Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 6
I have a pretty versatile style and this guitar suits it ok. For the price it's good but it does them all just ok. When you activate the bridge and neck humbuckers it can get a pretty high out put and good for metal sound. I use it through a Fender Hot Rod Deville (an all tube amp) and it gets a decent blues sound when cranked through the guitar. All though I played a Fender Jimmie Vaungh Strat and it blew it away for blues. It's noisy on single coil mode with distortion cranked but otherwise it's very quiet. It has a dry sound with a very punchy clean tone. It can get kinda bright but you need some amp EQ to get a funk sound out of it. This guitar will do heavy and nu-metals ok, blues and funk ok, country tones ok, just about anything ok.
Overall Impression — 6
I play everything and this guitar does it ok so considering I' just an ok player it fits me well. My gear also assists getting any style of tone I want. My amp has great Fender cleans but crummy distortion. So my array of distortion and overdrive pedals do everything. My MD-2 (mega distortion) gets good nu-metal tones (although I really don't play that stuff that much), my DS-1 will get a great punk tone (which means it sounds like crap) and my TS9 gets a great blues tone. If it were lost or stolen I would save up $700 and buy a C-1 from Schecter. Same versatility but with much better tone. This guitar (exclusive to Guitar Center (or so it says)) is basically a poor mans C-1. Since the C-1 isn't that bad of a price it's probably a better idea to buy that. Assuming that I keep this my next purchase will be a Fender American Strat, then a Les Paul or Ibanez, since this guitar is better at heavy stuff than light stuff.
Reliability & Durability — 6
I would play this guitar live but only cause it is the only thing I have that doesn't go out of tune every five seconds. The hardware seems somewhat durable but I'm planning on some upgrades anyway. The strap buttons are good but I still want a strap lock system. I would always bring a back up but I'm sure it would be fine playing live by it's self.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
I took it in for a set-up as soon as I got it and it still buzzes on a few frets. I also adjusted the pick-ups and now they sound pretty good. The only real problem is a noisy tone knob when you turn it and don't touch any metal, probably something isn't grounded well.
Features — 8
I bought this guitar off the shelf, and in the price range nothing was comparable except the Fat Strat. I chose this one because of the coil tapping. This way you can have bridge and neck single coils and humbuckers. It has 24 frets on a rosewood fretboard. It has a flamed maple top and it has a bolt on maple neck (with rosewood fretboard). It has a Strat-esque shape but a little thicker. It has a string thru body with a Gibson style bridge. As I said it has coil tapping humbuckers. It has one volume and one tone with a three way selector Switch. I believe it has grover tuners, 3 on a side.