Sounds great, plays great - Undecided on design
I've been in the market for a custom for a couple months. I have a studio and have always loved the customs so I decided to pull the trigger and go for the over-the-top Christmas gift for myself.
The salesman I contacted, Mark Chapman was extraordinarily helpful. I've never made such a personal and expensive purchase on line. You guys know how specific guitar buying is, and not being able to play one before such major purchase is intimidating at best. Mark told me he would go get the guitar, and play it himself to make sure there were no issues before shipping. He also told me there was a very reasonable return policy which ultimately caused me to move ahead.
I live in LA, the guitar "Mecca". I've also played for 35 years and in my younger days played semi-professionally so I'm no stranger to guitars. I went to Guitar Center and Sam Ashe to play every custom I could get my hands on.
One of my primary concerns was the rosewood vs. ebony fingerboard issue. I've always liked ebony and have guitars with both. I tried several customs with the richlite and hated it. I think it makes the guitar feel "plastic". For a $4000 guitar, no thanks.
The new guitar from Sweetwater arrived on time with no issues. I've been playing it for a couple days, and wow. The set up was good. I think its quite valuable that Sweetwater evaluates all the guitars when they come in from the factory and sends them back if they have defects. I have a friend that is a guitar tech wizard who will dial this one in for me a little more, but holy crap does it play well. It sounds great with the custom pick ups. Tone is warm, yet it bites. I'm not a big fan of splitting coils on Pauls. In fact I haven't even pulled the switch yet, but I don't care. It plays and sounds great. And the rosewood - warm, rich, smooth, no issue at all.
The finish is my only complaint. In the photos it looked like a typical quilt top, but blue. I thought the headstock and "blued" back and neck looked cool. But seeing it in person, it looks like they took a natural quilt top and shrink wrapped it in a plastic cover. It may grow on me, but the blue is too dark to let the natural maple wood tones come through without being in direct light. I also like the standard, custom headstock with inlays. The blue really deadens the effect of the inlays.
One last gripe - the case is cheap. My studio Paul's case is much better. This one has flimsy clasps and pucker's all around. For $5000, they can definitely throw in the good case.
Overall, excellent buying experience with Sweetwater, excellent guitar for playability and sound, but a little disappointed in the look.