Price paid: A$ 1150
Purchased from: DWMusic
Sound — 9
Due to the make of the guitar, this guitar does very well in a rock or metal style. It has a very dark tone due to the thick and heavy piece of mahogany. The selection of EMG pickups is very odd, as the 85 isn't normally put in the bridge, but it sounds quite heavy and different to the standard EMG configuration. I run this through a Peavey 6505 212 with a Boss GT10. If EMG's aren't your thing, a set of passive pickups would easily make this guitar more suitable to other styles, just be wary of the dark tones.
Overall Impression — 9
For what I play and do with it, it matches perfectly. The round neck seems funny when it comes to metal, but Gibson were onto something there. Been playing for 5 and a half years. The guitar fits in well with my 2 ESPs (Eclipse and Horizon), PRS SE Torero, Agile 8 string and LTD 7 string. If the guitar was lost or stolen, I probably wouldn't try to find another one as my style and interest has changed to extended range guitars. That being said, the guitar is still great and can cater to what I need when I need a dark, heavy 6 string. The only problem I have with the guitar is the Kahler. I've never really played one before and didn't know what to expect but it hasn't really impressed me too much. I haven't had it unlocked as I had trems so I can't comment on the whammy function. Be much better with a hard tail.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Going from the previous owner, this guitar was gigged with heavily as mentioned before and it had held up for them. The tuners are great, especially with the lock ins and the Kahler is great as well. I had the strap buttons changed to locking as soon as I got the guitar so I can't comment on the originals. Realistically, I'd have this guitar as a backup for my ESP Eclipse II as it just doesn't personally feel as nice and comfortable as that. But you could probably go without a backup as the guitar is solid.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I can't complain about the finish of the guitar as I didn't receive it as a brand new item, but it seems to be very tough (person who had it before me gigged hard with it and has dings everywhere but no paint removed). It wasn't set up correctly when I got it as the previous owner had fiddled with the pickups, the Kahler bridge and the neck, but once it was set up properly, it was perfect. Only problem is, the nut is only set up for standard E tuning. Once you go below that, the strings start to buzz heavily, so an adjustment is needed if you plan to go below E.
Features — 9
This is the June model of the Guitar of the Month done in 2008. It comes with a 24 3/4 inch neck sporting 22 frets on it's dark ebony fretboard. Although hard to see, the ebony has black acrylic dot fret markers. The guitar is a one piece mahogany body in the shape of the Explorer painted in Gibson's well known ebony. The round neck is also made out of mahogany and features the ebony finish as well. If this guitar is already starting to sound dark it gets better with its black EMG 85s, black Kahler Tremelo system, black speed knobs, black toggle switch and black locking grover tuners. The guitar also comes with a HUGE custom Gibson Guitar of the Month case with amazing vanilla scent. It also comes with a cover but I'm missing it as it's second hand. Overall, the specs scream dark and it delivers.