Price paid: £ 399
Purchased from: Rich Tone Music
Sound — 8
I mainly play progressive metal but I do venture into classic rock and blues as well, however I play in multiple tunings and since my other guitars feature floyd roses as well I have a guitar for each tuning with this Jackson set for drop C. When in Standard it played all my styles quite well and the Floyd Rose didn't have as much of a problem as it does now coping with tunings and dive-bombs, however the guitar had a lot of natural crunch, which meant playing clean or with light overdrive was quite difficult, however for the heavier side of my music it was excellent. I play this through a Zvex Fuzz Factory, into a Zoom G7.1UT and into a Marshall MG30DFX (yes, I know, not the best amp but I mainly just use it to amp my pedals as opposed to give any of it's own tone to the guitar). With the drop C tuning the guitar still handles the metal side of things very well and the pickups have good definition for each note, even with heavily palm-muted low riffs. Overall I would say this is a metal guitar. You can achieve other tones with it, but if you are considering guitars for drop tunings or just want an all-out heavy guitar this is the Beast for you.
Overall Impression — 8
I play mostly progressive metal and this guitar does work very well for the kind of sounds I want. I have been playing now for nearly 6 years and also own an LTD F-250, a Vintage AV100 and a guitar by Shine (no idea what model, got it second hand). Before buying this I tested out an Ibanez RG370DX, a Jackson RX10D, a Schecter C-1, an LTD EX-360 and an LTD V-401FR and this guitar, despite the Bridge problems, sounded and played the best to me. If I lost this I would probably get it again, despite the work that needs doing to it, because it does play very well. I do wish it had an actual Floyd Rose original bridge, but I still think it is an excellent guitar, warts and all.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I have played this guitar live a few times, and it played well, however I couldn't really play any of the Floyd Rose techniques I like to incorporate into my songs because the licensed one is so terrible. That being said, I removed the arm and just pretended it was a fixed Bridge and it played excellently, really makes a good impression on stage and feels excellent under the fingers. The strap buttons are very solid so far, however anything could happen so I will most likely swap them out for strap locks after I've replaced the bridge. I wouldn't use this guitar without a backup simply because of using multiple tunings and the Floyd Rose on this guitar. It can last a gig on its own, but it is a risk in case anything goes wrong or you decide to change tunings mid set. The finish also seems to be quite good however it is starting to wear off on the very tips of the fins where it stands up as I haven't got a stand for a Flying V or a wall hanger for it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 4
This is where the guitar falls down terribly I'm afraid. The action out of the box was reasonable, just a touch too high for me and the pickups were well adjusted. However the good points pretty much end there. The Floyd Rose was horribly set up, any kind of agressive dive-bomb and it would detune the strings and any kind of pull-up and the strings would drop up to an octave, truly horrible. The intonation for the Floyd Rose was also off by a fair way as well, which is really dissapointing because the guitar itself is an absolute joy to play on, very very smooth feel to it and allows for speed without even thinking about it. The other flaw I have found with this is that it is very top heavy. You learn to compensate and it doesn't really affect your playing, but it is something to be wary of. I don't really want to mark this down as much as I have to because despite the obvious major flaws it still does play fantastically, and I would recommend it to you, no matter who you are, but you do have to be wary about what work needs to be done before you can get the sounds it should be able to come out with.
Features — 7
This guitar was made in 2010 in Japan. It is the King V shape, with an alder body, bolt on rock maple neck with rosewood fretboard, 25.5" scale with a compound 14" to 16" radius. It is gloss black, has a Floyd Rose licensed locking bridge, 42mm locking nut, Jackson tuners, chrome hardware, one volume, one tone and a 3 way pickup selector and comes fitted with duncan designed humbucker pickups and came with a free jacksno gigbag. In terms of the features it comes with everything I want in a guitar (minus any onboard effects I may or may not feel like including) and the stock pickups actually sound fairly good, which amazes me. However, the Floyd Rose on the guitar is pretty terrible, worst licensed floyd I have ever played on, which is a BIG fault with it.