...so I finally bought one of these:
It was pretty hard to pass up for $100. I was never a fan of these back when they came out, but now that I have some distance either they're aging well, I have a good one, or my tastes have changed, because I'm really liking this.
Plays well (needed a little more relief and fret 16 was lifting on the treble side but a whack with the rubber mallet seems to have fixed that), and actually sounds good acoustically - it has the aggressive mid I generally associate with a bolt-on maple/alder guitar - but of course the pickups need to go.
I bought it as a refin/new neck project, but I'm actually kinda liking the flip-flop blue/purple finish, especially with the brushed hardware. The tuners need to go (Hipshots, probably), and it *may* need a new nut, but it's a Japanese-made Jackson 7 for $100!
Nice one. Is this your entry for the budget guitar contest?