Price paid: $ 40
Purchased from: ebay
Features: This guitar eludes me in so many ways. First off, I'm not even sure what kind of wood this thing is made of no matter how much searching I do I can't seem to come up with a single material. It appears to be a fairly light hue wood almost like maple, but it isn't hard to tell that it has a rosewood fretboard. Mine came with a solid black gloss finish and a lightly lacquered neck. Cheap-o machine head tuners and a slightly bent neck that causes fret buzz around the 7th fret (I've since gotten around it). Tele style chrome bridge, no trem system and 2 humbuckers. 2 volume knobs, 2 tone and a 3 way toggle switch. Bad plastic nut that barely survived one restringing and two shoddily screwed on strap buttons.
I got this thing secondhand, so I can't say that this thing will appear this way from the factory. When I received this thing in the mail it was in CRAP condition, the toggle switch was missing and I seriously thought that it was the input jack at first. The 7th fret buzzes so I had a lot to fix with the intonation and the action. The nut sawed itself to hell just from me changing tunings so that was another couple of bucks gone. The only good thing I can say about this guitar is that it works VERY well as a beginner luthier project. I have seriously modded this guitar to have a new toggle switch, a mod board wah mid boost, a coil tap for the neck, and I've even had to sand and shim the pocket and the neck to clear up the tone and fix intonation. On top of that, the machine heads feel like 14:1 KY Jelly brand, I say that because they can barely hold their tuning. I've spent nearly as much time re tuning my guitar as I have trying to play the damn thing, granted I finally figured out a way to stabilize them without replacing them outright.
I can at least say that with all of the modding and repairs I've made to this guitar, it was my first 2 volume guitar and it serves me well as a Tom Morello vibe kind of sound maker, especially when put in the rest of my rig... Still isn't leaving my house anytime soon though. // 6
Sound: Oh dear God the pickups... The pickups are an abomination that can only be described through the filtration of a toilet flushing the original review I was typing up. The pickups on this thing are gar-bitch. They capture distortion well, but the tone coming from these babies are just God awful. I used to describe these as "all power, no tone" for the reason that they don't hold the notes well, they sound too muddy to play clean, and the magnets themselves couldn't bear to be put more than 1/8 inches away from the strings. Do you know what I did with those pickups after I took them out? I stuck them on my refrigerator to hang up some newspaper clippings and even then they couldn't handle that task. The magnets were THAT worn out. Just skip these pups and go straight to installing some GFS ones. // 3
Action, Fit & Finish: So because I got this guitar secondhand, it must have bee subject to quite a few changes throughout its lifetime. The action was set to feel like I was grating my hands on a cheese grater and the strap buttons feel like they could give at any time. On the bright side, The fret board looks to be in decent condition despite a little bending and bowing, easy fix for me. The nut LOOKED good but that was just a facade for how low quality it was. The finish had a couple of chips in it but they were in places that were barely noticeable like where a strap would hide or in front of my belt buckle. // 5
Reliability & Durability: This thing dings pretty easily, but the paint job can take a few hammer blows to it. The wood seems cheap but it's held out this long holding everything together so it's not all bad. I've read other reviews saying that this thing is built to take a beating. I'm not sure if I would use this in a gig though unless I did something crazy to it that made it one-of-a-kind and had to absolutely, positively use it. I've dropped this thing like maybe once or twice and I don't see any visible damage (maybe the paint job is doing a good job of hiding the damage). Overall pretty solid, but not HEFTY HEFTY HEFTY. // 6
Overall Impression: After all of what I have done to this guitar, all the time I've spent, the money invested, the emotion felt, the love poured into it, it's a decent overall guitar and I am pretty happy with this thing. Compared to a stock $500 guitar, I would give this guitar a solid 7 or 8 on a good day. BUT because I am reviewing the stock factory version of this guitar, with everything I have said, I can't possibly give this thing a good rating. All I'm happy with was the price I paid for compared to the stock price tag of... (seriously...? -_-) roughly $120. People buy this thing for that much? // 5