Certainly, the easiest way to go is just answering the AF-suggested questions:
Which amplifier and/or effect(s) do you use with this guitar? What playing and musical style(s) do you play with this guitar? : I’ve played it on a Fender Blues Junior, mostly for Blues/Rock but it also proves useful in other styles. Perhaps its rather vintage grain doesn’t make it the best instrument for modern high gain-based styles, but it can still do the job with the right setup.
What are your thoughts on the workmanship, electronics, and finish of this instrument? How is its intonation? Does its neck, touch, feel, shape, etc complement your playing style? : Mine is from 2005, with an awesome aging Goldtop finish, a bright back and pickups which I believe to be Classic 57s (the best pickups to my ears).
Workmanship is plain exceptional – you know what you pay for.
I’m not so enthusiastic about all the metal hardware parts, some friends of mine had to change their ABR-1 bridge because of a faulty thread… As far as I’m concerned, I only had to change the nut which was aging badly, making the guitar lose its intonation. Nothing too awful, but it’s still something that definitely shouldn’t happen on a $3,500 (new) guitar.
Do clean, crunchy and distorted sounds adapt well to different microphone positions? Are the guitar's different frequencies and sounds well-balanced? : This is my very first “high-end” guitar, and yes – the difference CAN be heard. Everything can be reached tweaking the volume AND tone knobs, ranging from warm and clean to a shreddy crunch sound, while always retaining a balanced sound that is never shrilly and allows for infinite perspectives.
This guitar feels at home in clean sounds, works well with an OD, but perhaps sounds a little too sketchy with a lot of gain. No problem if you like fuzzy sounds, but if you like distos then it’s a bit more complicated… Of course, it all depends on the pedalboard you use, I’ve used the Fulltone OCD (which isn’t aimed at high gain) and I don’t have to turn the gain knob too far to get a big sound. Always set things reasonably . You can do high gain sounds with it, it’s not really the problem, but it won’t suit more modern sounds.
What are the pros and cons of this guitar? : Its pros? Ill go with… everything! I was lucky enough to get it under its usual used price (almost $500 less than what you can find on the internet). It’s easy to use from day one, the neck is a bit thick but easy to hold without the usual “baseball bat” aspect that Gibson’s RI models are often blamed for.
It’s 12 years old now and starts to wear its share of scars, this guitar will probably stay forever in my setup and will only become more beautiful with time.
I haven’t played many CSs and only had the opportunity to compare it with a 2012 R7 equipped with Burstbuckers which according to me are less interesting soundwise than the Classic 57s, which sound rounder and warmer.
This guitar has allowed me to learn how to play differently, to be more careful to sounds and to focus less on technique.
It features that easily recognizable sound signature, as easy to recognize as that of a good Strat or an old Tele… Hence, it incites naturally its user to get as close as possible to these sounds and to develop an almost alternative playing style the musician’s own, mixing slowly one’s own universe with the one the instrument offers.
I am rediscovering a taste for playing, which I had ended up losing due to a lack of time… And I believe that buying any instrument in that quality (and –unfortunately- price) range also allows one to progress, if only because you no longer put it down out of frustration because you don’t manage to get what you want from it.
However, it’s a very typical instrument with warm, vintage sounds and a sonic identity heavily influenced by the body, and it can get you lost if you’re after more modern sounds as you may not find what you’re after unless you change the pickups.
I gave it a 5-star rating as after a full year using it I never encountered a single problem, except for the nut but it’s a problem that the instrument’s age can explain and justify.