Price paid: £ 719
Purchased from: GAK
Features — 8
Made in December 2014 but released in March 2015. It was built in China although pre-release reports said it would be made in Indonesia. This is the budget version of the PS10, Paul Stanley's signature model. It only comes in black. It has two volume controls and one tone control and a 3 way pick up selector. Whilst Paul would never consider single coil pick ups the only feature missing, for me, is a single coil select option just to make it a little more versatile. Features are:
- 3pc Mahogany set-in neck
- Mahogany body/Maple top
- Bound Ebony fretboard w/Acrylic & Abalone block inlay
- Medium frets
- Seymour Duncan '59/Custom 5 pickups
- Full Tune III bridge/Quik Change III tailpiece
- Chrome hardware
- Gig bag included.
Sound — 9
Whilst it looks every bit a rock guitar, it is capable of any genre. It is well suited to blues (turn down the volume for less distortion and even the tone control for a "Different Shades of Blue" by Bonamassa or Clapton's "Sunshine of Your Love" sound). I would have to compare this to a Les Paul but you have to take into consideration it is a third of the price. Paul played a Gibson Explorer before switching to Ibanez around 1977 so wouldn't have played something vastly different sounding. The wood selection, neck joint, humbuckers and switching are all similar to a Les Paul so sound wise it is in the same ball park. It is brighter than a Les Paul Standard but has a similar, long sustain.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Set up from the factory was spot on for me. A nice low action and intonation was spot on. I am no expert on fit and finish but it all looks perfect to me. It has a thinner neck than a Les Paul although the fingerboard width is similar. So it is a little easier to play. The body is slightly lighter and is thinner than a Les Paul. The only issue I have is playing it sitting down, my right arm (I'm right handed) aches a little as the body is high and my arm is raised over a little more than some other guitars.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It is early days but everything looks and feels solid and should last for years. The pots and pick up selector are the most solid I have felt on any guitar. Old PS10's from '77-'82 apparently suffered with the abalone cracking on the body so only time will tell if it is sorted this time around! I would play this live and have no doubt it will stand up to the rigors I would be certainly happy to play it without a back up. The strap locks seem perfectly adequate. Amp wise I use an Orange Micro Terror at home most of the time or a Blackstar HT5. Too many distortion/overdrive effects to list my favorite changes often but include a Fulltone Plimsoul and Crowther Hotcake.
Overall Impression — 9
I mostly play rock/blues. I have always loved the look of this guitar and the sound is great. Obviously you will have to try it against other guitars to see if it suits your tastes but you don't have to be a KISS fan to enjoy this guitar. It certainly looks good and gets attention. Yes I would buy it again - no contest at this price. I am keen to compare it to the new PS10 due out in the summer but it isn't coming to the UK so I'll never know! Hard to see how it will be better at the extra cost but I'm sure it will be.