Purchased from: pawn shop
Sound — 8
I play mainly metal and classic hard-rock, and this guitar suites my style just fine. The humbucker is much cleaner then the Epi Les Paul I traded in... Although I find the sound a bit thin (fender produces less then amazing humbuckers). I have been playing for 17yrs and have owned every type of guitar you can think of... This Bullet Special sounds as good if not better then my MIM Fender fat strat. As there is no tone knob the tonal variety is obviously a moot point. I have played it through my Yamaha Budokon practice amp with a metal zone petal, I've also played it through Marshall stacks and combo amps, as well as PA's and it sounded pretty good then as well.
Overall Impression — 9
As I said before I play mainly metal (Trivium, Tool, Metallica, Megadeth, etc) and classic rock (Zeppelin, Sabbath, Hendrix, Floyd, etc) and this guitar even stock is fine for my style of playing. Again as I said before I have been playing for 17yrs, and got this axe simply 'cause I loved the colour (the bright Orange is so cool) and because I had a really good experience with my first Bullet (SSS). I will say this anyone who blames equipment (aside from technical problems of course, and those happen even on the most expensive gear) for their short comings is a tool. I currently own a few different guitars, in my stable I currently have a 2001 Squier Bullet SSS in black, this Bullet Special, and a Jackson JS1R, as well as a Squier Strat. But in the past when money was not an issue I owned MIA Strats, MIM Strats, Epi Les Pauls, SG's, Godins, MIJ Teles, Ibanez RG's, and Deans. This Bullet is a great guitar unless you're a snob, and if you're a snob well stop worrying about your gear and start worrying about you skills. I wish it had a better pickup and a tone control. If it were stolen I'd be upset even if only because of the great hemi Orange colour and the V-neck. I compared it to tonnes of other guitars before I settled on this one as part of a pair. I played a couple of Schecters, and Ibanez, a Dean ML series, and even an Epi Explorer, just to name a few. As I got this as part of a trade in with a Jackson JS1R it was a much better deal then the rest. Plus it plays great and sounds not to shabby. Plus it kinda reminds me of the classic Charvels and Jacksons from the '80's.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Ok as far as reliability, this guitar will definitely handle live playing. Because of the plywood body it's light and it's freakin Bullet proof. Like I said before the tuners are a bit crappy (and will be replaced with locking ones in the near future) and the volume knob has basically on and off. I never gig without a back-up that's just logical. The poly on it is thin but is very strong it's been dropped by me more then a few times since I got it and other then one scratch on the lower horn (from having leaned over a wooden deck railing while I had it on) it's flawless. It's poly paint so it's durable as hell. The strap buttons are good but I will be upgrading to locking in the future. The Pickup is reliable and I have found no bad coils, but I will be swapping it out for either an EMG or a Duncan Blackface in the future because I prefer active pickups as apposed to the passive one in the Bullet now.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I have no idea how it was from the factory as I got it used. When I got it it had really high action, once I took care of the action it was fine. The neck is nice and straight and has a very Vintage feeling v-shape. The pickup was at a good height. As far as flaws I have two quams with this beast 1. The volume knob does two levels full volume and no volume (kinda handy as a kill switch though). 2. The tuners are crappy, I can tune it and play it for a couple of hours without having to retune, but they're not very precise. The Finish even used was perfect. As I stated before the guitar is made of plywood... I won't hold that against it as it definitely doesn't effect the sound negatively. The black hardware is actually not to bad, I would have preferred if it had a through body tail but that's OK.
Features — 8
I own a 2002 Indonesian made Bullet Special in bright Orange (just like the pic). The finish is very nice. It has a 21 fret maple neck with a rose wood fretboard, the neck is a classic V-shape (think 50's Strat). The body is made of plywood but that doesn't in any way shape or form effect the sound negatively. It has a single humbucker single volume set-up as mentioned before. The bridge is a through bridge hardtail. It has Vintage sized tuners that are OK. I got mine used as a part of a trade for an Epiphone Les Paul Studio (which was in OK condition but not mint just didn't like the weight of the Les Paul), I got a great deal on it as I got this and a Jackson JS1R Dinky (plus cases and a patch cord and a straps, and all of the tools that are needed [hex keys and the special Jackson truss rod tool]).