Price paid: £ 280
Purchased from: Guitar Mania
Sound — 9
I'm tunning this through a Line 6 spider II mainly, and the guitar sounds great. I have owned much more expensive guitars, including an Ibanez RG and a custom Fender Strat, and suprisingly, I'm loving this guitar even more. The pickups are great, and the 3 way selection Switch does the job - although I don't see much point in the phased centre position - there's really no difference between central and neck position. The bridge pickup is nothing short of immense - although I should tell you when I first got this guitar, it wasn't set up at all. This is mentioned in the next section. The notes sustain great and the guitar intonates very well. I have put Yellow Ernie Ball Slinky 10's on it as I don't like the rubber bandiness of 9's, but still like to do lots of bends when shredding. The tremelo has the issue that there is a bit of a gap that the arm seems to rock back and forth in - even though the nut is tightened completely - it messes up vibrato, and makes it harder to sustain a note you are holding with the trem (as opposed to a sting bend). I need to modify this - some tape should fix it.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall - I think this is my best guitar yet - totally loving it - I play mainly metal and hard rock and have been playing 19 years. Although the advise I give to you is to send it straight to a local guitar expert to get the guitar set up perfectly with some Ernie Ball strings. It will cost you 30 but it's well worth it - also don't forget the strap locks. Would I replace this guitar if stolen? I think so - although it's still too early to say as I've only had it a few days. Anyway hope this review has been helpful - I have no regrets buying this over the RR3 ESP as I have 24 frets (evil laugh! )
Reliability & Durability — 8
I think the durability is good on this guitar - the finish on mine is the Standard black and the paint seems thick and looks perfectly even. Only had it a few days - this review is mainly to comment on the set up and built quality. I replaced the strap buttons as the Standard ones are useless and will result in your guitar strap coming loose and your guitar falling to the ground. The tremelo arm needs something to make it sit tighter in the hole of the bridge. Fret board is beautiful - had frets levelled and wood oiled with lemon oil and the saw tooth inlays look set to last. The guitar stays perfectly in tune even after heavy divebombs / pull ups - no worries with the tuning here. I've played Live loads, and I'd not be afraid to take this on stage. It also looks very nice, and my friends all love the shape and style of the guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
This was my main issue with the guitar. I ordered it online, so sure it had probably been sitting in the box since it was built in Japan. The strings on the guitar were slightly corroded - feeling rough under my fingers, but I planned on changing them anyway to put on gauge 10's. The finish on the guitar was flawless and overall the guitar was very clean. The action was pretty high, which suprised me, as most would expect this guitar to come with a pretty low action as Standard. Straight away I booked it in with my local guitar luthier. I asked HIM to put on the 10's and adjust the action. It cost me 30 which was money well spent as the guitar now plays sweet as a nut! He had to level the frets as they were slightly out - when your fret's ain't levelled it basically means you will get the strings buzzing on the frets when you play - often needs doing if you are putting on heavier strings or if you are tuning down. He also had to adjust the truss rod, and refloated the Floyd Rose tremelo. He said the intonation was completely out as well and he has got it set up perfectly now - the notes and harmonics fretted at the 12 fret are as perfect in tune as the open strings. Also had to buy locking strap buttons as if you don't get these with this guitar - your strap is garanteed to come loose and the guitar will fall to the ground! They cost me 8 so money worth spending.
Features — 9
I bought this instead of the RR3 as a great deal came up. Also I really wanted 24 frets like my other guitars, so this is a 1up on the RR3. Don't know when this guitar was made, but I know it was made in Japan due to the made in Japan sticker lol I was a bit unsure about the chrome hardware at first, but now I totally love it. I found with my Ibanez that the black hardware discoloured over time, and I'm pretty sure that won't happen with this guitar. The saw tooth inlays aren't cheap looking, and you don't notice them on you fret hand when your fretting notes which is great. I am going to have to modify my Floyd Rose tremelo arm as it spins about in the bridge hole too easily - I like it to be a bit more firm so it doesn't constantly swing in front of my picking hand. Also there is a little bit of give when you begin to apply pressure or pull on the arm, you feel the arm rock up/down a fraction before there is any change in the note - this is very bad when you are wanting to do vibrato using the tremelo for Dimebag style harmonics, and I need to get this sorted out. I got a great deal on this guitar - a 10% discount, bought from an online store and courier delivered. I thought there must be some kind of catch with the quality of craftmanship, but I'm left totally impressed. 1 point nocked off for the rubbish jack input location, and the terrible strap button locations. These had to be replaced with locking strap buttons.