Price paid: € 250
Sound — 8
I'm using my EXR170 with a Crate FW65. I mainly play rock and blues and the guitar is perfect fit for rock, and not-that-perfect for blues. It is very versatible because of the HSH pickup congifuration. I very rarely use the neck pickup, the sound is a bit too fat and less clear. The sound is very clear on the middle, middle/bridge and the bridge pickup. I can get an approximation of many sounds. All from Jimi Hendrix fuzzy sound, to AC/DC. However, I can not get the Slash solo sound. Well, after all it's not a Gibson. The guitar is a bit too explosive on the clean channel, middle pickup. Maybe that's a plus for some people who want a really sensitive guitar.
Overall Impression — 7
I've been playing for 4 years, and it's a satisfying match for my style of music. I wish I'd know more about the tuners and buy a guitar which at least has locking tuners or a guitar head that the angle between the neck and the head is very small (like on Strats), which would prevent strings getting "stuck" on the nut. If the guitar were stolen/lost, I would probably get something else, but I don't regret buying this one. I've learned alot since I've got this one and I had no needs for a better guitar for about 2 years, because I was still more or less a novice player, but now I wish I had something with some more soul, like a Les Paul or a Strat. I love the versatility of this guitar, and I dislike the tremolo. I wish it had locking tuners.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar would surely withstand live playing, I had no problems with it so far. The hardware looks good and it will last, except for those bridge screws I've mentioned before. But setting the bridge height is a very rare thing to do, so It's not that of a big deal. The finish is thick enough to last very long.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The guitar set up was not so good at the factory. The pickups first: The neck pickup was not paralel with the neck, so the pickup was closer to the bass strings than to the plain steel ones. The middle pickup way okay, but bridge far from okay. The magnets should be right under the strings, but the magnet under the first string is probably around 4 mm out of position. Also, the strings span at the bridge magnet is 5,4 cm, but the magnets on the pickup only 5 cm (that works fine on the neck, both strings and magnets are 5 cm) The tremolo and the bridge were well adjusted. There are a few flaws. The screws that are used to control the bridge height have oxidized and one of them has gone from hexagonal shape to almost round, so I have to use alternative tools to turn it. There were NO problems with the controls, the wood looks good quality, the tuning pegs still look tight and the finish was flawless when I got the guitar.
Features — 6
My guitar was made in Indonesia. The body is strat-style wich a black, a bit glossy finish, made of agathis wood. Pretty cool when it's clean, but it's hard to keep it clean. The neck is 3pc Wizard II. The bridge is a tremolo, which I like to use but it really doesn't work well on this guitar for me. Every time I would use the tremolo, the plain steel strings would go out of tune, because they "get stuck" on the nut when you release the tremolo bar. Also I didn't like that when bending a string it made all the other strings sound lower - out of tune (it also makes it harder to bend) You can fix that by adding a spring to the tremolo and blocking it. And, the tuners are non-locking which makes it even worse if you use the tremolo. If you don't, it's alright, I have no problems with strings going out of tune now. -Jumbo frets (a bit too fat for my taste after 12. fret) -Passive electronics, H S H pickups. -Controls: 1 volume, 1 tone, a 5 way selector I got a thin cable with the guitar which broke down after 3 weeks and some tools.