Price paid: $ 259
Purchased from: Greenshift Music
Sound — 10
The first thing that caught my eye was the sheer beauty of the guitar, but the price stopped me. Beauty is only skin deep, of course. However, one day I was in Greenshift and I had some extra time so I picked it up and plugged it into a small 6 watt practice amp. What a tone! No effects just a simple volume and tone knobs and the guitar sang like a bird. In the studio, (and live), I use a GT-8 either direct or through a Fender Champ 25. I was surprised at how quiet the guitar was despite the single coils. I barely had to adjust my noise reduction effect. The sound rivals my Fender Teles!
Overall Impression — 10
I play all styles of music except, bluegrass, heavy jazz, and metal. So far this guitar has held up very, very well. I own two Fender Teles, two Ibanez electrics (a Strat style Blazer and a Joe Satriani), a Hamer, a Jackson for slide work, a Godin SD, and this guitar. So far this guitar has held it's own against them. I use a GT-8 through a Fender Champ 25 amp. I maintain different settings that range from rock-a-billy to heavy rock to light Jazz and this guitar sounds very good with each setting. If this was lost or stolen I would replace it. A wonderful treat and value for the money.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar has already been debuted live and I've recorded a few things with it. It's dependable and sounds great. It's too new to judge the finish yet, but since it's gold plating I expect it will fade with time, but that's just cosmetics. As a professional musician I am more concerned with sound and playability. I can't say I would use it without a back-up as I ALWAYS bring extra guitars to the gigs (either one of my Fender Teles or my Godin SD, along with my Jackson for slide work). I still can't believe I got something this good for such a low, low price (with hardshell case $340 tax included!)
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The only set up I did to it was to raise my pick-ups a bit (1/16th from the strings on the higher strings/ 1/8th on the bass side). The action was nice and low with no buzz. The neck is like playing on a piece of alabaster it's so smooth. The tuners hold their tune just fine. It's too new to rate the finish yet. The tone and volume knobs roll up and down smoothly and consistently with no big jumps in tone or volume. My only critique is the frets are very, very mildly rougher than I'm accustomed to, but this does not interfere with the playability of the instrument.
Features — 9
This guitar is brand new, and made of all places in China. It is designed like a Les Paul. Mahogany body with a quilted Maple top, a Maple neck with Maple fretboard (my personal fave), it's also got the binding and is in cherry sunburst. It sports a humbucker in the neck and a single coil in the bridge, one volume/ tone knobs, and a three way selector switch. The pick-ups are the stcok pick-ups though I will eventually replace the humbucker with an Alnico single coil. The bridge pick-up is as bright and cutting as a Fender Alnico which was a great surprise to me.