Price paid: € 280
Purchased from: RavenWest
Features: Some info from their site:
"The Mahogany body is capped with Maple and the eye-catching patterns are actually Carved right into the top wood! It features a 22 fret, 24 3/4" Mahogany set neck with bound Ebony fretboard, medium jumbo frets, Pearl Crown Inlays and our exclusive Raven 12th fret abalone inlay as well as a flamed maple headstock overlay.
Classic dual humbucking pickup configuration features genuine smokin pickups by G+B, a three position Switch, a separate volume and separate tone control etc... adjustable bridge and classic stop style tailpiece and Vintage style Ping tuners are finished in chrome and the body and neck are finished in a natural matt finish"
To tell you the truth I was searching for a cheap but decent LP copy, something with a more traditional sound. It is made most probably in S.Korea, but there is nothing stamped on the guitar. No serial number either. It is supposed to feature an ebony or macassar ebony fingerboard, but to me it seems like rosewood. I fon't know how ebony looks unfinished but I bet it doesn't look like this. Also the neck seems Mahogany but I am not sure about the body being actually Mahogany. I took out the cavity covers ad the unfinished and unpainted wood didn't seem like Mahogany (but again I don't no exactly how unfinished Mahogany looks like, I just compared with some photos in the internet). The guitar itself is of medium weight (around 5-6 kg or 10-12 pounds) which means that you a good quantity of wood. I tried to find the pickup company in the net, but no luck and Ping tuners? No luck either. Also I am not sure about this maple top. It has a quite thin neck though, which makes it easy to play.
Anyway for the price paid it seems quite good but for the uncertainities it gets a 6. // 6
Sound: Well as I stated in other reviews I play mostly metal, but I wanted to buy a more bluesy-jazzy-cuddly guitar to experiment and not pay a lot. Maybe do a few mods just for fun and not feel very bad about it. I didn't expect a lot from the pickups either. But I was pleasantly surprised. The sound is quite good and warm and even though I am not sure about the wood species of the body, it delivers a darker sound like mahogany. The quitar itself is very resonant when you play unplugged and has a strong Acoustic sound. You can feel the whole vibrating when you are playing.
I have been playing it for a year now. In the beginning it was through a Line 6 POD xt Live plugged directly to my laptop. It sounded quit good in the clean and distorted channels. Then I bought a Mesa triple rec with a 4X12 Mesa cab and really manage to listen to the guitar. It seems to be really quiet even in high volumes, but the pickups are not as articulate as my other guitars. Especially in the modern channel it sounds muddy. It also requires a lot of mids to sound right. In the clean channel it sounds quite but not something special. But it can deliver bluesy sounds. It has decent sustain something very positive. Again this is not a high end guitar and for it's price range the sound is very good. I would dare say it can go against guitars that are double or triple it's price (through ebay you ca buy this around 250$ in the US). It depends on the point of view. So as a beginner to intermediate guitar it gets a 9 while as an intermediate to good quality guitar it gets a 5. So... // 7
Action, Fit & Finish: When the guitar arrived the setup was quite good. The action was low and it felt good in my hands. It had some fret buzz but that is to be expected from a transatlantic voyage. Nothing that good not be easily fixed. The pickups seemed to be at the correct height and the sound was quite impressive for a guitar so cheap. The looks of the guitar through the photos in the site were very impressive but I was expecting to find imperfections. There is some colouring in the binding, the plastic covers of the pickups, truss rod, the nut and electronics cavity seem really cheap. The electronics cavities are not finished or insulated(and yet the guitar is not noisy) and you can see the actual wood. The trapezoid inlays look really plastic but the bird in the 12th fret and the Raven on the headstock seem really cool. About the fret quality I can't say. My eye is not so experience to see imperfections, but my hand didn't have problems. They felt smooth and I was able to adjust to this guitar quite easily.
One thing I didn't like but was not sure whether it was due to the new strings, was the inabillity of this guitar to stay tunned. Finaly it is a problem probably of the tuners. Since I still haven't taken it to a guitar tech to take a look (I know lazy) I don't know how easily it can be fixed. So every time I play a song and do a bend I have to tune the guitar (especially G and B strings).
To summarise all this flaws are not so evident if someone is playing the guitar and you can see them only after close inspection. The guitar is quite pretty actually and I like the carved top. Also it is a cheap guitar (really cheap) so imperfections are to be expected. The matte finish is nice. Also you don't get this friction sensation you have with gloss finishes in the back of the neck when your hand gets sweaty. Also the neck and fretboard is very smooth and the guitar is comfortable to play. // 7
Reliability & Durability: This guitar feels very solid as a basic construction. It is quite heavy so it doesn't feel like a toy but not heavy enough to Hurt your back while playing Live. Some of the hardware seem durable while other don't. The bridge seems solid but all the plastic parts very fragile. The strap buttons seem solid but I haven't stressed the guitar to much. So far just palying at home standing feels safe. If I am able to correct the tuning instability problem I would depend on it Live. Changing of a broken string is very easy. It is a bit neck heavy though and requires the occasional corrections of the angle or a good strap. For the year I have had it the finish holds fine and the metalic parts show no signs of rust. And I have been playing the guitar quite a lot. The matte finish has the classic problem that when you hit the guitar it makes small dents (luckilly I made only small one) Aside from that, time will tell. // 8
Overall Impression: As I stated I usually play metal but wanted a guitar for a more blues, jazz sound just to experiment further. I wanted a guitar with no tremolo bridges for easy string changings and to make alternate tunings without too much hasle. I also didn't want to pay much and be able to move it around without worrying too much.
For these styles it delivers. The basic build quality seems good and solid. The pickups, the nut and the tuners good use an upgrade but still you can enjoy this instrument a lot. The fretboard and frets are smooth, there are no dead notes and you can adjust easily because the neck is quite thin. The access to the higher frets is not as easy as neckthrough guitars obviously, but it something you get used to quickly. The pickups are a bit muddy but quite crunchy and on the quiet side. I love the way it looks in general, aside from the imperfections. The only thing that really bugs me is the tuning instability but since I haven't taken it to a guitar tech it also somewhat my fault hehe!
I would reccomend it to beginners since it is a lot better and cheaper than some other known brand guitars at the same or even triple price range. For a more advanced guitarist I would say yes only if he wanted to mess with the guitar and pimp it without spending a lot of cash for buying the actual guitar.
If it was stollen I would be sad but I would not buy a new one. If it was lost I would sure try to find it. // 7