I looked at a Carlo Robelli Gretch copy, the Ibanez AF75, the Epiphone Joe Pass model and a Washburn (model number unknown) I saw this one & played it when I was on a visit to Guitar Center while trying to distract a friend from plans for his surprise Birthday party. I talked about it for the next two weeks straight, that's how much I liked it. So my wife went out & bought it for me as a Christmas present from her & the kids.
If anything happened to it, I would absolutely by another one. No hesitation on that.
Model Year: 2004
Price: $429.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Guitar Center
Made in China
Maple neck, rosewood fingerboard w/mother-of-pearl inlays, 22 frets, 6 string, 2 volume, 2 tone controls, one toggle switch. 2 Humbucking PUs. Red See-through finish.
Floating tune-a-matic style bridge.
Ibanez Non-locking tuners.
Relatively low action. Didn't measure it with a guage, but it's around 1/16" at the 12th fret.
Probably the best playing action I've seen since I had a LP Deluxe back in '72. Plays better than most other guitars I tried in this price range, and better than some more expensive ones. Definitely better than the Epi Joe Pass model I tried.
No flaws mechanically or cosmetically. I guess you could say it's perfect.
Spent an hour alone with my amp & the sound system. The tone controls don't have much range,you can roll them back to almost midpoint and then there is a change in the tone. But, at that point there are a couple of spots that allow you to vary the tone nicely.
Volume controls are a bit wider range.
The pickups gave me some strong, sweet tones. Definitely Humbucker tones, but not edgy like a LP, smoother, but not quite a pure Jazz tone. Nice and clean when I wanted it and a bit of distortion when I pushed the amp & J-Station in the PA. Very satisfied with the tones I can achieve.
Only had it out of the house twice and for a couple of hours each time. But I think it could withstand the rigors of gigging on a nightly basis.
Also, I play in church, so there's no smoke, no spilled drinks, minimal traffic across the stage area.
Once I got the strings broken in, there was no need to retune, even after bending a few notes repeatedly.
Strap peg near the neck is in an odd position. I will probably switch to strap-locks because I always feel like it is going to slide off the peg due to the angle of the strap as the strap come off shoulder.
Can't really say how the changes in climate effect it. It was relatively warm here both the evening I played it at the church and the Sunday morning I played for worship service. Hopefully, it will continue performing as well as it has.