Price paid: $ 189
Sound — 8
I love all kinds of music and I play a lot of different styles. My RW Strat is ideal for rock and blues, for metal it is a bit too jumpy (but with one whole step downtuned it is a lot better). I have a 30Watt Roland cube, I mostly use the digital effects the amp offers. Plus I have a chorus stomp box. The RW has a wide range of sounds, from (resonably) warm to ear popping bright. But with a sertain amount of distortion the piece of G string between the neck ending and the tuner starts vibrating resulting in a very high D, sometimes cool but mostly anoying. Can easily be fixed.
Overall Impression — 8
I have been playing for 2 years now and for the music I play with my current band it is great, although I'd rather play metal, this guitar can handle anything when played right. If it was stolen and I could buy it for the same price again I'd say yes. I love the transparent finish, it stands out on stage and looks real classy. Only thing, I wish the strings would stay in tuning when using the whammy bar, then it would have been perfect.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I think the RW will survive live playing, and it has. It is a suprisingly solid and light instrument. The strap buttons look a but thin but they survived the test of time and I can now savely say I'll take this guitar onstage without a backup. A friend offered me to play his Epiphone Les Paul, but I said: 'No, I like this guitar too much! I wouldn't trade it for the world!'
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This is the part I am most exited about: I can't find any flaws. This guitar is a work of art. Action - perfect (for me), pickups - great.
Features — 6
This guitar is a complete mystery, I wouldn't know where (Richwood is mostly produced in Asia) or in what year. Dito for woods used. It has 21 frets, a laminated top and a nice transparent finish. The pickups are all single coil (3 of them) with a 5-way selector.