Price paid: £ 320
Purchased from: GAK.co.uk
Sound — 10
I play black metal, thrash metal, prog metal, hard rock, but mainly melodic death metal, and this guitar does all that and more. I heard a lot about how great the EMG 81 is, and I had high expectations about how it would sound, and it STILL blew me away. Due to it only having one pickup and one volume, I expected it to be good for metal and nothing else, but when I turned off my distortion, I got an amazing clean tone, perfect for stuff like Metallica and Mudvayne (big shock). But where it really shines is with the distortion cranked to 11. Near infinite sustain, screaming harmonics, and crushing tone. Messing with my EQ and pedals, I can make this Beast replicate sounds from famous bands. A few examples of what this can replicate: Carcass, Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, and many similar sounds.
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing for almost 4 years, and I own 2 Ibanez guitars other than this. This puts Ibanez to shame. The only thing I don't like about it is that it only has 22 frets, not 24. If this were lost or stolen, I would probably cry, as it took a lot of time and effort to get it delivered, since I ordered it christmas time (took a month to get delivered). After I stopped crying, I would buy another one of these immediately.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This thing is built like a tank. Its got a buit of heft to it, but you get used to that quite quickly. The only problem with it is that the satin finish will rub after a while and become shiny in spots. The hardware should have to problems, and I can't see it breaking or chipping in the near future. The strap buttons though are less than desirable. For the price, they'redecent, but I'm investing in strap locks soon just in case
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Ahh yes, the achiles heel of the guitar. Everything about this guitar is amazing...except for the tuners. They go out of tune really easily, and since I use heavy strings for extreme low tunings, they even go out of tune while playing. However, after I tuned the strings back up to standard, then back down, the problem seems to be solved.
Features — 9
Flying V Mahogany body and set mahogany neck Ebony fretboard with 22 frets and no inlays Satin Black finish with creme binding on body, neck, and headstock Hardtail bridge Non-locking Grover 18:1 tuners Single EMG 81 active pickup 1 volume A really basic, solid built guitar for metal. Came with gigbag, cheap cable, and hex key for adjusting truss rod