Slayer Ultra review by TTM Supershop Guitars

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  • Sound: 4
  • Overall Impression: 1
  • Reliability & Durability: 5
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 1
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 3.6 Poor
  • Users' score: 2 (4 votes)
TTM Supershop Guitars: Slayer Ultra

Price paid: A$ 525

Sound — 4
I'm mainly 60-80's rock, blues, country, some light jazz. I'm no shredder but I use all the fretboard. When I test a guitar out, I plug it straight into my Marshall JCM 800 which I've had forever, with no effects. It sounded OK - 5/10. I could get some reasonable Strat sounds and some half reasonable Les Paul sounds. The p-ups were clear all the way from top to bottom but were just p-ups. I then went through my simple effects rig of, Vintage Boss 10 band Equalizer, Vintage Tubescreamer (with the right chip), Roalnd RE501 Tape Space Echo, which improved it a bit, but it really didn't do much for me. I must admit I did expect more because the exchange rate on the new TTM's at the time, which were then selling for about $(US)750 converted to about $(AUS)1100.00. So I think I was entitled to expect something a bit special, at least better than an Epiphone, but got something way ordinary. I ended up putting them on a Fender Squier that I later flogged.

Overall Impression — 1
I'm an old rocker. Been playing since 1966, the year I turned 14, and I'm still giging - 50/50 mix of originals and covers. I've played mainly Fenders, Gibsons and Ibanezes, and I collect Japanese Vintage guitars of 1979 to 1982, made by Fujigen or Matsumoku. While I have sold many I have also kept the cream of the crop that suit my music and play style. TTM should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. If this is what USA if offering then no wonder... Don't get me started. This TTM should never have left the shop, but it did. There are obvious signs of TTM's attempt to fix it, but decided to chase the buck move it on to some poor unsuspecting customer. I contaced TTM on many occasions and Lance Benedict, el BigWig, TWICE, not once, but TWICE, "PROMISED" to send me a replacement. Just as well I didn't hold my breath, because guess what, I'm still waiting... I repeatedly sent subsequent emails, but never got a reply. Oh well. Never again. Anyway... I took it all apart, re-seated the bridge, re-dressed, re-crowned and re-polished the frets, slipped in two Bill Lawrence XL500's, sanded of the TTM logo 'cos that would have to be a drawback and got it to become the guitar it always should have been but wasn't. TTM still owes me a $1000.00 guitar. In short I would never touch one again, never even look at one, and definately would not buy one again. And it if had gotten stolen, I could have at least got my money back from the insurance company...

Reliability & Durability — 5
I'll be fair here. If everything was working fine it probably would gig well for a goodly while. You'd need a strong back for the swap ash though. The whole guitar came in a 14lb, a tad heavy for me but it wasn't noted on the sales pitch for this one, which I was a bit miffed about. Would'nt have got it (ie this particular one) if I knew it was that heavy. Must say though it would make a great self deffense weapon for rough pub gigs.

Action, Fit & Finish — 1
This is where all the fun starts. Action was way way high, 4mm at the nut, because the nut wasn't cut properly. The nut was left high because the 17th fret was raised and needed to be reseated. I could see the reamins of some work done trying to reseat that fret but it had risen again. So I reseated the fret, re-crowned it and repolished it, and also re-cut the nut ('cos I know how to do this), and then set to intonate it because it wouldn't stay in tune up the fret board. That was because the bridge was 3mm to close to the neck. Hmmm not happy at all now, because it could never be intonated as it was. The 5-way only worked in only 3 positions because it was a 2-core 2-pup job, ie basically 2-pups that can't be coil-tapped. 1=Neck, 2/3/4=Both, 5=Bridge. A bit more playing showed flat spots up and down the fret-board and that it needed a complete fret dress. That's lots of hours if you have the tools and the skill OR lots of hours to someone else if you don't have the tools and the skill. But wait, there's more. On the overlap of the 22nd fret, where the fretboard sits over the pickguard the cap tapered away leaving a 2-3mm gap at the high "E" to 0mm and the low "E". Someone was over zelous with a sander, and the neck looked like it needed to be shimmed as-well, ie raise a little in the neck pocket to give a level fit. So off went the neck. The revealed a lot of extra sanding in the neck pocket by someone who was obviously trying to widen AND deepen the neck pocket. I also noticed "oriental" gliphs on the lip of the 22nd fret, suggesting the neck was made in either Korea or China, so elsewhere, but not in USA. OK, while I have the skills to perform all of the above fixes, enough was enough, from a NEW guitar. This guitar was a basket case and needed to be put down.

Features — 7
Brand New - TTM Slayer Ultra, Made in USA, HH Strat with TTM's Paldin 2-core pickups, PAF style, passive (ie no battery), 22 medium jumbo frets, Maple neck and fretboard, "Cognac" coloured swamp ash body, THICK NOS, gold trim of Wilkinson Trem & Tuners (non-locking), 1xVol & 1xTone - gold knobs with perloid top, 5-way selector, no other accesories. I must say it looked GOOOD! BUT then I picked it up and now there's reality... Would have given a bit more but it is way over lacquered, especially the neck

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "And it if had gotten stolen, I could have at least got my money back from the insurance company..." Haha, best line ever. Sucks to get a dud, that's the big problem with not being able to try a guitar before you buy it. In that scenario, I make sure the company has a good return policy before ordering.
    I bought a used TTM Supershop Devastator and it's awesome to play. That said, I'm not convinced they are all nice guitars since this one has some pretty big flaws. The flaws don't make a difference in playing, but they shouldn't be there. I know how to work on guitars, so it's worth the time for me to do it, but that may not be the case for you. I'd advise anyone to play one and look it over before buying it. Mine was cheap and well worth the money, but it's obvious they aren't all that way.
    It's nice to see a review from someone who knows what they're talking about and isn't afraid to rate it as such. Sorry you had such a shitty experience, though. I would be livid if they promised me a replacement and then never sent me one.
    Seems like you really know your stuff. And the review is very good - wouldn't be so disasterous if we were talking about some $100 no-brander strat copy, but with a guitar that has a value of $1000, you have to be strict. Also, I find it hilarious that the guitar is named "Slayer", as if it were an extreme-shaped heavy metal guitar instead of an ordinary strat copy.
    So, to have an idea, how would you price this guitar based on how good/bad it is? In other words at what price range would this guitar be competable? To me it sounds like its no better than a cheap homemade strat.
    My experience tells me any guitar made in the US for under 800 new is garbage, unless they really skimp on the paint/inlay/binding. US craftsman are almost all union (unless it's homemade), and those things I mentioned take a lot of time to do, which means inlaying and painting a guitar in the US could easily cost $500 right there. The 'Faded' Gibsons are a perfect example. I hate to say it, but the higher wages union guys get (and frequently deserve) means that in the $500 or so price point, a guitar made in Asia should almost always be better than one made in the USA/Japan/Spain/Italy/England.
    Jfreyvogel, asked about TTM - TTM is a USA company. Just Google TTM Guitars and you'll find them, There are a couple of reviews on YouTube, last time I looked. To Jean_genie - After this experience I decided to build and sell Strats myself and discovered that I can build a very smick axe for between $700-$1000, (Aussie $), with good quality 2nd hand parts scoured from eBay. I've sold 16 in the last 12 months, all happy customers. The real secret is time and attention to detail (time of course is money, money, money), and of course the knowledge of how they fit together, etc. I build one over about two to three days, depending on how muck work is involved (fret dressing takes the longest usually), and then spend a week or so tweeking it till it is the best it can be. I work on Strats only, because I know Strats, and for me they are the most versatile guitar on the planet, eg I've just finished one with 3 vintage Greco p90's instead of single coils and it is just a magic axe. Nothing around quite like it too. Bustapr asked how I'd price it. To be fair, if it all worked well, I'd put it in the Squirer Affinty class but with a better trem and tuners (ie Wilkinson big block trem and tuners). Wilkinson make good quality stuff and at fair prices, and are superior to the bridge put into the Affinity and MIM Strats. Hope that helps, and thanks for everybody's thoughts. Appologies for spelling-fu's. Ketchil
    I bought a 2008 slayer and a 2009 devastator from Lance at TTM Guitars and have been rocking them for many years complaints, great sound, great feel.. i play at many clubs..