Price paid: $ 220
Purchased from: a small store in Miskolc, Hungary
Sound — 9
It pretty much suits my music style. I mean I play metal, and this guitar was made for metal. Though as I said, the humbuckers are muddy... Kind of. The first time I tried it (at the store) I played it through a Mega Amplification something-something amp. It sounded nice enough to convince me that this is actually a good guitar. At home I ran it through a Peavey 5150 (the stack, not the combo), and a Peavey Backstage II. The first one sounded OK, the second one was a sh-tfest, 'cus the Backstage sucks. I did not even hear much pickup noise. As I hit my first chord on this guitar, I was surprised. It was nice, thick, beefy and chunky. The knob though (yeah, there's only one. Talk about minimalism...) is bad. I mean REALLY bad. I had to check is the pickup is active or not, because as I was rolling the volume back, the sound didn't clean up. Yeah, the signal got weaker... After a while, then it completely shut itself up. I don't even know if it's the knob or this weird pickup, but - though it's passive - it feels like an active pickup with the wrong knob installed.
Overall Impression — 8
I don't like this guitar too much, but I'm stuck with it. I might file off the fret ends, buy better electronics and just do something with it, because I sold my previous guitar (which was a Harley Benton Les Paul 450CS), though I think that was kind of better. I've been playing for 4 years, this is my 3rd guitar and I'm not so pleased with it. I wish I could've strapped it on before buying. I probably wouldn't have bought it then. If it was stolen or lost I'd probably buy an LTD M10 or M50 to replace this one. They're almost the same price. I love that it can do awesome metal tones, I like the abstract body shape, I like the DieCast tuners and that they stay in tune no matter what. I hate that it neck-dives and that the fretwires were filed off so poorly. I basically chose this one because I wanted a new guitar. Something better than the Benton was. I had enough money, I liked it at first, and I bought it. I wish it had a tone knob and a lighter headstock.
Reliability & Durability — 6
I would not take this guitar to a live show. Ever. It's not about the poor construction (the construction isn't too poor...) or the small strap buttons (the strap buttons are pretty huge), it's one major flaw that ruins everything: neck diving. The headstock is so heavy, it dives. At the store I couldn't strap it up for 2 reasons: the place was so small I could barely stand there with a guitar in my hand, and the guy was all out of straps. I can play it sitting down, no problem. The problem starts where I have to leave my comfy seat, stand up and play like that. It's virtually impossible, because with my right hand I have to support the neck, as well as fret the notes, and I have to watch out for the guitar to not fall over and hit me on the shin with its ridiculously huge and overweight headstock. (That would probably break my leg.)
Action, Fit & Finish — 3
The factory setup was a complete disaster. The action was raised all the way up, and I could barely fret a note. The pickups were down all the way, so they did not pick up anything. The intonation was really off. I had to work on it for like 2 hours to get it set up properly. The fret wire was filed... Wait, it wasn't. The fret wire ends hanging off the neck and the fretboard are plain annoying. They cut my hand several times.
Features — 9
So... I wanna begin with that I did not really look forward to buying this guitar. I just went into a shop, seen this one, tried it out and bought it. I know that it has 24 frets, it's a 25.5" scale. It has an alder body, a hard maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, a set of DieCast tuners (which are pretty darn good) and a reverse headstock. Now I have the Gothic version, which I don't know if it is any different from the regular black one in terms of electronics, but the pickups are kinda good for a cheap guitar. I think they are HWW HOT humbuckers, but I'm really not sure about that. The bridge is pretty cool for metal rhythm playing, the neck is nice for clean tones. The only downside is the lack of a tone knob. This would not be the problem, but you know that sound when you roll the tone knob all the way back, and it is mostly bass and mud coming out of the guitar... Now that is the sound of this one. It can be EQ'd out, but I had to make a little modification to the bridge humbucker to make it sound like a proper humbucker.