Price paid: C$ 600
Purchased from: Music Centre Canada
Sound — 6
I play mostly progressive-death, but also dabble in everything from bluegrass to blues to gypsy jazz to classical. The guitar is very versatile, and effortlessly switches between styles. Keep in mind, being a mahogany guitar, the tone is very warm and rich. If you expect jingly highs when playing clean, look elsewhere. For blues soloing, though, it truly shines. Very nice rhythm sounds, regardless of style. Leads also sound nice, but aren't as responsive on cleaner channels, no matter what you do. For what I mainly do, this guitar kicks ass. Really warm bottom end, and keeps clarity on high gain settings. Unconventional chords keep their tonality in extreme settings. I have played it through a Spider III, Roland 30X, Marshall Valvestate, and Blackstar HT-60. Regardless of amp preferences, it seems to retain a very uniform tone. Used in conjunction with the wrong amp (Marshall, Spider), it gets overbearing and muddy. It really needs to be balanced out with a trebley-amp setting. But with due tweaking and noodling, finding a nice tone is fairly simple. As stated, it's great for metal. A very full, crushing tone, that cleans up surprisingly well.
Overall Impression — 8
This guitar is a perfect match for what I need, but it may not suit you. I've played 6 years now, and own several other guitars, but this one just screams metal. If it were stolen, I'd probably get something different. Not because it's not worth the money, but because it was limited run, and I like to experiment. I don't regret buying this at all, as it was truly an investment in my playing. The neck on this thing is absolutely perfect in my hands, and that's why I bought it. I can easily say it's the most comfortable neck I've ever played. It just feels right in my hands. I do plan on changing the pickups to get better cleans out of it, but other than that, I love this guitar. I know solid tens doesn't help anyone, so I'm trying to be realistic here. Truth is, though; this is my favorite guitar, hands down. The scores are fairly low, but I strongly recommend you give it a try, should you ever find one. I fell in love the first time I tried it.
Reliability & Durability — 7
As I said, the finish is fragile. Other than that, it seems to be a solid guitar though. Very heavy, so get a wide strap. The original strap buttons were okay, but I replaced them with Schaller locks. The hardware hasn't failed me yet, so I think it'll be fine. I wouldn't gig without a backup no matter what guitar, because that's plain stupid. Though I would say it's an incredibly reliable workhorse of a guitar, built for extended play time.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The guitar was set up very nice whhen I first played it, but it may have been set up by the shop. Action was killer, in fact I haven't changed it in over 2 years, and pickups were at a really nice height. The finish on it is incredible. It seems to stay blacker than Akon in any lighting. The yellow radiation symbols contrast wonderfully, but the large one is usually blocked by my arm. Somewhat poor planning, I believe. The binding is near flawless, the only problem being a very small portion being missed on mine where the neck meets the body on the bass side. There are no dead frets, and everything came set up fine. While there are many great things about it, this guitar does have its flaws. The access to higher frets is somewhat strained due to the small cutaway and set-neck. Up to 22nd is fine, but you'll have trouble bending from there, and shredding anything beyond. Also, the finish seems to be pretty fragile. Compared to other black guitars, this showcases scratches exceptionally well. And receives them, too. In fact, a 12" drop of an iPod touch will leave you with a nasty dent (I would know).
Features — 7
I'm not sure when, but it was made in South Korea. It has a fairly thick set-in maple neck with 24 XJ frets on an Ebony fretboard. The scale length is 25.5". The body is made of mahogany, with a solid top, and is crafted into Schecter's LP-esque Solo-6 shape. The gloss finish looks absolutely gorgeous, and the design on it is immediately recognizable from miles away. The hardware has a very dark onyx look to it, and includes a TOM string-thru bridge, Grover 16:1 tuners, a bridge volume, a neck volume, a master tone, and a 3-way selector switch. The pickups are Duncan Designed HB-105s (active), which are essentially a budget-priced Blackout. The body, head, and neck are all bound in white. This guitar holds tune excellently, and all the controls work fine. My only bug-a-boos with the features would be as follows: - The volume pots are very unresponsive. They seem to do very little at first, then dramatically drop your volume. It's very difficult to do violining techniques do to this. Also, I had some issues with my 6th string saddle. Other than that, I can't complain much. No issues otherwise. Also, I would have preferred a guitar with a Floyd. But obviously you can't criticize a guitar with no Floyd, for not having a Floyd. It would have been a nice option from Schecter, but I don't like Floyds on LPs anyways.