Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: Just Pickups, Pittsburg, PA
Sound — 10
I play anything from classic rock to thrash and black metal and this guitar is just right. You could definately play blues as well. I currently use my AV3 with a Marshall Valvstate 265 and it sounds awesome. The stock pickups leave some to be desired, but overall really aren't that bad considering how much the guitar is worth. A beginner would have no problems at all with the sound, although there is a little bit of a hum. Spend a couple hundred on some tasty pickups and I shit you not, you're playing a Samick that is just as good as any Gibson.
Overall Impression — 10
I play many different types of metal. From black metal, doom metal, progressive metal to thrash metal. I also love to jam to older classic stuff like Zepplin and Floyd. This guitar is great for anything. I've been playing for over 10 years and aside from an '86 Reissue Gibson Explorer, this is the best guitar I've ever owned. I'd buy another one for sure. I love the weight, the sound and the feel. If anyone reads this review and takes anything I say to heart, hear these words: Brand name doesnt't mean everything. Hell, for years Samick has made guitars for the big companies anyways (if you've played on Jackons, Gibsons, ESP, you've probably played a Samick and didn't even know it). This guitar has quality that just DOES not come in a 300 dollar guitar. I swear by this, buy this guitar, take it to your local guitar shop and get some inexpensive work done on the nut, bridge and intonation and get some quality humbuckers and you have a guitar that easily equals (if not exceeds) any Gibson Les Paul worth double what you paid for. I play all kinds of guitars. I love Gibsons. But you just can't go wrong with a Samick!
Reliability & Durability — 9
It looks like most of the money was invested in the body and not so much the hardware. Not saying that the hardware sucks, it's just not great. But as I said before, just add some new pickups of your choice (I currently use a SH-13 Dimebucker on the bridge and an SH-1 on the neck) and you'll have a guitar that you'll never get rid of. I'd definately tour with this guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The factory set up was decent. Unless you're spending a few G's on your guitar, you'll always have to take a store bought guitar to the shop for some alterations on the nut or bridge or intonation which is what I've done with this guitar. The action on this guitar is great. it's genuinely fun to play on. I love the heavy feel of a solid body guitar. This guitar both looks and plays beautifully.
Features — 8
Some people only swear by a guitar's brand name. In most cases that's probably the way to go. However Samicks have never failed to impress me. My AV3 is an 06' with 22 frets, carved maple top with mahogany body, rosewood fret board, grover tuners and an adjustable bridge. 3-Way selector and 4 volume/tone/pickup knobs with two humbuckers (I believe they're H/H humbuckers). Bottom line, this guitar is beautiful!