Price paid: £ 95
Purchased from: Pawn Shop
Sound — 7
This is where it gets tricky. I have never heard a guitar like this. It is very very deep. It almost struggles to find distortion and through a Vox AC15 C1 it couldn't find thick distortion which I knew the amp was easily capable of delivering through my other guitars (Les Paul + Godin SD). It also seems to be incapable of playing chords at least audibly and clearly. However it makes up for that with the selector set to the neck pickup. The whole guitar comes alive and sounds much clearer and very deep. Masses of sustain and very clear and precise notes both high and low. It has a deep booming sound when playing powerchords that is simply full of base regardless of the amp. By playing with the amp it is possible to reduce the base. I have been swapping it between a Marshall AVT50H and a Vox AC5 C1. It sounded nice on the Marshall but it came alive through the Vox. The sound could be described as rich but almost decadently rich there is so much behind it. Variety? I wouldn't say it had much, it seemed to go from Classic Rock - Hard Rock to maybe possibly some metal but it simply can't do clean at all or so it seems at the moment.
Overall Impression — 7
I play a variety of music and I have yet to see where this guitar will fit in. It seems to handle certain songs better than others. Its quite particular that way. Hard Rock and Prog Rock I think is where this guitar will really shine. I have been playing for over five years and I currently own 4 Guitars and two amplifiers and a variety of other musical equipment. If this were stolen I would be quite upset because I have very quickly grown attached to it because of its defects. I love it cosmetically. Its very pretty to look at it, capturing a classic Les Paul theme perfectly. I hate that it can't do a nice clean sound. Favorite feature is probably its three pickups. Comparing it too my other Les Paul it has a richer sound but is less articulate. If I wish it had anything, probably different pickups because I feel that the body is contributing strongly to the deep sound it makes. A higher output of pickup could bring the sound to a less deep but equally rich sound. There is substantial room for improvement in this guitar and as a musician I love that a lot more than the perfect guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Live playing? Yes I think this guitar would easily survive that, in fact I think guitar could perform beautiful through the right full valve amp. A warm Vox AC15 C1 and the right music and this guitar could perform it perfectly. The hardware is exhibiting no signs of malfunction so far which is more that can be said for some of my other guitars, and they have never been as filthy as this was. The strap buttons are definitely a great point, they are a little large than normal and absolutely solid, I wouldn't be at all worried about the guitar coming free from the strap. As for depending on it.. that's difficult to say since I have never had a guitar breakdown on me. I would say you probably could, it seems incredibly thick. Built like a tank but dressed up to look smart. Its a good weight too. Well balanced and neither too heavy nor light.
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
This guitar was probably chucked out the back of a moving vehicle. It was slightly chipped all over it little places and absolutely filthy. I can't tell if anyone actually used it before or whether it was simply a new guitar that had started life rough. The action was set unbelievebly high, this took quite a while to fix since the neck does not curve elgently as a Les Paul's should. Infact the guitar exhibits all the signs of very poor manufacturing quality in different areas. The pickups are not well adjusted at all and one of the pole pieces is going to need raised. The bridge looked like a small child put it together and the paint job would also contribute to that theory. The number of flaws is endless, most notably the mother of pearl coming up in one places and being cracked in several places. Also the mother of pearl is stained in several places by what looks like dirt. However despite all this from a few feet away the guitar looks beautiful. Only up closer do the blemishes become apparent.
Features — 8
This guitar was built by Spider Guitars in Korea. I have found little to no support for it and have assumed the company no longer exist. From what I can gather they made high end guitars in Asia and sold them in the west. The guitar has 22 Frets with a Rosewood fretboard on a fat neck. The body and neck are made entirely of Basswood. The guitar is a beautiful opaque, jet black with a slight ivory coloured line running around the edge op the body. The body is a direct copy of a Les Paul. Bridge is a Tune-O-Matic that is not locked and simply comes off when all the strings are removed. I think it has two volume and two tone knobs and a 3 way selector between its three pickups. The pickups are the guitars greatest feature as it features three together, identical to the Epiphone Black Beauty. The tuners are unbranded although they have so far proved sturdy and kept the new strings in tune.