Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
I play just about everything, and this guitar can easily supply what I need. For blues, I use coil tap with the Switch in the middle. The neck pickup with coil tap produces a very nice acoustic-sounding tone, and the bridge pickup with serious distortion is just awesome. Seriously, I can't describe it any more than that. It is mind blowing awesomeness with single coil or humbuckers. The single coil is pretty noisy, but that's normal. It has a very nice bright tone that is surprisingly suited to just about anything. It gives a very nice full sound with the Switch in the middle, and is excellent in the rhythm position. I run it through a Line 6 Spider 212, and it sounds amazing on every setting. I can go from acoustic simulation to a near-perfect Hendrix tone with a few button pushes. I've actually played some Black Sabbath songs that my friends thought were prerecorded. In short, awesome ax!
Overall Impression — 10
I've played Gibsons, Fenders, Ibanezes, PRSes, Parkers, ESPs, Lagunas, Epiphones, Squires, and half of everything on the wall at my local guitar center. This guitar beats all of them. Easy to play, perfectly set up, awesome sounding, and crazily fast, this guitar is a worthy addition to anyone's stand.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar was built to withstand nuclear war. The hardware has easily outlasted my friend's PRS, and the wiring hasn't changed a bit. I've only played this Live a few times, but it hasn't let me down. The stock strap buttons should do fine, but I've put locks on just in case. I would definitely use it without a backup if my band's songs didn't require so many bizzare tuning changes. There are a few dents in the neck from banging into doors, but the finish has easily withstood 3 years of wear and tear.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This guitar was set up pretty much perfectly at the factory. It even came perfectly in tune. Barring some serious string-bending, I usually only have to tune it once a week. The truss rod is adjusted well enough that I can also drop it to B with no trouble. As for the action, I can only say that this is the fastest guitar anyone I know has ever played (my guitar gets passed around a lot. The finish on the neck makes it impossible for your hand to catch (I'm looking at you, Epiphone! ) and barring a string change where I accidentally put the bridge on backwards, the intonation has been perfect. The bookmatching is flawless. This was actually my first electric, and it took me six months to figure out that the body wasn't only one piece of wood. The cherry burst finish helps with that, but still, that's pretty impressive.
Features — 9
I don't know when this guitar was made, but I got it in 2006. It has held up beautifully over the years, and it plays as well as the day I got it. It came with D'Addario 10 gauge strings, but I've put Elixir 11 gauge on. It has a beautiful Cherry burst flamed laminated top. The neck is rosewood with 24 seriously oversized (VERY good for pinch harmonics and tapping) frets, and the body is mahogany. It is a Strat shaped body, except that it's arched and more solid. It's a string-thru-body bridge, which makes it extremely easy to change strings and produce a whammy-like effect. The Grover tuners included are very easy to use, and the strap buttons are perfectly sized (although I've put strap locks on anyway). Passive Duncan HB-103's (humbuckers) at the neck and bridge, a 3 way switcher, and push/pull coil tap help round out this guitar's impressive array of features. The only reason I don't give it a ten is that I would have liked a Floyd Rose tremolo, but I can't have everything.