a garish limey-yellow finish but the guitar was singing to me so I got it anyway, don't know what other available finishes there are. The guitar is styled after an oldschool Les Paul Special (Bob Marley). Wilkinson adjustable wraparound bridge. Passive circuitry, three way selector, 1 volume (WOULD HAVE KILLED FOR 2!), 1 tone. Two P90 pickups (bridge and neck), warm yet crunchy! 3 a side grovers with plasticky heads made to look aged, stay in tune really well though when you have the guitar set up properly. Comes with alan keys and a really nice gig bag.