Price paid: A$ 330
Purchased from: Turramurra Music
Sound — 8
-I play classic rock, metal, blues. Bands like Metallica, AC/DC, etc. It seems to handle anything in standard tuning fine, but anything below that is a hassle to stay in tune. -I use a Peavey Rage 258 (25w), MI Audio Crunch Box distortion, EHX Memory Toy and a MXR MII6 Fullbore Metal. -There is fret buzz on the lower frets of the lower strings. Nothing on the high strings. The humbucker is decent. Rather full sound, can be crunchy with the right distortion. The neck pickup is nice and warm on clean settings. The middle pickup is clear but the combination settings (bridge + Middle, Middle + Neck) are a bit useless:S. It can do solos fine, can be metal-y with the fullbore, and does overdrive/low gain distortion fine as well. It is pretty varied.
Overall Impression — 7
I play rock to metal and a bit of blues and it works for all except drop tune metal, which is pretty much all modern metal. I have being playing for one year and my amp is a Peavey Rage 258, My effects are: MI Audio Crunch Box, Electro Harmonix Memory Toy and MXR Fullbore Metal. I wish I had tried drop tuning it first, but maybe better tuners will help this. I would probably get this if it was stolen, but I might try some cheaper Jackson which I didn't compare it to. I love the neck, it is really nice. Smooth and comfortable. I don't hate anything about it, but better tuners would be nice and maybe a Floyd Rose would be suitable upgrades. I compared it to the Ibanez GRG170DX. I chose this because the neck is so much smoother and I preferred the neck pickup. I don't think I could expect better components for the price. But now it has gone up in price, maybe better tuners would be in order.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I don't perform live as of yet, but I personally would think it would stand live performances. The hardware is fine 1 year on. The strap buttons were a different story. The button closest to the neck came really loose after only a few months, but some glue and wood splits fixed that fine. Now they are really solid. I would bring a backup guitar but only because this thing cannot drop tune. It just doesn't want to stay in tune on lower tunings. The finish is fine apart from the fact that fingerprints are really noticeable being metallic black.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
When I got it, the intonation was out rather badly and the action was really high. Being my 1st guitar I didn't know what to do. I took it to my local music shop (Carlingford) and they said the bridge was way too high. He lowered it, the intonation was fixed, the action was much better. The pickups were set up fine. The bridge as I said was too high, but easily fixed. Everything else was fine but the tuning pegs are a bit annoying. Just as it is about to be in tune, the pegs suddenly have no resistance and I end up tuning too far either way. Gentle control can avoid this. The volume and tone knobs were similar. They spun fine but when you get halfway, it suddenly becomes harder to turn them.
Features — 7
-I think it was made in 2008 -Made in China -22 frets -Agathis body -'Midnight Black' finish -Standard Tremolo Bridge -Strat style body -Passive pickups -1 volume, 1 tone, 5-way selector -H-S-S pickup configuration. PSNDS pickups (made by Ibanez) -Non-locking tuners -Gig bag