Price paid: $ 140
Purchased from: musiciansfriend.com
Sound — 8
So, I play rock and roll. That means Incubus, Red HOT Chili Peppers, Weezer, Third Eye Blind, Foo Fighters, Muse, and 90's rock. This guitar handles them all very well. The humbuckers kinda surprised me with their quality. I mean, these are no seymour duncans or PAFs or anything, but they get the job done pretty well. I have the Bridge one set pretty high the the neck one at a normal height, and that combo gives me a very crisp, trebely sound for Rhythm and a very aggressive, bassier, full, rich sound for Lead. I play this baby through my Behringer Firebird, a little 20-watt practice amp (aka my main amp :( and I often hook up a Boss Blues Driver pedal to it when I need more overdrive than the amp can make on its own. I really like this combo, not gonna lie. I can get very many sounds out of this guitar, that's the main reason I bought it. For example, I can match some Led Zeppelin sounds, some Chili Peppers, almost all Weezer sounds, some Muse, most Foo Fighters, Green Day, etc etc. On the Rhythm setting it can sound almost like a Strat. Like a more filled-out Strat sound. I do get some buzz when the overdrive is cranked and the volume is up, but I'd say that's from the amp, so I think this guitar is pretty quiet on it's own. On the clean side, this baby has a lot of potential. It is semi-hollow after all, so it sounds pretty good on low distortion and clean settings. This is probably where you'd benefit from better pickups though.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I love this guitar. My first electric, my first love, and still going strong. It looks beautiful, plays well, and everyone who plays it likes it. They never believe that I only paid $140 for it new :) If it were to be stolen, I would be quite upset, but I would probably welcome the opportunity to buy a more expensive guitar, only because I do think I've outgrown this one a bit and am ready for something a bit more advanced. But until then, I'm so happy with it that I don't really care.
Reliability & Durability — 8
6 years and no major issues. I did take off the pickguard, just because I like it better that way. And I upgraded the strap button screws from the ones that came with it to some that I found in my basement that are a bit beefier, because the original ones did become loose. The rest of the hardware is pretty solid though, and it's been holding up just fine. I play it at least 4 or 5 times a week and have been for as long as I've owned it, and all that I've done is replace strings and those strap button screws. I've banged it around a bit on accident, a few drops and bumps and stuff, and it's been quite durable.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When I bought this guitar from musiciansfriend, I got a very good deal because it was listed as "Blemished." Well folks, I could not find the blemish. Everything sounded right, the finish was not flawed at all, and everything was there... So, I really can't complain much about it. It was set up fine from the factory, I have changed a few things around and now I get some fret buzz sometime so I have to get that taken care of, but this action can get real low. The neck isn't the fastest, but I like how it feels. Some of the frets could have been finished better, but that comes with the price I suppose. I haven't done anything about them, and I've been playing on it for 6 years, so it's obviously not much of an issue. Oh, and I usually have light strings on it, 0.09s or 0.10s. I like the combo of mellow tone from the hollow-ness of the guitar but the bite of light strings. I imagine if you used heavier strings you could get some very different sounds than what I get from it.
Features — 8
My guitar was made in 2005 or 06 or something, that's when I bought it. So I've had it for a good 6 years now, and I still love it. It is pretty similar to an Epiphone Dot or an ES-335 in looks and style, and it shares a lot of their versatility. The neck's not bad the and the frets are fine, but once you get past about #17 it becomes very difficult to reach the frets, even for me with quite long fingers. That's pretty much my only gripe about this guitar, by the way. The woods are quality, the build is quality, the finish has stood up to me for 6 years, the Bridge is great, the Grover tuners really hold it in tune, and it just looks great. Oh, the knobs are a little iffy, and the input jack gets loose sometimes, and the pickup selector gets loose too. But I have opposable thumbs, so I'm capable of fixing that pretty easily. But on a more expensive instrument, those things wouldn't happen.