Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: Halo
Features — 8
The Clarus is a Strat style guitar, but with extra balls. It features a pretty standard 22 jumbo frets on a rosewood fingerboard, but breaks away from a Strat mold with a Floyd Rose Special. Standard 5 way selector switch, with a volume and 2 tones - (250k pots) - all on an alder body with a maple neck. It has a humbucker, single single configuration, coming stock with the Halo factory pickups. Halo builds each individual guitar to order, and I had a Duncan Invader put in the bridge, with hot rails in the middle and neck at the factory. Grover inspired tuners and a locking nut round out the hardware specs. The neck unfortunately does have a finish on it, as does the body. I personally have a penchant for matte, unglossed finishes - but with that aside, it is a great job. Comes in at 25.5 inch scale.
Sound — 8
A majority of people like to use this section to cover the "vast array" of styles that they play. I'll be a little more candid than that. I stick to '80s butt rock, and post hardcore/metalcore music. I run this bad boy through either a Mesa TriRec, a Bugera 333XL or a Blackstar HT-5. The pups are a little hot for the HT-5, but this is a review specifically of the guitar. No crackling of the pots with volume changes is always a good sign. With an electric guitar, I adhere to the Scott Grove school of thought - the woods and finish minimally affect tone. Magnets inside of the pickups take care of tonal characteristics before the wood has a chance to grab a hold. The guitar sounds as good as the pups and amp (and player) allows it to.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
As mentioned previous, it has a high gloss finish on the body and neck. You can see the wood grain through the finish and stain, which I think gives it a very beautiful and smoky appearance. The action was set great and the Floyd was perfectly set with the body. There is great access to adjust the Floyd without moving the back cover to make adjustments as well, which is very convenient. The only "flaw" I noticed was inside the truss rod access. The wood was a little flaky as if it had been routed and never smoothed out.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've been playing this guitar live for almost a year now, and had absolutely no problems. Initially I had issues with strings popping out of the Floyd saddles, but that turned out to be operator error. Minute tuning issues if you really go crazy on the Floyd, but stays perfectly in pitch when used reasonably. I have gigged this guitar live plenty of times, and would only bring a back up as a contingency for a string popping. The finish is solid and seems to be scratch resistant, and the strap buttons are more solid than my Gibson.
Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing guitar for about 15 years now, and have gone through more guitars than I care to admit. This guitar however, is an addition to the non rotating permanent collection. It is a great bang for the buck and a solid, reliable build. I would have really liked it to not have the gloss finish - ESPECIALLY on the neck, but even with that, it plays and sounds great. I'm not sure I would replace this if stolen, but only for the sake of acquiring new gear. Halo is a great start up company, and their customer support is amazing. They walked me through every step of the build, and kept me updated on the guitar's progress through the factory. A great guitar and great experience - I would definitely recommend this to others.