Price paid: $ 150
Purchased from: Samash used
Features — 9
24 frets, Indonesia 2008-10, maple neck with rosewood board and basswood body. Trans gray gloss finish and jumbo frets with 2 HBs (V7 neck and V8 at bridge). Powder coated hardware finish... string thru body and fixed bridge (no trem). Volume and tone only. Came with padded new generic bag. Rate "9" at $149 hardly used. Solid body of several pieces and the neck uses a strong joint near the headstock. It's a stratty look, but closer to a Schecter with sharp horns, bevel and rear side scallop in the body (comfort cut). Passive pickups
Sound — 8
It's versatile and I do not shred or play any metal at all. I play into a customized '73 Ыilverface Princeton Reverb with upgraded power and a Celestion speaker. So I have a budget mid-priced guitar into a nice amp. I play clean, so the pickups are not distorted through a very clean small amp. Compared to a Strat or Tele, this guitar has a bigger sound with both pickups on or the neck humbucker alone. The is bridge, both inside coils, both full HBs, neck in parallel, neck alone. Versatile sounds, but the bridge pickup could be replaced with something more gutsy for rock and roll or country and pop. It's trebly and lacks clarity and bass resonance. Neck pickup is pretty good with ceramic magnet.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Well put together and neck pocket was clean; pocket shimmed to get the bridge saddle screws sunken in to the saddles (Allen screws too high in saddles chafe your hand and indicate the neck angle is wrong). "7" as I got it used and it was clearly not set up by a luthier. Now it's closer to a "9" with nut slots adjusted and neck angle correct. A bolt on neck allows this easily and is common in modest imports. Jackson Dinky 32 is an exception this year (2014) and is very nice that way. The reliability and simplicity of these ordinary base models is a part of their appeal: inexpensive and not shoddy and easy to modify.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Sturdy, solid, good weight. Hardware is fine and finished well. Good strap buttons. Finish will scratch, so it may not be urethane, but reasonably hard gloss. It's a well made neck that will take use and the headstock will not shear off like some Gib****. Solid tuners are smooth. This one you would never worry about damage in stage play and if lost, just get another used one. Likely the HBs are 4 wire in most models so a 5-way could be used with a wiring diagram. No tremolo makes for a more stable tuning for most guys and some of us do not care about a tremolo.
Overall Impression — 9
For $150 used wit ha new padded bag, it's a steal. Most guys who can play will get a different bridge HB or use the tip shown in YouTube to exchange the magnet of the 2 pickups (not swap pickups)... Stock is ceramic neck and alnico bridge. I have nice guitars and buy for value since I know a good guitar from a mediocre one. This one is not mediocre, but for well under 200 for a nice guitar in good shape and new bag, it's "good enough." Every guitar does not have to be a fine one or a custom shop one. The imports are better than USA made in many cases for a LOT less $.