Price paid: $ 299.99
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 8
I tested this guitar out on my Crate GTX3500H stack. I mostly play black metal, and despite the genre's reputation for crap sound quality I hold my gear and tone up to high standards. I wanted a ballsy, high output guitar that still retained clarity in the notes being played. I was honestly expecting to have to replace the pickup in this thing with a 500T or Dirty FingersDirty Fingers, but the sound it puts out left me very impressed. Scorching output, this thing screams! The tone is a bit on the bright side though, and the clean sounds aren't bad but seem to lack some depth. I am now questioning whether or not I want to replace the pickup as I had originally intended. May do it just to try it out.
Overall Impression — 10
The value this guitar presents is unprecedented. This is a real Gibson, with great sound and amazing playability. At 300 bucks this thing is an absolute STEAL! I prefer it over my SG Special which cost over twice as much. I love everything about this guitar, it's simplicity is it's greatest virtue.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar is built to rock. Knock it around a bit, it can take it. Everything on this guitar is solid, would definitely gig with it. I've heard these satin finishes tend to wear quickly, but I feel that a worn finish just shows a well loved instrument and adds character. At any rate, I haven't worn through the finish yet.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The factory setup on this was immaculate. Nice action, not too low or high... Though I might lower it just a tad. The intonation isn't PERFECT, but it is damn close. It has a wraparound tailpiece, so not too much can be done intonation-wise aside from adjusting the scale length on the bass/treble side. No point in screwing with that too much, sounds great as it is. The pickup is set about as high as it can go, but that puts it exactly where it should be in relation to the current string height. No visible finish flaws, it is evenly sprayed and looks great. The Satin Ebony finish is VERY comfortable to play on, your hands just glide over it like butter... Especially after you put some real playing time in. People like to rag on the baked maple fretboards, and I'll admit I was skeptical about them myself. Well, they function perfectly and have a bright sound characteristic to them reminiscent of ebony. Not quite as pretty to look at as rosewood, but it has a rich dark brown color to it that isn't ugly in the least. I approve. I will be replacing the tuners, but not because they are bad. I just prefer the look and feel of the Gibson/Grover Modern tuners.
Features — 7
This guitar was made in 2011 in the USA, advertised as Limited Run but who knows for sure? Flying V gets the Melody Maker treatment, with great results! It has most of the usual Gibson traits, with a few differences: - 22 Frets - 24.75" Scale Length - Flying V Shaped Maple Body - Mahogany Neck ("Melody Maker" neck profile) - Baked Maple Fretboard - Wraparound Tailpiece - One Duncan Designed HB-103 Pickup - One volume control knob - Kluson Deluxe Tuners (with little oval shaped cream plastic knobs) It also included a Gibson USA gig bag, with the usual Gibson inspection/warranty paperwork and owner's manual inside the zipper pocket. Surprisingly, it included the truss rod adjustment wrench as well! Nice plus. There isn't a single thing on this guitar that doesn't need to be there, simply elegant.