Settle in, boys, girls, and gender-nonconforming folks, and listen to my tale... Back in the Before Times, I put in a pre-order for the first round of Larada 8 strings. Then the shit hit the fan with Falbo, and I got a refund. Abasi re-launched his guitar line with Grover Jackson's shop building them, and I was still interested, but decided to hold off on ordering one. My willpower only held out so long, though, and through luck of the draw I grabbed a Larada Master Series 8 when a run dropped this summer. And here's where things get sPoOkY... That first guitar was not good. Ridiculous amounts of fret buzz, and what looked to me like a warped neck. Took it to my local tech, who confirmed my diagnosis and added that the neck was STILL shifting all over the place. Abasi, to their credit, immediately offered me a full refund or an exchange. I opted for an exchange, because I have guitar disease. I was given my pick of the next run of USA 8s, and chose a stealth black with roasted maple neck and fretboard. They also covered the shipping fees to send the busted guitar back to them. Ivan is a classy dude and it was a pleasure to deal with him through this process. It shipped out a couple weeks later, at which point Canadian customs decided it needed to sit in a warehouse for a week while they scratched their asses and ignored my repeated attempts to get them to clear the package. It finally cleared, and arrived at my doorstep today. I was legitimately scared to open the case. What if this one was another dud? What if it was Just Fine But Not Worth $3.5 Grand? What if, god forbid, there was slightly imperfect finish masking around the neck joint?!?!?!?!?!? WHAT IF THE ABASI CURSE IS REAL? Turns out no, the guitar rules, here's some pics. yessssssss Ignore the smudges, those are the result of my grubby hands fumbling all over it Neck is perfectly straight (minus a tiny bit of truss rod relief of course). Fretwork is spotless. I love the blind fret slots. By viewing this image you have been subjected to tHe aBaSi cUrSe. You must like this post within 7 days or Maestro Alex Gregory will come to your house and rub his balls on all your guitars. Quartersawn roasted maple! LOOKS. STABILITY. TOAN. OKAY Y'ALL IT'S REVIEW TIME: First things first: this sucker is LIGHT. Definitely Strandberg territory if you discount the headstock. It's very slightly neck-heavy if you play with it on your right leg, but only if you don't put your forearm on the body at all (who does this when they play sitting down? nobody imo). Balances perfectly on a strap and in classical position. The matte black finish is real nice, I don't see any flaws anywhere and I went over it with a fine toothed comb. It does pick up fingerprints easily, as you can see in the photos, but WHO CARES IT'S NOT A DISPLAY PIECE Neck shape is a super thin oval. It feels slightly flatter than my 080, but has more rounded shoulders than an Ibanez. Very, very comfy if you like fast necks. The extended neck joint is definitely noticeable but not an impediment. I'm guessing after a couple days I won't even feel it anymore. The neck has a REALLY nice finish, just buttery smooth. Feels like a well-loved piece of furniture, if that makes any sense. Playability is out of this world. The combination of thin neck, smooth finish, fanned frets, and narrow string spacing makes it the fastest-feeling 8 I've ever played. It came set up with SUPER low action, and I'll probably raise it a bit eventually, but even set up Tosin-style there's really not much fret buzz as long as I'm careful with my technique. Really hammers home what a lemon the first one I got was. The fanned frets are fanned frets- after 2 minutes you forget they're there. Helps that the fretwork is A+. Tone wise, I still find the Abasi bridge pickup too hot for my taste, but all I really need to do is turn down the gain and lower the pickup a bit. The cleans, split coil sounds, and neck pickup are all GLORIOUS. I wasn't expecting to care much about the voicing switch, but I really like voicing 2 for the bridge pup in particular. Makes it sound more like a passive, which is nice. I could see that being my main heavy rhythm sound. One comment I've seen a lot in the general Abasi thread is that the USA series are "nice guitars, but not worth the price." I'm happy to report that this is a $3500 guitar that feels like a $3500 guitar. Build quality is as good as any non-Aristides I've come across. Have I mentioned how nice the neck feels? Feels good man If you bothered to read the wall of text at the top of this post, or followed the Abasi thread, you know the hoops I've had to jump through to end up with this guitar. It was worth the trouble! Ivan at Abasi was totally great through this entire process, and I'm 100% satisfied with the instrument I ended up getting. If the other guitars they're putting out are on this level, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.