Purchased from: Some guy
Features — 7
This guitar was, I think, built in the mid-2000's, as it has the FAT-6 tremolo on it. Thin neck, which took some getting used to, since my main guitar is an early '80s Gibson Les Paul. Black solid agathis body, which is heavy, but has a similar tonal response to maple. One volume, one tone, but it has a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge. I'm presently having a roller nut and Sperzel locking tuners put on it, since the original tuners that came on it were junk, and the cheap tuners I replaced those with, while slightly better, were just a temporary fix.
Sound — 8
I play many styles of music, but mainly punk, progressive metal, and blues. The bridge pickup is great for soloing (but then, it's not the stock pickup), and I can really pull off an early '80s Alex Lifeson tone with this, which is what attracted me to the guitar in the first place. The middle and neck pickups aren't bad, but they're certainly nothing to write home about, so at some point, I intend to put some DiMarzios in it. It definitely isn't noisy, but when I got it, the five-way selector wasn't working right, and it would suddenly completely drop out. A can of air and a little patience fixed that. All in all, not bad, but a few mods will make it better.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The action is pretty horrible (this guitar was really, really abused), which is why it's in the shop right now getting a roller nut put on. I also couldn't get it intonated properly no matter what I did, but it was very close; I literally ran out of adjustment space for the string saddles. It would stay in tune relatively nicely, even when using the tremolo, but getting it in tune was a chore with the tuners that were on there, so it's getting Sperzel locking tuners put on. We'll see how these mods impact playability, but for $65, I was expecting to have to do some work on it.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I haven't played this guitar live yet, but I have a feeling it'll hold up really well. My main guitar is a Gibson Les Paul, but this will make an excellent back-up or change-of-pace guitar for that. I don't know that I would use it on a gig without a backup, but I would certainly play it live. The finish is really good, and it's built really solidly. As I said above, the stock tuners were junk, so it's getting a set of Sperzel locking tuners put on, as well as a roller nut. The strap buttons are fine, I haven't had a problem yet, and I play it all the time.
Overall Impression — 7
I play just about all styles of music, but mainly progressive metal, punk, and blues. I've been playing for about 25 years (with a 2+ year hiatus after breaking my left index finger, as well as a bout of tendonitis), and my main guitar is a Gibson Les Paul. I was looking for a guitar that would help me recreate the tone that Alex Lifeson got in the early 1980's from his Hentor Sportscaster (heavily modified Strat), and this certainly delivers that tone. If it were stolen, I'd look for another, since you can usually find used ones really cheap, and do the same mods I'm having done now. All in all, I'm happy with it. A lot of guitar for just a little money. Does it compare to my Les Paul? Of course not, but for an inexpensive guitar that, with a few mods, can keep up with guitars four times the price, it's great!