Price paid: € 300
Purchased from: Thomann.de
Features — 10
This particular guitar was made in Indonesia in 2014. It has a 3-piece bolt-on maple neck (Wizard III) on a mahogany body, 24 frets on a rosewood fretboard, a 25.5" scale, two humbuckers, two humbuckers (INF3 on the neck and INF4 on the bridge position), Ibanez hard-tail bridge, one volume and one tone pot. The finish is weathered black - which looks almost natural (except for the fact that this is not a natural color for a mahogany wood) and it looks perfect on this superstrat kind of body. It amazed me how beautiful it was when I unwrapped it - beauty at first sight :*
Sound — 8
The sounds really nice, I love the articulation you can get from this guitar. Since I'm a guitarist that mainly plays metal, sometimes blues, I test the pickup dynamics in a few ways - a few chords, a few arpeggios, dynamic picking, gradually inducing force to my picking and plucking and so on. The clean sounds are sometimes muddy at full signal set on pots, so you'd really have to take some time to learn to use the pots on this one (assuming Infintys are in there), but as far as metal goes - this guitar was built for it. The sounds is super-aggressive, has a shitload of punch to the tone (which I adore) and the notes ring out pretty well. Definitely worth a shot, but would sooner or later get some Duncans for it.
Also, I have to note the fact that I mainly play this guitar in drop A# and drop C - therefore I need clean, dynamic and articulate tones from it.
The only thing I'd change here are the pickups, along with pots (as they started to rumble about 2 years after I used her and abused her) ad that's it - you've got yourself a badass guitar for pretty solid money.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Given the fact that the finish is natural painted black, it was a matter of time before it showed signs of wear - and those are those slinky spots where you keep your palm and fingers. The part I kinda scratched a lot is ABOVE the pickups, because I'm really aggressive when playing on stage (I tend to break picks and sometimes strings throughout the gig), but you can't really notice that UNLESS I tell you so. Overall, the finish is beautiful and bares nicely with even the largest aggression and lots of sweat!
The pickups and the strings were adjusted very nicely - it was playable straight from the package (which came in Croatia from Germany in about 10 days) with minor changes to the standard E tuning. Very nice, much wow!
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've used this guitar live for many times WITHOUT a backup guitar and I use it at home on a daily basis. It stands in tune for a long time (months, if I don't break the strings after two as I usually do), can stand a solid beating, is really tolerant to changing string gauges and tunings... What else is there to say? The guitar is a marvel for such a low price. I momentarily use it as a backup guitar though, but mainly because I got myself a guitar with Floyd (ESP LTD MH-1000 FR) with which I like to experiment. Even though, this one is used more than the LTD for some reason, there's just something special about it...
Overall Impression — 10
This is a perfect wrecking machine for a metal guitarist. I'm an intermediate/advanced player and love to experiment with guitars, making them sound as mad and aggressive as I possibly can, but I also tend to do a lot of atmospheric sounds and vibes with them, so I have to add the fact that this guitar can do both - and it does it VERY well. I've owned for two years and I would DEFINITELY get myself another one if this one was to get stolen. I'd probably search half the world to get it back to me and destroy the bastard who thought that was a good idea. This guitar is something really, really special. Such a grateful instrument, full of vibes and inspiration. I'm absolutely in love with it and I can't wait to smash some Duncans in it (probably a Nazgul/Sentient combo) and dig right into the magic of it. I hope you found this review helpful and that you enjoy this guitar as much as I have for these past two years! Cheers! :)