Price paid: $ 1200
Sound — 10
Unlike the "Children" Who have reviewed this guitar so far, Here is what I can tell you. If you hook this guitar up to a real amp, you will hear your fingers on the fretboard, Do you know what this means? The pickup can hear every nuance in your playing. If you screw up, you will be heard. I play this guitar through a Crate V30. don't know what that is, it's an Orange AD 30, I had about 10 people compare the two amps with me, their the same, except the Orange has a bit different reverb. I don't use reverb, it's cheating, you have to have reverb in a room to actually get reverb, Want reverb, get big enough to play a concert in a large venue, the venue will have built in reverb. The sound I was looking for I can get with pretty well any guitar, but what I wanted was clarity in playing, I use this guitar on the V30's overdrive channel, but I put the overdrive gain to about 4, and then volume up to 4 at home, it's really really loud, but super clear, you can roll off the volume knob on the guitar and it is pretty well nice and clean, but you can really AC/DC it up with full on volume. This was exactly what I wanted, This is what Zakk Wylde does, I get a very JCM 800 sound, only I can get a lot more gain from the amp itself, leading to more saturation and more sustain. The other thing Zakk Wylde does that I do now is use the MXR Wylde Overdrive. It pretty much just adds a big gain and volume boost, It really brings everything to life in a metal way, the bass is so clean, and it cuts right through for leads. BTW all you COB fans Who love Alexi's tone for lead. This is how you actually get that tone, Get a Tube Amplifier, Make sure it's Marshall type tubes, AKA EL34 or even better EL84, then run it at a semi low gain setup, then stomp on an MXR Wylde Overdrive, By far the smoothest high gain I have ever had. It is simply tone bliss, I am done buying guitars and amps, this setup is beyond perfect. The single EMG 81 is all I need, especially when I have noticed that when I play my other guitars, I don't use the neck pickup much at all anymore. The neckpickup is great on guitars, it can really make arpeggios sound more OOOey, but I prefer how the bridge pickup is much clearer if you do not have another pickup wired to the input jack. I have read a lot of forums, and the largest complaint I have read about this guitar and the ESP Alexi Laiho models. Everyone Who buys these "Alexi" guitars is using a solid state amp, and way too much distortion. If you use this guitar with a solid state amp you will notice that it is very brittle, there's a reason, cheap guitars have muddy pickups, cheap amps are brittle, if you mix the two together, you get a semi decent tone. If you get an expensive guitar with a nice pickups, they cut through with their Precision and tone. If you still have a cheap amp, you will notice that much more, how much your amp sucks ass. Also, the EMG 81 had a gain boost built right in, so it will sound fizzy with excessive external distortion. If you use a good pickup, you no longer need the DigiTech Death Metal or whatever piece you used to get a razor sharp "Dimebag" sound, It wont work with this guitar. So if you want a professional guitar like this, I suggest a good amp, and turn up the bass, you will get crystal clear sound even with overdrive.
Overall Impression — 10
I play every genre of music. I use this guitar for metal. I do not play anything that is reminiscent of American Death Metal, such as Slayer type music, I do like fast riffs and stuff that Slayer does, but bands that just play riffs for a certain number of bars then change and play another riff in the same key, then go back to the other riff and call it a song, that's kind of too simple for me. Neoclassical, Speed, Standard Notation Music. I am not part of the COB Fanboy club, I really like Randy Rhoads, And I love black metal, though not black metal like Immortal, Think more of Dimmu Borgir and Norther (Some songs) Ambient keyboards, and chord progression song writing. I would simply just buy these guitars if this were stolen or broken or whatever. Alexi even told me he would rebuy a Jackson Rhoads with 24 frets, but then he got the ESP endorsement, which would be pretty hard to pull out of at this point, plus their the same guitar, except his cutaway idea fails. I played his Sawtooth guitar on the bus with HIM, and I found that it is harder to play on the larger strings at the higher frets on his guitars. He agreed and said he'd try to change it, the new Pink striped guitar must be the result, he eliminated some of the round heal that was in the way, but it still looks pretty hard to play compared to my Jackson. I wouldn't bother using this guitar for anything else really, It plays classic rock just fine, and other stuff, but I only take it out of it's Giant hardcase when I am going to a show. At home I just play les pauls in my house, and the Rhoads takes bandpractise in the studio, which is no where near as often as gigs. I can't think of anything that would make it better, just more colour options. The ultimate version of this guitar for me, would have been all black with White bevels. I never liked the yellow too much, and I don't like colours much in general so red was out, I got white, It deffinately looks original, My old RR3 was all black, and I had given it white bevels, It looked great, but I think this all White wiht black bevels is starting to grow on me.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It lasted everytime I have played it Live so far. I always have backups, but I trust this guitar for sure. What can go wrong, just one pickup, no extra wiring. And like most other EMG equipped 2005+ year guitars, this guitar has the Quickloader for the battery. You just open it up when put a battery in it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Yes the Volume knob was loose, it was on all of them when they showed up at the music store. I just got a screwdriver and tightend it, can't lose points for that. Everything else is great, the most important thing, the neck, Mine was setup flawlessly. I asked the store if they had set it up, they said no, and then said it looked better than necks they professionally setup for top dollar.
Features — 10
I got a 2007 MIJ Rhoads. I wanted a Rhoads forever, but they were not available with 24 frets, I had an RR3, but Bolt on guitars a crap. I have a Cream Les Paul Custom, and it's nice and fat, and I have an ESP MH 250, Which is by far the most affordable backup that is actually a pro instrument. 250 bucks for a neckthru with EMG's and a great Floyd. So I got this rhoads because I already was set on this shape of guitar for my main guitar, but I couldnt get 24 frets, I was not about to waste money on an RR1 or RR5 when they only had 22 frets. And yes I utilize it, it's very hard to do an E arpeggio at the 19th fret starting on the A string, if you cannot finish it on the 24th fret, Bending on the 22 never works for me, takes too long. The features are on the Jackson website. But basically Alder body, Maple neckthru, 24 frets, Floyd Rose. Thin Flat neck, very fast, Huge frets. One Pickup.