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Alrighty, I've got about 4-5 hours riffing away on it, so here's the quick scoop for anyone curious. I haven't done anything at all to it yet, and it still has the 9s on it from Guitar Center. (I'm waiting on a set of truss wrenches before I bump it up to 10s).

The pros:

  • It sounds awesome. The stock pickup is crap, but even with said stock pickup, it definitely sounds like a tele. With a proper set of pickups, I think it's really going to sing.
  • The neck kicks ass! I usually don't go for glossy necks, but it's so different than anything else that I have it's immediately just more interesting to play. The frets are great as well, and the fretboard looks fantastic.
  • It's really, really comfy, especially if you sling it low-ish. I'm almost a chest rocker with my RGs (not super prog dork, but a bit high), and with this I have it about 4" lower than I normally play and it feels perfect.
  • It's awesome looking. It is. The finish is perfect and the clearcoat seems like it's a mile thick. It's a lot better than I'd expect for a $500 guitar.

The cons:
  • The hum. My godness, does it hum. Neck or bridge, it doesn't matter. If I'm 10 feet away from my amp, it hums. If I'm near a light, it hums. If a lightning bug flies by my window, it hums. My ancient, rusty, bottom-of-the-line Ibanez single coils in my EX did not hum 1% as loud as this thing does. It's basically unplayable with any sort of crunch unless I get a 100 foot cable and run into my backyard, but even then I think that passing car headlights might get picked up. The electronics in this guitar ab-so-lutely SUCK.
  • These just might be the worst stock tuning pegs I've ever used.
The verdict!

I knew going in that this would be a project guitar, and for $500 I think it's a damn good deal. It sounds great, plays great, the finish is excellent and the frets are about on par with any of my higher end guitars. The fit/finish is really above average. I might toss a roller nut on it and some satin knobs, but that's it.

The tuners will be Sperzels, and the electronics are all coming out. I don't even trust the wires. I honestly can't believe that Fender sells a guitar that has electronics as bad as this thing does. If I was a young guy ponying up money that I saved for a while to buy this (and $500 isn't exactly cheap) I would be heartbroken. Clean tones? No problem. Twang away. Gain? Any gain? Gain at 6:01? No. You will not. You will hum, hum, hum along with everything that you play, and it's unacceptable as hell in a guitar at this price point.

That said... Pickups are easy to replace, and solder is cheap. I'm going to grab an upgraded bridge (Gotoh or so, not sure what's out there yet) and do some homework on which pickups are the best for what I'm looking for. New electronics and tuning pegs that don't go half a step flat with simple vibrato, and for around $800 all told I should have a very serviceable, very unique sounding axe that'll look, play and most importantly sound great. :yesway:

 

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Bro of Bros, Bro.
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15,373 Posts
Sounds like a fun guitar to mess around with. I'm sure a few upgrades will really bring this guy to fruition.
 

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Mr. Negative Pants, ,
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14,796 Posts
I kinda dig the chrome hardware against the silverburst, but that could look pretty cool with the hardware all blacked out.
 

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El Kabong
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5,037 Posts
That should be a mighty fine axe when you're done with it. None of the MIMs I've played have ever blown me away, but they always seemed like pretty solid guitars to use for hotrodding.
 

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Slow Money
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Wirelessly posted (Hivemind: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

Check the barden bridges. 3 saddles, but at an angle so they intonate well
 

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Premium Member
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32,765 Posts
  • The hum. My godness, does it hum. Neck or bridge, it doesn't matter. If I'm 10 feet away from my amp, it hums. If I'm near a light, it hums. If a lightning bug flies by my window, it hums. My ancient, rusty, bottom-of-the-line Ibanez single coils in my EX did not hum 1% as loud as this thing does. It's basically unplayable with any sort of crunch unless I get a 100 foot cable and run into my backyard, but even then I think that passing car headlights might get picked up. The electronics in this guitar ab-so-lutely SUCK.
:lol: Yep, welcome to singlecoils. Is it actually worse than the strat, or are you just no longer used to them? Either way, some shielding should make it worlds better.

But yeah, I was really impressed with that one, for the price.

Oh, and if you don't mind throwing some money at it, a set of Barden mini-'buckers would be a very Danny Gatton approved mod. :D
 

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1,785 Posts
So you're saying that living close to radio towers like I do I shouldn't buy one of these? :rofl:

It's definitely the wiring though, I've got an '06 US Standard Tele that's pretty much dead quiet.
 
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