Sound — 10
So, I have this Strat-replica. Can I make any use of it, since I am a metal-head? Sure. I use it for my punkier side, I have put stickers of all kinds all over it, so it doesn't look as your normal boring black Strat. I play it through my Zoom 606 pedal and into my stereo, since my practise amp pretty much sucks to much to have the 606 through it. If I haven't had the Zoom, I'd probably play it through my little 10W Cruiser practise amp, which is quite nifty, actually, though so small as it is. This is like of the cheapest guitars on the market, but yet, it sounds awesome. My current setup is GHS .011 Boomers and tuned in Drop-B (B-F#-B-E-G#-C#), and even through my 606's heaviest distortion, it doesn't make a sound if I don't play it. When I play however, lots of noise comes out. So, it's basically your average Strat replica, but a bit above average. I can make all from crispy clear to mullen mellow tunes with it, just using pickup selector and tone Switch. I've sent it clean through the stereo a couple of times, and I feel that if I haven't had the need for distortion, that would be sufficient for me.
Overall Impression — 10
I do everything from slow, nice melodic rock to extreme metal, and for my Light side this guitar suits me perfectly. Actually, I'm thinking of getting a Jay Turser JT-LT Custom (a Tele replica) for my even lighter side, but as long as this guitar doesn't show any signs of failure, this one will do. If it broke (i.e. I smashed it in a drunken orgy), I would probably get the Jay Turser instead, but one cannot outrule the possibility of getting me another PhilPro. They seem extremely durable. Since I got it as a gift, I hadn't much a choice for picking it. But I'm glad I got it, actually, cause it inspired me to learn rock guitar and from there on till metal guitar and from there to getting my Mockingbird (which I truly and absolutely love). In addition to this Phil Pro, I own (as mentioned a few times now) a BC Rich Firebreather Mockingbird, a Cruiser electroacoustic, a Cruiser 10W practise amp and a Zoom 606 guitar effects board. And of course lots of nifty stuff, suchs as 3 straps, one of them is actually 2 metres long, two gigbags, a case, about 50 picks, extra string sets, a slide, a capo and a couple of cables. Also a CB Drums MX series 5piece drumkit along with VicFirth sticks (3 pairs X5A, 1 pair 5A and 2 pairs of Rutes). What do I love about this guitar? I love everything, from the noiseless pickups to the durable finish. I dislike the original strap buttons a bit, and the tremolo arm isn't quite as responsive as I would liked it to have been if I had been a tremolo arm user. Which I'm not. I can't stop admiring the finish. Two years of newbie abuse, and still no hacks or deep cuts, just a few scratches where my belt buckle is (I have a pretty large belt buckle in the shape of an eagle's head). If there's anything that could improve this guitar, I don't think it's invented yet (except maybe new knobs for the controllers, but those I've replaced already from Standard Strat white ones till bass chrome ones). This guitar is a blast. I love it. I play it all the time, even though I got my Mockingbird just recently, and I try to play both as much as possible, so that my Phil Pro won't get jealous.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I'd probably take this axe to a gig, if I haven't had my Mockingbird as "primary guitar." I wouldn't have a problem using it without backup as well, since I am yet to snap a string on this. I like to change my set every now and then (read: every 3 months), but I like to bend a lot, and play fast and heavy powerchords, so I am a bit stunned that I haven't broken a string yet. The strap buttons. That's a whole story in itself. While practising one day, the strap button actually came out of its hole, screw and everything. I cursed loudly, then found me some glue that I mixed with the stuff you get after you have cut up wood with a chainsaw and poured this into the hole and screwed the screw back in. Voila! It's stuck again. I have later replaced the original strap buttons with Boston Straplocks, since I need to be dependent of the strap hanging on. The finish. It's whoah! Only place where the finish doesn't look brand new is at the back, at the place where the guitar hits my belt buckle. There it is a bit scratched up (think of the graphics put on the Best of-CD from Guns N' Roses and you pretty much have it). All over the body and the neck, I can't find any damages to the finish, and this guitar is about to celebrate two years of marriage with me. That's pretty impressive. The strap button incident pulls the score down to 4, but the finish puts it back up at 5.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I haven't adjusted this guitar one bit since I got it. Ok, I lied. I have lowered the action a bit, but that's about all. It is simply put, almost perfect. The one thing I would complain about on this thingy, is the forward strap button. But hey, that's next part. I took it out of the box, tuned it and played it. And I still haven't adjusted any thing on it (except the bridge, as I said).
Features — 6
Got this thing for my birthday, so I'n not sure of all the specs. However, I know some: - Body: MDF - Neck: maple - Fingerboard: rosewood - Frets: 22 - Bridge type: ST-2, Standard Strat bridge with tremolo arm - Controls: 1 volume, 2 tone - Pickups: 3 single-coils - Hardware in chrome, colour is black with white scratchplate. I'm not sure of what brand the pickups are, same with the tuners, which are non-locking. Got me a nice padded gigbag, a strap, a dozen picks and extra set of strings with it (I got it as a present for my birthday). It's not outstanding, but it doesn't suck either. This was my very first guitar. I've had it for almost two years now, and it's still going strong. I play it almost everyday, even now as I have my new Mockingbird, but I like the feel of my precious Phil Pro.