I played the Pauls...the PRS's...the Fenders, and even a couple of G&L's prior to purchasing this guitar. I feel I got at least as much if not more guitar for the money than any of them had to offer. The workmanship was impeccable, no kidding
. There wasn't a flaw to be found on this guitar. I think it played better than the Les Pauls, yet produced the same sound for less than 1/2 the money. The only thing that would improve this guitar would be the addition of coil taps for the pickups to allow some single coil work. It's fairly heavy, but what do you expect for a Solid Body. If you want sustain, here you go. I would dearly miss this beauty if something happened to it. I've owned and traded lots of guitars, but this one is not on the block.
Model Year: 1997
Price: $875.00 (new)
Where Obtained: A#1 Music...Wichita Ks.
USA made solid honduras mahogany body capped with a 5/8 inch AAA grade flamed maple top. 3 piece stressed mahogany set neck with rosewood fretboard and 22 medium jumbo nickel frets. 2 humbuckers....Duncan '59 at the neck, and Duncan JB at the bridge. Wilkinson wrap around tailpiece. Seperate volume controls for each pickup and one global tone control. Sperzel locking tuners in a 3x3 configuration. Double cutaway body style. 3 way switch for either neck...bridge or both. Factory installed Dunlop Straplocks were a nice touch.
I prefer a slightly higher action than this guitar came with from the factory. It was originally set up for 1/16 inch clearance and played very well at it's factory set-up. I like to be able to get my fingers under adjacent strings while bending, so 1/8 inch is where it's at now. Set-up was fairly simple. The Wilkinson wrap around bridge is set into the body just like a tunomatic on a Les Paul, and height adjustment is as simple as adjusting the 2 posts where you want them. The truss rod is easily accessible by removing 2 screws on the cover located on the headstock. No tools were provided with the guitar, but a thin walled deep socket did the trick (USA size, not metric). The neck is quite substantial, and has a good feel to it. Thicker than a strat but just as quick. The 15" neck radius makes bending notes a breeze. But if you're used to a tunomatic or a Floyd Rose, it will take a little getting used to. the strings reach the bridge and wrap around, shortening the overall string length and making things a little tighter. While this is not a major problem, it will give players unaccustomed to it a few problems.
I've played this amp through a Peavey Classic 30 (tube equipped), and a CRATE 20 watt solid state. The solid state was predictably more sterile than the tube Peavey, but both amps performed well with the guitar. I play mostly blues and blues/rock, and this guitar covered the entire gamut, from pristine clean to VERY chunky overdrive on both amps. The neck pickup nailed the hollowed out BB King sound, and all of the clean sounds asked of it, and the higher output JB at the bridge performed just as well. I liked the fact that it came factory loaded with Duncans, as I fitted a trio of Duncans into my S/S/H equipped Strat. Compared to the Duncan Pearly Gates in the bridge of my Strat, the JB is just a little ruder and has a bit more output, but reacts just as well to tweaking of the volume knobs. All tones are meaty, and there wasn't a thin tone to be found in this axe. Finding the right "sweet spot" in front of either amp produced very controllable feedback.
With the Sperzel locking tuners, re-tuning between sets is a very minor affair. The stressed mahogany neck works as well in practice as it does in theory. I have yet to adjust the truss rod since I purchased the guitar. Intonation hasn't been a problem, but if it ever does become an issue, the wrap around bridge might be a little tricky to fine tune...you move the entire tailpiece to adjust, and only the G and B strings have indivdual adjustments. The tuners and the Straplocks work just as well now as when new. Only adjustments needed due to climate changes are the usual retuning....but let's face it, if we couldn't tune, what would we tweak?
This is a TOP SHELF guitar as good or better than any PRS or Gibson that I've played,and I've tested out some really nice ones in the last 16 years.
Model Year: 1995
Where Obtained: private seller
USA model w/gorgeous flame maple top finished in Aztec
Action was too low so I raised it to just under 1/8th of
an inch at 12th fret.The neck is nice and chunky,mahogany
w/ rosewood fretboard and is glued to a one-piece
mahogany body.Les Paul feel with better access to the
Remarkably even tone all over the neck with AWESOME sustain.I've played it through my Johnson Millenium,my Roland JC120,and my friends Marshall JCM 2000 and it sounds phenomenal though each.
This will be my main stage guitar for all the thick humbucker sounds.Stays in tune and is VERY solid.