Price paid: $ 1249.99
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
I play '80s metal, new metal, hardcore, some classic rock and alternative. The guitar suits my music styles perfectly. I use a Vox AD100VT-XL amplifier with a Boss MT-2 metal zone distortion pedal and a modded Boss Blues Driver. The guitar is very quiet on all settings except when the gain on the pedal is cranked to full. The guitar has a bluesy sound when your using the EMG 60 pickup and sounds amazing with overdrive. The bridge pickup has incredible sustain and gives insane pinch harmonics.
Overall Impression — 10
I play mostly metal and this guitar fits perfectly. My favorite band is Metallica and this guitar is a copy of James Hetfields guitar. I have been playing for 3-4 years and I also own a modded out Fender Strat, and a Washburn acoustic guitar. I wish I had known that active pickups don't sound that good on a analog tube amp. I would gone with a solid state half stack. if it was stolen or lost I would murder the person who stole it. The problem is that the guitar was a special edition and only 400 were made. My favorite thing about the guitar would be the neck and the pickups. The pickups give the guitar great versatility and I have been considering putting a EMG 60 in the neck position of my Fender Strat. I picked the guitar because of the artist affiliation, the name brand, the look of an Explorer and the features. The one thing I wish it had is strap locks Standard on the guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The guitar could definatly withstand live playing. The hardware seems like it would last a long time and everything is solid. The only problem is the strap buttons seem a little small but if you buy a guitar this expensive you should buy straplocks. I bought some schaller straplocks and they've worked great so far. I would use it on a gig without backup with my only worry be breaking a string. The finish seems like it should hold up for a long time and I've smacked on furniture without marks several times.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was set up fairly well when I got it. There was a bit of fret buzz but I fixed as soon as I recieved the guitar with some minor bridge adjustments. The pickups were a tad low but those were fixed easily as well. The only flaws on the guitar were some black plastic or tar or something on the nut and the neck pickup volume knob seemed like it was melted on one side.
Features — 10
The guitar was made in 2008 in the USA. It has a thin and fast 22 fret neck with jumbo frets and a ebony fretboard. it's a solid top and the entire guitar is made with solid mahogany. The alpine white satin finish looks nice and you can see the grain of the wood through the paint which is unusual. The bridge is a Tune-O-Matic and gives the guitar very good sustain. It has active electronics. there are two volume knobs and one tone knob. There's a EMG 81 in the bridge position and a EMG 60 in the neck. It has non locking mini grover tuners. The guitar came with a Gibson USA hardshell case.