Price paid: £ 300
Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 7
Well, I would say that this guitar is definitely not built for the styles that I currently play. The reason for this is that the pickups have a very low output compared to my other guitars, so it's almost useless if you are playing any genre of metal past the 70's. However, it does hold it's own as a blues style guitar with some nice mid-range tones. I play various types of music, so this guitar can't handle the variety I get with the pickups it currently has, but it does come close. I sometimes get some unwanted squeal from the pickups but I'm almost 100% sure that's due to damage that I've inflicted on it. I have played it through various amps from various makers, but I would still say that this is a guitar for more 'mellow' players. If you want to use this guitar for rock, then switch the pickups for something more powerful as soon as possible.
Overall Impression — 6
On the whole I feel that this is one step short of being a good guitar, and that's because the pickups just don't have enough grunt for me, and while it's true that it feels good to play and tunes well, that's not going to help me at a gig if it sounds bad. I would recommend that for this price you could get a stock Ibanez RG, probably various RG models for this price, and they would play a lot better than this, and you could get one with a tremolo system installed if you wanted it. To me this guitar seems like the kind of thing you'd get if you wanted to alter a guitar yourself, and after 3 years of having it I can safely say there are far better things out there for the same price.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Could I use this guitar live? Probably not, as the pickups have become faulty for some reason so they just squeal endlessly under gain. So that's a few points off for hardware longevity. I already mentioned that I have had one strap button fall off, but like I said that was my fault. The finish, I will say, is very well lasting. Because I was a scruffy little kid when I got this, there was practically nothing that I didn't bang it on, but the finish seems to have held up quite well all things considered.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
This guitar came used, but it came feeling very nice to play. I don't see any real problems apart from having to adjust the truss rod now and again, but that's a fact of guitar life if you live somewhere with unpredictable weather, like England. Controls all seem nicely fitted, and apart from a problem I experienced with the strap-button falling off (which in fairness was probably due to me accidentally banging it on a wall once), I haven't had any major problems.
Features — 7
This is a 22-fret guitar with a rosewood fingerboard and a mahogany body. It features separate volume and tone controls for each pickup, a flamed maple top and grover tuners, which to me are definitely a step up from Gibson or Fender standard tuners. Both the bridge and Neck pickups are humbuckers. Bridge is fixed. On the whole this is what you'd call a 'standard' guitar. Not much to brag about, but then again there's not much to go wrong either. The neck feels really good to play in comparison with some Les Paul models I have used before.