Price paid: £ 110
Purchased from: EBAY
Sound — 10
This guitar is probably one of the biggest surprises I've had in a while. I looked at it and read the reviews that said it was the perfect shred guitar, so I ready for when I plugged in and turned the gain up, because I already knew it would sound phenominally sharp even when playing really quickly, or really heavy chords. The distortion is kept in very good check by these pickups. The surprise was it's clean tones: it can produce such clean tones that I have used this for recording with no overdrive using the rhythm pickup and it's remained smooth better than most of my other guitars, including a Schecter V-1 Hellrasier and an Epiphone pro FX les paul(which I have also reviewed for anyone wondering what the hell that is). This guitar could easily handle jazz as I've tried it and it worked. Blues, classical, funk, it truly can handle all of these with ease. Just remember though, it's true character shows when the gain it turned up.
Overall Impression — 10
If you play an explorer-style body guitar, then I seriously recommend having a look at one of these because I can't see it getting much better than this. The only thing I wish I had asked was whether it was tuned when I bought it. I can now retune floyd roses in about half an hour, but when I first got it, the thing was in a drop tuning I didn't recognize so I didn't know what to do with it. It was this that made me go out and learn how to re-do a floyd rose on my own. I would say that this is the ideal guitar for a metal-style guitarist who wants a tremolo system on their guitar. There are more expensive guitars out there like the steve vai signature to name one, but would still say that this is a much better buy, as it is worth so much more than the 600 you'd pay for one new. I recommend you learn about floyd rose systems beforehand, but apart from that, I can't see any other problems with this guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I have played this guitar live and discovered it to be more than up to the task. I can't see any problems presenting themselves in terms of unnatural squealing or bad connections within the guitar. Hardware is nice and solid and the pickups speak for themselves. The guitar I have has been knocked by the previous owner, but to be perfectly honest, I forget while I'm playing and then have to search to see where it's scratched because the finish has stood up to it so well.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
This guitar was bought second hand so I can't tell you how well set up it was at the factory, but it feels very well put together. I haven't had anything break so far, the action is set just right, there's not nasty points on the neck where notes don't ring quite as well as in other places. There are really only two flaws to my eye. The first is the balance problem I mentioned earlier. The second is it's shape. It in no way hinders you ability to play, and it's light enough to play for hours without any complaints from your back; but it's a look that most metal guitars will love and most others will hate. I really like it, but you may not.
Features — 10
Ok then, this guitar was made fairly recently and I'm not sure where it was made. It has 24 frets on what I have to admit it a truly fantastic neck to play on; it's not to fat or thin or too beveled or too straight, it's just the right size. The 24 frets not only means you can get the two full octaves on your guitar, but it makes the high note so much more reachable with your fingers as well. The big flaw with the main comparison with this guitar, the Gibson Explorer, was that the bottom cutaway was so narrow that it almost always got in the way of your hands. This is not the case with this guitar. The finish on mine is laminated with a chameleon green paint job, which means that depending on which angle you look at it from, this guitar actually changes colour in front of you eyes from green to red. Bridge is the Ibanez Pro Edge tremolo system which I have to say is much easier to handle than the traditional floyd rose tremolo system, as you don't need to cut the ball-ends off the strings to restring it. Two volume dials and two tone dials, one for each humbucker pickup, but these are no ordinary humbucker pickups. They are DiMarzio D activator passive pickups, but have been tested and shown to be the second most powerful passive pickups in production today. The only passive pickups with more power are Dimebag Darrel's signature pickups pickups that were installed on his guitars. This guitar does have flaws, for example because of the four strap buttons on it (don't ask why) if you put the strap on the wrong buttons it will dive down by it's neck. Don't worry though, as it's flaws are few and the diving problem is simply a question of remembering which buttons to put the guitar strap on.