Price paid: $ 250
Sound — 9
My music style is mainly classic rock which requires a little bit of distortion most of the time. I usually have the gain on 4 and it sounds great distorted. It has that nice heavy, muddy tone. If you hook it up to a tube amp with a clean setting, turn up the amp really loud and you will get a really cool ovedrive sound which I like to call American distortion because it reminds me of bikers with American flag designs on their motorcycles. Another little trick that sounds nice with this guitar is the woman tone trick. I'm sure most of you know about that. For those of you that don't, it's when you Switch the pickup selector to the neck pickup and turn the tone knob all the way down with a lot of distortion. This axe sounds ok clean too but it doesn't give me that chicken pickin sound that I usually like to get out of a clean sound.
Overall Impression — 10
This instrument is good for any type of music. It can't give you the groovy clean sound of a Stratocaster with single-coil pickups. It can't give you the death metal sound of an Ibanez with EMG pickups. However, this will give you the perfect "in between sound" and the humbuckers can give somewhat good metal and clean tones. In other words, this guitar sounds very good with distorted classic rock and sounds ok with metal and clean tones. This way, you don't need three guitars when you are performing. I do wish that it had one more tone knob for a little more versatility. I compared this to some similar guitars before buying such as Gibson copies put they all just did not have the playability of this one. Overall this guitar has the sound, ease of use, look, and durability, and versatility that anyone would would need and I would recommmend this to anyone.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar can take quite a beating. Even if you did get a ding in it, it would hardly be noticable because it would only affect the transparent finish. This would definitely withstand live playing. It doesn't drop tuning often which means your lead singer doesn't have to entertain the audience while you're tuning. It's actually really nice to play this live because it's so darn good looking. Also, if your band has a color theme, you can get it in many other cool and original colors. One complaint is that the strap has a little bit of a hard time staying on so you might want to purchase strap locks. You will be able to get a variety of sounds through the many combinations of Switch positions and knob positions. This could very well be your main guitar when performing. However, if you a chicken pickin tone as well as a muddy tone then you might not want to use this guitar with out a backup due to limited adaptability to clean sounds.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar was set-up nicely. I didn't really see any huge flaws. However, when you look at the pickups and the tuners you'll see that they are all made by Hamer. This will give you a pulsing desire to customize like crazy. Some people just don't like everything on the guitar to be made by the same manufacturer. That's other people. I however am happy with everything that comes with the guitar. Another nice thing is that this guitar is very light so if you want to throw this in the air and catch it on stage then go ahead. One thing about this guitar that I like even more than the how it sounds is how easy it is to play. When I picked it up at the guitar store, the first thing I noticed was the fact that I was able to play things that I was never able to play on my old guitar. This is due to the neck which is the perfect shape. It's shape is very thin and not too round. This gives lots of room for my hand to move around for fast fretwork. The neck is more round in the lower frets which is good when doing rhythym with open chords. Another thing that makes this guitar so easy to play is the action. A lot of guitars have the action really low at the low frets and higher at the high frets. A lot of guitars make the action too high at the high frets which drives me crazy because I have to press the string down really hard which slows me down. The SATF isn't too high action at the high frets so I can play as fast as my heart desires. I would actually prefer the action to be the same throughout the whole neck but this guitar isn't designed that way.
Features — 8
This guitar has all of the features neeeded for versatility, playablility, etc. It's fingerboard is made of rosewood and has 22 frets with dot inlays. The body and neck is made of Mahogany with flamed maple cap and has two cutaways. It's flametop finish really makes it look nice and you will get you a lot of complements. I prefer the double cutaways because when I am doing high fret work, I can wrap my whole hand around the neck. The body is a PRS style however, I am told that Hamer was around way before PRS so PRS could have actually copied Hamer's style. Always nice to have an original guitar. It uses two humbuckers that are made by Hamer. Actually, come to think of it pretty much everything on the guitar is made by Hamer including the tuners but that is not really a bad thing. The SATF uses and Tune-O-Matic bridge which I find kind of hard to intonate but once intonated, it should stay intonated. The axe includes two volume knobs, one tone knob, and a 3-way pickup selector. This should give you enough veratility to perform on stage.