Price paid: $ 1140
Purchased from: Billy Hyde
Sound — 9
My main style is metal all shapes and sizes and this guitar fits the picture perfectly for it. (Unless you play lots of different tunings, but you can get one without the FR so no big deal). I do play some surf guitar but not enough of it to effect me and as surf guitar is a bit of a tinny sound as it used old guitars the 81 does a good job of doing that (even its fault has an upside). I'm currently plugged into a Peavey bandit 112 which gets the job done for what I need at this point of time I would like to upgrade to a tube amp but I still love the Peavey as it is a long lasting amp and sounds good for a SS amp. It's a loud guitar because of it's hot pickups but it doesn't buzz or hums that you don't want unless you put on 2 distortions (a pedal and amp) but it does it with my other guitar as well Epi SG-310. She can make some good sounds due to the Floyd that's a plus for the sound but the emgs can limit it to some styles ask it's peaks for metal (but hey that's why I bought it).
Overall Impression — 10
I play metal so yes it is very good match. I've been playing for 2 and a half years with a SG 310 which is now my drop guitar, and I use my Peavey bandit 112. No I asked about every question possible on it but just try up the warranty just incase you do get a dud (these things happen). She wouldn't get stolen, because I literally either have her with me, locked in a room where 3 people have one the world (school). but if it was I would probably get me and my whole football team onto that person and beat the absolute shit out of him and then kill him and then get one if I can't get mine back. I compared it to Jackson's, Dean, ESP and Ibanez and this one came out on top by far because I was on a budget and in all seriousness this would have to be the best under $2000 (Australian) out there.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have played 3 times with this live and they were for my exams and tryout for a competition (which I got into and am performing in 4 weeks at) but back to the guitar. So yes it does withstand Live playing but if a broken sting occurs there could be some drama so I'd you think you might have one breaking change a day or 2 before you play so that it sets in and is stretched etc. this guitar looks like it will last and feels that it will I accidentally hit it on a door while walking around the house playing and it did more damage to the door, it got 1 little bit about 3mm big that just lightens in the paintwork. The strap buttons are coming a bit loose but I'm not going to do any guitar flips even if it was very sturdy because there is still a 1% chance of it coming off and I don't want my baby getting hurt.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
When I bought it the action was a little 2 low it would buzz a tiny little bit on first fret on the low E string. the rest of it was fine and there where no dramas except there were old strings on it when I first bought it but they can be changed for what $10?
Features — 10
I've noticed that this Axe is a very popular one for metal guitarists. This guitar was made in South Korea in 07. It has 24 frets extra jumbo set neck, I would say medium thin neck as it's neither an Ibanez nor a les paul neck it would be just a bit thinner then a Strat. She (yes mine is a girl) has maple top, with black cherry in colour and Abalone bindings with "gothic cross" inlays (so very metal he he). It has a very nice Strat body but is a bit thicker then your average Strat shape guitar. The hellraiser has a Original Floyd Rose which is a big bonus in guitars around this price as they usually have licensed which if I may say are a waste of time and money as they will start going out of tune if you use them often which hey you wouldn't get a tremolo if you were going to use it, because of the hard work they can use. It's set with a 81 in bridge and 85 on neck at the start I wasn't to fond of these as of the diversity of them but you can if you change the amp settings can a nice tone for even blues or surf guitar, I didn't really like the sound of the 85 at the start either but I find when I'm playing clean that's the one to go with as the 81 sounds a bit tinny which is a downside to this guitar, for example you can't get a heavy sounding clean like a Pantera type of clean so to speak, but when it's got some overdrive it makes up for it. The controls on this guitar are 2 volume (1 per pickup) and 1 tone knob (both pickups) and a 3 way Switch (down = bridge, middle both and up neck). It's equipped with Grover locking tuners. I got mine just as the guitar as it was on sale but they did take $50 (Australian) off the case, but the thing that pissed me off most, they gave me wrong size Allen key!! And I didn't have the right size as is 25mm-30mm it's one of the two.