Price paid: $ 550
Purchased from: Music Castle
Sound — 10
I play music all over the board, but primarily in blues, alternative and rock and the guitar plays perfectly no matter how badly you abuse the neck with tapping, trills, or anything else. The frets past the 12 though are just a little bit to close together for my taste, in comparison to the Fender Highway One Strat. Frets have stood up to a year of ridiculously constant playing.
Overall Impression — 9
I play a lot of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughen, I also own a Crybaby Wah pedal that fits nicely with the pickups. My Orange Crush 30R amp works great and has keept up with every single note through every "Eruption" to "The Sky Is Crying" and will not let you down. if it was stolen I would definitely buy another, a great guitar for the price and definettely a keeper. In comparison to the Epiphone Black Beauty, it crushed the opposition and will hold it's own very well against a Gibson SG-3. I wouldn't recomend this guitar for someone Who likes to play country though as the clean selection can still be a little rough on the E chords but for me it fits just right. I wish it had a bigsby tremolo bridge but that's not to hard to come by anyway.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Well as I said earlier, the body has withstood all that I can throw at it and I'm a seasoned guitarist. The neck has needed some simple adjust ment and the pickups have needed to be cleaned but other than that the guitar has stayed in tune very well and the neck is yet to have any severe or worrying problems, though a hard case does help with that. The strap button closest to the bridge has been stripped but my strap hasent fallen yet (the bain of the guitar prior to this one 'fell from six inches and the fret boared snapped). The finish is gonna last a hell of a lot longer and even after the paint wears it will still retain it's fantastic looks.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action on this guitar is like pushing your finger through butter. The finish is great like frosted flakes great. I've had it for a year now and the paint still sparkles in the light no wear other than some minor dings on the tops of the head stock and opposite the pick gaurd but other than that it's still a rather new looking guitar. The pickups were slightly low but adjustments are easily made with a small philips head screw driver. The pickup selector is kinda loud but no noise through the pickups unless you crank the volume up all the way to the top but still very subtle. The G string tuner is a little bit loose but it's not noticible through an amp.
Features — 8
American made, 2006 model. Has 22 frets and a laminate top finish. Not sure what woods. I think it might be ebony on the fret board. It's a satin black finish with gold tune-o-matic bridge, obviously a Les Paul style guitar, single cut away. Two Duncan humbucking pickups and a 3-way selector switch at the top of the guitar (same location as on the Les Paul). Has 6 Grover non-locking tuners. Will crush any Epiphone and can hold it's own against the priciest Gibson you can buy.