Price paid: C$ 800
Purchased from: used
Features — 8
Made in the US between 1992 and 1996. I haven't taken the neck off to check the exact date on mine but the serial number puts mine in '92 or '93. Alder body, maple neck, rosewood fretboard. 22 frets. 12" radius, overall very strat-like. The neck is fairly thin on these, not as thin as the Ibanez wizard necks, but quite flat. The Floyd-Rose style bridge was made by Gotoh, as were the tuners. The pickups were made by G&L. Mine is HSS but there were also HSH and HH models available. The pots are both 1K so the guitar is very bright and trebley. There are just 2 knobs - one volume, one tone, and a 5 way switch.
Sound — 8
It does late '80s and early '90s hard rock perfectly. That's exactly what it was made for - the stock humbucker in it is perfect for Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Twisted Sister. Surprisingly though the single coil pickups get away from that and into a clean country - blues tone. It's very easy to get more of a Mark Knopfler sound out of the Climax too. I guess that's still 80s though. The pickups are passive so it doesn't quite get into that modern metal tone. I wouldn't use it for jazz either. It covers most rock or hard rock really well though.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I bought this guitar used so can't comment on factory setup, but it was well set up when I got it and it has held up extremely well over the years. I've done a few setups on it - ranging from standard tuning to drop C, and from 9-42 gauge strings to 11-52. It's quite easy to work on. It has some nice details too - like little screws to help hold in the springs from the trem-claw where they go into the bottom of the bridge. It also has the micro-tilt screw for the neck. Little details like that make it really easy to dial in perfectly.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This Climax has gigged for years and never let me down once. It's over 20 years old and still completely stock, and has never given me any problems. The pots and jack are original. Even the screws on the locking nut are still original. It stays in tune perfectly, even with heavy whammy bar use. It's absolutely reliable. I take good care of it but I don't baby it. The case is beat up, but that's what it's there for. The frets are starting to show so wear, but that's to be expected after 20 years.
Overall Impression — 9
It's a great guitar for any rock or hard rock. I wouldn't use it for jazz, but it even does blues pretty well. I've been playing for 23 years. I also have a G&L ASAT, a Firebird, and a Godin Icon, as well as various acoustics. I'm playing through either a Randall or an Orange amp, depending on the size of the venue. My other electrics are all hard tails so the Climax gets used for anything that needs a whammy bar. If it were ever stolen I'd probably get the G&L Invader, since that replaced the Climax and is a much better name.