Price paid: £ 180
Purchased from: Local Guitar Shop
Sound — 7
I'm a metal player, anything from Metallica to Slayer, onwards to Pantera, to Trivium (although not alot of their stuff, no easy drop tunings on a floyd) and my own stuff, usually trash metal orientated. I use a Roland Cube 80XL, which I believe is Solid State, but I got that to cover me at home and for small gigs, and I have two multi-effects boxes, but I mostly use the amp's settings. For clean the neck pickup sounds quite warm and has some nice highs, sometimes the low can be abit too bassy. I won't talk about the neck pickup as it's not stock. The bridge pickup has bite to it and even on clean you can get a little crunch out of it, but I mostly use the neck. The neck on drive, with a little reverb sounds great for a cheap used guitar, it can really cut through, and just has a great tone to it. For metal the bridge pickup is okay, I get feedback from the Neck and the Bridge on High-Gain and it can be a little frustrating, but overall the bridge sounds good. I'm not a fan of how the picking sounds though, it's probably the guitar pick I use, it has an annoying 'chirp' to it which I don't really find desireable. With good EQ settings, the bridge and neck make good playing sound amazing, but if the EQ isn't quite on form, it makes good playing sound like sloppy playing, which is unfortunate as I'm one of those guys who's looking for their 'sound' so I change EQ up alot. Both pickups are great for shredding, the bridge being in your face with a trebly response, while the neck has a little more of a flowing tone, but still plenty of bite. It's overall a fairly versatile guitar, I can put it to Blur into Metallica and back again. Something I don't like about the guitar and it's pickups is the sustain, on a bend the neck pickup has about a 5 second sustain, and the bridge has about 7 seconds sustain, more like 6.7 though. I'm a fan of nice long bends too which is unfortunate. Also the guitar is abit thin sounding, but more so for my tastes, than just for metal, and sometimes I feel the pickups would be better suited to hard rock, and not heavy metal.
Overall Impression — 8
Since I am a metalhead, it's a fairly decent match, I got this because of it's humbuckers, and they sound good, nothing to write home about, but it'll suffice for bedroom practise for the time being. I've been playing for about 2 years now, which probably doesn't seem very long, but I do practise, maximum, 6 hours a day. I go to PMT Music in Norwich about once a month and play whatever I can get my hands on, so I feel I have a sensible idea of tone ect. Should this be stolen or lost, while I'd miss it, as it is my first 'proper guitar' (I owned a very cheap Strat copy by G4M previously), I would not buy another, partly because they've been discontinued, but also because I've played alot better things and I know it'd be worth saving up for something better. I'm due a new guitar this Summer within the 1000 range too. Overall I love this guitar's versatility, I'm very much a fan of super Strat shapes and it really does Shine tonally sometimes, especially for something that costed me about 200. Although my next guitar will definitely be something without a Floyd, because I really want to drop tune, the most I can this down is Drop D, which is fair enough, but I'd like to experiment and broaden my horizons, so that's abit of a constraint. Also the pickups can let me down sometimes with the feedback. Overall for the money I spent it's great, it has some drawbacks, but also lots of pros, which balance each other out, but I've discovered as a more rhythm player, I prefer mahogany and ebony to maple and alder/basswood. Still a fan of rosewood though!
Reliability & Durability — 7
I've not played this guitar live, so I'm not sure about live playing, it probably could, but because of the floyd I'd have to bring a backup or two. It can take a few hits, it's not a soft guitar, but I'm not going to test it's breaking point. The hardware will probably last, I'm thinking of changing the pickups, but I like them for softer stuff, but I want a heavier sounding guitar at the same time, but I'll probably leave them in. The strap buttons didn't last, which is unfortunate but oh well. Sound wise sometimes it can let me down, it's not fuzzy sounding or anything, it's just the EQ settings I need to get down. I would definitely use this in a studio, with the right gear and a little maintenance, this thing could do wonderful things to a recorded track. My amp's loop feature allows me to play a little Chord progression and then solo over the top of it. When I push up to a little gain the neck pickup sounds pretty good. The finish will last, whether I want it to or not, it could take several blows anyway.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The guitar came from a local guitar shop, so it was pretty well set up, but I had a problem with the floyd about 5 months in, which is probably not the shop's fault. The pickups are well adjusted, the electronics sound fine, nothing wrong with the sound, the frets are all fine, the pickups are rusting, which is abit of a blight, and it's unsightly, but I can live around it. It has Speed knobs which are my favourite, the five way black which feels good, the locking nut sometimes lets me down on massive divebombs and squealies, but is usually good, and it's a cheap fr copy so it's not too bad, the tuners are grover, which are fairly decent, they're accurate when I use them, which is once every 2 months when changing strings. The finish is good, tough, I dug into it as the back to test how durable it was, it's fairly tough, I probably won't see a chip if a drop it. What is disappointing is the strap buttons. The upper one on the tip of the cutaway has come out and I will probably need some wood sealer or something fix that, but the other one was okay, but quite obviously I won't be thrashing around with it anytime soon.
Features — 7
No idea when it was made, probably somewhere like China. It has 24 Frets, a licensed Floyd Rose, HSH passive pickup configuration (I got this preowned so I can't comment on the middle single coil, it's an old Jackson pickup, one of those noiseless ones, and also the bridge pickup has rusted abit, while the neck looks quite new, so the neck pickup could be non-stock too), 1 Volume 1 Tone, 5 Way Selector etc. My model has a black finish with sort of black sparkles, it's not my favourite, but it's black. It's a Alder/Basswood body (I think), Maple neck with gloss, Rosewood fretboard, regular strap locks etc, I bought it for it's Humbuckers and it's FR, so it fits the bill.