Price paid: $ 632.99
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 8
I'm running through a Bugera 6262 Combo and I really like the sound I get from the guitar. This guitar has a very deep and rich sound. It meets my metal and jazz needs. The EMGs in this guitar are satisfactory to me, they are super quite when not in use, and have no hum or fuzz. Clean they have loads of tone and are crisp, very full sound. The distortion is not as good as the clean. They don't have much "Oom-ph" almost like their output is less when distorted. I am debating keeping in the 808 in the neck position and putting the Seymour Blackout in the bridge. The F# string is the only string that doesn't ring clear, distorted or clean. Play around and experiment to find the right area to get a less muddy sound. Other than this and the "okay" distortion I'm happy with this department.
Overall Impression — 9
This was a guitar was something I had been saving up for two years for and I'm very happy with it. I play many different genres but specifically play jazz, blues, and metal with this guitar. I love everything about this guitar excluding two things: the lack of the kick with distortion and the flaws in the neck. Compared to other 8 strings on the market I'd say this one is best for the price, Ibanez RG8s are too expensive and the LTD 8s don't have the quality the Schecters do. Then the Omens are just bleh! So I'm super happy with this guitar and would encourage people to try it for the extended range capabilities. It has helped my playing so much and has really encouraged me to extend farther into music theory. I will never go back anything with less than 7 strings. I highly recommend the Damien Elite 8!
Reliability & Durability — 8
This momma is built like a rock. It weighs roughly 12 lbs. So it's not too heavy but it doesn't feel cheap. So far the only thing about durability is exactly what other reviews have said: the chrome finish fades off to a black one. Unfortunate but the black is just fine with me. The finish still looks brilliant after I polished it about a month ago and I'm more than satisfied with this. I always buy strap locks for my guitars because of my paranoia that I won't catch my guitar when the straps come loose. But this guitar has some huge strap buttons, long and thick. So I even kept them and they are working very well for me. If I was a regular live player I would have a backup, just so I could have different tuned guitars. Super reliable and built to last.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Factory setup was very good excluding the tuning, which was out by a 1/2 step on every string. But it was shipped well with tons of foam padding and bubble wrap with another wrap around the body guarding the finish. The action is really low and after the strings stretched a minor fret buzz on the F# went away. The body has a perfect finish, honestly it is breath taking. It did require a polish a week or two after buying it, but since then it shines brilliantly. The only beef I have on this guitar is that the neck has two places. One being a slight pit and the other what appears to be a build up of finish. Because of this I have to rate lower than I would like.
Features — 10
This Korean made beauty futures a quilted maple top with a solid mahogany body, bolt on maple neck, and rosewood fretboard. The Fret board has 24 frets and features some really wicked celtic cross inlays. Ah yes and it is a 26 1/2 inch scale. It can come in three finishes; Flat Black, Cherry, or See-Through Black. I chose the See-Through Black because of several reports that the Cherry finish often had flaws. Let me tell you it is a beautiful guitar the finish is flawless and really shines. The hardware features Schecter's Grover tuners, they are smaller than normal Grovers but they are just as good and hold a tuning for about a week. The Damien Elite sports the EMG 808 active pickups. Then a fixed CTM8 bridge, a three channel selector, volume and tone. All the hardware has a chrome finish. For the price, I personally believe this as close to perfect you can get, hats off in this department.