Price paid: € 560
Features — 9
This is a new Destroyer made in 2013 or 2014 made in China. It's a Mahogany body with a one peace set-in neck and a Rosewood fretboard. The neck is slightly thicker than the regular RG neck. So the fact that it says "made in China" on the back of its head kinda scared me off at first. But when I played it for a while I changed my mind. Something that made me more confident was the DiMarzio pickups, a "Air Norton" in the neck and a "Tone Zone" in the bridge. These are high quality pickups, and not some low budget, with just the name on it. The strings (comes with D'Addario) pass trough a Tight-Tune bridge and a Tight-Tune tailpiece, all this is chrome and good stuff. There are 3 sure grip knobs. A volume for neck and the bridge pickup and only one tone knob for both pickups and then a 3-way pickup selector. It comes with an Ibanez softcase.
Sound — 9
I play in a '80s kinda post-punk band, so an Explorer looking guitar maybe would seem like an strange choice, actually I was gonna buy an Stratocaster that day but when I saw this one I just had to buy it. The sustain is just amazing thanks to the body and the pickups. And it's not very noisy even with high gain and its hard to get any unwanted feedback. As I mentioned the pickups really helped me make up my mind. normally I only use the bridge pickup when I play and this one suits me perfectly. Really good for distortion with superb string separation. The bridge pickup is kinda hot though so I get a slight distortion even when I use the clean channel on a solid state amp. The neck pickup however is better for clean sounds and its a bit warmer.
I have a very modulated sound, my compressor, chorus and modulated reverb is always on. Then I vary my delay and distortion depending on the song. I also tried just plugging it straight to a JCM900 on the distortion channel and it sounds just amazing you want an basic rock/metal sound (of course I had to try some thrash metal riffing with a guitar like this).
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I happened to get the black one (I think its some kinda polyurethane lacquer) it's nice and glossy and with white bindings, so it's a nice '80s lookin' guitar. I did a gig the day after I bought it, and it didn't disappoint me. It sounded just fine and kept the tuning all night. The string height and such was just perfect. The neck looks straight and the frets are fine. Bridge was good and there was no fretbuzz whatever fret I played on. If I play an open E string or on the 12 fret its in tune. I don't think it need any adjustment but sure, improvement can always be made.
Reliability & Durability — 8
When you get a new guitar I think its always wise to "pop the hood" and check how the hardware is. Because you don't want a half a-sed soldering to halt you in the middle of a gig. I couldn't find anything suspicious when I checked out the wiring on the DT520. There is always the usual wear and tear but I don't think I have to worry about that in a while. I always have a backup guitar when gigging, regardless of what main guitar I use. It's just common sense for a serious musician. The glossy black finish is just fine, I see no scratch from my pick or anything, but then I have seen better.
Overall Impression — 9
So in conclusion, straight out of the factory, this guitar is just superb, as good as it's get for a guitar made in China and for this price. Sure my Japanese made Ibanez JEM FP77 feels like it's kinda higher quality (and there is a huge difference in price) but I don't think the DT520 will disappoint you if its a good looking moderately priced explorer type of guitar you are looking for. And again what I really love about it is the high end pickups and the awesome look, the sustain and its really comfortable to play sitting down or standing up using a strap.