Price paid: $ 250
Purchased from: Guitar Center (used)
Features — 9
I was in the market for a versatile instrument. My criteria was pretty straight forward. Set in mahogany neck in mahogany body, tune o matic bridge, decent nut (graph tech I believe), coil tap, pickups I won't want to replace, and decent tuners.
The tuners are nothing special, but they are useable. I may want to upgrade those in the future. The stock speed knobs were nice enough to keep, but I wound up replacing them just because I like to do at least something to set my instrument apart. Nice overall feel, doesn't bend as easy as my trem guitars, but it's not supposed to. Overall there's nothing to complain about, just the possible upgrade to the tuners.
I wound up with the black one with gold hardware, which is ultimately why I got gold top hat knobs for it. Totally unnecessary, but very nice looking.
Sound — 9
My writing style varies heavily, between extremely distorted melodic material, to very clean twang. What I tend to learn is rock, milder metal, and anything clean that I think sounds nice when I'm practicing while listening. The Duncan Designed pickups are honestly every bit as usable as the pups they're modeled after, which has a lot to do with Schecter, and the quality of their instruments. I have the actual pups from a dead guitar, and I haven't thought twice about putting them in. They're truly excellent, and will stay in it so long as I have this instrument.
I have gotten absolutely insanely powerful sounding distortion out of this guitar, and the cleans are thick and pronounced. The coil split does what it usually seems to do to humbuckers, making them thinner, and not at all an honest replication of a single coil. I wound up buying a Squier Strat to work on as this wasn't quiet the single coil sound I was after. Don't be confused though, it can definitely be used for whatever your ear wants, I just had something particular in mind. Honestly, just wanted a strat anyway.
There is nothing to complain about here. There's no buzz, the split works, and it does cover a lot of ground. It's as close to a do it all guitar as I've found, and if that's what you're after, you're going to be hard pressed to find something that does it better.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Can't speak to factory settings, but when I got it from guitar center it was all but perfect. The finish is gorgeous, the hardware is too. There is no way I can say anything negative about the action, fit or finish. It's what a guitar should look like out of the factory (minus usage marks that come with used instruments, barely noticeable stuff).
The guitar feels heavy, in the sense that it feels like you could kill a few thousand zombies with it before it starts to break. And it looks so good you'd probably hold on to it after that just in case you find a way to fix it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It's mahogany. You can break it, but you really have to try. I'd use this exclusively without a doubt if I needed to. The buttons seem solid, don't use them much. The finish seems laid on quite thick, and again, there's nothing to complain about here. The hardware all seems fine and I don't see any reason for it to suddenly just stop working how it has been. The tuners aren't locking, but the tuning is actually pretty stable, although some floyd bends can take it out of tune if you don't string your guitar right. Solid instrument.
Overall Impression — 9
I play varying styles of music, and value talent in guitar playing. I wanted versatility. For that, it is a great match. I've been playing for somewhere around 11 years... Have a built up Squier Strat, a Squier Jazzmaster (excellent except for that damn bridge), a Schecter Raiden 4 bass, and a reworked WI66 Pro LP style guitar I had to do a whole project on to turn it into a fat cabronita style tele'ish guitar. No favorites, but I do love this one.
I'd replace it in a minute, and there's nothing not to love about it. Favorite feature would have to be the pups, and the split. I compared it to a lot of LP style guitars, and decided on this one because of the unique shape, awesome price, sound, and just great looking instrument. Probably will swap out the tuning pegs, and that'll be it for this one. Great guitar.