My best guitar as yet, it welcomes light touch hammers and pulls and goes through very strenuous bendings / bashings with nary a scratch. (I am aware that a lot of staying in tune after bends can be related to brand, gauge and age of your strings, but the guitar plays a part, too) Being a very showy guitar, it's compliments to cash ratio makes someone thing it's the little, little brother of an Alembic, and I'll be surprised the day I find a noticably more attractive guitar for under five to six hundred dollars, much less a grand.
Just remmeber, this guitar has a tiny bit of a learning curve, but it takes a few hours max.. once accustomed it ranks a 5, but as this review is for non-owners it will get a still rock steady 4.
Model Year: 2004
Price: $0.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Triple R guitar, semi-local shop
Sticker is missing, but from the looks-price it's safe to
assume the usual suspects: Korea, Japan, etc.
Body and neck are Mahogany with a quilt maple cap
22 fret six string
2 volume, 1 tone
coil tap in tone knob
two duncan design humbuckers
tobacco burst on a flame top, matching headstock
fixed bridge with string through body
binding on the neck, head and body with inlays to suit...
due to it's price I assume that the inlays are actually
abalamite and pearloid, yet they are very convincing
with beautiful colors on the abalamite and great sheen
on the pearloid crosses on the neck.
Features a super slick neck that's a bit on the thin side, but not in the "thumb fatigue" area, This guitar's playability from immediate pick-up was incredible... probably the most "right-feeling" guitar I've played under $1k.
The neck really lends itself to legato, as I can dance my fingers about with even greater ease than on my SG-X. The tapering of the neck is noticable but friendly, ending at what, in my opinion, is one of the nicer heels out there currently.
There's only one problem with it's playability that I could find aside from being dazzled by how fancy it looks for a price that amounts to chicken feed compared to it's quality... extremely upper register access is a bit limited depending on your hand angling, as the lower bout or horn of the body comes within 2 1/2 inches of frets 17+... not a major problem, but you may have to unlearn your normal hand positioning for frets 12+ as to avoid getting wedged into place. Again, hardly a problem, but some might notice it... once it's "learned" it rates a 5 in playability, but I'll put a 4 to help draw attention to this issue.
I've only played this for the most part through my Marshall 50w solid state, and my Crave BV120 half stack, but it has come across well in both settings, with a very defined sound.
Roaring hard rock and metal, gritty southern rock, drippy ambient, all out experimental, even a bit of trippy hippy jam, this guitar has been able to cover all the bases that I come equipped with, and then some.
The coil tap adds a little hiss to the signal, of course, but not nearly as much as I would expect from a tapped bucker, it's closer to a true single coil's hum. One nice feature is that both volume knobs, when dialed to ABSOLUTE zero turn their pickup toggle setting AND the combined setting to a full mute, for that great toggle flipping lead stuff.
The neck pickup seems a tad unbalanced with the bridge as sometimes in higher volumes when I select it it can elicit an almost microphonic feedback which would be useful in some situations, but not entirely desirable. However, seeing as I am mainly a bridge dweller, and there are seperate volume controls for each pickup, I rarely have this problem anymore.
Having survived many near misses, this guitar has proven itself to be able to survive one of the worst things that can happen to a guitar... namely, myself. I've only had this guitar for less than a year now, but I have yet needed to perform a set-up on it, the tuning is pristine. The nut seems to have been made out of a standard plastic, and has a chip knocked out of one of the corners, but nowhere near enough to effect playability. The coil tap can be a tad tricky to use, seeing as it is activated by pulling up on the tone knob, and the knobs are set into slight indentations on the body, and have smooth sides, but once you learn how to grab it, it's no big problem.