Price paid: £ 390
Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 8
I play metal. This is a signature guitar by a metal freak so this guitar has one use. The clean tone is almost non existent as the bridge pickup is just too trebly and has no real depth to it. You don't buy this guitar for anything else but Metal. I'm playing through a Marshall DFX250 and a Boss MT2. I also run it through an RP6 at times. This guitar can have a bit of pick noise when you use the Dunlop .88 picks but I find if you Switch to the little red tortoise shell or at least a thicker pickup, the scraping sound is removed. I think it's got to do with heavier guage strings especially on the B. I would advise that when the distortion is on that to get a really classic metal feel, you need to have a noise gate in place to remove any buzzing/humming that can be generated from having an active pickup. The sustain on this thing is so long you could go make dinner, come back and the note is still ringing away.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a metal guitar. You wouldn't have even heard of this guitar if you played Bach. I've been learning Trivium's Shogun album and this is the match for me. I played the Schecters, Ibanez and Baritones and this is the best of the lot. Then factor in the price and you're well ahead of the competition. A really cool feature of this guitar is the 9v battery pack. There is a plastic case that allows you to flip the battery out and replace it in a split second. This is genious. No other manufacturer i've seen is doing this. I also used to be of the thought that neck thru guitars were the only way to go. This guitar is a bolt-on and the sustain that it has is amazing. The headstock is oversized and that is probably what I would change but I never even really thought about this till I read another review. Word of warning, if you go to your local guitar shop and the guitar doesn't quite sound right, a bit tinny or too much vibration int eh speaker cab when playing the B string, first - change amps and play a beast like a Mesa Mark V or at least a JCM 2000 through a cabinet. Second - the guitar might not be setup correctly.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I don't play live but you would only need this guitar and no other. This thing will standup to the punishment and if you've ever seen Fear Factory live, I think these things could go to war and come back unscathed. I think like any other guitar, take care of it and it will be there when you're gone. The key feature here is that there are only the basic electronics and nothing else. With a Volume knob and one pickup, the chances of anything going wrong are slim to none.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I bought this guitar from a guy on Ebay and made the trip to his place to get it. It was setup perfectly from the beginning. Everything was tight, no loose screws or faulty wiring. The action on this guitar is as good as you can get. Keep in mind this is a 7-string and with such a thick string on the B, .57 in my case, you need to have the action slightly higher for when you start pounding this guitar 180bpm. The action then can be perfectly set for soloing on the high E to power chugs on the B. The biggest standout by far on this piece of goodness is the neck. For the price range, to get a hold of an Ebony neck is unheard of. Then there's the shape! If you have ever played an Ibanez 7, those wide fat RG style necks will leave cramps in your fingers after 5 minutes. The width is only slightly increased on the COW so you really get a good grip and play with comfort. The body still being a Dinky makes it feel like you're playing a 6 string. The finish on this is top notch. Black. What more do you want. It's simple, no fret markers or flashy graphics. Like others who've pointed it out, you need to have a cloth handy and remove all the fingerprints as they will stand out after just one session.
Features — 9
This guitar was made in 2008. Body Species: Mahogany with Carved Top Body Style: Dinky Pickguard: None Neck Type: Bolt-On 3-Piece Mahogany with Satin Finish Neck Binding: None Neck Dimensions: 3rd Fret: .735", 12th Fret: .810" Fretboard: Ebony Fretboard Radius: 12" to 16" Compound Radius / 304.8 mm to 406.4 mm Scale Length: 25.5" / 648mm Number of Frets: 24 Fret Size: Jumbo Frets Nut Width: 1.875 / 48 Inlays: None Bridge Pickup: EMG 707 or 81-7 Middle Pickup: N/A Neck Pickup: N/A Pickup Switching: None Controls: Volume Special Electronics: N/A Hardware: Black Bridge: JT390-7 Adjustable Bridge with Strings-Through-Body Tuners: Die-Cast Tuners This guitar was made in Japan 2008. No Case Included.