Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
As I mentioned before, the Duncan-designed pickups create a sharp, jagged, harsh sound that's just perfect for hard rock and heavy metal! However, I am learning to play a lot of classic rock stuff, (eg. Boston, Rush, Rolling Stones, Blue Oyster Cult etc)and I often use the coil-tap. Also, this guitar is awful and producing acustic-like sounds when played on a high volume level, above half of the full volume of a fifteen watt amplifier. Even with the coil-tap, above that half way point, the pickups are so powerful that they will distort a perfectly cleen sound. Alas, this fine instrument does produce a full, thick sound, again, perfect for playing heavy metal (eg. Guns 'n Roses, Metallica, Killswitch Engauge, Avenged Sevenfold) and, since the purchase of said guitar, I have been writing stuff more along the lines of sort of a fusion between Blue Oyster Cult, Evanescence, H. I. M., and Avenged Sevenfold (I know, go figure). Anywho, clean does sound good below the half way point.
Overall Impression — 9
As I said before, I have been writing heavier stuff since I first recieved this instrument, and, on this beauty, it's a perfect match! I've only been playing for about two years, but I feel I've truly come a long way in developing my skills. I currently own a Crate amplifier along with two other crappy guitars, and about 10,000 picks. This is really the only nice, stage-worthy guitar I have. So, if someone stole it, I think I'd just go buy another one (prefferably in blue. I never saw what the blue finish looked like until about a month ago, and I'd kind of like that more than the red). I think my favorite feature on this one-of-a-kind giutar is the coil-tap. I just find that really cool. My only regret, you may ask? I just wish it had twenty-four frets. Then, it would be as close to perfect as any guitar could be.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Personally, I think the only non-durable aspect of the S-1 Elite is that last freakin string! Ok, I'm better in the head now. I would definately bring this on stage without a backup, provided, that thicker strings were recently added, of course. Everything else is perfect! Remarkable! Frankly, I think the only way this guitar could easily break is if you bash the heck out of it after a killer performance. The finish? Oh, please. You could play until the year 2112, and it still would look georgous.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
This guitar was set up perfectly! Everything was in place and almost calling out to me. No complaints, as of purchase date. Here are the two main flaws discovered after date of purchase. About two weeks after I bought it, the last string broke and has constantly broke since. I sort of figure if I use a thicker string, it'll last longer, but it still snaps. I don't know. Maybe it's just me (oh, yeah. So far the top three strings are the only ones that have broken. WTF?) I'm going on nine months of owning this thing, and about one month ago, I discovered that the rythem pickup was sagging on on side a bit, greatly reducing the sound quality of the rythem sound. Anyway, those are the only two complaints.
Features — 10
I can hardly begin to describe what an awesome guitar this is. I must say that the details are completely superb and offer an incredible playing experience. Perhaps the most noticable features on the instrument are the multi-colored lining on the neck, and the unique multi-colored goth-style crosses on the third, fifth, seventh, ninth, and twelfth frets. These do not serve any purpose, the just make for a wicked sweet decoration. Two features that do actively function are the excellent and excedingly powerful Duncan-designed open-coil pickups. They offer a jagged, powerful, heavy metal sound. That sound can also change with a useful coil-tapping technique, activated by pulling up on the tone knob. As well, two well-needed volume controls also adorn this transparent red guitar's lovely double-cut body. The instrumant's sweet looking bridge only adds to it's beauty and uniqueness. I'm really unsure of what to call it though. It looks like a tension bridge, but it's not and it just, aw, forget it! Anywho, this incredible, twenty-two fret instrument, also features a unique head shape, silver, non-locking tuners, and a three-way selecter.