Price paid: $ 289.95
Purchased from: Musicians Friend
Sound — 9
I play ska, metal, soft rock, some country, funk, jazz, it can handle all of it. No Doubt about it. I don't use very complicated stuff, just some 15w Ibanez brand amp I got with my first guitar (the little thing surprised me though, the distortion is great, it's nice and loud, and the equalizer knobs are nice too). Until about two weeks ago I was using a cheap FAB Metal Distortion pedal, which sounded great through it (I don't recommend the pedal though). When I'm with my band though, I use my friend's Marshall (micced through a Yamaha PA) and a Boss ME-50 multi-effect pedal, and it sounds amazing (I highly recommend the ME-50, it's awesome).
Overall Impression — 8
This thing is great, it's absolutely gorgeous. Only the fact that it's input is shit, it's very heavy, and the low e buzzes, it's perfect, nothing to hate. If it were stolen I would probably not replace it, but not because it's not good, just out of curiosity for other guitars.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Once I get my input fixed I imagine it will work until hell freezes over. The strap buttons are solid as rocks, would definitely go to a gig without a backup (mainly because I have no backup, but still, I'm sure it would do fine even if I did). Everything is great.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
Here's the kicker. It came to me and worked fine for about six months. Then I lowered the action and monkeyed around with the pickups. Just within the last month though, I took unscrewed the input because it was cutting out every once in a while, and the whole damn input fell out. The wires had been soldered on very badly, and because one wire had lots of tension, it snapped, and when the other wire was left with the whole weight of the input (all of an ounce) it snapped too. So at the moment, I use my friend's Hellraiser (heavan with six strings) because mine is out of service. Otherwise, the finish is amazing, deep blue with a very slight sparkle, just gorgeous, and everything else works like a charm.
Features — 9
24 frets, all great, my fingers are fat, and I can still wail away on the 24th, which impresses me to no end. The floating bridge was ok, but since I don't use a whammy bar (hate them), kind of useless, and after I put a third spring in, completely useless. I am very picky about the tuning of my strings, and it only kept a tune for about two or three days, so I installed the spring and now it needs minor tweaks and adjustments every two weeks or so, even when it's left in the cold. The knobs are wonderful, very tough, and they don't just keep turning on a spring, they actually stop, which is nice. The switch, it's a switch, and it works fine. The pickups are great, it's H/S/H, and I'm not sure of the particulars but the neck pickup is really nice. I play ska and a lot of soft stuff on that, and it's perfect, nice and clear, but mellow, not twangy in the least. The bridge is pretty hot, could be a little sharper, but it's fine for the stuff I do. I never use the single-coil (middle), I never saw the use of it, it's quiet and has no distinctive personality, just kinda there. The only problem I have is the low E. It buzzes. Going to change the strings, but it's buzzed throughout all my other string changes. It's also heavy as a tank, but I don't really mind that.