Price paid: $ 650
Purchased from: guitar center, raleigh
Sound — 9
He has been playing for 9 months and been using this guitar since Christmas 2010. He generally plays metal and since we looked at this guitar he has learned to like Cradle of Filth, personally not my favorite. He is still taking lessons but has a nack for playing and picking it up fast. Right now he uses it through a Line 6 Spider 15 and plan on a bigger one this Christmas. I do play some but just toy with it and would not consider myself a real player. The store got me one from PRS because they had no more in stock and I did not want the one hanging on the wall. I wanted one that came with the factory settings. It seems well suited for the type of music he plays, but I also think the amp has a lot to do with that. I have a Schecter C-1FR that plays cleaner but the heavy sound of the PRS is what he wanted. I'm sure with the right amp and effects, you could play about anything.
Overall Impression — 9
Like I said, I bought this for my son. I have owned a couple of off brand guitars, a Squire Standard strat, the Schecter and bought my daughter an Ovation Acoustic and found that the Allender by far is a better built guitar for the money than anything I have seen by anyone else. If your not thinking of a PRS for your next purchase, then your not getting the most for your money. I can understand why you would buy a guitar for a certain sound, but if you are only buy one, PRS is the one to get. If this guitar was stolen, he would buy another one. If I learn to play better, I am buying myself one. But I might get the Custom 24, being an old guy who likes all kinds of rock. The one other thing that bugs me which is really kind of dumb is that the finish is so slick that sitting with the guitar is hard for me because it wants to slide off my leg. I prefer standing anyway. It would have been nice if it came with locking tuners, and the Switch is in a weird place, but after toying with junk for a long time, I can oversee that. If your looking to buy a guitar, see what the pros are playing. You'll find there are a lot of PRSs' out there.
Reliability & Durability — 8
He doesn't play live yet but from comparing it to the Schecter, I would say it should have no problem standing up to live playing. I like that the neck is glued in rather than bolted, it gives it a more solid feel. And since I changed it to locking tuners, I'm sure it will stay in tune better. Coming off a Floyd Rose to non-locking, it seems like it never stays in tune. The strap buttons seem fine, and the rest of the hardware seems okay. The tremolo seems week in comparison to the Rose but it works fine. I'm sure one could play it without a back-up if their playing with the same tuning all the time. Personally, I wouldn't go out of my way to thrash the guitar, its to beautiful for that. I gave it an 8 because I really have no clue how it would do live playing heavy metal.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I had him play different guitars for about 3 months before I got him this one. At first he wanted an LP and we looked at some Gibsons and Epi. I also had him try a few SGs. He is not a Fender fan. He also tried a few Schecters, but when I gave him a PRS to try, it quickly became a matter of which one did he want. My budget was around $500 and that gave us a few to choose from. He fell in love with the feel of the neck, being a wide/thin model. We still go on weekends to try other guitars and still prefers the PRS. The settings are still factory with no buzz and easy action. The guitar itself is a beauty. You cannot go into a store and not see that PRS guitars without a doubt are the best looking line of guitars short of high end customs. I am a cabinet maker buy trade and find the finish to be quite impressive and Bullet proof. You have to really try to scratch the finish. I'm also glad it has the chrome finish so it won't wear like the gold. In general, the finish is flawless. The only thing I saw that was a little off was a tuner didn't seemed lined up quite right, but that doesn't really matter.
Features — 8
This will be a different kind of review, I bought this guitar for my son. I think it is a 2010, made in Korea. It is the emerald green version with chrome hardware. Mahogany body with curly maple veneer, a maple neck with rosewood fretboard, can't really tell with the finish. It's a double cut-away with PRS tremolo, EMG active pick-ups, one volume, one tone, and 3-way switch. It came with PRS non-locking tuners but recently changed to Sperzel locking. I bought it with an inexpensive hard case. I rated it an 8 because I thought it could come with more controls.