Price paid: $ 699
Purchased from: Guitar Guitar
Sound — 9
When purchased, I was looking for a good thrash guitar, and I'd been after a Flying V since I began playing and saw Kirk Hammet and James Hetfield playing Vs on kill em all. I am also into Machine Head and Trivium, and play in a band influenced by both. This guitar sounds brilliantly dark and heavy, perfect when ran through an AVT od2 channel, but resonant and defined when played clean. Recently I've been more into blues and hard rock, and this guitar really sounds tremendously ballsey when whacking out Led Zep and Thin Lizzy. Neck unit is smooth and creamy, good for any lead, and sounds lovely for little jazzy licks. Bridge 500T may not be high enough out put for some, but there's tons of space under the pickguard for a 9V battery.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, this guitar will play anything. At all. Thrash, hard rock, grunge, rock'n'roll and jazz, and I'm sure it'd manage strummers too, if not looking the part. I've been playing for 3 years, owning a Squier Strat, Jackson JS30RR as mentioned, and currently playing through a Marshall 100 watt AVT. I guess I should have bargined for a hard case and a strap, but the case it has ok. Its a cliche on this site, but if it was stolen, I would reduce that person to a vegetable for abducting my baby. If it was un returnable... I might save the extra 200 quid for the alpine white model, which I want to get at some point. I love the aesthetics of this guitar, the headstock is glorious, and the colour just defines Gibson. Compared to Epiphone models, and another Faded V, this one had something else. The Epiphone was a touch weak, but the neck on this one got me hooked. My full recommendations, the pride of all my possessions, and as versatile as any guitar in this price range could ever be.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I have gigged with this guitar, as well as my Jackson JS30RR, and it sounded killer, making the Jackson and my other guitarists LTD Explorer sound like twigs. No need for backup, everything is totally solid, playing 11s means I rarely break strings unless I'm playing nirvana madly. Already mentioned strap buttons, solid enough for your average guitarist, but if you jump about the joint and smack your guitar, straplocks make a valuable upgrade. Finish is exactly what I want, its wearing away along the bottom wing tip, and within 3 years it should look like I've had her for decades. May wear too quickly for some, faster than a full finish Gibson, and much, much faster than a fenders finish. In my opinion, with straplocks and thick strings, its bulletproof, but if I was using 9s or 10s and normal strapbuttons, it may not be.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Set up from factory was a touch high for my liking, but the bridge can be lowered simply by slackening strings and tightening by hand. Pick up height was fine, and tuners are perfectly accurate. No damage on body or neck, but I did find a slight dent on the 4th fret, though I didn't see it for a few months, so perfectly possible it was my fault.
Features — 8
Purchased march 2011. 2010 Gibson Faded cherry V, mahogany body and neck with 22 fret rosewood fingerboard. D shape neck, fatter than a shredder neck, but thinner and wider than a strat. Chrome hardware, Gibson Deluxe tuners (similar to Gotoh tuners), tune-o-matic bridge. 496R neck pickup, 500T bridge pickup, three way switch, passive electronics. Came with a soft case, Gibson history and care booklet. All parts of the guitar work perfectly, only problem was the bridge volume pot position, but this is easily solved as wiring isn't too tight. Also strap buttons work fine with a good strap, but personally I get quite active when playing, so I upgraded to Schaller straplocks after guitar dropped a few times. A hard case would have been nice.