When I first pulled it out of the box and inspected it, I was skeptical because there were a few minor paint finish flaws (Black smudging on the neck binding) and it appears there was some weird sanding around the pickup selector. Despite the strings looking new, they sounded "dead" when I strummed the guitar unplugged, the resonance didn't impress me a heck of a lot. (I actually didn't realize these were made in China.) This started to feel like a dud.
I was definitely feeling some disappointment as I replaced the strap pins with strap locks and prepared to plug it in. First thing I noticed was that the weight and balance were very good, the action of the strings were very low and without any buzzing and the pickups sounded very "even". I had expected muddy and shrill, that definitely wasn't the case.
I played it for a very enjoyable 2 hours straight. In the end, minor finish issues aside, the guitar held up well for my style of playing.
The neck is a little bit rounder in profile compared to my old Viper 407 which I though was going to be a negative thing but it feels extremely solid and is still comfortable.
I hiked the guitar a bit farther up than I am use to (about an inch below my sternum) which seemed to accommodate the cut on the back of the guitar better. My forearm wasn't being "dug into" as much.
Overall, I am pleasantly surprised and happy with this purchase.
Gonna bring it to a band jam tonight.