Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features — 9
The Damien Platinum 6 FR is a new 2013 model and is built in South Korea. It has 24 X-jumbo frets on a Rosewood Fingerboard with unique platinum "bat" inlays on a 3pc maple neck. It's a solid mahogany body superstrat with a Satin Black finish and a matte silver-colored binding around the body, neck, and headstock. It has a Floyd Rose Special Bridge with your normal EMG 81/85 combo and a Volume/Tone control. The tuners are Grovers. The hardware is all in a matte-metallic color. The Floyd Rose'd version comes at 600 dollars and for the price it's literally a steal where such similarly specked Set-Neck mahogany MIK guitars with EMGs are in the 700-800 dollar price range (Schecter Hellraiser and ESP MH-1000). The FR Special doesn't keep in tune quite as well as a FR-1000 or Original but if you don't go completely crazy with the trem it should be just fine.
Sound — 9
The guitar is what it is: metal. It looks and sounds metal. I use it through a Marshall MG15CFX amplifier at home and with proper settings it sounds really nice. I play mainly metal like Queensryche, Megadeth, Metallica, Tesla, Skid Row, Alter Bridge, A7X and the likes, and it handles it wonderfully. The EMGs are not as good as the Blackouts in my opinion, but you can still pull a nice tone from them and they still excel with high gain. I haven't messed much with the clean sounds or many other genres at home but when I originally tried it out the clean tone wasn't terrible. It was a little bit flat with clean settings. On my amp, I run it through the OD1 channel with high gain and light reverb and it handles metal beautifully. It has a nice heavy sound and cuts through solos like nothing. I'm coming from a Fender Starcaster starter kit so it's light years ahead tone-wise.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action from the factory was a bit too low - you could hear fret buzz on almost every string (though very unnoticeable while plugged in) but the rest of the set up was fairly good. It arrived almost perfectly in-tune and required very little adjustment and the pickup height was set up better than at the local GC. The matte finish is a bit easy to scratch/get oily and the back trem-spring cover was fairly scratched up when I got it but the rest of it is fine. The bindings are very well done as are the frets and inlays and aside from the action and back cover it came very nicely set-up.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I haven't played the guitar live yet but I do feel as if it'd be ready for at least shorter live gigs. I probably wouldn't go without a backup since that's always a bad idea though I don't think anything would go wrong. I'd just most likely replace the pickup battery before the gig for precaution. The strap fell off all the time on my old guitar thanks to it's low quality but on this guitar the strap buttons are nice and big and it hasn't happened yet. The finish seems fine although easy enough to ruin with heavy picking.
Overall Impression — 10
For the price I got it at, or even the price it sells at street-wise, this guitar is a steal. I first picked it up at a local GC after playing a few Hellraisers. My initial thoughts were: "It's a set neck Schecter with EMGs for 600? Seems a bit good to be true." It looks beautiful and is a definite headturner and unique-looking guitar and it's a great match for me as I play lots of metal. The thing I dislike most is the pain of working with the FR tremolo. Compared to the MH-1000, Hellraiser C-1, Hellraiser Special, and several Ibanez guitars, this one won for the bang for your buck aspect for the most part. Coming from the sh-tty starter strat, it's amazing in looks and features and sound. If I lost it or it was stolen I'd either buy another one of see if I could get a Blackjack series Schecter with Blackouts. I'd love to try the Sustainiac version of this guitar too some day although my local GC doesn't carry any. I'm giving it a 10 for overall due to the awesome appearance and the quality and features for the money.