Price paid: A$ 700
Purchased from: Allans Music
Features — 8
Purchased in 2007. Manufactured in Korea in 2006.
- Set-in Mahogany neck, Rosewood fretboard.
- Flame abalone inlays.
- Abalone binding around headstock.
- Cream binding down either side of neck.
- Chrome/nickel low profile tuners.
- 22 (medium) frets, 638mm/25.1" scale length.
- Mahogany body, "A"/"AA" Maple Flame top.
- Dark amber sunburst stain.
- String through, Gibraltar III bridge.
- "Chrome" pickup rings, Chrome hardware.
- Strat-esque shape. Mild (PRS SE -esque) arched top.
- Abalone body binding.
- 3-Way pickup selector switch
- 2x Volume pots (bridge, neck), 1x tone pot.
- Neck - Seymour Duncan, Alnico 5 magnet, 8.13K DC resistance.
- Bridge - Seymour Duncan, Ceramic magnet, 17.08K DC resistance.
I'm rating this as an 8 as I would have liked to see the inclusion of a coil-tap, considering the construction and design decisions of the guitar. This would have made it a completely, all-rounded, versatile guitar.
Sound — 8
This guitar has very warm tones, thanks to the chosen humbuckers, solid body and neck join. However, it can be a little cloudy (think jazz-sounding guitars), especially in the low end, which IMO, is due to the neck join and solid body. That said, it makes it an exceptional sounding jazz/blues guitar. For cleans, you may want to use EQ in your signal chain to add brightness.
I enjoy playing heavy music. I generally have this guitar tuned to B with a set of 11's strings. The pickup gain is somewhere between medium and high, and absolutely screams with a valve amp, with little to no hum/buzz. Surprisingly, it also can easily achieve djent tones with very little EQ, however, it can have a certain duck honk sound. Overall, I would say that this guitar is suited for rock, metal, jazz and blues.
I run this guitar through two JetCity JCA50H heads and a Randall Stereo speaker cabinet. And my signal chain is:
1) Kirk Hammet Cry Baby
2) Tube Screamer
3) Boss EQ
4) Wampler EGO Compressor
5) Noise Gate
Post Preamps/FX Loop
6) GT-6 in FX Loop for delays and time based effects
7) Boss Loop Station
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar was setup perfectly when I pulled it out of the box. I'd classify it as a low action, but there is no string buzz or anything to speak of. The guitar needed no adjustments to electronics, bridge, nut, frets or pickup height. It looks impressive thanks to the maple flame and the fretboard inlays. The abalone inlays and binding is a really touch, too. The stain and finish are solid and shiny. It can polish up really well.
It is quite a heavy guitar due to the lack of a back cavity for tremolo/vibrato unit. Also, it only has a small electrics cavity just behind the input jack. I've never had to take it apart, so I'm not sure how that would work to say repair the jack or install new pickups.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It is a VERY solid guitar. It's both weighty and oozes quality. I've only ever had it in a gig bag and hauled it around as a gig backup (for a PRS Custom 24). The strap buttons are solid and I've never had a strap slip off, even when violently throwing myself around the stage. However, it has had a couple of falls out of guitar stands, and being knocked when getting it out and putting it back into a guitar rack, but there are barely any dings. It also stays in tune really well. It will last you a long time!
Overall Impression — 9
I play metal/rock. I've been playing 22 years. I probably wouldn't get another if it were stolen or lost. Only because I have so many guitars. Furthermore the PRS SE models have picked up a but in terms of features and finish, and would probably buy one of those over this.
However, I love it's reliability. Along with a bit of string care, you can not play it for ages and count on it to play well when you pick it up again. It's incredibly durable, the pots don't crackle and are firm to adjust. The input jack is solid so the jack doesn't move around too much. It has a very low hum/buzz sound, great for high gain scenarios. The only thing I would say is that I wish it came with a coil tap to diversify the sounds you can achieve.