Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Audiophile Music Store
Sound — 8
My band's focus is mainly writing original songs so the instrument pretty much can handle it. On a personal level, my influences as a musician cover almost all sub genres of rock. I do a little bit of everything (From bluesy licks of SRV, Hendrix, and Mayer on the neck pup. Some Dimebag and Hammett licks thanks to Andy James! Funk rock riffing of Morello and Frusciante on the bridge pup. Some psychedelic effects from Einziger and Lopez. Though the pickups are okay, warm and thick on the neck, I find the bridge pickup lacking that extra punch. This is how my practice rig is set up: Guitar - Korg Pitchblack - Morley Power Wah - EHX Little Big Muff - DigiTech Death Metal - Boston Noise Gate - Dano Fish n Chips EQ - Mooer Pitch Box - VS Garagetone Phaser - VS Garagetone Tremolo - Boss CE5 - Ibanez DE7 - Boston M15 Amplifier At $200 here in the Philippines, this is pretty much one the best you can get at that price range.
Overall Impression — 8
It fits my style of playing. I learned to play acoustic guitar when I was 14, and played with bands in high school and college, but I didn't have my own electric guitar and I just used guitars from friends from other bands during jam sessions and gigs. I've never been really been serious about it until I got this as my first electric guitar 3-4 years ago. Currently I have an Epiphone G-310 as my main axe and a Fernando acoustic guitar. If there were things lacking in this guitar one would be better quality tuners. The pickups are okay, but I replaced both with Entwistle humbuckers after the first year. I wouldn't mind paying an additional $50 for better quality hardware, because like I have mentioned above, I love the finish on this guitar! Comparing it to other guitars within the $175-$200 range, I would say this one's up there. Well, if this got lost/stolen/destroyed, I would probably save up money to get probably an Epiphone G400/G400Pro, or a Epiphone Les Paul 100 at least. Please check out the demo video of my guitar I have uploaded on YouTube:
Reliability & Durability — 7
Like what I have said above, I have been using this for more than 3 years and it has gone through a lot of beating through countless gigs but the finish still is as good as new. The only thing that disappointed me are the tuners. After abusing it for a year the guitar tends to get out of tune every fifteen minutes, which I have replaced after the first year. The wires on the higher frets had been damaged that it creates a little buzz on the lower strings when you go to the 10th-14th frets, which is where I usually begin my solos. A little adjustment on the action and higher gauge strings did the job, but it did affect my playing in a negative way. The strap buttons are okay, but I replaced it with strap locks. I have used the guitar without backup, because I didn't have one. But it surely won't hurt to bring one if you are able to. I know I just paid $200 for it, but I was expecting the hardware to pretty much last 3-4 years.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I have been playing with this instrument for a little over 3 years, I still have it at the moment, but I use my Epiphone G-310 as my main as of this writing. The one thing that caught my eye was the cherry red transparent finish! I didn't see any flaws on the guitar when I bought it. The action was okay and the strings were new, the hardware was sparkling. The pickups were slightly high, like most guitars displayed at showrooms. I got what I was expecting for my $200. At this price range, nothing beats the finish on this axe.
Features — 8
First of all, I am judging the instrument in comparison to its competitors within the same price range. This is a beginner/entry level guitar so nothing much is expected taking into consideration the price of the guitar: - Made in Indonesia - 22 medium jumbo frets - Maple Neck - 24 3/4" scale - Rosewood fretboard with dot inlays - Body is made of agathis - String-thru body bridge. - Passive electronics - 2 controls (volume, tune) - 3-way pickup selector - 2 humbucking pickups - OEM chrome non locking tuners - No accessories, a box and an Ibanez 2009 catalog