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