Price paid: $ 375
Purchased from: Greenshift Music
Sound — 9
I am a professional musician who plays all styles of music with the exception of bluegrass and heavy jazz, and metal, though I am convinced this guitar could handle those styles. It handles all of the other styles as good as my Fenders and Hamer. I generally will use my GT-8 either direct or through a Fender Champ 25 amplifier. The 5 cycle hum is present when on the single coils, but not very loud. It is a bright sounding guitar, which I like. It also sports the option of having a mid-range boost activated, but I have not found that to be necessary. This guitar is basically a Strat with a humbucker in the bridge, which is my only minor critique since I like single coils best. I can get rough and rocking sounds with the overdrive or high end plunky sounds ala Alert Collins. Not quite as twangy as my teles, but that's not what I bought it for. Great sounding guitar especially for the money.
Overall Impression — 10
I have been playing 30+ years. If I lost this guitar or it got stolen I would be very upset and would replace it right away. There's nothing bad that I can say about this instrument. While one can enjoy the prestige of a "name" instrument, this guitar holds up. If you've passed one up, you'll regret doing so when these become collectible and the prices skyrocket. If you want a great Strat style guitar for a quarter of the price of a Fender this is the one. It can hold up to all styles of music and it's very comfortable to play. I still can't believe I got something this good for such a low price.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've had the guitar for several years now. While I use my other guitars as well, I frequently use this guitar for both live and studio work. The finish is still very good on it. The chrome knobs have not dulled in the 5+ years I've owned it. It's got easily several hundred hours of live time on it. Live it has held up against my more expensive guitars. In fact it's held up so well, I've retired my old Strat from live work and now alternate between this guitar, a Tele, and my Jackson which is set up for slide work.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action is nice and low without the buzz. I never adjusted the pick-up heights because they were already well placed when I bought this guitar new. The pots were not loose or noisy and it stays in tune very well. The tone knob rolls off and on very well with no jumps in tone character. The neck is a bit shorter than I was used to, but that was not a problem and I only notice it these days if I switch from playing one of my Fenders or the Hamer. It does not affect my playing, I just become aware of the difference. The frets are spaced well, not like the dreaded Richenbacher guitars that make fretting those guitars a nightmare for me.
Features — 8
This guitar was manufactured in the U.S. from Canadian parts. The body is quilted Maple and the neck is maple with a maple fingerboard. The finish is semi-glossy. My model has a whammy bar attached to the bridge and it's strung through the body. It's a 3 pickup (SSH) configuration with a 5 way selector, 1 volume and 1 tone knobs. Non locking tuners that maintain their tune. My only criticism is the whammy itself. I love my whammy bars and I prefer to keep them loose while I play. The whammy is a little stiffer than I like, but this can be adjusted and is such a minor flaw that it's of no consequence.