Price paid: € 249
Purchased from: thomann
Features — 7
- Made 2013 in Indonesia.
- It has 24 frets, on a 25.5 Scale (a little fatter than an Ibanez Wizard II neck), rosewood fretboard.
- It's Laminated Maple top, but, frankly I don't know if
- Redburst body, matte black finished neck. Black small tuners, black knobs and a black Tune-O-Matic bridge, more precisely a Recessed Tune-O-Matic bridge (as seen on www.thomann.de)
- It's a Mahogany Body and Supposedly a Mahogany Neck.
- Flamed Maple top.
- LP Style only tinner and figured from the back
- Tune-O-Matic bridge on a string-thru body.
- 1 Volume, 1 Tone with Coil tap for Neck pickup.
- Alnico V 2 humbuckers
- Non Locking mini tuners
Sound — 8
I play mostly progressive hard rock, classic rock, jazz, and blues. I use a Line 6 POD XT Live, so as a simulator I play various amps as far as they are believed to be true to the sound of the real amp. Frankly I expected it to be noisier, but it turned out to be pretty descent. So I play a preset I found in the Line 6 data base, named Steve Lukather, a pretty close one that he plays on "Live in Amsterdam." Spiced up with a little more drive and a little more treble. The sound I have to say is a little louder than my Ibanez with stock Powersound H-S-H pickups, and with a bit of punch.
All in all, I like the sound. It suites me, playing a sound that is more on the mids (don't like bassy or treblish sounds). Having a coil tap on neck PU comes in handy if you have a habit of using it. Being my first coil tapped guitar, I constantly forget that function. But the sound is quite good, so you can use it for playing almost anything as long as you're looking for a humbucker sound. I would say it's quite versatile.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
Out of the box, the action was HIGH. It came with 9-something strings, but i changed them for 10-46. A quick 2 screw - fix lowered the action to my liking. I expected some fret buzz, but to my surprise there was none when i reached my kind of string action. The neck PU was slightly lower than supposed to.
As for the flaws: I have to understand that this is a low budget guitar, and no it's not a mid range. So here we go. Being a string-thru-body guitar, the top ferrules are falling off. My suggestion fix that before your next string change, or you might lose them. The holes don't look all the same, so buying a new set of ferrules is out of the question-you have to fix the ones you own. It has push-on metal knobs (no screw on the side) and my volume knob was loose (the plastic part was not holding on the metal part, so it just spins in circles). And the switch was slightly loose. I think that this is the only model that doesn't have binding. I noticed on the pictures on the internet that there is a pale stripe that goes all over the front edge of the body (kinda grayish) and thought that it's a camera flash reflection or something, but found the same stripe on my guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I've had this guitar for a week now. Still testing it at home. Playing it for days, feels sturdy. The hardware, besides the ferrules and the knob, feels solid too. I use locking strap, but want to buy a set of locking strap buttons, and a new strap. So far I haven't touched the electronics at all, no funny sounds while using the controls so it feels dependable. I have a gig in a few days, and I'm planing to go with this one, no backup, just spare strings. No complains about the finish. This is my first guitar that isn't totally black.
Overall Impression — 9
As I said, I play progressive rock, hard rock, jazz and blues so humbucking sound is a default in these styles, so, yes, it matches my playing. I play for 18 years and had my share of equipment testing. Own a few things, not much. Not having a proper venue for live gigging, my equipment is enough. I have to find a small amp because I like traveling lite, so it's just for monitoring and a little bit more sound modeling and put a mic in front and it will do just fine.
It would have been nice to see the guitar before buying it, but that was the price for online ordering. No matter, besides the minor flaws, I would consider this to be a pretty descent guitar. I also wanted to get the chance to try the Assault Plus, being a more expensive guitar to feel the differences for my self.
If it were stolen, I wouldn't buy it again, 'cause I bought it because I was low on cash, and I don't think I have cash for anything else. Generally I love it. I bought it for live gigging, because I needed this type of guitar. No tremolo, fast string change, very descent PUps, always wanted a LP, but never liked the 24. 7 scale. And this one is a 25. 5 scale LP. Got used to the Wizard II neck, so this one gives me a natural feeling, just a little fatter. Found it online, read a few forums about it, wanted it - GOT IT. So spare me the "you could have bought this or that or whatever". There is one problem tho... I bought a standard LP hardcase. The Kramer fits in it but it's a bit tight. The headstock has a spike that makes the fit in the case a bit crampy. As you push it in the case, you will hear the strings are going sharp. So in my opinion, something is happening to the neck, as if it bends a bit, while you try to put it in the case, and being a low budget guitar, it kinda gives me a bad feeling. Compared it with a few things on the web, but as I said:read about it, wanted it, GOT IT - no regrets.