Tallwood13, on december 08, 2014 4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Purchased from: Craigslist
Features: This model is like Damien Elite-6 FR but without the Floyd Rose. At first I didn't care for it at all but when I found the right tuning for this guitar it was fantastic. For it's price it makes you wonder how they make money on these guitars. You've got 18:1 Grover tuners not cheap no name ones with the guitar company on it stamped there to remind you what you're playing. A Graphtech Tusq nut which brings guitars to life, 24 XJ frets that will survive more than one fret crowning. A 25.5 scale to tune lower than an over rated Les Paul. A very thick neck which helps tune the guitar lower. Sure it's a little harder to play because of it's weight but it's great. Basic wiring, string through body with a Sung Il bridge and over rated EMG pickups. For it's price I'll definitely give it a 10. // 10
Sound: I took the EMG 85 out after a few days, now it's the original 81 which suites my guitar better. The bridge pickup I went to the dark side... I went with a Seymour Duncan Blackout AHB-1 (regular blackout). I'm not a fan of actives but I really like the contrast I get from messing with the EQ. Where as everything sounds the same on the EMG 81; which is why it makes for a fantastic neck pickup haha.
It's a loud guitar, a very thick and powerful sound. Dark and warm because of the fact it's mahogany but even though it's got such a thick neck and body it still can get some nice bright tones out of it. Tuning and string TYPE (not gauge) matter big time.
From the factory an 8. I'm gonna say an 8 as mine is extremely subtley "custom." With the blackout which is far from placebo I've played at least 500-600 guitars minimum and the blackout made this guitar somewhat of a keeper. It's a shame the pickups aren't passive. They have this fake digital sound to it, the blackouts were a nice band aid but I know I can get better tones out of this guitar if I wanted to. I also like how it's a string through body so you get a lot more sustain and a better string ringing out.
So acoustically 4/5 - the fret buzz bothered me otherwise a 5. Electric 2.5 / 5 - blame the EMG pickups. 7 rounded up. // 7
Action, Fit & Finish: I bought it used. But the fretting could be better. It's not a Hellraiser or Blackjack so they can get away with it to a certain degree. I liked the cobalt sparkle to it, it stands out and the inlays have this unique cross like look to it. Again I bought the guitar used. BUT from an average player perspective and a guitar electronics expert they did a fantastic job otherwise. The stereotype is oh get the guitar setup it'll get rid of the buzz, not this case. Fret leveling is a service guitar techs offer for a reason. // 8
Reliability & Durability: This guitar will definitely take a beating. The neck is re-enforced with a volute (think of it like a thumb rest) to prevent the neck from breaking if you drop the guitar and are too cheap for strap locks. The only thing cheap they went on was the bridge but that isn't a massive investment. 50 or so dollars.
It's heavy so have a back up guitar or some way to take breaks and switch between guitars in live situations unless you're like 63 and over 200lbs. So I don't see myself just playing this guitar on stage as the one without the Floyd Rose weighs about 10lbs. So as much as an over rated Gibson Les Paul Custom. So a perfect 10 for durability I'd totally tour the world with this and again no "wow factor" but based on what it's made out of and so forth this is a really solid guitar. // 10
Overall Impression: This can be used predominantly for metal and shredding there is no doubt about it. The player and amp settings make or break the guitar as always because mahogany is mahogany alder is alder as I always say.
Very high end and quality parts for such a low price it boggles the mind why anyone would still go with Gibson or Fender. One guy brought over a Gibson Flying V he paid around 1000$ for and he ended up liking my Schecter and LTD guitars in the 500-ish street price range way more and ended up selling his Gibson how much he liked the subsidiaries of ESP as ESP owns Schecter. Believe it or not I didn't like this guitar at first but it really grew on me. Other than the really thick neck which is great for low tunings and very thick body you have to get used to and I'm farrr from an Ibanez player it's a solid guitar minus the "ok" at best fretting (bad, ok and perfect I'd go by) it's a great guitar. Of course buying this it's going to not excel in everything as no guitars will so this is something to surely stand out in my collection to get tones none of the other guitars in my room will or can.
If the fretting was better I'd be extremely happy, but again that is what Hellraisers to Blackjacks are for. I didn't care for the pickups - then again no one keeps pickups factory to the point it's a joke. But it's a great guitar acoustic just the lifeless active pickups are all you ever get in metal guitars over 500$. So for the price and what to expect this goes far beyond what most brands will. I'm happy to give this an 8. // 8