Price paid: $ 1199
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
I play through a Peavey 1960's reissue 50 Watt tube amp, usually though an Ibanez Tube Screamer. The amp's ok on it's own, unless better amps are around to campare it to. With the Tube Screamer, though, and depth of tone I get through the 496R, the setup sounds great. I am completely pleased with the pickups. I use .009-.042 strings. I really enjoy this guitar. It's like regaining the passion to play again. My old guitar was a nice quality cheaper guitar, but I just didn't have much motivation to play on my own anymore. I bought this instrument and now I play pretty much on a daily basis. I've never oened a guitar with sustain like this, and the pickups are very sensitive. My guitar solos have increased in quality tenfold because of this. It's added quite a few new sounds that I always tried to play with the last guitar, but could never quite find. For someone who's not a gifted musician who can make any guitar sound expensive, this guitar will improve your playing.
Overall Impression — 10
Love the look of this guitar, and with the slim taper neck this guitar just begs to be played...absolutely effortless. I disagree with the folks who slam the pickups...Like some of the other reviewers here I originally thought how could so many people be wrong and thought about replacing the pickups; however, the more I played this guitar with the stock pickups the more I liked their sound and versatility...you just have to tweak the vol and tone controls on the guitar to get great tones.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Added strap locks, and the drilled holes for the stock strap buttons were crooked. Managed to get the strap locks on straight enough with a little elbow grease. Other than that, no problems.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I haven't found any flaws yet, after 2 months of ownership. The laminate job on the guitar, though, tends to get somewhat ... sticky, on the back of the neck. I never had that problem with the last guitar. An occasional cleaning helps out, but believe it or not, that tack sort of helps you bend notes by adding extra anchorage for your palm. I am wary about the tuners, but the guitar tends to stay in tune as well as other guitars I've owned.
Features — 10
Heritage Cherry Sunburst, 496R & 500T pickups, nothing really new here, oh, AND a cool case with the fluorescent pink lining. So ugly it's perty.