Price paid: $ 755
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
Awesome sound. It squeals, it crunches, it sounds great clean. About the only thing it doesn't do well (at least in my opinion) is blues. I feel like there's too much sustain and a good blues note should die a little quicker. I might be crazy though and I'm used to my Strat. At any rate, it's not advertised as a blues guitar and sounds great at everything else. The Seymour Duncan Blackouts put EMGs to shame.
Overall Impression — 9
Again, for the money, this is a killer guitar with tons of range, a great look, and great features. Yes, there are a few rough edges from a fit and finish perspective, but that's somewhat to be expected in a Korean made guitar at this price point. None of the flaws on mine are anything serious to kill the overall rating.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This is my first guitar with a Floyd Rose and I am curious to see how that holds up with time. I will say I have some doubts about that part (especially the string clamping surfaces). The flat black finish is also something I would be concerned about the longevity of. It'll probably show wear and scratches pretty easily. The rest of the hardware all seems good to last.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I really like this guitar, so I hate to do this, but I have to ding it in this category. They really shouldn't put the big American flag sticker on the back bragging about how it's set up in the US if they're going to do such a half-assed job on it. I really don't think they even tried. The trem sat at the wrong angle (although I suspect it might have actually been level if tuned a half step down from Standard tuning) and the bridge pickup had it's height totally different on the bass and treble side. I've read other reviews for Schecter guitars where people complained about the action from the factory being too high. Mine was also clearly too high. As for overall quality, it's way better than the Ibanez guitars I've looked at, but not great. The routing for the back cavity is not very well done and the covers don't sit quite level. The flat black finish with light yellow edging is really cool, but when you look closely at the edge of where the flat black and yellow meet up, it's not perfect and you can actually see slight jaggedness from the edge of the tape used to mask it during painting. There's a dust spec imperfection in the paint in one place. Also, the sanding where the neck and body match up isn't quite as smooth on the top side as it is around the rest of the border. All that said, I'm still going to give it a 7 in this category because (despite some minor detail flaws) it still looks great and has TONS of features for the money. I paid $755 for this guitar and you'd be hard pressed to find a guitar for under $2, 000 that comes close on features. The setup issues are all things that one can fix in an afternoon of tinkering and you have to look really closely to see the flaws in the finish. Also, as mentioned above, I looked at a few Ibanez guitars recently and even the pricey Prestige series guitars had serious quality and fit and finish problems.
Features — 10
Tons of features: Mahogany body; 24 frets on a set neck with an ebony fretboard; active Seymour Duncan Blackout pickups that are truly awesome; original Floyd Rose trem. I think I like Ibanez's ZR trem system better than the original Floyd Rose, but I haven't owned one to be able speak to what it's like to Live with it. As for other stuff in the box, there's not much to speak of. There's no handbook with setup specs or anything like that. It comes with 4 allen keys, but I've only identified two different sizes of allen screws on the entire guitar so I'm not sure what the other two allen keys are for. It also comes with the lowest quality patch cable I've ever seen - I'm not sure why they even bothered including it. No case included, which sort of sucks, but given the price I can't blame them.