Mercury 003 review by Stellar

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (4 votes)
Stellar: Mercury 003

Purchased from: Pawn Shop

Features — 10
From everything I can find out, this LP style blue-burst hollow-body Stellar Mercury 003 guitar was built in Korea with cheap hardware from China (not sure about the pups though). The body is a little thicker than a Gretsch or Epiphone. The body is mahogany, not plywood and the finish is awesome aside from a slight run inside the top F-hole. The neck is nice and thin 22 fret rosewood. 2 tone 2 volume knobs. I would call the inlays mother of plastic... still cool... It had a very low action when I saw it (set neck) I thought "I bet that buzzes horribly" in my head. Long story short I plugged it in and bought it 2 minutes later. I have been playing for about 20 years... This guitar is very nicely put together... Minus the jack and 3-way switch which suck.

Sound — 9
Tone is great and mellow lows with clean highs, a little "hollow and boxy" sounding but I enjoy that... It sustains very well also. I have been playing through a Line 6 Flextone 1x12. I have been playing all kinds of Black KeysZeppelin and bluesy stuff on it great for all. It sounds like a far larger guitar unplugged. Unplugged it is louder than any hollowbody Epiphone or Gretsch I have ever played. I use it a lot unplugged while I watch TV, almost like an acoustic with an electric neck and action.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I bought her used, action was nice and low with no buzz up and down. The pups are HOT 12.5 and 16.5 and have no id markings on them. I like them and will not change them. The input jack and 3-way were cheap crap so I swapped them out. The fret wire is low. Tuners are average not too good or bad, I cant tell what brand they are either, probably Chinese. Pots have no scratches. Finish is beautifully done and I like the double binding. The winding wire decor on the tailpeice is really the only thing that buzzed. I was able to bend and fix. Everyone that sees this guitar thinks its cool looking!

Reliability & Durability — 10
After the new switch and input this guitar is dependable rock solid and would be great for live playing. The plastic nut and Chinese tuners might be a problem down the road. Finish appears very good and consistent. I think it will last. The set neck is solid and the seams are almost non-existent. Nice solid strap buttons. I truly believe name brand guitar made this well would be at least $1500-$2000. Again minus some of the hardware. The hollow body makes it a fairly light axe. Since replacing the input and 3 way I have not had one issue with this guitar.

Overall Impression — 10
I own a Tokai Spring Sound Strat, a Hagstrom LP style guitar an Ibanez Gio a couple acoustics.. I really can't believe what a nice guitar this is. Count on replacing the 3-way switch and jack. If it will be stolen I have already purchased another to back it up, seriously. I love the tone, playability, overall sweet look and the hot pups. I did hate the 3-way switch and input. I wanted another guitar I was willing to spend $800. While shopping I played hollow body guitars by Gretsch, Epiphone, Gibson, Teisco, Norma, Vintage Harmony/Kay, Ibanez and a couple others. If they all had no brand names and no prices I would have still gone with the Stellar Mercury 003! I know it's funny but I keep wondering what's the catch? This guitar plays and sounds way out of its price range. I guess the catch is replace the hardware but not the pups! I have thought about putting a Bigsby on it but I'm worried about it staying in tune... Most Stellar $189 I have spent in a long time.

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