Price paid: $ 382.47
Purchased from: Stagebeat
Sound — 6
I play a lot of loud and heavy stuff but my style can be Iron Maiden one day and Cradle Of Filth the next, so I'm pretty flexible. This guitar looks like something either Mick Thompson from Slipknot or Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P would use so if you're on stage, people would expect some seriously heavy and dark riffage. I use mine with a Line 6 Spider II 112 via a DigiTech RP80 pedal, and although the bridge pickup on it's own gives a great sound, the other pickup combinations are sort of similar and none of them sound that good. It's as if someone turned all the tone down then yanked off the dial, but the bridge pickup and a tiny bit of neck pickup (selector Switch in last but one position) gives a cool acoustic sound, as if it were a low tuned mandolin. There is a hellofalotof buzz noise when you're not touching the strings as well. The floyd rose trem bar really is sweet though, it's the first trem system I've used which can loosen and tighten the strings, giving some really cool sound effects, but because most of the pickups are rubbish to hear it with, it's again, only any good with the bridge pickup.
Overall Impression — 6
I've only been playing for two years but that's enough for me to know a good guitar when I see one and this isn't one. Okay, so it suits me down to the ground, sounds cool and really leaves an impression but to live with it and nurse it better when it decides to throw a sickie, it just doesn't cut it. But if you own a guitar that looks that f--ing cool, who cares?
Reliability & Durability — 4
I've had this guitar for about two months and I absolutely love it. But it took me just two days to realise that this fancy piece of kit is the most fragile thing in the history of the six-string. The day I bought it, I was halfway thorugh the solo from 'Raining Blood' when the screw holding the trem bar to the bridge came loose, making it difficult to do fast trem effects without getting a loud rattle. Although you can, as I did, open up the guitar and screw it back up, but don't expect it to be done within the hour and don't expect the trem to work properly ever again. Every time you now use the trem, it comes loose agin, no matter how softly you use it. Another problem is the black laquer finish, if you so much as touch it in the wrong way, it rubs off revealing the wood underneath. Even in a padded gig bag the effect is noticable. The worst thin however, is tryingto retune it when the strings have been changed. The strings can be put in fine but after that, I suggest you take it to a specialist, the strings just won't stay in tune when tuning it up. For example, if you tune the low E string to a low E and think "job done," when you've retuned the other strings, it would've dropped to a Db. The reason is because the floyd rose system dictates that the strings and the trem springs need to be at equal tensions, and since it only comes with two springs instead of the usual three, that is very dfficult to do. I haven't taken it to any gigs yet but as long as a string doesn't snap, it should last long enough.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I bought this guitar brand new, and although it had been on display in the shop for a while, there were no marks or scratches on it. The strings were fitted and tuned almost to perfection and every nut was done up nice and tight. The pickups and bridge were set up to give just the right amount of room between the neck and strings but not enough for any fretbuzz. If needs be, you can tune up the bridge and pickup positions with a couple of alan keys screwed to the back of the headstock. There is almost complete silence when you're not playing anything and just switching pickups or adjusting volumes and tones, so there's no problem with the electrics, there is, as I mentioned before, a very loud buzz when you aren't touching the strings though.
Features — 8
In terms of what you get for your money this axe absolutely rules! For around 200C, you get an official floyd rose trem bridge, two Wilkinson humbuckers and hardware and possibly the most outrageously evil looking instrument ever made. It comes with a five way pickup selector Switch, two dials - one volume and one tone, a full 24 fret neck and your choice of either a cool 3D effect black woodgrain finish or red with a pattern that looks something like hot coals (I personally recommend the black though, 'cause the red looks rubbish).