Price paid: $ 100
Purchased from: Rondo Music
Sound — 7
Everyone on this site always mentions how they "play everything" stylistically when reviewing gear. I'm a little more honest than that. 80's butt rock, and more modern post hardcore/popcore is where I feel at home. After a lot of modification and a decent set up, this guitar did fairly well for both. It's a little noisy (just throw a decent suppressor in your chain or keep swapping pickups till something suits you)but the P90 actually sings in the neck. The single coil pop gives you enough clarity on the low end that playing downtuned is really easy and fun. I've run it through a Fender Bassman, a Bugera 333XL, a Mesa TriRec, and Fender Mustang and was able to get pretty sweet tones out of all of them, post mod'ing of course. It doesn't sound or play like a cheap guitar anymore.
Overall Impression — 7
I wouldn't recommend this guitar to a beginner because of all the work it entails, but for someone who is looking to learn about working on a guitar, its a great deal. Inexpensive enough to allow you to buy more parts, but not too expensive to where your heart will break if the guitar does too. After you fix these things up a little, they look great and sound pretty sweet too. I'm thinking of using mine as part of a relicing project to give it that rustic feel and appearance. I would probably buy one again if this one craps out or is stolen simply for the ease of upgrading. With $60-$100, you can make this bad boy play like a much more expensive guitar. Well worth the buck if you are looking for a tele copy. Don't let the crappy stock parts turn you off. This guitar has a lot of potential and is just waiting for the opportunity to shine.
Reliability & Durability — 6
After being cleaned up and set up, I would totally trust this thing live. As a main or backup depending on what you feel more comfortable with. I use it for my worship band without any issues at all. It's a little noisy, but that is easily fixed with a noise gate or suppressor of some sort. I will probably replace more of the hardware as time goes on and only for the purpose of making it suite my needs, but overall PENDING A SET UP (I can't stress this enough), it plays very well and sounds great to boot.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The factory set-up was terrible. The frets were so high that I could almost slide a pen between the strings and the 12th fret. Intonation was even worse than the action. One of the screws that connect the saddle to the bridge was bent at like a 30 degree angle. SX quality control definitely dropped the ball on this one. The bridge is cheap material, but not too shabby and as I mentioned before, the nut was a pleasant surprise. Nothing loose or jingly when rattled, nothing seeming too out of place. The fretwire was pretty rough, but nothing that can't easily be fixed with a file and some steel wool.
Features — 6
I bought this guitar with the intent of hot-rodding it. Personal after market modification. I figured "heck, for $100 I can get a tele body and neck and have a surplus of funds left over to customize it with?" I'm in. I am very glad that I came in to it with that mindset, because "off the rack", this guitar was terrible. It features a P90 in the neck which doesn't sound too bad, some crappy Chinese made single coil in the bridge, a maple neck with some sort of Orange sealer layered across it and a string through, Traditional Tele style bridge. It looked great from about 5 feet away, but upon further inspection the poorly cut frets and electronics wiring really start to shine. The machine heads are garbage, but surprisingly the nut is pretty solid. At this price, it is a bargain just for the body and neck. It was playable, but the intonation was so far off... it looked better hanging on my wall than being played. After some intense modification and a pro set up though, it plays like butter and sounds great. But out of the box? Not so much.