Price paid: £ 420
Purchased from: Rattle and Drum music
Sound — 8
I use this guitar with a 90's Peavey Bandit 112 (which I'm soon Marshall TSL 602) and a Dunlop Cry Baby wah, with no other effects. I play in a covers band wich plays anything and everything from Snow Patrol to Green Day to Guns N Roses, and I myself prefer things in the classic rock/hard rock vein, aswell as blues, and whatever else takes my interest. This guitar handles them all pretty well, some better than others. The JB humbucker is fantastic for overdrive, it has Crunch, bite and sizzle wich combines with the Mahogany body for a powerful tone with great sustain. Some say this pickup is slightly messy sounding due to the highoutput, but I find it easy to produce a tight overdriven sound, great for palm muted riffs. It can do classic rock crunch, but can also growl nicely a la GNR. Its also easy to get a decent metal tone out of it if you tweak the settings. However, the JB's clean tone is quite harsh, and lacks real character, although the singlecoil bridge position sounds better for clean. The 59' Humbucker has a thick, warm sound best suited to classic rock and cleans up nicely for blues. It does sometimes sound slightly wooly, but this can be helped if you tweak the settings. I suspect this also is largely because of the Peavey I'm currently using it with. The clean tone is beautiful, clear, glassy and smooth, probably my favourite clean sound from this guitar. The neck singlecoil position has an almost acoustic quality, with a nice twang when you dig in, very responsive to dynamics.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, this is a great guitar for the price I paid, it does everything I ask from it, although I may consider swapping out the neck pickup. My favourite features are the killer playability and great sounds, although some areas of its tone could be better. If it were lost or stolen, I don't think I'd get this guitar again, simply because they're no longer in production and therefore difficult to get hold of. Originally, I planned on a Fender Blacktop Strat, but eventually settled on this guitar because of the killer spec and great price.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar will, and has withstood the test of live playing. I've used it for several different gigs/performances and it hasn't let me down yet. All the hardware seems solid, and built to last. The only sign of wear is the black finish on the hardware, which has begun to rub away, particularly on the bridge, but this is just cosmetic. The strap buttons are also rock solid, but I still like to give everything a routine tighten up before every gig though. The finish also seems like it will last, I estimate it will be years for the finish starts to wear away. I have gigged this guitar without a backup, and will do again, as I have no other giggable guitar. Overall, I'm confident in this instrument.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I really have no complaints on this front. It was serviced and set up by the shop I bought it from, with no problems at all really. The action was great, just how I like it, and all the frets were nicely filed. There are no imperfections in the finish other than the light scratches, buckle rash etc from the previous owner.
Features — 10
I bought this guitar second hand, and it has great features for the price paid. It features a strat-style solid mahogany body with a set-in 24 fret maple neck. This guitar is a baritone, so naturally has a long scale neck to retain clarity when drop tuning. The neck joint is Schecter's Ultra access heel, which makes playing right at the top of the neck a breeze. The finish is gloss black, which looks great and contrasts well with the cream binding. It also features dark pearl dot inlays, Grover non-locking tuners, a tonepros bridge, 1 volume and 1 tone control, a 5-way selector switch, (coil split) a Seymour Duncan JB humbucker at the bridge and a Seymour Duncan 59' at the neck.