Price paid: C$ 450
Purchased from: LA Music
Features — 9
Not sure what year it was made but I do know it was made in China in the BC Rich facility (BC Rich owns Michael Kelly). The guitar has a really nice greyish/black flamed top that looks really nice in person. 24 frets, 25.5" scale length. The guitar has a Mahogany body and a real Floyd Rose bridge. It comes with high output Rockfield Mafia pickups.
The only thing that would prevent me from giving this a 10 is that I'd have liked it to be a neck through. It's a bolt-on and the style of bolt-on is much more akin to an Ibanez RG than say a Jackson Dinky/Fender Strat that have the baseplate where the neck connects to the body.
Sound — 7
The sound is one of the things that sold me on this. I've had it now for about 4 years and still think it sounds fantastic. Those Rockfield pickups are a really treat and cover the spectrum from metal to rock to clean.
For being a relatively unknown and smaller player in the pickup world I was really pleasantly surprised with how these stacked up tonally against the passive EMG's in my LTD and the active Blackouts in my buddies guitar. In a live setting they sounded every bit as "metal" as the Blackouts but not quite so over the top in the distortion department.
The only drawback here I've experienced and it may be a by-product of being manufactured in China is that the selector switch crackles sometimes and drops the volume of the pickup being switched into. This almost sounds like when your active pickups battery is dying and you know you are losing tone a bit. This results in me frantically jiggling the toggle switch back and forth until it makes a solid "connection" and my tone is back - at which point I'm behind on whatever I was playing.
I'm sure the issue could be easily remedied by a service shop so it's not a huge deal but was surprising when it presented itself.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I took possession of this guitar after having it set up by the shop. I remember my initial unsetup playthrough being impressive but once I picked it up and it was properly set up it played like butter. Great action, amazing tuning stability, no sharp frets and a buttery smooth neck (a little on the thicker side than say an Ibanez Wizard). Aside from the noisy pickup selector which I dinged points for in the sound department the guitar was when I picked it up and still is to this day a joy to play on.
Reliability & Durability — 7
The guitar has a real Floyd Rose bridge and brand name pickups. After a pro-shop setup and look through of the electronics I wouldn't hesitate to gig it without a backup. I have gigged it and had my LTD with me for backup just in case but never needed it. For the pickup selector though I'd always worry in the back of my mind if I hadn't taken it to a tech to look at. With that in mind I think you'd be worried to switch into the neck position for a solo and that's not what you want to be thinking about when you're on stage. So with a pro setup of not just the strings/bridge but also of the electronics I'd gig it sans backup no problem. Otherwise, I'd probably want a backup just incase.
Overall Impression — 7
For the styles of music I play it's a great match. Among my 6 string guitars (LTD M-200FM, Ibanez SA) it's my go to. I love that for the price it came with a real Floyd Rose and not some crappy "stock" pickups. Aside from not being neck through it checked all the boxes and has consistently delivered in being a fun to play, great sounding guitar.
I obviously hate the pickup selector and after writing this review and mentioning it so many times it's something I'm just going to get fixed so I'm not worried about it anymore. For the price I paid for it I'd never be able to get as much guitar for the money (not accounting for the used market). I'd search long and hard on the used market for another before considering buying something else if it was stolen.
Overall rating would come in somewhere in the high 7's like a 7.7 or 7.8 for me. If the electronics were sound from the factory it'd be an easy 8.5 for me for how feature rich it is.