Price paid: $ 2452.2
Purchased from: Windows Music, Newcastle
Sound — 10
Amazing, I play a lot of different styles, but seem to center over bands like Dream Theater, Sonata Arctica, Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin etc, but in 4 years of owning this guitar I'm yet to find a style it can't cope with. I play through a Marshall AVT150 Head with the angled 4 x 12 cab and with the overdrive channel (especially OD2 with the scoop) I get a very aggressive metal tone idea for Petrucci style riffs, but flick it to clean (or even better the acoustic sim channel if you have it) and coil tap the neck pickup, and you get one of the sweetest clean sounds from an electric in my opinion, including piezo loaded guitars. No complaints.
Overall Impression — 10
For the style of music I play this guitar is perfect, it's heavy enough to play Dream Theater and Sonata Arctica styles, yet cleans up perfectly. The coil tap allows for some awesome Hendrix style tones at the pull of a button. This guitar in the right hands can practically talk, it is an amazing bit of kit, as Satch himself demonstrates. I've played guitar for just over 7 years and I've owned an Ibanez Jem7 BFP, my dad used to have an 02 Gibson Les Paul Standard which I played also but this is definately my favourite, it's more comfortable to play and I find it's a much more versatile guitar than the Gibson and the Jem (I'm sure Jem fans especially will argue that point; P) if it was stolen, I'd get another in a heartbeat. The only problem with having this guitar is I can't find anything to beat it, I'm actually looking to buy another to use in alternate tunings for live gigs.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I've played this guitar many times live without a backup (mainly because I don't own another guitar anymore) and it's never had a problem. Obviously if you go crazy on the trem you run the risk of snapping strings, but this seems to take a bit more trem punishment than the Jem7BFP I had before. The hardware is solid enough, but the cosmo finish rubs off over time, but doesn't effect the playability. One of the allen screws which hold the intonation blocks in place rounded and the block slipped forward so now the intonation on the B String is slightly out and the screw needs drilling out, but this is the only problem I've had in 4 years of daily playing. The finish is pretty solid, the case slammed shut on the guitar one time leaving only a tiny crack in the laquer which didn't even reach to the wood and a few times when the trem arm has ended up on top of the guitar during transport has left only tiny dings which can't be seen unless the light hits them just right.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
This guitar had been in the shop on the wall since it was shipped until I bought it and it didn't look like the action had been set up at all, it was very high, but nothing a few minutes with an allen key couldnt fix. Other than that everything else was perfect, everything attached solid, the trem was set up perfect, intonation was spot on. Marked down 1 just for the high action.