Price paid: $ 630.8
Purchased from: Highway Music, Shepparton, VIC, Australia
Sound — 8
The instrument is extremely versatile, able to produce that Hetfield crunch or the sparkling clean Strat tone a la` John Frusciante, despite the humbuckers. Punkers, Metalheads, funk-lovers - everyone will find something in this guitar that strikes a chord with them.
I play through Australian-made Ashton amp, which has a built-in reverb and distortion. Now that I have used the rig for a while, I'm getting used to it and the two are a great combination.
With mids cut down and a lot of gain and presence, the sound is somewhat harsh on ears, and high-volume clean tones on high e-string after 12th fret can get a bit out of hand, but not too bad overall.
The instrument sounds bright and alive, especially with reverb on (which I keep on most of the times anyway). The sound is reasonably rich and fat, thanks to humbuckers, can sound a little dark and moody at times, depends mostly on the settings and the player though. Tone control is more or less self-explanatory, turned to zero produces "natural" pickup tone full of mids, turned to 10 gives a very bright sound.
The instrument is an assault weapon, and can produce an enormous amount of sounds, from the saturated, gain-drenched metal crunch to full-on funk assault of Chili Peppers to Punk, pop, - you name it. Coupled with Ashton, it's perfect for slaying your enemies. Moody blues and Rage's aggressive riffs make good neighbours. An interesting pickup wiring combination on positions 2 and 4 make for some unusual sounds as well.
In all, this guitar is very good, and has a number of features that make it a must for any guitarist. The price is quite accessible, the colour is more evil than any Frankenstein you might have in your basement, and the variety of sounds will make you stay at your rehearsal space for weeks- you forget about everything, it's just so fascinating. The Floyd Rose bridge I found a big pain in the arse, especially when it comes to tuning and changing strings, but it's a nice addition provided you use it often, otherwise it cna be a nuisance. what wouldn't hurt also is the addition of an extra volume/control so you could control both pickups separately, otherwise a very nice instrument.
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing for about a year and 9 months, and I own three guitars - this, Ibanez GAX70 and a knockoff Les Paul, as well as my Ashton 40W amp and another 10-Watt practice amp. If it was stolen I'd either get the same one, or Ibanez S/SA model. I absolutely love the tones on it, and neck is also very good once you get used to it and play it for a while. My fave feature would have to be the pickup selector - 5 position for 2 humbuckers. Really hate the Floyd Rose for it's crappy tuning problems, but you learn to live with these things. Wish it had some more features - a single coil, maybe, or the abovementioned additional pickup controls. A different trem, lol... That's about it.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This battle ax will definitely withstand live playing, although I would keep a backup handy in case of string breaks - thanks to Floyd Rose... But it's a workhorse of a guitar, and is definitely a lasting instrument that's dependable. Tuning and strings is a major issue although it's claimed that Floyd Roses stay in tune (they do when you use them a lot). The whole instrument is quite tough and excellent for live playing save for the small flaws I mentioned.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Set-up was quite nice, but this may be a little biased as I didn't play for very long when I got the guitar. But no outstanding flaws as such, and the finish very nice.
Features — 8
- Made in Korea
- 24 frets
- Controls: Volume, Tone, 5-way selector Switch, whammy (floating trem)
- H/H pickups
- Passive electronics
- Maple neck, basswood body, rosewood fretboard
- General-purpose dark grey finish
- "Super-strat" double-cutaway
- Floyd-Rose patent bridge by Ibanez
- Locking tuners
- Wizard II neck, thin carve, dot inlays
- Accessories: Set of keys for bridge, locking tuners and truss-rod adjustment