Price paid: $ 529
Purchased from: Buytregan.com
Sound — 9
I run this guitar through my computer and use the Line6 Gearbox amp emulation software for all of my tones and effects, which is nice because I can get pretty much any sound for any type of music out of it. As I mentioned before the low end really sparkles on this guitar making it great for metal as well as for cleaner songs where you might play both the lead and the bass. The active Switch really gives it some extra bite... Not a lot, but it's definitely audible and is a great way to make yourself stand out during a solo without cranking your volume. In addition when the pickups are active tapping sounds crystal clear. Some people are concerned that the two humbuckers are too close to each other to get truly distinct sounds, but this has not even remotely been a problem in my experience. The the neck pickup gives a great Acoustic kind of sound, while the bridge is for nothing but lead and makes your pinch harmonics squeal, as is to be expected. For the price you would be very hard pressed to find a guitar with tone as rich as this.
Overall Impression — 10
If I had the choice to get this guitar again I would buy the exact same one in a heartbeat, there is really nothing worth complaining about, this guitar is simply amazing. It has great crisp clear tone, solid pinch harmonics, a buttload of great features, 24 frets, and looks to kill. It plays as well if not better than most LTDs and Jacksons that I have played, and is a good deal cheaper too. I bought mine on recommendation having never played one and have not regretted the decision for a second.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I've been playing this guitar hard for about a year and a half now and have only had two problems as far as reliability is concerned. The first is that because this is a Floyd Rose tremolo system if you break a string all of your other strings go out of tune too meaning that I would in no way keep this as my only guitar, particularly for gigging. The other problem also stems from the Floyd Rose: Because the tension on the springs attached to the bridge needs to be the same as the combined tension of the strings, changing tunings is a big ordeal and certainly not feasible in a live setting, but that's just the cost of a sweet whammy bar. The plastic that holds the battery in place on the backside of my guitar broke about a month after I got the guitar, but it's really not a big deal... To be honest if something had to break, I'd much rather it be the battery plastic than anything else. Seeing as they loaded this thing up with great features, I guess they must have cut back by buying cheap plastic for the parts that are inconsequential. Aside from that this guitar can take any abuse you put on the whammy bar, and won't go out of tune while you're playing which is all you can possibly ask for.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The Floyd Rose needed some loving right out of the box, but definitely nothing that was out of the league of the common player. The pickups and action were spot on once the bridge was adjusted. The strings are pretty close together which took some getting used to, but in the end it just makes this guitar a beast and a half for shredding. I ended up going with the Liquid Blueburst model and I have to say that the finish is spotless, the texture of the flamed maple is gorgeous and the color is the most electric blue I have ever seen on a guitar. Honestly no picture can do this guitar justice, it is truly a sight to behold.
Features — 10
What first caught my eye about this guitar was it's shape. Personally I love it, but I know that a lot of other guitarists just find it to be too flashy or just plain obnoxious. The guitar itself is a little bit thicker than you might expect, and a little smaller overall, but it's really not a problem. As far as things that actually matter goes I think that this one excels in all fields. It has a 24fret ebony fretboard which plays like a dream. The Alnico V pickups have a beautiful clean sound and truly booming low end. The active passive Switch is nice if you're looking for a little extra bite for a solo, and the Floyd Rose licensed tremolo works as it should. It took a little while to get the Floyd Rose adjusted properly, as it wasn't "ready to play" straight out of the box, but with the help of my good friend youtube I was able to adjust the tension on the bridge by myself. This guitar will take some getting used to however, as its strings are closer together than most guitars, and one thing worth noting is that it can't be easily played in a classical position. For me these weren't really problems, but then again my style of playing doesn't involve a lot of fingerpicking nor classical style. The action was perfect right out, and it this guitar stays in tune for weeks on end.