My Dream Guitar
I will have to say I did not buy this from Sweetwater, but that was because at the time I bought it, Sweetwater did not carry this guitar. Also, had I bought it from Sweetwater, some if the warranty and playability issues might never have happened. So, I am going to review the guitar itself.
The guitar from the box was badly in need of setup. The issues I had with intonation and playability probably would have been avoided had the guitar gone through Sweetwater's 55 point quality check. On mine the nut was high, and on the low E the intonation screw had to be cut and the spring shortened to give me the length to get the intonation correct,
After I got this set up with my normal tech, the guitar is fantastic. It took no time at all to get used to the partially scalloped neck, and the fretwork and cosmetics of the guitar are really well done., The pickups are single coil Seymour Duncan quarter pounders, so they are noisy if you put gain on them. The middle position does cancel the noise quite nicely, and is the wonderful surprise of this guitar.Wonderfully mellow when played clean, but nice bite when overdriven.
I eventually changed out the pickups to Seymour Duncan which were stack humbuckers voiced to sound like single coil. That made the guitar playable in all pickup positions. But this is personal preference, and I liked the original pickups well enough to install them on my MIM stratocaster.
Once properly set up, this guitar stays in tune wonderfully well. The scolloped fingerboard allows for very broad vibrato and bends. The neck feels very fast, and I like the gloss finish. I've had this guitar for two and a half years, and it has been completely trouble free.
Minor points are that the strings seem a little close to the edge of the fingerboard, so you do have to make some adjustments in playing, but I got used to it very quickly and it became a total non factor,
I am so glad to see that Sweetwater is not carrying this guitar. If you are a fan of Ritchie, you will love this guitar. If you are looking for a different scalloped neck option, this is very nice, as the partial scallop allows for a more normal feel. It's not just a metal guitar, it is a wonderful clean instrument. I like the two pickups in this, and don't even miss the middle one.