Price paid: $ 160
Purchased from: local music store in Singapore
Sound — 7
Genres: Classic Chinese pop music, alternative rock, instrumental rock, post-rock. Tunings: Drop D, Standard E, Standard Eflat. I've played this guitar through a Line 6 Spider IV 30 (borrowed), the original 20W amp that came with this guitar, a Fender Mustang I 20W (emulating a Fender Twin Reverb or Vox AC30 depending on the songs in question) and a Marshall AVT stack (rented for gig). It sounded all the more cheap on the Line 6, but worked surprisingly well on the Marshall stack and the Mustang. Perhaps this might be a problem with my playing as well, but I feel that the bridge pickup sound is a tad gritty, even though I enjoy the distortion. I usually keep the pickups on neck setting which is rather bright (no Hank Marvin sound though, as much as I chase after that like a rabid dog), albeit not sparkly clean.
Overall Impression — 5
To sum things up: Mediocre starter guitar, not the bottom of the barrel, but still has a good feel. It's like a Stratocaster despite not being the real deal. 4 years after I used this thing, I think I'll be using it as a backup the moment I can get hold on better gear. Like a 2nd guitar. Through Line 6 amps, it sounds less than stellar, but cuts the mustard on Fender Mustang I, and got me through a cultural festival concert on a Marshall AVT. I do wish I'd tried a wider range of guitars before this one it was an impulse buy. If it were stolen, the impact would be more emotional than practical I'm saving up for a Fender Telecaster / Gretsch Electromatic Jet right now; the loss would probably be one of my first ever guitar, at best. There are many MUCH better fish in this ocean than the RG-100.
Reliability & Durability — 7
This guitar, for all its low-quality worth, turned out surprisingly durable! I bought this guitar as a schoolgirl and used it at events like cultural festival assemblies, charity concerts and even an exchange trip. My longest set was half an hour and I was quite rough with it as I'm very energetic during live performances, and even jump frequently. It lasted through entirely intact with no dents or dings, although a stock string did snap in the middle of a rehearsal. Part of the hardware seems slightly oxidized right now, but then again I have never got it replaced or cleaned meticulously. I had the plastic film ripped off the pickguard after it got dirty a lack of care on my part I suppose. Strap-wise, I played with strap locks from day one to ensure that no guitar-falling-down incidents would happen thus I can't comment much on strap locks. I've never used this with a backup at all, although since I don't play professionally I've never really needed one. I did end up swapping it out for a classmate's John Mayer Strat, of all things, after the string snap. The finish, just to answer the final question in the review, is still intact despite the application and subsequent removal of a rhinestone competition stripe.
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
When I bought it it had no visible flaws. I didn't fit on the trem bar as I had no conceivable use for it back in 2010. As a more experienced guitarist who has spent hours sitting around in music stores, I dare say I prefer Bigsby's (but that's another story). I had it professionally set up at a second music store. Action was a tad too high for my liking, and there was still slight fret buzz, though nothing overly annoying. The guitar goes out of tune rather easily, though thankfully not within a single song or set. Within a week, it goes out of tune (even in standard E), usually flatter, though I tune up before every time I play it. I probably ruined part of the finish when I added a rhinestone competition stripe for a school performance. It's since been removed with alcohol, and the finish is still intact. All in all, it's probably made of not-so-high quality parts prospective buyers, especially hot-rodders, I strongly recommend you replace them to your specification!
Features — 6
This guitar is pretty much a Strat knockoff, and for its price just decent at best. Clearly a 1st guitar; I bought it to test the waters of whether I was going to continue with the instrument. Four years later, this guitar has served me well, although I can say with surety that something else might serve me better. Purchased in 2010 from a Singapore music school. Made in China. Arrived as a starter pack with 20W amp, gig bag, tuner, pitch pipes, DVD and a set of spare strings. I bought the black incarnation of this (incidentally the only one). - Maple fretboard - Angled headstock (looks nothing like a Fender though) - 22 frets - Body probably plywood - Passive electronics with generic pickups (HSS) - Knockoff tuners (indeterminate model, probably Fender copy) Nothing really Stellar in my opinion, even for a first guitar. It's still a relatively affordable package in any case. I feel it makes a backup guitar at best.